I had an experience last night:
Taking off 07L from KLAX, enroute to KSAN. I planned on KSAN 27, because that is typically the active runway. However, KSAN was on Unicom, so it was a little chaotic. But, obviously I had some time and distance to figure it out.
Right out of the gate, I was instructed to contact Socal Approach, which doesn’t service KSAN, but I did anyway. The controller vectored me to heading 040 right away (i.e. the opposite direction of KSAN). I complied, trying to be a good boy. Then Approach requested descent and maintain 4000 (166 NM from destination). Hmm, okay, but I did this too.
Next comes the weird stuff. I was not given altitude FL12. Then 8500. Told to resume own navigation. Again vectored to 040. All in quick succession.
It seemed to me that whoever was at the Approach desk wasn’t quite sure what to do.
My question is, while I want to abide instructions, I’m being given conflicting instructions over a frequency that has no jurisdiction over my destination or my location (i.e. LAX Center or Departure). When is it okay for me to presume that the ATC is just a little confused and proceed on a reasonable course (e.g. one altitude would have put me into a mountainside), awaiting coming into range of a jurisdictional frequency? Do I just fly into theach mountain?