What a week! having to take three midterms, practicing for NIFA competition, and having to keep up with flying along with bad weather can be exhausting. So now that midterms are over I want to talk about one of my flights this past week where I got to experience flying into class Bravo airspace. For those of you who are unfamiliar with class Bravo airspace, It is one of the most busiest air spaces that you can fly into and are typically found in large cities and airports (Examples would include New York, Dallas, Los Angeles). Here are also some facts, as well as a diagram of Dallas class Bravo airspace to help sense of how busy class Bravo airspace can get
Facts-Class B airspace extends 30 nautical miles from the airport in every direction, you must get clearance from air traffic control to enter, your aircraft must have a mode C transponder, and two way radio communication, and at the center airspace extends from the surface to 10,000 mean sea level.
As past of my flight training for this semester I had to do a three hour cross country night flight with my instructor and he decided that we would fly from Norman (KOUN) to Addison (KADS ) which is just to the east of Dallas Fort Worth International airport (near marker number 2) and back to Norman. During our first half of the flight it actually took us nearly two hours to make it to Addison since we were battling a strong South headwind. In fact our ground speed was only about 86kts the whole way down so we were almost as slow as the cars that were traveling down Highway 35 which connects Dallas and Oklahoma City.
Once we got close to the Class Bravo airspace, we asked for clearance into the airspace and we were actually denied the first time because of busy they were, so we had to descend down to 2,000 feet and stay outside the airspace. After we finally received clearance into the airspace, we then switched over to regional approach and that’s when things got crazy. In my one year of flying I’ve never heard air traffic control so busy since he was giving direction to multiple commercial airliners, while also trying to monitor our aircraft. Another major difference that I noticed with the flight was how difficult it was to find the airport. I’m sure many of you know that Dallas is a busy city, with thousands of people living in the area, along with multiple buildings. As we got closer to the airport, my instructor and I actually had a hard time finding the airport since there were so many lights and cars moving around. Typically when you fly at night you search for the rotating beacon indicating that it is an airport, but we didn’t see it until we were about six miles North of the airport.
After we did a touch and go we ran into another problem once we got back into the air. Now that we were heading back North we had to stay out of the way of Dallas Love Field arriving aircraft’s since Love field was just a little bit to our south. We even had a Southwest Boeing 737 go right pass us at only 500 feet above us and believe me we felt the wake turbulence from that aircraft. Luckily it didn’t take us tong to get outside the airspace and now that we were flying with the wind, it only took us about an hour to get back to Norman since our ground speed was at around 130 knots.
So flying into class B airspace was definitely a wacky, crazy and awesome experience for, but I definitely experienced just how busy it can get as well as how important it is to listen to air traffic controller because you can’t waist there time since they are monitoring so many other aircraft’s. In addition I also experienced some severe wake turbulence for the first time so I realized just how dangerous and possibly deadly it can be to other aircraft’s.
Well everyone that’s it for this week, I also want to say that next week is going to be a huge weekend for me and the University of Oklahoma as we get ready to compete and host the regional six NIFA competition. I will be posting pictures, results throughout much of next week so please check it out. Personally I will be competing in the message drop and aircraft recognition portion (visit https://nifa.aero/ for more information about any flight events). Also make sure to visit(http://globalair.com/airport/) for some cool information about Addison airport or any other airports across the country. Until next time guys remember “Adventure is out there!”.