The dreaded call to tower!

christina3hunt

New Member
Ugh! It happened to me today. I don't think I violated any FAR's though. I just started teaching at a new airport and I am still getting used to things. But we have procedures used to get to the practice area depending upon what runway is in use. One is a procedure is where we climb over a gap in a small mountain just south of the airport. It's called the gap procedure. Well it just so happens that the gap procedure is a climb to 3,000. I thought it was a climb to 3,500. I've only flown out of the airport 6 times. But everytime I did the gap procedure I went to 3,500 without anyone saying anything to me. I had no clue!! I didn't intentionally violate the procedure, I just really thought it was a climb to 3,500. There was company traffic following us who had us in sight. They were faster then us so ATC deleted their altitude restriction (3,000) so they could climb up and overtake us. This is when ATC noticed that I was at 3,500 instead of 3,000. He asked me to say altitude and I told him 3,500. He immediately came back with the tower number to call when I got on the ground. At this point I had no clue what I did wrong. The whole flight I was waiting to get back and figure it out. I see where the potential danger existed, but the traffic had me in sight and I didn't really see it to be an issue. The traffic controller has a reputation for being "grumpy". But when I called the tower I spoke to the manager and he was super nice about it.


But, he said unfortunetly that he was going to have to fill out a form and report the incident.

Can I get in trouble for this?? Is it a violation of an FAR?? I filled out a NASA form as soon as I got home.

Seems so silly but I learned my mistake now I will be on my students altitude like crazy getting out of the airspace. I really feel like crap about this.
 

USMC-SSGT

Well-Known Member
unfortunately it is a violation of a FAR and more unfortunately you can get violated for this. You can sometimes stop it at the tower with an appology but if it's reported there is nothing you can do. Write down a thorough detailed report while it's fresh in your memory because the FAA will ask for it anyway. The fsdo will contact you in the near future with instructions. They may or may not press the issue and could sweep it under the rug.

Kudos on the nasa form it may save you from certificate action. IF they violate you it will still show on your PRIA though.

Good luck
 

Baronpilot244

Killick Stoker
Ouch tough break. From the latest posts it appears the controllers are covering their backs as much as anything - you deviated from a procedure and if they get found not to have written you up they get busted too.
You made an honest mistake but you did the right thing by getting that NASA form in - protect those bits of paper (plastic) at all costs.

Hopefully you will get away with a letter and not have to do much more. Do you have AOPA legal insurance. I think its $55 well spent.

BP244
 

Minuteman

“Dongola”
What airport is this GAP procedure at? Is this published or is it just local procedure?
:yeahthat: How are you expected to know what the "gap procedure" is and how is it assigned? Does it comply with terrain clearance requirements for normally-charted procedures?
 

christina3hunt

New Member
I guess a better term would be to call it the gap departure. The gap departure is at KIWA in phoenix, AZ. By published what do you mean? When I got back I learned that there is a packet containing information about these VFR departure procedures. I did not know that this packet of information existed before then. I think it is just a local procedure. For example if I would have asked for a departure to the south then I would have not violated anything, unless he told me to maintain a certain altitude and I did not.
 

ppragman

FLIPY FLAPS!
you think that's bad, look up FAR 93, its filled with all sorts of add things that you can get violated for.
 

Yank&BankmyRJ145

New Member
What airport is this GAP procedure at? Is this published or is it just local procedure?
:yeahthat:
If it is not a published procedure then you should be fine. If you busted airspace by climbing 500' ft then yes they have to write you up and your in trouble. But if there is no published document for pilots to know about the procedure, then how did you do anything wrong. But be nice say your sorry and most times they put the paperwork in a dark room. :rolleyes:
 

christina3hunt

New Member
:yeahthat:
If it is not a published procedure then you should be fine. If you busted airspace by climbing 500' ft then yes they have to write you up and your in trouble. But if there is no published document for pilots to know about the procedure, then how did you do anything wrong. But be nice say your sorry and most times they put the paperwork in a dark room. :rolleyes:

There is a packet of information that I was not aware of that contains information about these departures. I did not know that this existed and I did not know that it was so strict that you HAD to maintain a certain altitude. I just thought it was just climb out the gap and I didn't know there was a certain altitude you were required to maintain. But, now I have the packet of information and I know the rules!!:crazy:
 

TXaviator

Well-Known Member
There is a packet of information that I was not aware of that contains information about these departures. I did not know that this existed and I did not know that it was so strict that you HAD to maintain a certain altitude. I just thought it was just climb out the gap and I didn't know there was a certain altitude you were required to maintain. But, now I have the packet of information and I know the rules!!:crazy:
this "packet"...is it an FAA/NACO PUBLICATION like that would be contained in approach/departure/arrival plates???

is it NOTAM'd that you have to comply with this procedure???

if not, then id HIGHLY contest it as some made-up local procedure that is not made available to all pilots.

example: where i trained, its a very busy class-D and theres a local procedure for departures depending on which way youre going, but if youre transient VFR traffic the controller will generally ask you "are you familiar with local climbout procedure" and if you reply "no" they will just instruct you through it.

now if they wanted to violate me for not following a procedure that was not made available to me, or they did not instruct me to comply with..... i'd be having a few words with people and contacting my legal representative.
 

