Pilot Edge Announces Western Expansion!
Written by JT on December 12, 2016
PilotEdge is launching a new area of ATC operation called the Western US Expansion. It encompasses the Seattle, Oakland, Salt Lake CIty, Denver and Albuquerque ARTCCs.
The Primary Airports
The Western US Expansion was initially designed to provide transport category jets with a wider range of viable city pairs when flying on PilotEdge. Historically, such flights have typically required the use of KSFO or KLAS as the origin or destination simply to make the trip of a reasonable length. The Western US Expansion provides a healthy list of suitable Part 121 airports especially when combined with the existing coverage area.
Here are the Primary airports for the Western US Expansion:
- KASE : Aspen-Pitkin County Airport
- KDEN: Denver International Airport
- KPDX: Portland International Airport
- KPHX: Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
- KSEA: Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
- KSFO: San Francisco International Airport
- KSLC: Salt Lake City International Airport
The Bonus Airports
In order to provide additional variety and concentration of traffic, the Western US Expansion includes a list of 10 bonus airports which will be served on a 2-week rotating basis (one airport at a time, changing every two weeks). Not only does this provide additional city pairs and concentrated traffic, but the proximity to primary airports will also encourage turboprop and piston flights between the Bonus airport and the closest Primary airport.
Here are the Bonus airports for the Western US Expansion:
- KABQ: Albuquerque International Sunport Airport
- KEGE: Eagle County Regional Airport
- KGEG: Spokane International Airport
- KMRY: Monterey Regional Airport
- KOAK: Metropolitan Oakland International Airport
- KRNO: Reno/Tahoe International Airport
- KSAC: Sacramento Executive Airport
- KSJC: Norman Y Mineta San Jose International Airport
- KSMF: Sacramento International Airport
- KYKM: Yakima Air Terminal
The Hidden Gem: Full Enroute Coverage within 5 ARTCCs
The Seattle, Oakland, Salt Lake City, Denver and Albuquerque ARTCCs contain extraordinary terrain and a massive list of interesting non-towered airports. In reviewing the airspace prior to the launch, we knew that the time would come where pilots would want to venture from the Primary and Bonus airports to visit some other parts of the coverage area, even if it was to visit a non-towered airport and just receive flight following along the way.
Realizing just how many fields this would open up, we decided to provide enroute coverage through the entire lateral limits of the 5 ARTCCs that make up the Western US Expansion. This, of course, has some limitations:
- Towered airports other than the Primary or active Bonus fields are effectively non-towered, pilots will use the CTAF (the tower frequency) to self-announce.
- TRACONs have not been modeled unless they exist to serve Primary or Bonus fields. For example, Boise TRACON has not been modelled. Pilots would call Salt Lake Center for enroute service.
- Controllers will provide enroute service only and cannot clear aircraft for instrument approaches at these additional fields.
For the most realistic experience, we encourage pilots to use this feature to visit non-towered airports within the ARTCCs as the level of service will more closely mirror what would happen on a real life flight.
IFR flights can be conducted to these fields, however, pilots will need to cancel IFR reaching top of descent, or FL180 (whichever is lower). Otherwise, ATC will terminate radar services and advise that they are leaving the coverage area shortly after.
Similarly, IFR flights can be conducted from these fields by departing the desired airport and contacting the center controller once airborne.
When used as intended this allows pilots to access hundreds of additional airports throughout the 5 ARTCCs utilizing VFR departures and arrivals, and either VFR or IFR for enroute.
For more information
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