Monday, May 27, 2013

First Flight into Class D Airspace (KCHO) with a Control Tower

For the past few months, all of the flying I've done has been out of non-towered airports. That changed today with my first flight into a towered field/into Class D Airspace. Arriving at the airport, I was surprised to find out that I was going to be flying in the Tecnam P92 Eaglet (N16HV) vs. the normal Tecnam P2002 Sierra (N14HV). 

Upon receiving the standard weather briefing, I found out that it was perfect weather for flying. Clear skies with scattered clouds at or above 12,000ft, calm winds, and little to no turbulence. We focused more today on learning how to deal with a control tower vs. making a flight plan... so all of the navigation was done using the GPS. 

We flew directly from Hanover (OFP) directly to Charlottesville Albemarle Airport (CHO). It was a nice, smooth flight at 4,500 feet. We didn't go over too much during the actual flight. It took about 30 minutes to get near Charlottesville. 

10 nautical miles out from Charlottesville, I made a courtesy call into the tower saying "Charlottesville Tower, 1 6 Hotel Victor." Upon hearing confirmation from the tower I made our request; "1 6 Hotel Victor 10 miles to the Southeast, with information Quebec, requesting landings and takeoffs on runway 3." Strangely enough, the tower cleared us to land on runway 3 right away. Being 10 miles out, we were a little confused, so we called in for confirmation. Upon hearing that there was no other traffic inbound, things made more sense. 

Not me, but here is a landing on runway 21 CHO

We flew straight into a right base for runway 3 at CHO. Waiting by the threshold was a Cessna Citation V (560). Charlottesville has the widest runway I've ever flown into (150ft), in addition, it's 6,800 feet in length. I was definitely happy with my first landing in the Tecnam P92. The pilot of the Cessna Citation even came on the radio and said "1 6 Hotel Victor, great landing!" That was awesome to hear from a pilot of a larger jet! 

At the gates stood a US Airways CRJ-200 and a Bombardier Dash-8. I was completely excited to be flying into airports with commercial planes finally! 

One really cool thing about flying into a towered field is that all of the instructions are given to you. Once you hear instructions, you just follow them until the next set... so that reduces workload by a fair amount. We flew a total of 3 landings and 3 takeoffs at CHO before our return home. On our last takeoff, we skipped ahead of the CRJ-200, who was still waiting for takeoff clearance. So cool to be taxiing right up next to a larger jet! 

Overall, everything went well today. The landings varied from ok to great. It'll take some getting used to control towers, that will come with practice. Can't wait for my next lesson, maybe we will fly into an even larger airport, like Richmond KRIC.

Thanks for reading!
Swayne Martin

Twitter: @MartinsAviation
Youtube: MartinsAviation1


  1. Thanks to you for sharing all of this experience with us! Trust me, you are a lider, a very young lider that inspire others! Keep fliying, best wishes from Valencia, Venezuela

    1. Thanks so much! I really appreciate it!

      First comment from Venezuela, so cool!

      -Swayne Martin

  2. Awesome Swayne! Soon talking to the controls will be old school! :) Keep up the great work. Maybe you can make your long cross country to Seattle.

    1. Thanks Karlene! Amazing how advanced things have been becoming!

      Now that would be one AWESOME first cross country flight, I'd love to pay a visit. Seattle is in my top 5 favorite cities!

      Thanks again,

  3. Very good blog post I love your site keep up the great posts.

  4. The theme of your blog is very beautiful and the article is written very well, I will continue to focus on your blog.


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Many Thanks, Happy Flying,
Swayne Martin