ChristheCFII

Well-Known Member
The big question is whether or not your school has an LOA with the tower concerning this procedure. If you were assigned 3000' and deviated, then you can get violated. If you agreed to a departure and it isn't formally published or signed onto by your school, then you may be OK.

Good News: A lot of folks at my school (nearby) have worked with the Scottsdale FSDO after pilot (especially student) deviations. So far, no one has been suspended. The folks at the FAA are just looking for a thorough and honest report. Don't admit blame up front. Explain the confusion, explain that a specific altitude was not assigned and most importantly explain the extensive retraining you have received! Just remember that all calls are recorded... be honest.

Who is investigating the incident? Jim Buetell is a good guy to talk to, he is quick and wants to close the investigation asap. A short phone call is usually all he is interested in.

Good Luck,
Chris
 

christina3hunt

New Member
The big question is whether or not your school has an LOA with the tower concerning this procedure. If you were assigned 3000' and deviated, then you can get violated. If you agreed to a departure and it isn't formally published or signed onto by your school, then you may be OK.

Good News: A lot of folks at my school (nearby) have worked with the Scottsdale FSDO after pilot (especially student) deviations. So far, no one has been suspended. The folks at the FAA are just looking for a thorough and honest report. Don't admit blame up front. Explain the confusion, explain that a specific altitude was not assigned and most importantly explain the extensive retraining you have received! Just remember that all calls are recorded... be honest.

Who is investigating the incident? Jim Buetell is a good guy to talk to, he is quick and wants to close the investigation asap. A short phone call is usually all he is interested in.

Good Luck,
Chris

I think they do have an LOA. Not sure though. What you said makes me feel better. Just always makes you nervous when dealing with the FAA, especially with your certificates in the middle.:eek:
 

BobDDuck

Island Bus Driver
The "gap" departure procedure was developed while I was instructing out of Williams. It (unless it has changed, which I doubt) is NOT an official procedure nor is it documented anywhere other than in the Willie Tower.

There are two possibilities here. One, tower assigned you an altitude of 3000 feet and you busted that when you climbed up to 3500. Second, tower didn't realize you were at 3500 and when they climbed the other airplane over you they lost separation. In the second case, you didn't do anything wrong so I wouldn't worry about it.

Willie owns the airspace to 3900 feet with in the class D area. If I recall, the B shelf starts at 5000 feet over the airfield and immediately to the south (where the "gap" is) jumps up to 7000. So you were in no way violating the B airspace and unless you were on a transponder code other than 1200 and VFR wouldn't have violated an ATC instruction related to your IFR flight plan.

I was asked to call the tower their once because when I made my initial call up I was to the east of the airport, right on the finals for the 30s. They just wanted to tell me to not approach in from there in the future and to make it a point to come in over Stellar or the Santans.

It sounds like you are covering your self as well as possible. If you haven't already, give the tower a call some time and ask if you can go up there and take a tour. When I was out there it was a contract tower (not FAA) and they loved having us up there. I always took my students up within a week of them starting. Bring them cookies if you go.
 

N826AW

Snooki's Baby Daddy
I think you'll be fine. You wouldn't be the first to not follow the Gap procedure at KIWA. ;)
 

SpiraMirabilis

Possible Subversive
The gap departure is not an official departure, it is ATC's responsibility to ensure the pilots are familiar with these local departure/arrival proceedures prior to using them "Are you familiar with the gap procedure? - Yes - Cleared to the practice area via the gap procedure." Something like that. However you didnt really help matters by accepting the clearance when you werent in fact familiar with the maneuver.
 

matt152

Well-Known Member
The gap departure is not an official departure, it is ATC's responsibility to ensure the pilots are familiar with these local departure/arrival proceedures prior to using them "Are you familiar with the gap procedure? - Yes - Cleared to the practice area via the gap procedure."
:yeahthat:
At BDL (class C) you can fly directly over runway 1-19 to transition through the class C north/south. The approach controller always asks "are you familiar with the runway 1-19 transition?"
 

christina3hunt

New Member
The problem is no one at my flight school really told me anything about the gap departure, besides you just fly through the gap in the mountains to get to the practice area. I thought we flew there at 3,500 when in fact it is 3,000. So ATC assumed I was at 3,000 and he directed traffic to climb up and overtake me. I didn't know that the gap departure was such a strict procedure.
 

whysoserial

New Member
I don't think they had you call so they can take your certificates away. They probably just wanted to educate you off frequency. The amount of paper work is too immense, especially if it was a non-event.

Generally when people get asked to call our tower, it's for education purposes only.
 

v1valarob

Well-Known Member
:yeahthat:
At BDL (class C) you can fly directly over runway 1-19 to transition through the class C north/south. The approach controller always asks "are you familiar with the runway 1-19 transition?"
Same with Vegas. Its awesome. "Cross approach end of runway XX, fly down the strip, make a left at the stratosphere and then report North LAs Vegas in sight."
 
Top