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StanfieldVOR
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Control tower in uncontrolled airspace

Mon Jun 28, 2021 7:05 am

HI! I attended a flight school for PPL 12 years ago and one of my instructors grilled me on some questions and told me not to guess. one of his questions was; can an uncontrolled airspace have an airport with a control tower ? I immediately thought of the special events where a temporary tower is setup (fly-ins, airshows ) and answered" Sure they can" He didn't seem happy with my answer and said how could that be? My response was "they have a lot going on temporarily". He went to the next question and I never found out if i got that correct. Was my answer right? Silly things like this linger in my mind, thanks for the reply
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Control tower in uncontrolled airspace

Mon Jun 28, 2021 2:46 pm

As I see it, there are at least two ways to answer this.
- A control tower can exist and not be operational during certain hours, for example at night. Hence uncontrolled but a control tower exists.
- If a temporary tower is operational, you'd get a NOTAM making the relevant airspace controlled. Hence you would not have uncontrolled airspace while the control tower was operational.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Control tower in uncontrolled airspace

Mon Jun 28, 2021 3:46 pm

I’d agree with that, any control tower will have, at least Class D airspace established when it is operating.
 
IAHFLYR
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Re: Control tower in uncontrolled airspace

Mon Jun 28, 2021 4:02 pm

Your answer was correct. Hope you got better flight instruction than you got answers! :wideeyed: :smile:

With a temporary tower again you were correct, advertise it via a NOTAM though it will still remain as an "Operational Control Tower in Class G Airspace".

Having worked in a TRACON when Sugar Land Regional Airport (KSGR) told us they were opening a tower it created a huge amount of questions regarding establishing a surface area of Class D airspace and how long until it could be changed and charted as such. Well, must go through the rule making process and the FAA wouldn't even think about starting that until the tower was operational. The proposal was to establish Class D when the tower was open then revert to Class E when the tower was closed. In order to establish Class E they had to have weather reporting which they didn't have at that time when the tower was closed, so the airspace would have to revert back to Class G.

IIRC, that took almost a year to get the rule making signed off and then a few more months after to chart as Class D, so KSGR Tower was in fact operating in Class G airspace which as up to/not including 700' AGL, then Class E above until the floor of Class B until it was officially charted on the Houston Terminal Area Chart and Houston Sectional Chart.

Here is a link to the Fed. Reg., regarding such proposal. Hope this helps answer your question and make sure to let your instructor know. :rotfl:

https://www.federalregister.gov/documen ... nd%2C%20TX.
Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
 
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Florianopolis
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Re: Control tower in uncontrolled airspace

Mon Jun 28, 2021 4:29 pm

I believe Leesburg, Virginia (JYO) is currently a towered field in Class G.

There's probably a NOTAM describing how it operates, otherwise §91.126 applies:
§91.126 Operating on or in the vicinity of an airport in Class G airspace.
(d) Communications with control towers. Unless otherwise authorized or required by ATC, no person may operate an aircraft to, from, through, or on an airport having an operational control tower unless two-way radio communications are maintained between that aircraft and the control tower. Communications must be established prior to 4 nautical miles from the airport, up to and including 2,500 feet AGL.


Here's a fun follow up for your instructor: When do you need to call ATC to transition through Class G airspace?
 
Woodreau
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Re: Control tower in uncontrolled airspace

Mon Jun 28, 2021 4:55 pm

Fort Worth Spinks used to be a towered field but did not have corresponding class D airspace with it. It was a class G tower

But a few years ago it finally got the class D airspace designation.
Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
 
N1120A
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Re: Control tower in uncontrolled airspace

Mon Jun 28, 2021 7:28 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
I’d agree with that, any control tower will have, at least Class D airspace established when it is operating.


That actually isn't always true.
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
 
DiamondFlyer
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Re: Control tower in uncontrolled airspace

Mon Jun 28, 2021 7:50 pm

Woodreau wrote:
Fort Worth Spinks used to be a towered field but did not have corresponding class D airspace with it. It was a class G tower

But a few years ago it finally got the class D airspace designation.


Lake City Florida was like this for a while as well, but they then also finally got class D airspace.
From my cold, dead hands
 
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rjsampson
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Re: Control tower in uncontrolled airspace

Mon Jun 28, 2021 9:41 pm

Since we're on the topic of uncrontrolled airspace, towered/non-towered, etc.

I figured we could all use a refresher on best Traffic Pattern practices at non-towered fields. In advance: You're welcome.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMK6GRrMCdI

Enjoy.
"..your eyes will be forever turned skyward, for there.." yeah we know the DaVinci quote. Unfortunately, we're grounded :(
 
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StanfieldVOR
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Re: Control tower in uncontrolled airspace

Mon Jun 28, 2021 10:07 pm

Thanks for the reply. This was a Substitute instructor who lost his marbles on me during the flight (Figured he had some rough students prior to me ) and afterwards when he was rattling off the questions was super friendly. Didn’t really feel like talking to him anymore after we were done Or I would have checked what the answer was. Thank you!
I have been a lurker on here since late 90’s And just signed up. Appreciate all you guys
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Control tower in uncontrolled airspace

Mon Jun 28, 2021 10:20 pm

Florianopolis wrote:
I believe Leesburg, Virginia (JYO) is currently a towered field in Class G.

There's probably a NOTAM describing how it operates, otherwise §91.126 applies:
§91.126 Operating on or in the vicinity of an airport in Class G airspace.
(d) Communications with control towers. Unless otherwise authorized or required by ATC, no person may operate an aircraft to, from, through, or on an airport having an operational control tower unless two-way radio communications are maintained between that aircraft and the control tower. Communications must be established prior to 4 nautical miles from the airport, up to and including 2,500 feet AGL.


