Practice Area

Big Ed

N50247 - '79 Super D
Joined
Jul 20, 2020
Messages
387
Location
Tampa, FL
I'm planning to get back into IAC competition soon, so looking to identify a practice area for my routine. Requirements are that it must have a linear terrain feature (straight road) for alignment, and be legal. As a reminder, legal means out of Class B and at least 4 miles off the centerline of federal airways.

I would also LIKE to minimize transit time from my home field, but that part is tricky. I am based at KPCM, which is in a pretty dense airspace environment. We are under Tampa Class B and sandwiched in by Lakeland Class D. Lakeland has a VOR with a lot of Victor airways coming off it, which rules out a lot of nearby areas.

See the red circled area below. Anyone see any problems with that location? That is about 10 miles away. If that won't work, I'll have to go 20-25 miles northeast or due east. Any other ideas?

practice.PNG
 

Bob Turner

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 4, 2018
Messages
1,259
Looks ideal to me - watch out for those towers!

Too bad they aren't more enlightened about airway clearance. I would think below the MEA would be ok. I just try to be unobtrusive, without significant vertical maneuvers.
 

Bartman

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Staff member
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Mar 27, 2018
Messages
1,572
Location
New Jersey, USA
between the towers and the warning about MacDill AFB traffic East of the airport, I'd probably go north. It looks like the area right under the CTAF for Tampa North would work, not a huge area clear of airways but enough to go practice I would think. I cheated and used airvector.com to look around the area.
 

Big Ed

N50247 - '79 Super D
Joined
Jul 20, 2020
Messages
387
Location
Tampa, FL
between the towers and the warning about MacDill AFB traffic East of the airport, I'd probably go north. It looks like the area right under the CTAF for Tampa North would work, not a huge area clear of airways but enough to go practice I would think. I cheated and used airvector.com to look around the area.
The Class B floor is too low at Tampa North. Bottom of the airspace is at 3000', not high enough for practice. I like to start my routines at 3500 or higher, and sometimes go up to 5000 or so when learning new maneuvers.

The towers where I plan to practice are only 250 feet tall. I use a 2000 AGL hard deck and try to stay above 2500. There are some big ass 1600' towers about 5 miles to the west, but they are very visible.

I live on the edge of the built up area a few miles to the northwest of the MacDill warning box. Honestly the traffic is overstated. Back during the peak war years around 2005 they used to bring in fighter wings to drop bombs at Avon Park to the east, and it was not uncommon to see loaded A-10's and F-16's transiting the area. However, it has been a long time since that happened, and MacDill is rarely used for that kind of activity. Most of the traffic will be single KC-135's and C-17's setting up for landing practice.

Speaking of which, this was a really funny story. https://www.tampabay.com/news/military/macdill/air-force-blames-pilot-fatigue-for-c-17-landing-4-miles-from-macdill/1272014/

If you look at the map, you can see how this might happen. Both runways are on the end of a peninsula jutting out into the bay. But the difference in runways is ridiculous.

C17.jpg
 

Bob Turner

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 4, 2018
Messages
1,259
My Chief Pilot was teaching ground school years ago - his comment about El Paso was "they have 22 Right and 22 Wrong."

As I understand it, an airliner landed at McDill thinking it was TPA about 30 years ago. Embarrassing.