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Teaching the National Airspace System

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  1. Teaching the National Airspace System Soaring Safety Foundation FIRC Rich Carlson

  2. US Airspace

  3. Training Aids • http://www.airnav.com • Details of any airport • http://www.skyvector.com • On-line copies of sectional

  4. Airspace • Hierarchical layout • Class A Most restrictive, no VFR operations • Class B Very restrictive, 31 airports • Class C Restrictive, need radio & mode ‘C’ • Class D Minor restrictive, control tower • Class E Few restrictions, most glider flights • Class G Least restrictive, close to ground

  5. Teaching the NAS • Use simple (Class G) to complex (Class A) method • Pilot, Aircraft, Environment • Introduce basics and then add exceptions (grammar rules) • Use mnemonic’s to aid in learning • G for Ground, B for Busy

  6. Class “G” Airspace • Class G airspace is that portion of the airspace that has not been designated as Class A, Class B, Class C, Class D, or Class E airspace. • No specific pilot certification is required. • No specific equipment is required. • VFR visibility and cloud separation specified.

  7. Class “E” Airspace • Generally, if the airspace is not Class A, Class B, Class C, or Class D, and it is above 700’/1200’ AGL, it is Class E airspace. • Transition from G is shown on Sectional. • No specific pilot certification is required. • No specific equipment is required. • VFR visibility and cloud separation specified.

  8. Class “G” to Class “E” • Pilot - No change • Aircraft - No change • Environment - Increase VFR visibility and cloud separation minimums

  9. Class “D” Airspace • Class D airspace is designated around airports with an operating control tower. • Class D airspace structure resembles a simple hockey puck.

  10. Class “D” AirspaceEntry Requirements • Radio contact should be initiated far enough from the Class D airspace boundary to preclude entering the Class D airspace before two-way radio communications are established. • Pilots of arriving aircraft should contact the control tower on the publicized frequency and give their position, altitude, destination, and any request(s).

  11. Class “D” Airspace

  12. Class “E” to Class “D” • Pilot - Radio procedures • Establish radio contact • Aircraft - Increase aircraft equipment • Radio • Environment - Increase airspace complexity • Depicted on sectional

  13. Class “C” Airspace • Class C airspace is designated around selected airports. • Class C airspace structure resembles an upside-down two-layer cake.

  14. Class “C” Airspace

  15. Class “D” to Class “C” • Pilot – Equipment usage • Set/use transponder • Aircraft - Increase aircraft equipment • Transponder • Altitude Encoder • Environment - Increase airspace complexity • Dual rings • Cut-outs, wedges, varying heights

  16. Class “B” Airspace • Class B airspace is designated around very large, busy airports. • Class B airspace structure generally resembles an upside-down wedding cake of three layers or more. • At this writing there are 31 Class B airspace installations in the United States.

  17. Class “B” Airspace

  18. Class “C” to Class “B” • Pilot - Requires • Private pilot or better in 12 • Logbook endorsements in others • ATC clearance to enter • Aircraft - No change • Environment - Increase airspace complexity • Multiple rings • Cut-outs, wedges, varying heights

  19. Class “A” Airspace • The floor of Class A airspace is 18,000 feet MSL (Flight Level 180), and the ceiling is 60,000 feet MSL (Flight Level 600). • Class A airspace overlies the entire United States. • Flights in Class A airspace are conducted under Instrument Flight Rules and are under positive control from the ground. • VFR flight is not permitted in Class A airspace.

  20. Class “B” to Class “A” • Pilot - Increase pilot requirements • Instrument rating • Communications with ATC • Aircraft - Compliance with FAR’s • Pitot/Static check • IFR instruments • IFR certification certificate • Environment • High Altitude systems (cold, O2)

  21. Scenario Training Your club's 2 place was moved to remote airport for display during an airshow. It is not time to bring it back home. The current weather is • 4 miles visibility • 1600 ft overcast

  22. Exceptions • The basic NAS laid out in this talk defines the US Airspace rules. However, just as in grammar there are exceptions (e.g., I before E except after C).

  23. Mode C Veil Airspace • Mode C veil airspace surrounds Class B airspace installations. • For many aircraft, flight within Mode C veil airspace requires an altitude-encoding transponder. • Airplanes certified without an engine-driven electrical system, Gliders, and Balloons are exempt from the altitude encoding transponder requirement when flying in Mode C veil airspace.

  24. Mode C Veil Airspace Depiction • Mode C veil airspace is depicted on Sectional charts by a labeled circle, drawn with a solid magenta line. • The radius of the Mode C veil airspace is printed in magenta-colored letters on the Sectional chart.

  25. What are the Class D limits here?

  26. Exceptions • Class E airspace to the ground • No transponder exception for overflight of Class B or C airspace • Special use Airspace

  27. Special Use Airspace • Within special use airspace, limitations may be imposed on aircraft. • Except for controlled firing areas, special use airspace areas are depicted on aeronautical charts.

  28. Special Use Airspace • Special use airspace types: • National Security Areas (NSA) • Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR) • Prohibited areas • Restricted areas • Warning areas • Military operations areas (MOA's) • Alert areas • Victor Airways • Military Training Routes

  29. National Security Areas • Depicted on sectional as magenta dashed box • Airspace defined by vertical and lateral dimensions • For increased security and safety of ground facilities • Pilots are requested to voluntarily avoid flying through depicted NSA • May become a prohibited area via NOTAM

  30. Temporary Flight Restrictions • Added to system by FDC NOTAM. • Not depicted on sectionals. • May appear with little notice! • Some common TFR’s • Presidential visits and movement. • Major sporting events. • Check with FSS before flight.

  31. Prohibited Areas • Prohibited areas are established for security or other reasons associated with the national welfare. • No flight is allowed in Prohibited areas. • Prohibited areas are depicted on Sectional charts.

  32. Alert Areas • Alert areas exist to inform pilots of areas that may contain a high volume of pilot training or an unusual type of aerial activity. • Pilots should be particularly alert for other traffic when flying in these areas. • Alert areas are depicted on Sectional charts.

  33. Restricted Areas • Restricted areas are established for security or military reasons. • Restricted areas denote the existence of hazards to aircraft such as artillery firing, aerial gunnery, or guided missiles. • Penetration of restricted areas without authorization from the using or controlling agency may be extremely hazardous.

  34. Restricted Areas • Restricted airspace is depicted on Sectional charts. • Before entering a Restricted area, contact the controlling authority (usually FAA Flight Service).

  35. Warning Areas • Warning areas contain activity that may be hazardous to non-participating aircraft. • Warning areas extend from three nautical miles outward from the coast of the U.S. • Warning areas are depicted on Sectional charts.

  36. Military Operation Areas (MOA’s) • MOA's exist to separate military flight training activities from other traffic. • Most military flight training activities necessitate acrobatic or abrupt flight maneuvers. • Pilots operating under VFR should exercise extreme caution while flying within a MOA when military activity is being conducted.

  37. Military Operation Areas (MOA’s) • The activity status (active/inactive) of MOA's may change frequently. • Pilots should contact any FSS within 100 miles of the area to obtain the MOA hours of operation. • Before entering an active MOA, pilots should contact the controlling agency for traffic advisories.

  38. Victor Airways • Victor Airways are aerial highways that connect electronic navigation aids. • Victor Airways carry a high volume of VFR and IFR traffic. • Flight near Victor Airways requires extra vigilance to see and avoid other traffic. • Victor Airways are 8 nautical miles wide (4 n.m. either side of the centerline).

  39. Military Training Routes (MTR’s) • Military Training Routes are usually established below 10,000 feet MSL for operations at speeds in excess of 250 knots. Route segments may be defined at higher altitudes for purposes of route continuity.

  40. Military Training Routes (MTR’s) • IFR Military Training Routes - (IR) • Operations on these routes are conducted in accordance with Instrument Flight Rules regardless of weather conditions. • VFR Military Training Routes - (VR) • Operations on these routes are conducted in accordance with Visual Flight Rules.

  41. Airspace & Safety • Preparation for cross country soaring flight is the essence of the Bronze Badge training program. • Cross country soaring requires knowledge of, and participation in, the nation’s airspace system. • Keep up-to-date on the airspace environment in which you plan to fly.

  42. Low Altitude Class “G” Airspace VFR Weather Minimums 1,200 feet or less above the surface (regardless of MSL altitude): • Minimum visibility: • 1 statute mile • Cloud clearance: • Clear of clouds More than 1,200 feet above the surface but less than 10,000 feet MSL: • Minimum visibility: • 1 statute mile • Cloud clearance: • 500 feet below • 1,000 feet above • 2,000 feet horizontal

  43. High Altitude Class “G” Airspace VFR Weather Minimums • More than 1,200 feet above the surface and at or above 10,000 feet MSL: • Minimum visibility: • 5 statute miles • Minimum cloud clearance: • 1,000 feet below • 1,000 feet above • One mile horizontal

  44. Class “E” AirspaceVFR Weather Minimums • Below 10,000 feet MSL: • Minimum visibility: • 3 statute miles • Cloud clearance: • 500 feet below • 1,000 feet above • 2,000 feet horizontal • Above 10,000 feet MSL: • Minimum visibility: • 5 statute miles • Cloud clearance: • 1,000 feet below • 1,000 feet above • One mile horizontal

  45. Class “D” AirspaceDepiction On Sectionals • Class D airspace is depicted on Sectional charts by a circle, drawn with a dashed blue line. • Ceiling of the Class D airspace is noted within the circle on the Sectional.

  46. Class “C” AirspaceDepiction On Sectionals • Class C airspace is depicted on Sectional charts by concentric circles, drawn with a solid magenta line. • Ceiling height and floor height of each Class C airspace layer is shown on the Sectional (in hundreds of feet MSL).

  47. Class “C” AirspaceEntry Requirements • Class C airspace entry requires: • Operating two-way radio, with radio contact established. • Altitude-encoding transponder (Mode C or Mode S).

  48. Class “B” AirspaceDepiction On Sectionals • Class B airspace is depicted on Sectional charts by concentric circles, drawn with a solid blue line. • Ceiling height and floor height of each Class B airspace layer is shown on the Sectional (in hundreds of feet MSL).

  49. Class “B” AirspaceEntry Requirements • Class B airspace entry requires: • Two-way radio communication. • Permission to enter. • Altitude-encoding transponder (Mode C or Mode S). • In some cases, Private Pilot (or higher) pilot licensure.