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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
VFR Flyway Planning Chart
VFR Flyway Planning Chart
VFR Flyway Planning Chart
VFR Flyway Planning Chart

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 Corridor and Border Crossing Routes, San Diego
VFR Corridor and Border Crossing Routes, San Diego
VFR Corridor and Border Crossing Routes, San Diego
VFR Corridor and Border Crossing Routes, San Diego

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 Transition Route
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: