View Full Version : Likelyhood of VFR Through Tampa Class B?

09-16-2014, 03:04 PM
We have a bunch of time off for the Christmas holiday and we're thinking of taking the Rocket out for a little spin down to Key West. Since I'm coming from California, I'm planning on running the coast along the panhandle, then jumping across the Gulf, going feet dry somewhere north of Tampa. I'd LIKE to run the entire west coast down to Key West, but Tampa is really in the way. I have no problem with Bravo airspace in general, but I know some is more "VFR friendly" than others. PHX for example only rarely lets me pass through. If Tampa is sketchy, I'd rather just plan to go around from the get go.

Any practical guidance/experience would be appreciated.


09-16-2014, 03:08 PM
my experience has been that tampa and orlando both come into play when traversing the area

easiest and best is to just get high and go over it, i've never been cleared through it VFR

09-16-2014, 03:38 PM
VFR transition through Tampa class B is easy, but most always east /west right over the field, usually at between 1600-2600, controllers usually very friendly. Just head to Plant City and ask. It is very scenic.

Also the floor of the class B is 6000 just off the beach. One option is to head to the water while north of tampa, pick 5500 and cruise down the beach. 5500 keeps you above the Sarasota airspace, (up to 4000) just south of the area. 5500 will keep you under Tampa class B and above the airspace at Sarasota, Venice, Ft. Myers, Naples.

Key West is almost due south of Clearwater, but you will go over some water, after Marco Island. What I have done is follow the coast around to near Everglades City, then straight south , this will put you near Marathon, then follow the islands on out.

There is a restaurant within walking distance of Everglades City, and an on field restaurant at Venice, and watch out for the Airstats( balloons), have fun

09-16-2014, 03:45 PM
Hey Michael,
Tampa is usually very good to work with. However you never know which runway they are using at TPA, PIE or MacDill. I usually fly just off the coast and keep it 5500' through the area. That also keeps you above SRQ going South. The 6k' Bravo shelf is right on the coast so that makes it easy.

09-16-2014, 03:58 PM
Once I was handed off to Tampa while receiving flight following fully expecting to have to stay clear but they cleared me thru without me even asking. I took their clearance with a smile....

09-16-2014, 04:12 PM
OK Team, I appreciate the responses. It now looks to me like the following route will work at a more "scenic" altitude:


Lots of over water, but not too far off shore. Planning on at least 185 knots, so the last over water leg is only a few minutes.

09-16-2014, 04:18 PM
Except that puts you out and back in the ADIZ. Kind of a pain. Better to stay inside. Also watch out for the balloon.

09-16-2014, 04:48 PM
OK, so KMTH or VPKOE will work.... Just puts me closer to that balloon (and cable!).

09-16-2014, 05:03 PM
I have done the coastal route through Tampa class B going north and south on a couple occasions in my RV. Last time, the controllers told a 757 to stay low until I was out of the way before continuing his climb out of TPA. Made me feel important. :)

09-16-2014, 05:19 PM
Except that puts you out and back in the ADIZ. Kind of a pain. Better to stay inside. Also watch out for the balloon.

No problem flying in/out of the ADIZ as long as you file a flight plan, mark the DVFR box and put in the appropriate times for entering/exiting the ADIZ in the remarks section. 12" N numbers are not required for when flying through the ADIZ from USA to USA airports. Here's a write-up on filing DVFR from the FAA (https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/ATpubs/FSS/fss0606.html). Also, I'm yet to not be allowed to fly through both Orlando and Tampa Class Bravo airspace :D Rosie

09-16-2014, 05:52 PM
I usually fly the west coast at 1,000'. So much to see if you want to go that way at least once. A few airspace issues to talk to but a great flight. :)
Don't forget the camera and a clean canopy. http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m537/turboeddie/e6305464cb3eeac9df08a4b88527c09b.jpg

Come on up thru the keys on the east coast and stop by STUART and visit me.

09-16-2014, 05:59 PM
As luck would have it, our return plans include a flight along the beach all the way up to Daytona - where we turn left and start working our way back. There's a pretty good chance we'll cross paths. I'll keep you posted as things firm up.

09-17-2014, 12:33 PM
Somewhere North tell Tampa App (125.3 or 118.8) that you want to transition South-bound along the beach to (anywhere South). -- Tampa will give you a TXP code and coordinate with Sarasota on the way down ---- done everyday (except today -- big TFR).

Have fun!


09-17-2014, 01:18 PM
Good to know Ron. However, I'll likely be talking to ATC anyway - When flying as a single ship in a (somewhat) unproven aircraft over unfamiliar country, I welcome the added security that comes with a voice on the other end of the radio. I'll be with them as much as possible.

09-17-2014, 02:56 PM
from naples just fly down the coast to about everglades city then mth then down the chain. stay on the south/east side of us1 and you will stay clear of the blimp. call navy on 124.02 about mth. just watch out for me coming over janka intersection out of 10,000 for 1,600 at 250kts (not in my RV-4 of course) :D

bob burns
RV-4 N82RB

09-17-2014, 03:04 PM
I'll keep an eye out for you Bob... I've been invited to stay at a buddy's airpark (FA51) near Ft. Myers while down there, so I'll likely use that as a base camp of sorts.

...might even see you in the -4

09-17-2014, 05:32 PM
Be careful transitioning the panhandle on the coast. You need to talk to Eglin/Tyndall Rapcon. Call Pensacola App.

09-17-2014, 05:41 PM
Tampa is usually really good to deal with, but if you just go up to 10,500 you can go over if they don't want to let you through. From X35 to south Florida we usually go LAL to get between the two without messing with either.

09-17-2014, 07:09 PM
Tampa is usually really good to deal with, but if you just go up to 10,500 you can go over if they don't want to let you through. From X35 to south Florida we usually go LAL to get between the two without messing with either.
Actually, Jesse's route is the shorter one when flying from north florida.
Staying east of Tampa, west of LAL, direct to Marco, MKY > KEYW is the most direct route. I'd fly this route when departing BKV,(top of the Class B ring).
Along the coast is nice, but longer.

09-17-2014, 07:30 PM
I appreciate the advice from everyone. I've been fine tuning the routing and have uncovered a few problems in the process, but think I'm pretty close now.

As this is a fun/adventure trip, I do want to take the scenic route along the coast. I'm willing to go high when "feet wet" as risk mitigation, but otherwise I'd like to be right down on the beach (1,000 feet). I think I have enough solid waypoints that I can let the autopilot do the bulk of the work while allowing me to easily monitor the ship, talk to ATC, and keep my eyes out.

09-17-2014, 07:51 PM
On more than one occasion, albeit 5 or so years ago, I was worked by a very entertaining controller in TPA approach. For those who've heard him, you'll know who I'm talking about. He was good at his job, but really had a good humored, fun way of doing it.

I've flown the western, shoreline under their class B, and they were good at giving flight following. The eastern route is fine too, but lots of airspace and a couple monster towers to know about. I've been granted clearance through whenever I've asked, but I don't like being vectored far out of my way, so I don't generally ask any more.

09-17-2014, 09:06 PM
I've transitioned TPA class B numerous times and have never been diverted around them.

Mike, Make sure you plan a stop in Venice KVNC to say hi. The Venice RV guys are pretty active and we would be glad to have lunch and maybe provide an escort Southbound :D