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How a Jet Crew Forgot Their Speed Restriction On a VFR Departure

There are a lot of "speed limits of the sky", and not all of them are related to Class B-G airspace. This crew's simple mistake almost resulted in an FAA violation. Here's what you can do to prevent it from happening to you...


Teterboro Airport... Fast Jets Coupled With Notorious Speed/Altitude Restrictions

Teterboro Airport (KTEB) is one of the busiest general aviation airports in the world, with hundreds of daily departures and arrivals serving the greater New York area. Most of the aircraft flying in and out are corporate jets ranging from Cessna Mustangs to Gulfstream G650s.

The New York metro area has arguably the busiest, most congested airspace in the world. This results in complex departure and arrival procedures. Here's what happened to the crew of a large corporate, according to their NASA ASRS Report...

We departed KTEB Runway 19. Flying the Dalton VFR departure, we turned westbound staying VFR at 1,200 feet. The departure calls for a maximum speed of 180 KIAS. We initially stayed below this to keep the immediate turning radius small, but once established on the 280 heading, we accelerated the jet to about 220 KIAS.

ATC came on the radio and advised us to slow down and maintain the speed required by the departure. We did this and acknowledged their instruction. I think I inadvertently thought the max speed was just for the turn to stay out of Newark's approaches. I realize now that the speed is to be maintained until waived by ATC in a climb. Normally New York's Departure wants pilots to keep their speed up, to clear out of their airspace. Maybe this is why I let the speed inadvertently creep up a little early. No excuse however. I will avoid this in the future by reviewing the departure more closely and maintain better speed control.

Here's a screenshot of the Dalton VFR Departure from Teterboro...

Teterboro Airport

Beneath New York's Class B Airspace: 200 Knots

This departure took the corporate jet beneath New York's Class B airspace. There isn't a specific speed restriction for operating within Class B airspace. If you're below 10,000 feet, you need to meet the standard speed restriction of 250 knots. However, if you're in Class B at 10,000' MSL or higher, you can fly faster than 250 knots (though ATC usually restricts aircraft speed for traffic flow and separation).

According to 91.117(c), no person may operate an aircraft beneath Class B airspace, or in a VFR corridor through Class B, at an indicated airspeed of more than 200 knots (230 mph). This is done to help separate aircraft operating within Class B from those operating outside of Class B. Some aircraft flying below Class B may not be in contact with ATC, and the speed restriction of 200 knots provides ATC an added buffer to get traffic out of the way, should an airspace deviation occur.


Teterboro Class D Airspace: 200 Knots

Unlike Class B, airports with Class C/D airspace have lower maximum speeds around the immediate vicinity of the airport. No person may operate an aircraft at an indicated airspeed of more than 200 knots (230 mph) at or below 2,500 feet above the surface, within 4 nautical miles of the primary Class C or Class D airport.


Useful Rule Of Thumb

Generally speaking, never accelerate to 200 knots until you're above 2,500 feet AGL in Classs C or D airspace. This ensures you'll only accelerate once you're above Class C/D airspace speed restrictions. Forming this habit will keep you out of trouble more times than not!

Keep in mind, however, that the Dalton VFR departure had an even lower speed restriction of just 180 knots. This is one example where extra time spent during the takeoff briefing reviewing speed restrictions could save you from a violation.

What departure or arrival that you've flow has the toughest speed restrictions? Tell us in the comments below.

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