I am planning on a 400 mile cross country in a few weeks. My intended flight path takes me through the Truman MOA in Missouri. I will be utilizing flight following through ATC services for the trip. Any advice or comments about flying through an MOA? Or is this an area of sky that's best avoided when it is active?
Have two plans ready.
Plan A...thru the MOA
Plan B...around it.
I almost always use flight following. You're, pretty much, in constant contact with "someone". who will often have some useful info. On my way home from somewhere south of here (San Jose), I was near Las Vegas, skirting around an MOA when I was advised of "a flight of four"...I think they were F-16s..."same altitude, opposite direction".
I suddenly saw 3 at my 10oclock. not 1/4 mile away. It was the 4th one that really scared me...he was lagging behind. I know it wasn't ten seconds later when he shot past me. I couldnt see any of them approaching. they fly way faster in the MOAs and do stuff like terrain following then suddenly rotate vertical and hit the afterburners which puts them over 10.000' in a matter of seconds. The last thing on their minds would be a GA aircraft...
If the MOAs "hot", don't even think about it. If "cold" enjoy the scenery. Feel absolutely free to ask those ATC guys questions. I got cleared to fly all over Edwards AFB once, as low as I wanted..."just dont land" Before asking (in jest) I was 30 miles away.
Like you said about the "stupid question"...there IS one....it's the one you dont ask...
blue skies!! (oh...you were asking about IFR stuff...make that "smooth skies" ;p
Supposedly when an MOA is "hot" you are still legal to fly thru it (unless it's restricted), and "supposedly" the military radar guys are reporting your position to the "hot guys" in their F-16's, and they are supposed to avoid you. I have flown thru hot MOA's and observed mil. a/c doing their thing--never had one come close.
They have yet to let us through IFR in Utah and Nevada. VFR, go for it! I'm just about surrounded by it, and never have any problems. About once a year or so, Hill AFB(SLC) and Nellis AFB(LAS), do a wings program at our airport. Very informative.
A little secret that I've found- ask for permission through a restricted area from the controlling agency instead of center, if possible. You have a better chance of sweet talking the military controller. At least in my experience.
Need Advice or suggestions on finding the "controlling agency" I know it sounds simple - but --
ATC gets pretty busy around here ( outside the Chicago Area ) lots of times you're on your own even if you ask for flight following
( VFR )
I usually go under or around their airspace in the general area - Wisconsin and Illinois, but sometimes it would be a real choice to go through, but unless I have confidence in the safety of the situation I'd rather go around ( or under ) but I am fully aware that they aren't always completely within those areas - sometimes just coming and going to the bases, but they're around and at high speed (occasionally) .
It's like running into ( near - not into ) heavy traffic under Ohare's airspace - at a weekend meeting The speaker - An air traffic controller said "don't be surprised to find a "large aircraft..." at or below 1800 feet just because it's below the floor of the Ohare airspace" - when weather and traffic permit they bring them in low - it's just their airspace is protected above 1800 ft (1800 ft in some areas) - the floor can be anywhere from the ground to 4000 ft "near" Ohare.
Anyway - I would appreciate any further helpfull advice - just to keep lotsa blue between the aircraft and other airborn stuff.
Chicago Sectional - MOA's = Name, Alt of use, Time of use, controlling agency**.
Lets take Volk East MOA - Says Controlling agency=ZAU CNTR - NO frequencies listed, ** takes you to ZAU=Chicago - still no frequencies listed.
You can find the freq to Volk tower on the control tower freq tab - but thats not ZAU.
The MOA tab lists ZAU, ZKC, and ZMP - NO FREQUENCIES and NO DIRECT CONTACT.
If You pick up a sectional it does NOT give you a direct link (frequency) to the "controlling agency".
as far as I know you can ask a tower when you're close enough to that tower and can get a word in.
Anyone use a more direct method ?
Ken is correct about center frequencies not being listed directly in the MOA list on the panel of sectional charts
I included the word 'freq' to help the readers locate the area of the section to find the information. I did not mean to mislead the group. Sorry.
