Clearence to enter controlled airspace

I need to clarify something that irritates me.

In FlightSim, when performing VFR flight and having established flight following with ATC, i can go through any controlled airspace (A/B/C/D etc…) without explicite clearence to do that. I also have no option for that in the ATC menue on entering controlled airspace. This option is only available when no flight following has been established.

Now when performing VFR flight in reality i am actially obligated to ask for explicite clearence to enter controlled airspace, no matter if i have established flight following with the ATC or not.

AOPA states on this:

Question: What if the controller puts
you on a heading that will take you
into the airspace, but doesn’t actually
tell you that you’re cleared into the airspace?

Answer: You need to hear the words
“cleared into the Class B airspace,” or
equivalent. If you don’t, be sure to ask
the controller before you enter the airspace.

So obviously in flight sim establishing flight folowing is basically a super clearence to any airspace?
This is taking out the whole sense of airspaces in the sim. Once flight following is established you can go anywhere and do whatever you like (i.e. aorobatics in the short final of a busy airport) whithout clearence.

I would suggest entering controlled airspace to require clearence from ATC, no matter if you have established flight following.


You are correct.

The only possible workaround that comes to my mind is not establishing flight following when performing VFR flight and asking for airspace transition clearance for every controlled airspace i might be crossing on the way.

But this again also not an optimal solution as you have to obstain from traffic service.

Personally I have AI ATC off and use Vatsim. But that is just my personal preference and not a solution to sth that was advertised and should be working (more or less ) and currently exhibits many bugs as the countless threads on ATC here attest to.

Flight following has typically told me that I am cleared into class B airspace, then I have to acknowledge that, just like in real life. Class C, D airspace only requires 2-way radio contact, and for you to reasonably comply with their requests except in a pilot emergency.

1 Like

na vatsim is not an option for me as i cant chatter in the middle of the night. I have kids sleeping next to my place and need to maintain “radio silence”.

By the way, how is the controller coverage in VATSIm? I doubt that there is a controller available at all times for every airport and every airspace. I wouldn’t like to be limited to fly only where a controller is available at moment.


Europe requires specific clearance for class C, D (controlled airspaces). You don’t get “automatic” clearance just because you are on eg Vienna Information.

I understand.

As all controllers are volunteers and Vatsim puts high expectations on their experience of course coverage might differ. You can check for current coverage.

On top the various local Vatsim webpages also put out a schedule for coverage so you can do some planning in advance.

Prescribed radio silence might be a problem though :wink: as you can’t always squawk 7600 :wink:

In the US if you’re on flight following, you’re eventually handed to the approach controller for the airspace B,C,D. They typically if B, give you bravo clearance. If C or D airspace, say your tail number and maybe a direction. Class A airspace should only be allowed in IFR flight plans in the game, but it isn’t like the game is going to send F-16s to intercept you.

1 Like

In Europe they inform you if you are about to enter controlled airspace (although they are not obligated to, as it is the pilot responsibility to properly navigate). However I also had it quite a few times that they got clearance for me upon request from the responsible ATC.

i would at least expect ATC moaning about yourself entering airspace without clearance.

1 Like

In the US, flight following is done by the controllers of that airspace, workload permitting. If it is C or D, they will absolutely tell you to stay out if they are too busy. I have heard this IRL many times as I am based at a class D airport.

1 Like

Got it. Here xvy Information and xyz Radar (eG Center) are different frequencies and from my humble experience Radar is often manned by the senior guys.

This is also something that is poorly implemented i think. The rules can be quite different between US and europe. In example transition altitude FL180 is also specific just for US, not for europe. I don’t know why they apply US specific regulations to the whole world.

Right, and even squawk vfr means 1200 here and like 7000 there?

thats correct

Just did some googling as I am not familiar with the US flight following. There is certainly a difference in service, governance and manning of the US Flightfollowing and the European eg Vienna or Langen or Zurich Information (FIS: flight information service). On FIS you mainly find the non-professional GA traffic (VFR of course).

Personally I try to avoid it when I can as there is all kinds of chatter. But not saying that I am not appreciative of the controller and their patience providing this FIS service.

How realistic is MSFS? Airspace is extremely complex and dynamic. It is true that MSFS allows anyone to fly anywhere without legal consequences. Should consequences be implemented in MSFS? The “super clearance” using flight following is feature to improve realism. Just as IRL, flight following is not required. IRL it is possible to enter a restricted airspace without contacting ATC but when the pilot is found, the legal consequences can be severe.

MOA and other Restricted airspaces are not in MSFS. Neither are TFRs. Stops for Customs at border crossings are not enforced. There are many IRL airspace restrictions not implemented in MSFS. “Super clearance” avoids having to implement IRL consequences.

Im not asking for legal consequences, just for little more realism. It is an important aspect during VFR flight to be aware of the airspace you are using and asking for clearance when necessary. At least in Europe you have to ask for clearance quite a lot or get around something because you get no clearance for crossing it.


In the US, clearance to enter a controlled airspace is based on controller workload. The San Francisco, LA basin and the East Coast areas from Washington DC to Boston are the most crowded. IRL VFR clearances are almost impossible to obtain. It would be difficult for MSFS to calculate controller workload in order to grant or deny a clearance for greater realism. IRL many VFR pilots prefer to fly under or over controlled airspaces. Often local pilots will create VFR maps showing where to fly to avoid controlled airspace.

There is a similar problem with IFR routes in busy airspaces. It is almost impossible to get an IFR clearance to fly from Virginia to New York using “standard” routes. IRL ATC IFR clearances route aircraft sometimes hundreds of miles away from “standard” routes through crowded airspaces. MSFS always gives IFR clearance to any IFR flight plan which is unrealistic.