Flying into Class Bravo airspace VFR

Alin10123

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Hey guys,
Got a few questions for you guys about VFR flying. I'm currently working on my instrument rating and so going IFR by myself is not an option.

I've got a few relatives that may need me to fly them to a nearby state. Needless to say i'm really excited.

During my training at KPDK, my PPL instructor told me that being ablt to fly into KATL and landing there is probably a 0.0000001% chance at night if they aren't busy. I'm going to assume that in the daytime, it's impossible.

My relatives need to get to Charlotte NC. I looked in my AFD, the airport that would take them the closest to where they would need to be is KCLT, do you guys think that i'd be able to get into there VFR in a C172? Does anyone have experience flying into there in a single engine?

I'm asking becuase KCLT is a class Bravo airspace/airport as well. They aren't nearly as busy as Atlanta, but they are busy nonetheless otherwise they wouldn't be classified as a Bravo.

If i have flight following the whole way, do you guys think i'd be able to land there?

The nearest airport to KCLT is about 12nm away (8A6). It would be a much longer drive once we got there if we had to fly into 8A6. Also... from the looks of the aerial pics on airnav.com that airport looks tiny. We are going to need to use a "courtesy" car for a couple of hours in order to get to where we are going. I dont even see an FBO in the airnav.com directory. I figure if i could get into KCLT and they didn't have crew cars available, worst case i'd just go and rent one since they always have rent a car places there at the large airports.

Any help is appreciated.

Do you think if i file a VFR into there i'd be able to get into there? Or would FSS just tell me that i wouldn't be able to get in?

Or is there an airport that's just a few miles away that i could fly into that would probably at least have an FBO that would lend me a courtesy car?

thanks in advance.
 

kf4amu

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Im originally from Mint Hill, NC where 8A6 (Wilgrove) is located. I did my private training there, my dad has his plane there, and I know the guys up there pretty well.

As far as a courtesy car no luck. Fuel is self serve cash only. The airport isn't THAT small. You land on the centerline anyway right? Well here you pretty much have to. As long as you are confident in your approaches you will be fine. The runway is plenty long to touch down at the halfway point and stop in plenty of time.

Where in Charlotte are you wanting to go? Concord is north of Wilgrove about 20 miles. Monroe is south of Wilgrove about 15 miles.

It's my understanding that ATC doesnt care who you are, first come first serve. I've landed at Orlando International multiple times, never had the need or want to go to KCLT, but I assume its the same. A few years ago I toured the tower/TRACON at CLT and the controller I talked to said it didnt matter to them if we were 2000 pounds or 200,000 pounds, a data block is a data block.

The FBO at Wilgrove has a sheet on the wall listing the busy times at CLT and as a courtesy pilots are requested to avoid landing during those times if possible. Call the tower and find out what they are. I think its a 25 dollar landing fee, but if its closer to your destination I say go for it.

I was nervous the first time I landed at Orlando but it was a piece of cake, just like landing at a Class C airport, except alot more big jets.

-Will
 

midlifeflyer

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Wil is right. They can't just exclude you.

But a suggestion: If you don't get some local information from the forum, call Charlotte TRACON and ask when the best times to land at Charlotte are for a VFR pilot in a piston and the best way to approach the airspace from your direction of flight.
 

Alin10123

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kf4amu said:
Im originally from Mint Hill, NC where 8A6 (Wilgrove) is located. I did my private training there, my dad has his plane there, and I know the guys up there pretty well.

As far as a courtesy car no luck. Fuel is self serve cash only. The airport isn't THAT small. You land on the centerline anyway right? Well here you pretty much have to. As long as you are confident in your approaches you will be fine. The runway is plenty long to touch down at the halfway point and stop in plenty of time.

Where in Charlotte are you wanting to go? Concord is north of Wilgrove about 20 miles. Monroe is south of Wilgrove about 15 miles.

It's my understanding that ATC doesnt care who you are, first come first serve. I've landed at Orlando International multiple times, never had the need or want to go to KCLT, but I assume its the same. A few years ago I toured the tower/TRACON at CLT and the controller I talked to said it didnt matter to them if we were 2000 pounds or 200,000 pounds, a data block is a data block.

The FBO at Wilgrove has a sheet on the wall listing the busy times at CLT and as a courtesy pilots are requested to avoid landing during those times if possible. Call the tower and find out what they are. I think its a 25 dollar landing fee, but if its closer to your destination I say go for it.

I was nervous the first time I landed at Orlando but it was a piece of cake, just like landing at a Class C airport, except alot more big jets.

