Aviation In Canada

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Transponder Airspace

While some of my buddies laboured under CAATS implementation, I chose to go mountain biking and later went flying. What a day! Winds were strange (running mostly light and variable, but shifting a lot with the occasional gust out of nowhere up to 15 knots, such as when I was about to touch down). What a great day!

My flight had me checking out that waterfall again. On the way out I had planned around going up to 6,500 feet, VFR of course, taking some photos and examining the area, then descending for a closer look, the climbing back up to 5,500 for the return trip home. What I didn't count on was the lack of a transponder in my plane. It went U/S, so I was going stealth, it would appear. Funny thing is, it took a reminder from club personnel (Beth does a great job of keeping me out of trouble, fortunately) about the Transponder Airspace around Moncton. It's Class E Transponder Airspace, so I don't have to talk to ATC while in it, but a transponder with Mode C is required for operation within it without prior approval. One would think I would have been keenly aware of it, since I work that airspace from the ATC side every working day. How embarassing. Thanks, Beth!

Anyway, it made for a bit of a bumpy ride on the way out and the way home, since now I was restricted to below 3,000 over the hills in southeastern New Brunswick, but it also made for some great views of the back country terrain and winding creeks and rivers in that area. I am always amazed at the views in that area. I have to force myself to look out the window for traffic, since I know the area well enough to find my way without looking for the airport from there, and I'm so taken with the region. You can only fulfill your part of "See and be seen" when you're looking for traffic.