Brown Field: KSDM

Brown Field Municipal Airport is located in the Otay Mesa a few miles southeast of downtown San Diego. The airport parallels the California/Mexico border and is used by the U.S. Customs Service as a point of entry for aircraft from Mexico. It is a controlled airport with two runways that parallel each other. The largest runway is very long at 7972 x 150ft. Arriving at Brown Field requires flying through the majority of San Diego International’s Class B airspace (blue lines on the sectional chart below) thus requiring a clearance and two way communication with SoCal Approach. This ensures safe separation from traffic approaching to land San Diego International. For example, as we began our descent for Brown Field a Southwest jet was also turning and descending for their approach into San Diego. Even though there was no issue, the controller called out the traffic for us as well for them, and we kept visual contact until they were behind and above us. Some pilots are intimidated by flying in the Air Traffic Control system, but I find it enjoyable. There is no questions it can be challenging at times, but once you become familiar with what the controllers are going to say and what your responses should be things tend to become easier.

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