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Guest UK_Apollo

How would you approach it?

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Can anyone please give me some advise on the correct procedures for landing at an airport after a VFR flight?Specifically, I'm flying the stock FS2004 "Alaskan Float Plane Pilot" adventures, VFR in a Cessna Caravan, taking-off and landing at Merrill Field, Anchorage, Alaska.I'm vaguely aware of the existance of approach charts and have done some VOR/DME and ILS landings in the past, so not quite a total noob, but I'm a little confused on when to use what.Merrill Field is sandwiched tightly between Elmendorf Military Airbase to the north and Anchorage Ted Stevens International to the south. So I'm guessing you shouldn't just get close to the airport, call up ATC and ask for permission to land, then join the traffic pattern willy-nilly, over-flying the other airports at any old altitude (which is what I've been doing!).The NACO internet site has some approach charts for Merrill Field:http://www.naco.faa.gov/digital_tpp_search...Complete+Search...but which one to use after a VFR flight? Let's assume the weather is fine and we have good visibility of the airport so VFR flight rules are in effect.How would you do it?! Any advice or thoughts welcome.Apollo

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Anchorage is a controlled class C airspace. Even if you are flying VFR you are going to be required to have a working transponder and be in contact with ATC.You will notice that the arrival plates all mention that at least 30 miles from the Anchorage VOR, ATC will provide vectors to final.In a crowded airspace like that - specific routes and patterns are setup by ATC with each tower having it's own area, own routes in and out.A useful site is - http://www.alaska.faa.gov/ata/Local%20Info/classc.htm

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Thank-you very much for taking the time to reply. I appreciate it.While exploring the glaciers and dropping the kayakers at the wrong lake, I had asked ATC for "flight following" - don't know if this was the right thing to do, but it was an option on the ATC screen so I took it. They kept radar contact with me, and asked me to tune Anchorage approach when I returned to the Class C airspace (I guess). Which I duly did. I also had the transponder tuned to the squawk codes they gave me.So then I tune in Merrill Field and ask for a full stop landing. They say "sure come on in, left traffic pattern, runway 6L" or something like that, BUT they didn't give me vectors on how to get there. Should I somehow ask for vectors, or use an approach plate (which one?) or is expecting that much detail from FS2004's ATC unreasonable?Cheers,Apollo

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Having vectors when not on an IFR flight plan is not something which FS does. It would be too confusing for new people.I can only relate the Anchorage airspace to the Dallas airspace - but VFR pilots work very hard to keep out of the Class B wedding cake.They watch their altitudes and locations.I've also heard aircraft ordered to change course out of the airspace, or refused takeoff permission when their transponders were not working correctly.There is a tremendous amount of 'always ask questions' information in complex air spaces which is not available in FS. But a basic rule for pilots not familiar with the airspace is to stay outside the area until they can line up with their destination airport and come straight in.The main runways in Anchorage are aligned roughley parallel. They will operate on the same runways in the real world - coordinating runway changes. That does not happen in FS.The GPS A approach for Merrill from IAF of YOHOE to a FAF at RICKR is obviously set up to avoid other airport traffic. It swings wide to keep you out of PANC traffic, but does require a final course correction to line up with the runway right before landing, or a 180 if landing on 25 or 24 - I forget if FS has updated the airport runway designation.The GPS A is the only approach plate for Merrill - http://204.108.4.16/d-tpp/0705/01522GA.PDFThe STARS just get you within 30 nm of the airport.

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As Reggie says, real world VFR procedure for Class C is contact approach aprox. 30 miles out with location, altitude, intentions, and the "numbers". ATC will provide a squawk and vector you to the airport, have you contact tower for final landing clearance, etc.As a VFR pilot you are responsible to have a sectional and should have an airport layout along with enough information to know what to expect from the controller.It is their airspace after all and you are required to follow their instructions just as the IFR guys are:-)

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Hi,Interesting thread! I tend to do the same as you as regards coming to an airport, but one way round just blundering about is to go IFR about 40/70 miles from your destination as then ATC will give you your approaches and height. Of course you may well be asked to climb to 30,000 ft and turn away from the airport for a 300 mile approach, but sometimes it'll work!Andy.

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You guys are great, thanks again for helping!So, within the constraints of FS, is this what I should do? ......enjoy my VFR exploration of the wilds, well away from controlled Class C airspace...on return, and before entering the Class C, contact the controlling ATC and ask for transition through airspace (because I can't tell them I want to land at Merrill?)...use the GPS-A approach plate downloaded from the Internet to vector myself to Merrill Field (because the sim ATC won't be giving me vectors)...on getting close to Merrill (when?) contact the tower ATC for permission to land and follow their traffic pattern instructions.or alternatively, as lemonadedrinker suggests, go IFR to complete the flight.Does that sound right?!Apollo

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