CAT-09 Flight: Class B Flyways



Conduct a flight from Burbank Airport (KBUR) to Fullerton Airport (KFUL) utilizing Flyways under the Los Angeles Class B Airspace.

Learning objectives

  • Review radio communications when operating at Class D and C airports.
  • Review basic VFR navigation skills.
  • Learn about Class B Airspace
  • Learn how to fly on Flyways

Flying the Rating

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

  • Fly from KBUR to KFUL while overflying KEMT and without entering Class B Airspace.
  • Inform ATC on initial contact into KBUR that you are performing the CAT-9 Rating.
  • Request flight following for the flight (you can make the request on the ground or after departure).
  • Meet the CAT Ratings Practical Test Standards

Airspace Review

KBUR is in Class C airspace. KFUL, the destination is Class D. While enroute, our goal is to fly underneath the LAX Class B airspace.

Class B Airspace

Class B Airspace is the most restrictive type of airspace that VFR aircraft have access to. It is located around the busiest airports in the country.

The dimensions of Class B airspace vary wildly from airport to airport, moreso than Class C and Class D airspace, but as a general rule it will extend around 30NM from the airport (however in some cases this is as few as 10NM and up to 40NM). Class B airspace normally extends vertically to around 10000’ MSL (however once again there is a large variance airport to airport). The overall view of Class B airspace can be described as an “upside-down wedding cake,” one of the more delicious metaphors in aviation.

On VFR charts Class B airspace is depicted as a sold blue line and altitudes are depicted in hundreds of feet MSL using the format (ceiling)/(floor).

To operate in Class B airspace you must have a working mode C transponder AND obtain an ATC clearance prior to entry. This clearance requirement is different from the traditional “two way radio communication” requirement. In order to operate in Class B airspace you must specifically be told “Cleared to enter the Los Angeles Bravo Airspace”, simply talking to ATC is not enough.

In addition a “mode C veil” exists around Class B airports. Specifically all aircraft operating within 30 NM of the primary Class B airport must have and use a mode C transponder. Note this requirement is separate from the requirement to have a transponder in Class B airspace. This means if you are in Class B airspace, but beyond 30 NM from the Class B airport you still need a mode C transponder. The Mode C veil is depicted on VFR charts by a thin magenta ring.

VFR Flyways

Due to the complexity of Class B airspace there are several ways to operate in and around it.

One of them is the Flyway. A flyway is a general route that avoids class B airspace by either going around it or under it. Flyways are depicted on the back side of VFR terminal area charts. Each flyway will also have an altitude range to maintain. These are generic and will generally tell you to stay above or below a specific altitude.

A VFR flyway does not enter Class B airspace and therefore does not require an ATC clearance or any ATC interaction at all to fly.

Also around Class B airspace to help with navigation are VFR waypoints. These points are easily identifiable visual landmarks which can be used to navigate or as reporting points to ATC. These points are also given a five letter identifier (starting with VP) that can be inputted into a GPS to help with navigation.

You can navigate along a VFR flyway using several methods. Note that depending on your simulator not all of these methods may be available to you.

First you can navigate using visual reference points along the flyway. For example when you are over the Disneyland, you can navigate along the flyway to the Queen Mary by overflying the SLI airport.

Second you can navigate by inputting VFR waypoints into your GPS. For example to overfly Disneyland you should input VPLDL into your GPS. VFR waypoint fixes are listed on the VFR flyway chart.

Finally you can navigate using approximate headings and VOR radials that define the boundaries of the Class B airspace you are avoiding. For example after heading southbound from KEMT you know that once you are south of the PDZ 252 Radial the floor of Class B airspace goes up to 6000’.

Communications Review

When departing with the intent to fly a flyway there is no need to specifically refer to the flyway when requesting departure. Simply stating the direction of departure is appropriate. If you are flying a route that will have several turns that may not be expected you should advise ATC of your exact routing. For example for this flight you may want to state that you are “Flying to Fullerton via El Monte.”

VFR waypoints can be reported to ATC as part of a position report. For example “SOCAL Approach, Cessna 123AB, over the Rose Bowl at 3500, request full stop at Fullerton.”


N123AB: “Burbank Clearance Delivery, Cessna 123AB, Cessna 172 slant golf, request traffic advisories, destination Fullerton via El Monte, cruise altitude 3500, information alpha”

Burbank Clearance Delivery: “Cessna 123AB, Burbank Clearance Delivery, departure frequency 134.20, squawk 7110.”

N123AB: “Departure frequency 134.20, squawk 7110. Cessna 123AB”

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

Burbank Ground: “Cessna 123AB, Burbank Ground, runway 15 taxi via bravo.”

N123AB: “Runway 15 taxi via bravo”

When ready for departure:

N123AB: “Burbank Tower, Cessna 123AB, holding short runway 15.”

Burbank Tower: “Cessna 123AB, Burbank Tower, left crosswind departure approved, runway 15, cleared for takeoff.”

N123AB: “Cleared for takeoff Runway 15 left crosswind departure, Cessna 123AB.”

Once clear of the airspace you can resume your own navigation along the flyway and climb to your planned cruise altitude. Make sure to avoid all Class B, C, and D airspace.

Burbank Tower: “Cessna 123AB, Radar contact, contact SOCAL Departure.”

N123AB: “Contact SOCAL Departure, Cessna 123AB.”

Switch to SOCAL Departure on 134.20.

N123AB: “SOCAL Approach, Cessna 123AB, 2000 climbing 3500.”

SOCAL Approach: “Cessna 123AB, SOCAL Approach, Burbank altimeter 29.90”

N123AB: “Altimeter 29.90, Cessna 123AB.”

SOCAL Approach: “Cessna 123AB, contact SOCAL Approach 135.40.”

N123AB: “Contact 135.40.”

N123AB: “SOCAL Approach, Cessna 123AB, level 3500.”

SOCAL Approach: “Cessna 123AB, SOCAL Approach, Ontario Altimeter 29.91”

N123AB: “Altimeter 29.91”

SOCAL Approach: “Cessna 123AB, contact Fulerton Tower 119.10.”

N123AB: “Contact tower 119.10, Cessna 123AB.”

N123AB: “Fullerton Tower, Cessna 123AB, 10 miles north, full stop landing with Bravo”

Fullerton Tower: “Cessna 123AB, Fulerton Tower, enter right base runway 24, report 2 mile right base.”

N123AB: “Report 2 mile right base runway 24, Cessna 123AB.”

When on 2 mile right base:

N123AB: “2 mile right base Cessna 123AB”

Fullerton Tower: “Cessna 123AB, runway 24 cleared to land.”

N123AB: “Cleared to land, runway 24, Cessna 123AB.”

When clear of the runway.

Fullerton Tower: “Cessna 123AB, contact ground 121.80.”

N123AB: “Contact ground, Cessna 123AB.”

After switching to ground frequency.

N123AB: “Fullerton Ground, Cessna 123AB, Clear of Runway 24 at bravo 3, taxi to transient parking.”

Fullerton Ground: “Cessna 123AB, Fullerton Ground, taxi to parking via bravo.”

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

Related Material

Non-towered Airport Operations (External)

ASF presentation on non-towered operations, covering closed traffic, departures, arrivals and radio calls. Highly recommended.

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.