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Encyclopedia > Airspace class

The world’s navigable airspace is divided into three-dimensional segments, each of which is assigned to a specific class. Most nations adhere to the classification specified by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and described below. Individual nations also designate Special Use Airspace, which places further rules on air navigation for reasons of national security or safety. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), an agency of the United Nations, codifies the principles and techniques of international air navigation and fosters the planning and development of international air transport to ensure safe and orderly growth. ...

Contents

ICAO definitions

On March 12, 1990, ICAO adopted the current airspace classification scheme. The classes are fundamentally defined in terms of flight rules and interactions between aircraft and Air Traffic Control (ATC). Some key concepts are: March 12 is the 71st day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (72nd in leap years). ... This article is about the year. ... An Airbus A380, currently the worlds largest airliner An aircraft is any vehicle or craft capable of atmospheric flight. ... Air Traffic Control Towers (ATCTs) at Schiphol Airport Air traffic control (ATC) is a service provided by ground-based controllers who direct aircraft on the ground and in the air. ...

  • Separation: Maintaining a specific minimum distance between an aircraft and another aircraft or terrain to avoid collisions, normally by requiring aircraft to fly at set levels or level bands, on set routes or in certain directions, or by controlling an aircraft's speed.
  • Clearance: Permission given by ATC for an aircraft to proceed under certain conditions contained within the clearance.
  • Traffic Information: Information given by ATC on the position and, if known, intentions of other aircraft likely to pose a hazard to flight.

The classifications adopted by ICAO are:

  • Class A: All operations must be conducted under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) or Special visual flight rules (SVFR) and are subject to ATC clearance. All flights are separated from each other by ATC.
  • Class B: Operations may be conducted under IFR, SVFR, or Visual flight rules (VFR). All aircraft are subject to ATC clearance. All flights are separated from each other by ATC.
  • Class C: Operations may be conducted under IFR, SVFR, or VFR. All aircraft are subject to ATC clearance. Aircraft operating under IFR and SVFR are separated from each other and from flights operating under VFR. Flights operating under VFR are given traffic information in respect of other VFR flights.
  • Class D: Operations may be conducted under IFR, SVFR, or VFR. All aircraft are subject to ATC clearance. Aircraft operating under IFR and SVFR are separated from each other, and are given traffic information in respect of VFR flights. Flights operating under VFR are given traffic information in respect of other VFR flights.
  • Class E: Operations may be conducted under IFR, SVFR, or VFR. Aircraft operating under IFR and SVFR are separated from each other, and are subject to ATC clearance. Flights under VFR are not subject to ATC clearance. As far as is practical, traffic information is given to all flights in respect of VFR flights.
  • Class F: Operations may be conducted under IFR or VFR. ATC separation will be provided, so far as practical, to aircraft operating under IFR. Traffic Information may be given as far as is practical in respect of other flights.
  • Class G: Operations may be conducted under IFR or VFR. ATC separation is not provided. Traffic Information may be given as far as is practical in respect of other flights.

Classes A-E are referred to as controlled airspace. Classes F and G are uncontrolled airspace. The airspace classes are pronounced using radio phonetics, so that class B, for example, is pronounced "class bravo", and class C is pronounced "class charlie". It has been suggested that Air traffic control#Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) be merged into this article or section. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Special VFR. (Discuss) Special Visual Flight Rules (SVFR) are a set of aviation regulations under which a pilot may operate an aircraft. ... Visual flight rules (VFR) are a set of aviation regulations under which a pilot may operate an aircraft, if weather conditions are sufficient to allow the pilot to visually control the aircrafts attitude, navigate, and maintain separation with obstacles such as terrain and other aircraft. ... Controlled airspace exists in areas where air traffic control is capable of providing traffic separation. ... Uncontrolled airspace exists wherever a control service cant be provided for whatever reason, or is not deemed necessary, many of them are above mountains or oceans. ... FAA radiotelephony phonetic alphabet and Morse code chart. ...


As of 2004, ICAO is considering a proposal to reduce the number of airspace classifications to three, which roughly correspond to the current classes C, E and G. 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Use of airspace classes

Each national aviation authority determines how it uses the ICAO classifications in its airspace design. In some countries, the rules are modified slightly to fit the airspace rules and air traffic services that existed before the ICAO standardisation.


United States

The U.S. adopted a slightly modified version of the ICAO system on September 16, 1993, when regions of airspace designated according to older classifications were converted wholesale. The exceptions are some Terminal Radar Service Areas (TRSA), which have special rules and still exist in a few places. United States is the current Good Article Collaboration of the week! Please help to improve this article to the highest of standards. ... September 16 is the 259th day of the year (260th in leap years). ... 1993 (MCMXCIII) was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar and marked the Beginning of the International Decade to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination (1993-2003). ...


With some exceptions, Class A airspace is applied to all airspace between 18,000 feet and Flight Level 600. Above FL600, the airspace reverts to Class E. The transition altitude (see Flight level) is also consistently 18,000 feet. In aviation, a flight level is the nominal altitude of an aircraft referenced to a standard pressure datum, as opposed to the real altitude above mean sea level. ... In aviation, a flight level is the nominal altitude of an aircraft referenced to a standard pressure datum, as opposed to the real altitude above mean sea level. ...


Class B airspace is used around major airports, in a funnel shape that is designed to contain arriving and departing commercial air traffic operating under IFR, up to 10,000 feet above MSL (12,000 feet above Denver, Colorado). Class C airspace is used around airports and military air bases with a moderate traffic level. Class D is used for smaller airports that have a control tower. The U.S. uses a modified version of the ICAO class C and D airspace, where only radio contact with ATC rather than an ATC clearance is required for VFR operations. For considerations of sea level change, in particular rise associated with possible global warming, see sea level rise. ... Nickname: The Mile-High City Location of Denver in Colorado, USA Coordinates: Country United States State Colorado City-County Denver (coextensive) Founded November 22, 1858 Incorporated November 7, 1861 Mayor John Hickenlooper (D) Area    - City 401. ...


Other controlled airspace is designated as Class E - this includes a large part of the lower airspace.


The U.S. does not use ICAO Class F.


Class G airspace (Uncontrolled) is mostly used for a small layer of airspace near the ground, but there are larger areas of Class G airspace in remote regions.


Canada

Canada broadly follows the US in application of airspace. It also does not use class F, instead, the term Class F is used for Special Use Airspace, which occasionally causes confusion in discussions.


Germany

In Germany, Classes A and B are generally not used at all. Class C is used for all Airspace above Flight Level (FL) 100 (or FL 130 near the Alps.) Airspace is divided into lower aispace below FL 285 and upper airspace above FL 285. In aviation, a flight level is the nominal altitude of an aircraft referenced to a standard pressure datum, as opposed to the real altitude above mean sea level. ... The West face of the Petit Dru above the Chamonix valley near the Mer de Glace. ...

  • Class A is not used.
  • Class B is not used.
  • Class C is used for controlled zones above and around airports and all airspace above FL 100 (or FL 130 near the Alps.)
  • Class D is used for controlled zones or above and around airspace class C designated zones where CVFR is not necessary.
  • Class E is used for airspace between usually 2500 ft. AGL (around airports 1000 ft. or 1700 ft. AGL) and FL 100.
  • Class F is used for IFR-Flight in uncontrolled airspace.
  • Class G is used below 2500 ft. AGL (around airports below 1000 ft. AGL, then rises via a step at 1700 ft. to 2500 ft. AGL)

It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Visual flight rules. ... in-flight refueling Instrument flight rules Interface Repository Integral Fast Reactor This page concerning a three-letter acronym or abbreviation is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ...

Lithuania

In Lithuania, Classes A and B are generally not used at all.

  • Class A is not used.
  • Class B is not used.

Classes C and D are used in the following areas of controlled airspace of the Republic of Lithuania:

  • in control zones (CTR);
  • in terminal control areas (TMA);
  • in control area (CTA);
  • in upper control area (UTA).

Source: Airfield Guide Lithuania, 29 SEP 2005, ENR 1.1-1 CTR may stand for: Click-through rate a measure of the success of an online advertising campaign counter mode of block ciphers Choose The Right a common Latter Day Saint saying ( Similar to What Would Jesus Do ) This page concerning a three-letter acronym or abbreviation is a disambiguation page... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... The letters CTA may refer to the Chicago Transit Authority or the Common Travel Area between the UK and Ireland. ... UTA is a three-letter abbreviation for. ...


United Kingdom

Class A

  • All airways up to FL 245 with the exception of those airways lying within the Belfast CTR/TMA and the Scottish TMA.
  • The Terminal Control Areas (TMAs) around London and Manchester.
  • The London Control Zone around Heathrow and the Channel Islands Control Zone; these areas are thus off-limits to VFR flights (however Special VFR is used as a get-around this).
  • The CTAs of Daventry, Cotswold and Worthing.

Class B Belfast International Airport (IATA: BFS, ICAO: EGAA) is an airport located some 24 kilometres (15 miles) west of Belfast in Northern Ireland. ... London (pronounced ) is the capital city of England and the United Kingdom. ... Manchester International Airport (IATA: MAN, ICAO: EGCC) is an airport in Manchester, UK, formerly known as Ringway. ... London Heathrow Airport (IATA: LHR, ICAO: EGLL), often referred to as Heathrow, is the third busiest airport in the world, after Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Chicago OHare. ... The Channel Islands are a group of islands off the coast of Normandy, France, in the English Channel. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with SVFR. (Discuss) Special VFR (Visual Flight Rules) allows aircraft to fly in weather conditions in which such flight would normally be prohibited. ...


Not used in the UK.


Class C


The Upper Flight Information Region (UIR) between FL 245 and FL 660.


Class D

Class E Gatwick Airport (IATA Airport Code: LGW, ICAO Airport Code: EGKK) is Londons second airport and the second largest airport in the UK after Heathrow. ... Glasgow International Airport (IATA: GLA, ICAO: EGPF), located in Renfrewshire, 8 miles (13 km) west of Glasgow, near the towns of Paisley and Renfrew, is currently the busiest airport in Scotland, and seventh busiest in the UK in terms of annual passenger throughput [2]. It was the first airport in... Birmingham International Airport (IATA: BHX, ICAO: EGBB) is a major airport located on the border of the city of Birmingham and borough of Solihull (and mostly in the latter) in the West Midlands, England. ... Newcastle Airport (IATA: NCL, ICAO: EGNT) is the ninth largest airport in the United Kingdom. ...


Parts of the Belfast and Scottish TMAs and a small part of the Durham Tees Valley CTR. Durham Tees Valley Airport (IATA: MME, ICAO: EGNV) is located five miles east of Darlington, in North East England, about ten miles south-west of Middlesbrough and south of Durham. ...


Class F


"Advisory Routes" (ADRs): regularly used routes similar to airways but where traffic levels are not high enough to warrant establishment of an airway.


Class G


All remaining airspace, comprising by far the largest part of the airspace below FL 245. The UK is unusual in that IFR flight in Class G airspace is relatively common and ATC units may provide an "as far as is practical" form of separation between some such flights.


In addition the UK has a couple of special classes of airspace that do not fall within the ICAO classes:


Aerodrome Traffic Zones (ATZ) are zones of between 1.5nm and 2.5nm from the surface to 2,000ft AAL set up around an airport, where aircraft must obey the instructions of the tower controller (if present), must make radio contact with the Information Officer or Air/Ground radio unit on the airport before entering the zone (in the case of an uncontrolled airfield), or must obey ground signals if non-radio.


Military Air Traffic Zones (MATZ) are zones from the surface to 3,000ft AAL set up around military air bases in class G airspace. Military aircraft treat these as if they are controlled airspace; civilian traffic is advised but not obliged to do the same.


Australia

Australia has adopted a civil airspace system based on the United States National Airspace System (NAS):

  • Class A is used above FL180 along the populated coastal areas, and above FL245 elsewhere.
  • Class B is not used.
  • Class C is used in a 360° funnel shape in the Terminal Control Zones of the major international airports, extending up to the base of the Class A, generally at FL180 over these airports. It also overlies Class D airspace at smaller airports.
  • Class D is used for the Terminal Control Zones of medium sized airports, extending from the surface up to 4500 feet. Above this, Class C airspace is used, although generally only in an a sector, and not 360° around the airport.
  • Class E is used along the populated coastal areas, from 8500 feet to the base of the overlying Class A or Class C airspace.
  • Class F is not used.
  • Class G is used wherever other classes are not - almost always from the surface to the base of the overlying Class A, C, D or E airspace.

In addition, Australia has a non-standard class of airspace for use at the capital city general aviation airports, called a General Aviation Airport Procedures Zone (GAAP Zone). A control tower provides procedural clearances for all aircraft inside the zone. Additionally, any aircraft operating within 5nm of the zone must obtain a clearance. VFR aircraft arrive and depart using standard arrival and departure routes, while instrument arrival and departure procedures are published for IFR operations. During VMC, IFR aircraft are not provided with full IFR services. During IMC, or marginal VMC, VFR operations are restricted in order to facilitate full IFR service for IFR aircraft. General aviation (abbr. ...


Airspace classes and VFR

Authorities use the ICAO definitions to derive additional rules for VFR cloud clearance, visibility, and equipment requirements.


For example, consider Class E airspace. An aircraft operating under VFR may not be in communication with ATC, so it is imperative that its pilot be able to see and avoid other aircraft (and vice versa). That includes IFR flights emerging from a cloud, so the VFR flight must keep a designated distance from the edges of clouds above, below, and laterally, and must maintain at least a designated visibility, to give the two aircraft time to observe and avoid each other. The low-level speed limit of 250 knots does not apply above 10,000 feet, so the visibility requirements are higher. A knot is a unit of speed, abbreviated kt or kn. ...


On the other hand, in Class B airspace, separation is provided by ATC to all flights. Now the VFR flight only needs to see where it is going, so visibility requirements are reduced and there is no designated minimum distance from clouds.


Similar considerations determine whether a VFR flight must use a two-way radio and/or a transponder. In telecommunication, the term transponder (sometimes abbreviated to XPDR or TPDR) has the following meanings: An automatic device that receives, amplifies, and retransmits a signal on a different frequency (see also broadcast translator). ...


Special-use Airspace

Each national authority designates areas of special use airspace (SUA), primarily for reasons of national security. This is not a separate classification from the ATC-based classes; each piece of SUA is contained in one or more zones of letter-classed airspace.


SUAs range in restrictiveness, from areas where flight is always prohibited except to authorized aircraft, to areas that are not charted but are used by military for potentially hazardous operations (in this case, the onus is on the military personnel to avoid conflict). Refer to the external links for more specific details.


External links

  • 3D representations of US Airspace and Sectional Charts of the United States via Google Earth
  • Airspace in the U.S., from the FAA's Aeronautical Information Manual
  • UK Manual of Air Traffic Services, Part 1
  • US Airspace Aeronautical Charts

  Results from FactBites:
 
Airspace classes - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1397 words)
Class A: All operations must be conducted under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) or Special visual flight rules (SVFR) and are subject to ATC clearance.
The airspace classes are pronounced using radio phonetics, so that class B, for example, is pronounced "class bravo", and class C is pronounced "class charlie".
Class B airspace is used around major airports, in a funnel shape that is designed to contain arriving and departing commercial air traffic operating under IFR, up to 10,000 feet above MSL (12,000 feet above Denver, Colorado).
Airspace - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (242 words)
Airspace means the portion of the atmosphere controlled by a particular country on top of its territory and territorial waters or, more generally, any specific portion of the atmosphere.
Uncontrolled airspace is airspace in which air traffic control does not exert any authority.
One example of Prohibited airspace is the Mall area in Washington, D.C. which contains the White House and the US Capitol.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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