Center question

Hello everyone! I bring to you a question regarding center. This morning I was approaching JFK and Washington, JFK, and BOS center were active all by the same dude. I checked into BOS center at 38,000 feet and everything when fine. Please note that there was NO OTHER ATC in the NYC area it was just center. I got to 18000, which is the altitude that the approach frequency picks me up if there was one. After tuning out of center I kept getting called back until I was givin a violation.

So, was I in the wrong for leaving center below 18000? Center is usually only used for high altitude flying. I know they can give radar vectors and such, but I didn’t ask for them. So, should have I stayed on the frequency, or do I have every right to switch after hitting 18,000 feet?

Thanks and happy flying!!

I think it is best that you wait for clearance before leaving their frequency. These people are highly trained, so they will make sure to hand you off to another tower. If they don’t do that by the time you get to around, say, 10-12K ft, then you should request a freq. change.

I would stay in the frequency and wait for them to hand me off instead of just going off by myself
If the time comes and I still have not been sent out I would request for frequency change and see what the controller says

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Well actually you are correct tbh. Center is usually used to coordinate traffic flying through a region at high altitudes. So I’m not sure why they kept asking you to switch back to them. But I think the pragmatic thing to do would have been to listen to them and tune into their frequency, even if it was just to avoid a violation or report.


Hey, Blake!

You are correct, Center generally runs upwards of FL180 (18,000ft) with FL600 (60,000ft) at a maximum. However, it can also run from the surface (i.e., 0ft).

For example, I enjoy opening Miami, Jacksonville, and Atlanta Centers and providing radar services for as long as possible. This includes the moment an aircraft is in the air to the moment they leave my airspace (and vice-versa).

The above is a common trend from Center controllers who don’t have an approach controller to hand aircraft to. We keep aircraft to ensure separation requirements are met, and an orderly flow of traffic remains.

That said, I personally do not agree with the violation (granted, I don’t know the exact circumstance; there are only so much words can describe). However, without an FCA (frequency change), it’s in your best interest to stay with the frequency you’re on. You could always request an FCA as well.

To deal with your violation, assuming you would like it looked into, I would suggest contacting @appeals and/or the controller who reported you. They’ll help you out!

Best of luck!


Will PM the user, this can be closed.


Op requested closure