I’ve recently gained a renewed interest in flying general aviation aircraft. But I’m aware that my go-to plane (C172) is very slow. When I fly IFR into a decently sized airport in my slow GA aircraft, I can’t help but feel like I’m slowing the efficiency of the controllers, who for the most part, are controlling jets. So I’m asking to all controllers, am I being a nuisance by flying my Cessna into Bravo and Charlie airspace, even if I’m just transitioning through it? And should I refrain from landing at these airports when they are especially busy?
I’m not a controller, but its their job to deal with everyone and anyone who decides to enter the airspace, unless the plane is too big, or the airport wont accept arrivals. I think you should be fine.
The correct answer is that no, we arent annoyed by a GA coming into the airspace as we should be fully prepared to help you out and provide great service!
The honest answer is that it just depends on the timing and situation. Obviously you’re likely going to be going about 110kts or so in the pattern while everyone else is going to be above 200kts. So obviously there’s a challenge there for separation.
The issue arrises not because of the GA usually, but the aircraft around you. People usually don’t pay attention to their surroundings and whats around them in the pattern.
I would suggest staying away from FNF’s and very busy airspaces. When it comes to a busy B airspace, most likely they’ll be a runway that ATC has prepared for a GA aircraft, say the angled parallel runways on the outsides at DFW, or even 17R for example. But not everywhere.
So long story short, nope, we arent annoyed, just realize that it makes the situation more difficult when its crazy busy
You aren’t really. Let’s say you did it at a busy airport like Heathrow, you could hold it up but I’m sure they wouldn’t mind.
Yes you are, your peak speed is lower than the smallest airliner stall speed.
You’ll rarely see GA aircraft landing at class A or B airports in Europe.
But in IF the control might make you hold a bit to find you a place, now with the TBM930 this problem isn’t one anymore.
If I may, from a Pilots perspective, give you quick rundown of how I feel about GA pilots, especially in Bravo’s, would be…
I personally don’t see any issue with someone flying a GA into a large airport or just transition through as you mentioned. But when it comes to landings at let’s, you’re inbound on RWY 25L at EDDF (Frankfurt, Germany) and I happen to be behind you with a 747-400 after have done a overnight long hauls from Shanghai. I would prefer not to have a smaller, slower plane in front of my rather heavy B744 when I’m supposed to land. I don’t find this to be an issue, if I have a light aircraft but slowing down a heavy 747 to match you short-final speed, may exactly not be my cup of tea, if I say so myself.
But usually anything in the range of being a 777-300ER or smaller, I can without being concerned, let a GA land ahead of me, but anything bigger and I get quite worried about my speed, so I don’t stall. Also there no restriction keeping you out of the airfield, IFATC will allow you to land, unless the airport is extremely busy, which in that case I even more would not like to be behind a Cessna.
Well that’s my take on it. I usually don’t mind at all, but I have been in a tight situation with a 777-300ER multiple times, being stuck behind a Cessna, and had to forcefully slow down quite a lot, and just barely kept flying. In worst case scenario, I’ll just go-around, no worries :)
Nope, not one bit. Your Cessna 172 has just as much right to the infinite skies as any other aircraft. Not to mention you pay for this service, also giving you equal right to fly your aircraft of choice. Yes, it can create some tough situations for controllers and other pilots, but there is nothing wrong with that. That being said, a controller could deny you entry to their airport during heavy traffic times, which happens in real life.
So i wouldn’t categorize you as a nuisance, it just makes it more interesting! Happy flying!
I think this is a great example of why its bad to fly a GA into a major airport, especially when busy. The ATC will figure it out, but i’d hate to have to issue a go around to someone that has specifically set up a landing time and cant complete their flight cause of it
A Go-Around adds maybe 5 more minutes to a flight. If someone is flying with margins that are that tight, difficulties are to be expected. Landing sequences get adjusted all the time, occasionally resulting in go arounds for other planes. All part of the dynamic airport environment.
You have to remember sometimes approach wont give you a “five minute” go around and have to re insert you into their approach line. For this, it could add 15-20 minutes.
Perfect example was me this morning. if my approach took any longer i wouldve had to end a 10-hour flight
edit: not trying to argue about the issue. just bringing up an example that could happen. Again, completely understand with what you say too
Umm let’s see, last time I encountered this situation was a while ago, in Auckland. I lined up with the RWY heading and before intercepting ILS, a Cessna got allowed to intercept the ILS, cutting my path. I knew ATC would tell me slow down, so I gradually began slowing down and just as I thought ATC told me to not exceed XXXkts. As I followed the glideslope, I took manually control of the plane as I always do. I began noticing that the Cessna was slowing down quite a lot, and when it was around 110kts. I put my throttles at idle. Let the speed sink to I think it was 130kts, and at that speed, I was barely hanging on. Luckily, I had after my overnight long haul flight from KLAX, burned most of my fuel, with 30-40mins to spare as I most of the time have. The aircraft still being heavy, due to PAX and Cargo, I pursued to land. the GA vacated the RWY quickly and I was able to land, with a V/S of -80 to -110. Not the smoothest, but not the worst.
What I learned from this was, to go-around, always if I’m ever forced to throttle back to 130kts. This also happens when I’m behind certain smaller jets like ERJ’s, and CRJ’s, also A318 and A319’s. I in those circumstances slow down relatively much to make space in between, and begin rethinking and planing for which taxiway I’m going to exit via, now that I’m flying slower and will most likely land slower and therefore come to halt faster. This rearranging in plans needs to be done quickly, while at the same time I need to monitor speed and V/S.
I have by now, been in some many different situations, and many like these, that even if they don’t bother me much and can keep separation, which also will kill the stress and pressure for the pilot in the slower aircraft but I also try cut some clack for the ATC so they don’t have to worry about the separation and possible accidents. Although, I became a little stressed in those situations, but I have learned to cope with it and are now able to land behind smaller, slower planes with minimal stress :)
Keep flying that 172 anywhere your want!! Most class b’s in the USA have some sort of GA support or support services. Signature Flight is a major FBO at KIAD and they have 172s parked outside all of the time. From the airport operator side of the coin - 172’s are just as welcome to come into my airport as is any other aircraft.
This is one of my favorite things to do in IF. Flying GA in busy airspace is so much fun and very underrated. These days if I get that itch I’ll usually just hop in the TBM because of its speed but what you’re doing is completely fine if you plan it well and understand that there’s a good chance that you’ll have to do certain things so that you won’t affect the airliners coming in too much. Here’s one of my favorite real world videos of some guys doing just this.
I live in San Antonio and GA single engines fly in around 10 per day.
@Captain_JR, sounds good… [quote=“Captain_JR, post:11, topic:286205, full:true”]
I became a little stressed in those situations, but I have learned to cope with it and are now able to land behind smaller, slower planes with minimal stress :)
I think most of us are here to develop those skills 😉
Yeah, I mean. Ever since I was younger, I always had a difficulty controlling stress. It’d get to me and I’d lose track of what I was supposed to do. I always have wanted to work with something that contains a lot of stress. No matter what future plans I have, stress is bound to be there waiting for me. And since stress is a part of out daily life, some experience it more than others, it’s best to learn how to handle it as early as possible. A few years back I started thinking in a more coordinated and oriented way. And since joining IF Live/Pro, whatever it is called now, I’ve found myself under different circumstances where I have to adapt to the current situation no matter what. Where, even if it is stressful, I’ve taught my self to deal with it in a clever way.
I plan everything ahead of time. 30-40min before landing, as I begin my descent, I always check for smaller aircraft around me. I plan as usual the taxiway I’m going to exit via, and by doing so, minimizing stress by quite a lot. I feel comfortable and relaxed as I approach major Bravo airspace’s and land smoothly even if there is another plane on final or one ready for takeoff. ATC tells me to expedite, but many times I already have vacated the RWY, ready to taxi to parking. You gotta be multiple steps ahead of yourself and the movements surrounding airplanes may do. This is to exercise efficiency and effectiveness. And works well many times. Although I sill experience some stress, but that is bound to happen, we are all humans after all and the stress nowadays aren’t as excessive as it used to before.
Well you could that I’m grateful and thankful for all those GA pilots cutting me in approach line, so many times last year. They surely have practice my stress tolerance. But I’d advice you to try and stay behind me rather before me, but both works fine mostly for me. I can handle it fine, for the majority of the time and I’ll go-around in extreme cases :)
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