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Class Echo Airspace

Introduction:

  • Class Echo is considered general controlled airspace
  • Unless otherwise required by part 93 or unless otherwise authorized or required by the ATC facility having jurisdiction over the Class E airspace area, each person operating an aircraft on or in the vicinity of an airport in a Class E airspace area must comply with the requirements of FAR 91.126
  • Unless designated, Class Echo begins at 14,500' MSL up to, but not including, 18,000' MSL, including the airspace FL600 and above, overlying the 48 contiguous States, including the waters within 12 miles from the coast of the 48 contiguous states; the District of Columbia; Alaska
  • Exclusions apply to the Alaska peninsula, west of longitude 160°00'00"W and the airspace below 1,500' above the surface of the earth unless specifically so designated
  • Class E airspace supports both Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) and Visual Flight Rules (VFR) operations within
Airspace Dimensions
Figure 1: General Airspace Overview

Airspace Dimensions:

  • Horizontal Limits:
    • The 48 contiguous States including the waters within 12 miles from the coast of the 48 contiguous States;
    • The District of Columbia;
    • Alaska, including the waters within 12 miles from the coast of Alaska, and that airspace above FL 600;
    • Excluding the Alaska peninsula west of long 160°00'00''W, and the airspace below 1,500 feet above the surface of the earth unless specifically so designated
  • Vertical Limits:
    • Class E airspace extends upward from either the surface or a designated altitude to the overlying or adjacent controlled airspace
    • 14,500' MSL to 17,999' MSL
    • Class E begins at 60,000' MSL and continues up to unlimited

Airspace Depiction:

  • Class E airspace below 14,500 feet MSL is charted on Sectional, Terminal, and IFR Enroute Low Altitude charts

ATC Facility:


VFR Visibility Requirements:

  • Below 10,000' MSL: 3 SM visibility, 500' below, 1,000' above, 2,000' horizontal
  • Above 10,000' MSL: 5 SM visibility, 1,000' below, 1,000' above, 1 SM horizontal

Sectional Chart Airways
Figure 2: Federal Airway

Operating Rules and Pilot/Equipment Requirements:

  • Pilot Certification: No specific certificate required
  • Equipment: No specific equipment is required
  • Arrival or Through Flight Entry Requirements:
    • ATC clearance for IFR, all require radio contact

Aircraft Separation:

  • IFR, SVFR, and runway operations
  • NO VFR from anyone

Restrictions:

  • Speed:
    • 250 knots below 10,000' MSL

Sectional Chart Extension
Figure 3: Extension to Surface

Notes:

  • Each pilot of an aircraft must comply with any traffic patterns established for that airport in part 93
  • Unless otherwise authorized or required by ATC, no person may operate an aircraft to, from, through, or on an airport having an operational control tower unless two-way radio communications are maintained between that aircraft and the control tower
  • Communications must be established prior to 4 NM from the airport, up to and including 2,500' AGL
    • If the aircraft radio fails in flight, the pilot in command may operate that aircraft and land if weather conditions are at or above basic VFR weather minimums, visual contact with the tower is maintained, and a clearance to land is received
    • If the aircraft radio fails while in flight under IFR, the pilot must comply with IFR two-way radio communications failure procedures

Types:

  • Federal Airway:

