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Published VFR Routes

Introduction:

  • Developed for transitioning around, under and through complex airspace (such as class Bravo) developed through a number of FAA and industry initiatives [Figure 1]
  • Each route type has a different function and operational requirement
  • VFR Flyways and their associated Flyway Planning Charts were developed from the recommendations of a National Airspace Review Task Group
  • The design of a few of the first Class B airspace areas provided VFR Corridors for the passage of uncontrolled traffic
  • To accommodate VFR traffic through certain Class B airspace, such as Seattle, Phoenix and Los Angeles, Class B Airspace VFR Transition Routes
  • were developed

Published VFR Routes:

  • VFR Flyways:

    • Defined as a general flight path not defined as a specific course, for use by pilots in planning flights into, out of, through or near complex terminal airspace to avoid class B
    • An ATC clearance is NOT required however when operating beneath Class B airspace, communications must be established and maintained between your aircraft and any control tower while transiting the Class B, Class C, and Class D surface areas of those airports under Class B airspace
    • VFR Flyways are depicted on the reverse side of VFR Terminal Area Charts (TAC), commonly referred to as Class B airspace charts [Figure 1]
      • These charts identify VFR flyways designed to help VFR pilots avoid major controlled traffic flows
      • They may further depict multiple VFR routings throughout the area which may be used as an alternative to flight within Class B airspace
      • The ground references provide a guide for improved visual navigation
      • These routes are not intended to discourage requests for VFR operations within Class B airspace but are designed solely to assist pilots in planning for flights under and around busy Class B airspace without actually entering Class B airspace
    • Ground references provide a guide for improvised visual navigation
    • suggested routes are not sterile of other traffic
    • The entire Class B airspace, and the airspace underneath it, may be heavily congested with many different types of aircraft
    • Pilot adherence to VFR rules must be exercised at all times
VFR Flyway Planning Chart
Figure 1: VFR Flyway Planning Chart
  • VFR Corridors:

    • Defined as an airspace passage through class B airspace, with defined boundaries both lateral and vertical in which aircraft may operate without an ATC clearance or communication with air traffic control
    • These corridors are, in effect, a "hole" through Class B airspace [Figure 2]
    • A classic example would be the corridor through the Los Angeles Class B airspace, which has been subsequently changed to Special Flight Rules airspace (SFR)
    • A corridor is surrounded on all sides by Class B airspace and does not extend down to the surface like a VFR Flyway
    • Because of their finite lateral and vertical limits, and the volume of VFR traffic using a corridor, extreme caution and vigilance must be exercised
    • Due to their complexity and traffic requirements inside of Class Bravo airspace, it has not been possible to incorporate VFR corridors in the development or modification of Class B airspace in recent years
VFR Corridor and Border Crossing Routes, San Diego
Figure 2: VFR Corridor and Border Crossing Routes, San Diego
VFR Transition Route
Figure 3: VFR Transition Route
  • Class B Airspace VFR Transition Routes:

    • Defined as a specific flight course depicted on a TAC for transiting a specific Class B airspace designed to accommodate VFR traffic through certain class B airspace
    • Include specific ATC assigned altitudes as per a clearance which must be received prior to entering the route
    • These routes are designed to show the pilot where to position the aircraft outside of, or clear of, the Class B airspace where an ATC clearance can normally be expected with minimal or no delay [Figure 3]
    • Until ATC authorization is received, pilots must remain clear of Class B airspace
    • On initial contact, pilots should advise ATC of their position, altitude, route name desired, and direction of flight
    • After a clearance is received, pilots must fly the route as depicted and, most importantly, adhere to ATC instructions

Conclusion:

  • It is very important to remember that these suggested routes are not sterile of other traffic
  • The entire Class B airspace, and the airspace underneath it, may be heavily congested with many different types of aircraft
  • Pilot adherence to VFR rules must be exercised at all times. Further, when operating beneath Class B airspace, communications must be established and maintained between your aircraft and any control tower while transiting the Class B, Class C, and Class D surface areas of those airports under Class B airspace

References: