The ceiling of the Tampa TRACON is 12,000ft.
In the real world, the job of assigning you a runway is the approach controller’s job. Even when the center controller is working the approach position, he/she will not likely know what runway you’ll be assigned until you reach the approach sector (about 35 to 50 miles from the airport).
It’s also important to know that when told to “expect” a certain runway, that the controller could change this based on any number of factors. Keep your charts handy in case this happens. Under normal circumstances, there will be plenty of time to set up for your approach (which should take you less than 2 minutes).
This was done to keep you separated from arriving and departing traffic from Miami International (KMIA).
Our standard operating procedures (which mirror those of the real world) dictate that we initially assign departures from KFLL an altitude of 4000 ft or less. We will do our best to get you to a higher altitude as soon as possible, but depending upon traffic levels arriving and departing KMIA, there may be a short delay.
It’s important to remember that a “Visual Approach” is still an instrument procedure conducted under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR). You should always tune the localizer (if available) even when the approach controller issues you a visual approach. If nothing else, this provides you with some additional verification that you’re in the right place.
Pilots who are unfamiliar with departing our major airports and who do not file a SID or DP often incorrectly file a first fix which is either on an “inbound” route or conflicts with other airport routing/traffic.
To solve this problem on a permanent basis, the Miami ARTCC has adopted a policy of routing these aircraft to one of the departure gateway fixes.
Controllers will appreciate it if you file a SID or DP as this saves everyone time. To learn more about this, see our Tips to Flying in Miami.