    • Airways are the primary means for routing aircraft operating under IFR
    • Federal airways are based on a centerline that extends from one navigational aid (NAVAID)/waypoint/fix/intersection to another NAVAID/waypoint/fix/intersection specified for that airway
    • A Federal airway includes the airspace within parallel boundary lines 4 NM to each side of the centerline
    • As in all instrument flight, courses are magnetic, and distances are in NM
    • The airspace of a Federal airway has a floor of 1,200' AGL, unless otherwise specified. A Federal airway does not include the airspace of a prohibited area
    • Unless otherwise specified, Victor airways include the airspace extending from 1,200' AGL up to, but not including 18,000' MSL
    • The airways are designated on sectional and IFR low altitude en route charts with the letter "V" followed by a number (e.g., "V23"). Typically, Victor airways are given odd numbers when oriented north/south and even numbers when oriented east/west
    • If more than one airway coincides on a route segment, the numbers are listed serially
    • VOR and L/MF routes:
      • Victor Airways, 1200' up to, but not including, 18,000'
      • A segment that contains two or more routes carries the numbers of all airways which coincide
      • Inside of 50 NM, the width will extend 4 NM from centerline (8 NM wide)
      • Outside of 50 NM, the accuracy of NAVAIDs (4.5° tolerance) will determine the width of the airway
      • Must fly on centerline of an airway or a direct route between fixes
      • About 2 NM in total width for every 13 NM
    • Colored airways:
      • L/MF navigation aids are depicted in amber
      • Green and red airways are plotted east and west
      • Amber and blue airways are plotted north and south
      • The VOR airways are classified as Domestic, Alaskan, and Hawaiian
    • Sectional Chart Transition Area
      Figure 4: Transition Area
    • The VOR airways are classified as Domestic, Alaskan, and Hawaiian
    • T-routes are available for use by RNAV equipped aircraft from 1,200' above the surface (or in some instances higher) up to, but not including, 18,000' MSL
    • T-routes are published on En-route Low Altitude Charts
    • Magnetic Reference Bearing (MRB) is the published bearing between two waypoints on the RNAV system
    • Calculated by applying magnetic variation at the waypoint to calculate true course between two-waypoints
  • Extension to Surface Area:

    • There are Class E airspace areas that serve as extensions to Class B, Class C, and Class D surface areas designated for an airport
    • Echo airspace used to control an area of airspace used for instrument procedures without imposing communication requirements on VFR traffic
    • In the example shown to the right, you see the Class echo extension connects with Class Delta airspace
  • En-route Domestic Area:

    • Echo airspace that extends upward from a specified altitude and are used for en-route domestic airspace areas to provide controlled airspace where there is a requirement to provide IFR en route ATC services but the Federal Airway does not exist and would be inadequate
    • Depicted on the outside of the transition area where Class Echo starts at 1,200' AGL
    • The lateral extend is identical to that of a federal airway
Sectional Chart Surface Extension
Figure 5: Extension to Surface
  • Transition Area:

    • Echo airspace used to control an area of airspace used for transition to/from the terminal or en-route environment
    • Delineates where Class Echo begins at either 700 or 1,200' AGL
      • Outside of the solid magenta edge of the circle, Class Echo begins at 1,200' AGL
      • Inside the circle where it is a fading magenta, Class Echo begins at 700' AGL
  • Surface Area Designated For An Airport:

    • Echo airspace that extends to the surface of an airport without a control tower or a reverted Class Delta airspace outside of operating hours
    • Designed to contain all IAPs for that airport
  • Offshore (beyond 12NM):

    • There are Class E airspace areas that extend upward from a specified altitude to, but not including, 18,000 feet MSL and are designated as offshore airspace areas
    • This areas offshore control of incoming and outgoing international flights
    • These areas provide controlled airspace beyond 12 miles from the coast of the U.S. in those areas where there is a requirement to provide IFR en route ATC services and within which the U.S. is applying domestic procedures
  • 14,500:

    • Unless otherwise noted, Class Echo airspace begins at 14,500' MSL to, but not including, 18,000' MSL overlying:
      • The 48 contiguous States including the waters within 12 miles from the coast of the 48 contiguous States;
      • The District of Columbia;
      • Alaska, including the waters within 12 miles from the coast of Alaska, and that airspace above FL 600; excluding the Alaska peninsula west of long 160 00’00’’W, and the airspace below 1,500 feet above the surface of the earth unless specifically so designated
Sectional Chart Offshore
Figure 6: Offshore Class Echo Altitudes
Acronym:
F
Federal Airway (1,200' AGL - 18,000' MSL)
E
Extension to a surface area
E
En-route domestic area
T
Transition Area (700)
S
Surface for airport
O
Offshore (beyond 12 NM)
14-50
14,500' unless otherwise noted


References: