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Controlled Airspace Clarification

skiflydive

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How about a little local airspace lesson? This is the current sectional chart from our area.

The magenta "Fade" rings around the airports don't really indicate controlled airspace, they indicate the floor of the controlled Class E airspace above. Outside the OD of the ring the floor of the class E is 1200', inside the OD the floor is 700'. Since our upper limit is 400' we can legally fly inside those rings. If you do you need to be aware of airport traffic patterns and likely active runways and pay attention to aircraft activity.

If you look at Benton Harbor airport, it has a dashed magenta circle around it. This is class E "Surface based" controlled airspace, and you can't fly inside here without contacting ATC for permission/clearance. The same holds true for the dashed magenta Class E surface based approach/departure extensions you see north and south of Kalamazoo's airspace. (They're a little hard to see because of the information density) You'll also see that the dashed circle around Kalamazoo is blue. This indicates that it's Class D and you definitely can't fly in that area without contacting ATC. The grey rings around Kalamazoo indicate it's TRSA (terminal radar service area). It's shaped like an upside down wedding cake and because of it's altitude floors has no effect on our flying.

Essentially, we can fly in "Uncontrolled" (by the FAA/ATC) airspace minus any other restrictions like national/state parks, sports arenas, etc. The trick is to know which airspace is controlled. Class E is controlled airspace above 700' or 1200' depending on the magenta fade ring and to the surface in some cases as indicated.

Hope this helps. Critique, disagreement, and questions gladly accepted.
 

tcope

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Going by what you posted... you can fly in "controlled airspace". If I'm within 5 miles of an airport I can fly above 400' (hobby flight). I just need to call the airport tower and owner and let them know.

Really... simply going by Section 336 is a _lot_ easier to understand and is what is important.
 

skiflydive

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Going by what you posted... you can fly in "controlled airspace". If I'm within 5 miles of an airport I can fly above 400' (hobby flight). I just need to call the airport tower and owner and let them know.

Really... simply going by Section 336 is a _lot_ easier to understand and is what is important.
That's not what I said...

The pertinent rule is from FAA AC 107-2. Section 5.8
The entire AC can be seen>>>>> here. Scroll down to section 5.8

Furthermore, there is a lot of confusion relative to what constitutes controlled airspace. My post was to help with the confusion.
 
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mkp2020

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I would agree with the OP's assessment of the types of airspace depicted in the sectional, but would suggest clarification is needed with regard to some of the conclusions drawn.

For hobbyist pilots, most of what is said would not apply. Those pilots would simply determine which airports are within five miles of the flight location, and would need to contact the owner(s) and tower(s) to notify them of the planned flight. For the most part, hobbyist flights do not require permission or clearance - just notification.

For commercial Part 107 pilots, I would agree that the dashed circles around Benton Harbor, Kalamazoo, and Battle Creek would indicate the prohibited flying locations. If the pilot wanted to fly within those controlled airspaces, he or she would need an authorization to be granted by the FAA. Authorization would be requested via an online form on the FAA website. Part 107 pilots would be able to fly anywhere else on this map including near any of the other airports that are not in controlled airspace and would not be required to notify them before flying.
 

JeepDSL

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I am 4.5 miles away from a hospital that has a helispot. According the the B4UFly app, I must, by law, notify the hospital before I fly around my house. I am 50 miles from Whiteman Air Force Base and get more traffic over my house from military helicopters (like 1 or 2 flights a month and probably over 1000' up) than I do from the hospital (none I've noticed in 17 years). I'm also surrounded by private strips, most are inactive except for one guy who flies an ultralight a few times a year. I completely understand the need for safety precautions, but a 5 mile radius makes flying my Mavics a pain.
 
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