CHAPTER 8. The National Airspace System

Controlled Airspace

Controlled airspace is a generic term that covers the different classifi cations of airspace and defi ned dimensions within which ATC service is provided in accordance with the airspace classifi cation. Controlled airspace consists of:

  • Class E
  • Class D
  • Class C
  • Class B
  • Class A

Class E Airspace

Generally, if the airspace is not Class A, B, C, or D, and is controlled airspace, then it is Class E airspace. Class E airspace extends upward from either the surface or a designated altitude to the overlying or adjacent controlled airspace. [Figures 8-3 and 8-7] Also Class E is federal airways beginning at 1,200 feet AGL extending 4 nautical miles (NM) on each side, extending up to 18,000 feet.

Unless designated at a lower altitude, Class E airspace begins at 1,200 AGL over the United States, including that airspace overlying the waters within 12 NM of the coast of the 48 contiguous states and Alaska, and extends up to but not including 18,000 feet.

There are no specific communications requirements associated with Class E airspace [Figure 8-5]; however, some Class E airspace locations are designed to provide approaches for instrument approaches, and a pilot would be prudent to ensure that appropriate communications are established when operating near those areas.

If WSC aircraft operations are being conducted below 10,000 feet MSL, minimum visibility requirements are three statute miles and basic VFR cloud clearance requirements are 1,000 feet above, 500 feet below, and 2,000 feet horizontal (remember the C152 mnemonic). Operations above 10,000 feet MSL for private pilots of WSC aircraft require minimum visibility of fi ve statute miles and cloud clearances of at least 1,000 feet above, 1,000 feet below, and one statute mile horizontally. [Figure 8-5] See Figure 8-6 for specifi c VFR visibility requirements.

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