There are a lot of issues with pilots tucking under the shelf of the Charlie at 1,100' to get to FMY/Buckingham, or over the top of the Charlie at 4,100' without talking to ATC.
Is it legal? Yes. Is it smart? Absolutely NOT! Those pilots, possibly unknowingly, are putting themselves and other aircraft in unnecessary dangerous situations.
On this page are downloadable images of the RSW TRACON airspace boundaries, and how each sector within the airspace is broken up, along with the frequency associated with each sector. The entire airspace as a whole goes from the surface to 10,000'.
The sector boundaries change based on the landing runway at RSW. So, there is one image for when RSW is on Runway 6 and another image for when RSW is on Runway 24.
If the pilot is in one of the sectors, they should, at a minimum, be monitoring the frequency for that area.
If the pilot does not want ATC RADAR services, then there's no need to check in. However, it is recommended to get RADAR services if you're going to be anywhere close to the Class C Airspace, so we know what you're doing.
If the pilot has an emergency or urgent situation, then they can use these maps for the correct frequency or 121.5.
If the pilot is receiving Flight Following from another ATC Facility, they will be assigned the correct frequency. If requesting Flight Following from FMY Tower to a destination, FMY Tower will assign the appropriate frequency.
If a pilot is in the air and wants to request Flight Following from RSW Approach, then use these maps for the correct frequency to make the request on.
Be advised that, during our slower times (summer, early morning, and late at night), a single controller may be managing all frequencies. So, you may hear ATC transmitting to an aircraft that is on another frequency, but you won't hear the aircraft respond back to ATC; or the controller may just put you on the frequency everyone else is on.
The system is safest when we’re communicating. So let us know you’re out there.
By Ryan Wyer, RSW TRACON, FMFC Member
As published in the FLYER, October 2021