CAT-06 Flight: Class D to Class D with Flight Following From the Start



Conduct a flight from Bakersfield Meadows Field (KBFL) to Mojave Airport (KMHV) and obtain VFR Traffic Advisories prior to departure.

Learning objectives

  • Review radio communications when operating at Class D airports.
  • Review basic VFR navigation skills.
  • Learn how to obtain VFR Traffic Advisory Services prior to departure.
  • Introduce Special Use Airspace.

Flying the Rating

To successfully complete this rating you must accomplish the following tasks:

  • Fly from KBFL to KMHV.
  • Prior to departure pick up traffic advisories to KMHV.
  • Inform ATC on initial contact at KBFL that you are performing the CAT-6 Rating.
  • Meet the CAT Ratings Practical Test Standards

Airspace Review

Both KBFL and KMHV are located in Class D airspace. Prior to operating in Class D airspace you must obtain two way radio communication with the control tower. This is done by calling the control tower and having the tower reply to you with your callsign.

During this flight you will encounter a couple varieties of Special Use Airspace (SUA)

SUA is airspace where specific activities are conducted that need to be contained due to their nature. Normally these activities are military in nature.

Military Operating Areas

The first type of SUA you will encounter during this flight is a Military Operating Area (MOA).

MOAs are used for military training operations. Specifically, air combat tactics, air intercepts, aerobatics, formation training, and low-altitude tactics. MOAs are not always used and can be either active (sometimes referred to as hot), or inactive (cold).

There are no restrictions on VFR flight through a MOA, however it is highly recommended to either avoid active MOAs or obtain advisories when transiting the MOA.

MOAs are depicted on VFR charts in a magenta hashed line and are named.

We will be flying within Bakersfield MOA and then the Isabella MOA, More information on MOAs to include altitudes, active times, and controlling agency (ATC facility which can provide information about the MOA) are available on the side bar of VFR charts.

For our flight the Bakersfield MOA starts at 2000’ AGL and ends at 18,000’ MSL (which is the normal ceiling of MOAs). It is only active when a Notice to Airman (NOTAM) is issued.

The Isabella MOA starts at 200’ AGL and ends at 18,000’ MSL. It is active on weekdays from 6 AM to 10 PM Local. The Mohave airport is located within this MOA so there is no way around it for us.

Restricted Airspace

Also near our route of flight is restricted airspace. Restricted airspace is airspace where military activities are conducted which are dangerous to non-participating aircraft, including weapons firing.

VFR aircraft are not allowed to enter active restricted airspace without ATC clearance. There are no restrictions on transiting inactive restricted airspace.

Restricted airspace is depicted on VFR charts in a blue hashed line and are numbered with a number starting after an R.

Just east of the Mohave airport is R-2515. R-2515 exists from the surface to unlimited and is always active. Fortunately for our flight we do not need to transit the airspace.

Other Special Use Airspace

There are several other types of special use airspace that we won’t encounter in this flight but should be familiar with.

Prohibited airspace exists around specific locations which need to be protected for national security reasons. Prohibited airspace is depicted in a blue hashed line (similar to restricted airspace) and are numbered with a number starting after a P. Aircraft cannot enter prohibited airspace.

Alert areas exist around locations with a high volume of training traffic. Alert areas are different from MOAs as there are no abnormal operations within an alert area. Alert areas are depicted in a magenta hashed line (similar to a MOA) and are numbered with a number starting after an A. There are no restrictions on operating within an alert area.

Warning areas exist offshore around locations where hazardous activities are conducted. Warning areas are different from restricted airspace in that they are located in airspace where the FAA cannot regulate the operation of aircraft. Warning areas are depicted in a blue hashed line (similar to restricted airspace) and are numbered with a number starting after a W. There are no restrictions on operating within a warning area.

Controlled Firing Areas are locations where ground based weapons testing is done. During these operations a spotter is present to look for aircraft and operations are not conducted when aircraft are present. Controlled Firing Areas are not depicted on VFR charts. We pray, then, that the spotters are really, REALLY good.

National Security Areas are locations where there is a requirement for increased security and safety of ground facilities. National Security Areas are depicted with a thick dashed magenta line on VFR charts (note that most are very small and end up looking like a magenta blob). Pilot’s are requested to avoid overflying National Security Areas but there are no actual restrictions.

Communications Review

VFR Traffic Advisories (commonly known as flight following) is a radar service that is provided by Air Traffic Control facilities for VFR aircraft. Flight Following provides VFR aircraft with radar traffic information.

Requesting Flight Following

Flight following can be requested on the ground at a towered airport prior to departure or after takeoff. For this flight we will pick up flight prior to departure.

Flight following can be requested from the ground at certain airports. Generally larger airports are equipped to provide flight following services for departing aircraft. At smaller airports you may or may not be able to request flight following prior to departure. There is no way to know ahead of time is this service is available. If you desire flight following, request it prior to departure (as explained below) and the controller will advise if they are unable to provide it. In this case you can still pick up flight following after departure.

At airports with a clearance delivery frequency you will generally request flight following on the clearance delivery frequency. In your request include your destination, type aircraft, and intended cruise altitude. You should also include the ATIS code.

For Example:

“John Wayne Clearance, Cessna 123AB, Cessna 172 slant golf, request traffic advisories, destination Ontario, cruise altitude 3500, information bravo”

Clearance delivery will reply with a departure frequency, squawk code, and in certain cases departure instructions.

“Cessna 123AB, John Wayne Clearance, on departure fly heading 330, maintain VFR at or below 2400, departure frequency 127.200, squawk 7110.”

Read back these instructions, and then contact ground when ready to taxi.

At airports without a clearance delivery frequency this call should be done on the ground frequency. You can either combine this request with your taxi request or request flight following prior to taxi.

In either case you will get a departure frequency, squawk code, and possibly departure instructions.


N123AB: “Bakersfield Ground, Cessna 123AB, Cessna 172 slant golf, request traffic advisories, destination Mohave, cruise altitude 7500, information bravo”

Bakersfield Ground: “Cessna 123AB, Bakersfield Ground, departure frequency 118.80, squawk 7110.”

N123AB: “Departure frequency 118.80, squawk 7110.”

Bakersfield Ground: “Cessna 123AB, readback correct.”

When ready for taxi

N123AB: “Bakersfield Ground Cessna 123AB, transient parking, ready to taxi.”

Bakersfield Ground: “Cessna 123AB, runway 30 right taxi via alpha, bravo.”

N123AB: “Runway 30 right taxi via alpha, bravo”

When ready for departure:

N123AB: “Bakersfield Tower, Cessna 123AB, holding short runway 30 right.”

Bakersfield Tower: “Cessna 123AB, Bakersfield Tower, make right downwind departure, runway 30 right, cleared for takeoff.”

N123AB: “Cleared for takeoff runway 30 Right, right downwind departure.”

Bakersfield Tower: “Cessna 123AB, contact departure.”

N123AB: “Contact departure, 123AB”.

Switch to Bakersfield Departure on 118.80.

N123AB: “Bakersfield Departure, Cessna 123AB, 2000 climbing 7500.”

Bakersfield Departure: “Cessna 123AB, Bakersfield Departure, radar contact, Bakersfield altimeter 29.90”

N123AB: “Altimeter 29.90, Cessna 123AB.”

Bakersfield Departure: “Cessna 123AB, contact Joshua Approach 126.10.”

N123AB: “Contact 126.10.”

Switch to 126.10. By this time you should have the ATIS for Mohave airport.

N123AB: “Joshua Approach, Cessna 123AB, level 7500 with Papa.”

Joshua Approach: “Cessna N123AB, Joshua Approach, Mohave altimeter 29.91.”

N123AB: “29.91, Cessna 123AB.”

Joshua Approach: “Cessna 123AB, traffic 11 o’clock 6 miles west bound altitude indicates 6500, type unknown.”

N123AB: “Traffic in sight, Cessna 123AB.”

When 10NM From KMHV expect approach to hand you off to tower.

Joshua Approach: “Cessna 123AB, contact Mohave Tower 127.60.”

N123AB: “Contact tower 127.60, Cessna 123AB.”

N123AB: “Mohave Tower, Cessna 123AB, 10 miles west, landing with Papa.”

Mohave Tower: “Cessna 123AB, Bakersfield Tower, enter right crosswind runway 30, report midfield downwind.”

N123AB: “Enter right crosswind runway 30 and report midfield, Cessna 123AB.”

When on midfield right downwind:

N123AB: “Midfield downwind, Cessna 123AB”

Mohave Tower: “Cessna 123AB, runway 30, cleared to land.”

N123AB: “Cleared to land, runway 30, Cessna 123AB.”

When clear of the runway.

Mohave Tower: “Cessna 123AB, contact ground 123.9.”

N123AB: “Contact ground, Cessna 123AB.”

After switching to ground frequency.

N123AB: “Mohave Ground, Cessna 123AB, clear of runway 30 at charlie, taxi to transient parking.”

Mohave Ground: “Cessna 123AB, Mohave Ground, taxi to parking via charlie.”

N123AB: “Taxi to parking via charlie, Cessna 123AB.”

Related Material

Airport Traffic Patterns (Wikipedia)

How to Fly a Traffic Pattern

Web site containing scrollable, zoomable VFR and IFR charts

VFR Cruising Altitudes

Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge – Navigation

FAA publication on basic and advanced VFR navigation skills.

VFR Flight Planning and Navigation Workshop

Youtube recording of a live workshop conducted by PilotEdge covering VFR flight planning and navigation methods.