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From Flight Operations and Safety


Jim Higgins, Director of Flight Operations & Safety WVFC


Get Ready….’cause here it comes!


Ok, who else is playing that soundtrack in their head—millennial's need not apply.  


In case you’ve been under a rock for the last couple of months, the SFO class BRAVO is changing.  Everybody thinks it’s a bad thing, but I’m here to sing a different tune (ok, no more songs).  Seriously, the Bravo change has just improved the ease of operations for general aviation on the Peninsula and over San Francisco.  


Now I’m sure that everyone can find something they don’t like about the new Class B layout—it certainly has a few minor bugs in my opinion.  And the transition is sure to be rough.  Charts, GPS’s, MFD’s and grumpy old CFI minds need to be updated.  And I’m sure that some pilots will forget about the change and get that dreaded phrase, "I have a phone number for you to copy.”  Perhaps the hardest thing will be to forget about Stanford Stadium defining the corner of the 2500 shelf.  


But the majority of changes will really help our pilots, especially at San Carlos.  One of the most common Bravo busts historically has been the right downwind departure off SQL Rwy 30.  Even a flight line trainer C172 really had to worry about exceeding 1500’ on downwind.  Now the entire pattern is covered by a 2300’ shelf.  Even for those of you flying the 747 patterns (and you know who you are), the 1500’ shelf doesn’t begin until almost 1 1/2 miles from the runway.  That’s more than halfway to the shoreline!  


So, take the time to learn the new airspace or even better, schedule a lesson with CFI to take a tour of the new space—you’ll be glad you did.