As you open the sectional chart, the outside cover panel has the chart name and legend information. On the back side of the front panel is the Control Tower Frequencies on the --- Sectional Chart. Below this information is Special Use Airspace on ----Sectional Chart.
I have been a CFI for over ten years. During BFR's, I am still surprised at how many people never look at the panels with the text information.
Air Route Traffic Control Center frequencies and telephone numbers are listed in the Airport Facilities Directory (AFD).
Flight Service Station (FSS) Remote Communication Outlets (RCO) are also listed in the AFD.
If you have a Low Altitude Enrooted Chart (used for IFR flight), MOA's are also shown on these charts. Center frequencies are printed on the chart in the various sectors controlled by center.
One more thing. Always call FSS for the latest NOTAM (Notice TO Airmen) list. TFR (Temporary Flight Restrictions) may pop up at anytime. This is an election year. The candidates will be traveling by air and could impact your plans.
The boys at Homeland Security may not have as good of a sense of humor as the FAA.
Not that you need to talk to anybody before entering an MOA, because you don't(VFR), but the closest one to me states over the airspace on the chart,"Contact Nellis control on 126.65 or nearest FSS prior to entering MOA". I guess I assume that all the charts are like that, but I haven't done too much flying east of the Rockies, so please bear with me:).Now talking with the folks from Nellis and Hill,they have told us that if the area is "hot", then as soon as they see a target enter the area, the exercise stops until that target is clear of the airspace. My previous suggestion about talking to the controlling agency is mainly refering to restricted areas whereas you do need permission to enter. It took me awhile to understand all the military airspace until we started having them come to the Wings program.
Clay, Matt, ...
Thanks for the input -
I think my hesitation in dealing with traversing a MOA is that it I don't have confidence in knowing that I have received the "last word" on conditions there. I don't want to present a safety issue, but I wouldn't even want to interupt a training excercise either.
I really don't follow the AFD as closely as I could - mainly it seems that the info may be outdated by the time I'm using it - I call flight service, and even call the intended airports if I have any reason to think it helps, and frequently get different newer data than the AFD.
I was considering the Volk airspace at one time and had found (after searching) the phone numbers of people to talk to long before I got there - ended up cancelling the trip for other reasons so it never became an issue.
Once airborne - with changing issues weather etc., I would like a more confident way to find out whats going on. One trip home bound I had some weather issues to deal with and I would have liked to been able to verify the status of a MOA nearby and I wasn't certain of who to deal with and sort of busy with the weather.
I have talked to an "older gentleman" at our local airfield who used to fly and "intercept" and he has commented on how the process looks much different from this side of things (a Cessna 172 instead of a F-whatever).
These days everyone is a little on edge so I may even over react a little on the conservative side - but it does seem a waste some days to go all the way around or descend to go under a MOA if its not being used, but I don't want to traverse at all if it lessens safety because of something I was unaware of or?
In the area I have been aware of an occasion or two where a fellow cessna driver has been buzzed by a military AC - not normal, routine, or safe but it does happen.
I always talk to Flight Service - It has seemed a waste on the days where I'm just doing pattern work but I call before going anyway - I was on the way to the airfield somewhere around 90 am local time (Chicago) on 9-11 and was quite surprised (as was everyone else) and more recent I find it interesting to try to keep up with all the TFR's - but thats getting easier too -
Thanks again - I appreciate any input if only to "refresh" a little
Well Ken, you can never be too careful. I used to avoid them at all cost, but now I'll call control just to find out where the action is and see if I can get a show! So far just bombers below and the occasional fighter passing by. When flying 2 or 3 hours over the desert, every little bit helps pass the time:).
The purpose of the Aeronautical Chart Section of the AFD is to provide major changes in aeronautical information that have occured since the last publication date of each Sectional, Terminal Area, and Helicopter Route Charts listed.
You would be suprised how many people do not read nor understand the AFD. While conducting a flight review, I get my jollies by asking questions about the sectional and the AFD.
The AFD has a unique indexing system. The index is on the back cover. Match the arrows with the black tabs on the pages to find the desired information. This can be a very thing to remember when you need information ASAP.
Keep the greasy side down.
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