Here's a fun follow up for your instructor: When do you need to call ATC to transition through Class G airspace?


With an ILS, I’d bet Leesburg, under the DC SPRZ, is Class E minimally to cover the instrument procedures. See AIM on Class E.

Interesting, that Class D is not always specified for a tower, but that might be more bureaucratic than operational as all the examples eventually became Class D
 
atcdan
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Re: Control tower in uncontrolled airspace

Tue Jun 29, 2021 4:58 am

JYO was uncontrolled until a few years ago and is operated as a remote tower.

The airport wanted a control tower and the FAA did not want to pay or even share in the construction costs so they implemented a system built by Saab I believe to have the ATCs sit in a nearby office building and control from there. First of its kind in the US.

https://www.bizjournals.com/washington/ ... st-in.html
LAX ATC

All posts are my own opinions and do not represent my employer or any government entity in any way.
 
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zeke
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Re: Control tower in uncontrolled airspace

Tue Jun 29, 2021 9:59 am

StanfieldVOR wrote:
Thanks for the reply. This was a Substitute instructor who lost his marbles on me during the flight (Figured he had some rough students prior to me ) and afterwards when he was rattling off the questions was super friendly. Didn’t really feel like talking to him anymore after we were done Or I would have checked what the answer was. Thank you!
I have been a lurker on here since late 90’s And just signed up. Appreciate all you guys


I actually like question he gave you, it is thought provoking, and even years later you still remember this. Questions that enable a student to articulate the depth of their knowledge, and then later go home and research the topic further to expand their knowledge are gold standard in my book.

Aviation has many things which are black and white, there are always these little exceptions to the rules.
“Don't be a show-off. Never be too proud to turn back. There are old pilots and bold pilots, but no old, bold pilots.” E. Hamilton Lee, 1949
 
N1120A
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Re: Control tower in uncontrolled airspace

Tue Jun 29, 2021 10:04 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Florianopolis wrote:
I believe Leesburg, Virginia (JYO) is currently a towered field in Class G.

There's probably a NOTAM describing how it operates, otherwise §91.126 applies:
§91.126 Operating on or in the vicinity of an airport in Class G airspace.
(d) Communications with control towers. Unless otherwise authorized or required by ATC, no person may operate an aircraft to, from, through, or on an airport having an operational control tower unless two-way radio communications are maintained between that aircraft and the control tower. Communications must be established prior to 4 nautical miles from the airport, up to and including 2,500 feet AGL.


Here's a fun follow up for your instructor: When do you need to call ATC to transition through Class G airspace?


With an ILS, I’d bet Leesburg, under the DC SPRZ, is Class E minimally to cover the instrument procedures. See AIM on Class E.

Interesting, that Class D is not always specified for a tower, but that might be more bureaucratic than operational as all the examples eventually became Class D


JYO is in the SFRA and in the Class B Mode C veil, so you have to talk to ATC and have ADS-B out and Mode C (among other things), but the airspace appears to by Class G SFC-007 (magenta shaded circle).
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Control tower in uncontrolled airspace

Tue Jun 29, 2021 10:24 pm

On my Washington Sectional and Terminal, looks like Class E to the Surface.
 
SoCalPilot
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Re: Control tower in uncontrolled airspace

Wed Jun 30, 2021 8:23 pm

By looking at your username I'm guessing that you trained at one of the Phoenix area schools. If so, the reason your instructor asked this question is because there was probably a good chance of this being asked on your checkride, as there's an example of this type of airport pretty close to you: Picacho ARNG (PCA). It's a towered military heliport in class G airspace and you're required to contact them within 4NM and 2,500', just like you use to have to do at Lake City in Florida.

As far as JYO, after looking at the sectional, looks like it's indeed in Class G airspace. Fort Collins (FNL) is an example of a towered airport in Class E airspace.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Control tower in uncontrolled airspace

Wed Jun 30, 2021 8:55 pm

Would the Federal Register convince you all it’s in Class E? It’s 8 years now, so what sectionals are you using?

https://www.federalregister.gov/documen ... eesburg-va
 
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StanfieldVOR
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Re: Control tower in uncontrolled airspace

Wed Jun 30, 2021 10:03 pm

SoCalPilot wrote:
By looking at your username I'm guessing that you trained at one of the Phoenix area schools. If so, the reason your instructor asked this question is because there was probably a good chance of this being asked on your checkride, as there's an example of this type of airport pretty close to you: Picacho ARNG (PCA). It's a towered military heliport in class G airspace and you're required to contact them within 4NM and 2,500', just like you use to have to do at Lake City in Florida.

As far as JYO, after looking at the sectional, looks like it's indeed in Class G airspace. Fort Collins (FNL) is an example of a towered airport in Class E airspace.



Yes, trained at Chandler Air located at chandler airport. thanks for that info i will look it up. Never got to finish the program (ran out of funds)
 
SoCalPilot
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Re: Control tower in uncontrolled airspace

Wed Jun 30, 2021 10:47 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Would the Federal Register convince you all it’s in Class E? It’s 8 years now, so what sectionals are you using?

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2014/01/03/2013-31062/establishment-of-class-e-airspace-leesburg-va

Yeah ill concede that it was Class E for a short time until that decision was overturned a few months later:

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2014/02/21/2014-03546/revocation-of-class-e-airspace-leesburg-va

Look at any sectional online - Skyvector, VFRMap, Foreflight, whatever - and you'll have your answer. There are no markings to indicate class E at the surface. There's markings to indicate Class E at 700', but no dashed magenta lines to be found.

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