Altitude restrictions in CLASS C Airspace

Jeff Streiff

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Altitude restrictions in CLASS C Airspace
« on: March 17, 2012, 05:39:07 am »
[size=]To Don DeFosse/Boston (vZBW) Manager:


What should my normal descent rate be if given clearance by vATC to "descend and maintain" a certain flight level or approach altitude if no crossing restrictions or pilot discretion is given by VATSIM controllers??  As protocol, do I simply follow the altitude on the STAR arrival & approach charts?  I've run into situations when I was way too high coming into a "CLASS C" airspace and it makes for a roller coaster of a ride into the airfield.  Not necessarily in Boston but on VATSIM in general.  

Thanks![/size]

Don Desfosse

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Altitude restrictions in CLASS C Airspace
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2012, 06:43:50 am »
Hi Jeff,

Although there are a number of variables that could be involved, the standard answer is, without being given any restrictions by a controller, whatever the normal descent rate is for the aircraft.  I'm not 100% sure I know what you're getting at, because you seem to ask both about rate and altitude.  But a normal clearance would sound like "descend and maintain xxxx".  Without any other information or restrictions, you'd then follow your normal descent profile down to the altitude given.  You do NOT (if under ATC control) violate descent instructions given by a controller just because a chart indicates a different altitude.

Now, in terms of being left too high, unfortunately that does happen.  And, far less so, but sometimes controllers bring you down sooner than you'd like.  But if you are concerned that you're going to be left high, you can always request lower from the controller (i.e. "Center, American 123 request lower").  In some cases, the controller forgot about you and will quickly give you lower.  In some cases, he was keeping you higher for a reason; generally this is for traffic/flow (i.e. so you don't hit someone, or so you stay faster, longer, creating a gap to put someone in behind you).  In the latter case, I usually tell the pilot why I'm leaving them high.  (In the former case, I usually apologize  )  And if you think you're going to be high, slow down first, then start your descent.  

Hope this helps.

Don
Don Desfosse
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Division Director Emeritus, VATUSA

Kevin Kan

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Altitude restrictions in CLASS C Airspace
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2012, 01:07:42 am »
As a virtual pilot, I do not expect controllers to know all the types of airplane I fly and their specific descent profile. There's at least 10 types of planes in this world. The B707, 717, 727, 737, 747, 757, 767, 777, 787, airbus.

If you need to descend, you need to request it.