-Will
Thanks for the reply Will,

Dang... $25? Even Atlanta is only $18 i think. haha

The reason why i was asking is becasue not only did my instructor say something, but last week i took a tour of Atlanta Center and they said that Atlanta approach usually doesn't like slower aircraft that don't need to be there being there. The lady also said that during most of the afternoon and evening, Atlanta usually can land about 96 planes an hour and even then the traffic can get backed up all the way up to NY. :eek:

Anyways... thanks for letting me know about the no crew car and cash only for gas. I would've checked before i left, but good to know that i can cross that off the possible planning places. I dont really care about the size of the airport, but i do need to be able to access a crew car and credit card gassing up since i usually dont carry cash around.

I guess i will have to go and buy a VFR chart today and plan the trip. Airnav.com only shows the nearest airport with instrument procedures. So there may even be a few small airports nearby. I've gone to airports out in the middle of nowhere that have crewcars. Hopefully i can fine one nearby there that will have one.

By the way, if i had to go into Charlotte international... you mention a datastrip is the same for all aircraft... does that mean i have to file a flight plan? or can i just takeoff and request flight following to Charlotte?

thanks
 

Flyerjosh

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You have every right as a pilot to fly into a primary class B airport... provided that you can meet some basic guidelines.

Remember that for the most part, the primary airport is the airlines turf. Like it or not, they own the skies into places like LAX, ATL, CLT, IAD, ORD, etc. During a rush/bank period, the airport can get VERY busy... airlines and controllers depend on being able to "move traffic" and keep some sembalance of a schedule.

If you are going to fly into CLT, you should be able to communicate on the radio confidently and easily. One of the biggest pet peeves is the GA private pilot that is tying up a busy approach frequency with "say again" and "um... ahhh... I want to... ah...". Think through what you need to say and be ready to execute instructions.

Second, be able to fly your plane to IFR standards. If you aren't comfortable in an IFR environment (even if you aren't rated) then find an alternate airport. Not only that, be comfortable flying it at higher speeds than normal. You should be able to do 120 in the descent to about a quarter mile final, then slow the plane rapidly and get off the runway. You should also be comfortable with high speed taxiing (30-40 knots) for the rollout to the next taxiway.

Finally be prepared to pay (financially) for flying into a major airport. Expect delays both airborne and on the ground (up to an hour, but most likely around 30 minutes while you wait for your turn to depart or land). Expect exorbitant fees. Landing fees will probably run you $25-75, depending on how long you stay and fuel can be in the $4-5/gallon mark.

Finally, most class B primary FBOs don't offer courtesy cars (in my experience). Instead they offer shuttle service to local restaurants or the official car rental agency of the corporate pilot (Enterprise) has cars available. The reason being is because there is just too much traffic for larger airports to have enough courtesy cars for all of the aircraft that come through.

Here are some of your options for airports in CLT:
Gastonia (AKH) located 11NM west of CLT
Linconton (IPJ) located 19NM northwest of CLT
Rock Hill (UZA) located 14NM southwest of CLT
Concord (JQF) located 15NM northeast of CLT
Wilgrove (8A6) located 14NM east of CLT
Monroe (EQY) located 19NM southeast of CLT

As for filing a flight plan, you don't have to file anything (flight following is fine), but obviously you will have to contact Charlotte Approach to enter the class B and get sequenced to the airport.
 

minitour

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On a related note...anyone know the procedure to get an "arrival slot" into the busier places (ATL specifically, but I know/think ORD uses them too). I've got some business to take care of in the next two weeks right down the road from ATL and it would be a lot better if I could just get in there.

Speed on final isn't a big deal...I'll do whatever I need to do, but I don't want to get 90% there and stuck in a hold because I don't have a "slot".

Info would be great, thanks!

-mini
 

LarryinTN

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Airnav lists the CLT FBO and it has nothing but high praise in the comments section including for a number of people flying small, single-engine airplanes.
 

epic!

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KJQF in concord has courtesy cars. good airport did a lot of my PPL training there
 

Alin10123

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epic! said:
KJQF in concord has courtesy cars. good airport did a lot of my PPL training there

Sweet! Actually KJQF is a lot closer than the Charlotte International. I think i'll go there instead. Do they charge for the courtesy car? If i get fuel there, do they wave the landing fees and stuff? I'm only going to be there a few hours.
 

MAJIC9

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JQF doesn't have a landing fee.. and if you're there just for a few hours, I don't think you'll get charged for parking either.
 

epic!

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Alin10123 said:
Sweet! Actually KJQF is a lot closer than the Charlotte International. I think i'll go there instead. Do they charge for the courtesy car? If i get fuel there, do they wave the landing fees and stuff? I'm only going to be there a few hours.

im not sure if they charge for the car, and like majic9 said they do not have landing fees
 
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