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I have never passed through class-C airspace without intending on landing at the primary airport.

If the flight is conducted under VFR, and I am planning on landing at a satellite airport to the primary class-C, will approach control expect me to indicate that I have ATIS information from the primary airport, that I "have numbers" for the satellite airport landing destination, or that I have both weather station information sets?

What about just passing through their airspace with no intent to land nearby? Do they still expect that you indicate receipt of ATIS information?

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  • $\begingroup$ I've always found that upon contacting ATC in class C with my intentions they will ask me if I have the latest ATIS, and if I say no, they'll give me the altimeter and winds. Usually contacting ATC goes along the lines of "Approach, Skyhawk 12345 inbound to land KABC with Lima"... If I leave out the "with Lima" part they will either ask me or just give me the current altimeter/wind. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 17:50
  • $\begingroup$ So is the landing destination pretty much irrelevant in that regard? $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 18:15
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure in which regard you are referring to but it boils down to the pilot being responsible for having the information required to land in or transition the airspace. The only time I'm sure you are required to report having the numbers is for an IFR flight plan, VFR is mostly a courtesy reminder by ATC. You should be updating your ATIS info along your flight route anyway regardless of where you land. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 18:37

1 Answer 1

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I fly out of a controlled satellite class D (KLOU, Bowman Field) below a class C (KSDF, Louisville International) so I'm fairly familiar with this scenario, at least in the way that it's handled there. The short story - in my experience - is that Approach only cares about you having the numbers or ATIS for the airport where you'll actually land.

First the theory. The ATC orders say:

7−1−3. APPROACH CONTROL SERVICE FOR VFR ARRIVING AIRCRAFT

Issue the following where procedures have been established for arriving VFR aircraft to contact approach control for landing information:

a. Wind, runway, and altimeter setting at the airport of intended landing. This information may be omitted if contained in the ATIS broadcast and the pilot states the appropriate ATIS code or if the pilot uses the phrase, “have numbers.”

Note the "airport of intended landing", they aren't going to pester you to get the ATIS for somewhere that you aren't going to.

Second, the practice. If I'm inbound to KLOU on flight following (don't leave home without it!) then my first contact with Louisville Approach usually goes like this:

Me: Louisville Approach, N12345 level at 6500
Appch: N12345, roger, Louisville Altimeter is 2992, report when you have the weather at Bowman, information Kilo is current
Me: N12345 has Kilo at Bowman
Appch: N12345, roger [and further instructions as needed]

As a controlled field, Bowman has ATIS, not "the numbers" but I've had more or less the same exchange at other places.

I think that Ron's comment about information is useful here: when I'm inbound I usually have both the KSDF and KLOU ATIS anyway, just in case. Also notice how the KSDF controller helps me: the KLOU ATIS could have changed from Kilo to Lima between the time I got it and the time I called Approach. By telling me that Kilo is current, the controller is effectively telling me if I have to go and get the ATIS again or not.

As for just passing through class C, the very few times I've done that ATC has simply given me the local altimeter setting and that's it. I'm not landing, so they don't seem to care if I have the ATIS or not.

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  • $\begingroup$ It great if you want to listen to the non-landing-airport ATIS for situational awareness, but we don't need you to. For both VFR or IFR, we will issue the general area altimeter setting and confirm you have the current ATIS at the landing airport. For an uncontrolled airport (no ATIS) we will confirm that IFR arrivals have "the weather" but this is not required for VFR arrivals. $\endgroup$
    – randomhead
    Commented Mar 2, 2021 at 1:32

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