Air Traffic Control and the National Airspace System (Part Two)

Class C

For the purpose of this section, the primary airport is the airport for which the Class C airspace area is designated. A satellite airport is any other airport within the Class C airspace area. No pilot may take off or land an aircraft at a satellite airport within a Class C airspace area except in compliance with FAA arrival and departure traffic patterns.

Two-way radio communications must be established and maintained with the ATC facility providing air traffic services prior to entering the airspace and thereafter maintained while within the airspace.

 

A pilot departing from the primary airport or satellite airport with an operating control tower must establish and maintain two-way radio communications with the control tower, and thereafter as instructed by ATC while operating in the Class C airspace area. If departing from a satellite airport without an operating control tower, the pilot must establish and maintain two-way radio communications with the ATC facility having jurisdiction over the Class C airspace area as soon as practicable after departing.

Unless otherwise authorized by the ATC having jurisdiction over the Class C airspace area, all aircraft within Class C airspace must be equipped with the appropriate transponder equipment meeting all applicable specifications found in 14 CFR part 91, section 91.215. Additionally, beginning January 1, 2020, aircraft operating in the Class C airspace described in 14 CFR part 91, section 91.225, must have ADS-B Out equipment installed, which meets the performance requirements of 14 CFR part 91, section 91.227.

Class D

No pilot may take off or land an aircraft at a satellite airport within a Class D airspace area except in compliance with FAA arrival and departure traffic patterns. A pilot departing from the primary airport or satellite airport with an operating control tower must establish and maintain two-way radio communications with the control tower, and thereafter as instructed by ATC while operating in the Class D airspace area. If departing from a satellite airport without an operating control tower, the pilot must establish and maintain two-way radio communications with the ATC facility having jurisdiction over the Class D airspace area as soon as practicable after departing.

Two-way radio communications must be established and maintained with the ATC facility providing air traffic services prior to entering the airspace and thereafter maintained while within the airspace.

 

If the aircraft radio fails in flight under IFR, the pilot should continue the flight by the route assigned in the last ATC clearance received; or, if being radar vectored, by the direct route from the point of radio failure to the fix, route, or airway specified in the vector clearance. In the absence of an assigned route, the pilot should continue by the route that ATC advised may be expected in a further clearance; or, if a route had not been advised, by the route filed in the flight plan.

If the aircraft radio fails in flight under VFR, the PIC 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.

Class E

Unless otherwise required by 14 CFR part 93 or unless otherwise authorized or required by the ATC facility having jurisdiction over the Class E airspace area, each pilot operating an aircraft on or in the vicinity of an airport in a Class E airspace area must comply with the requirements of Class G airspace. Each pilot must also comply with any traffic patterns established for that airport in 14 CFR 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 within four nautical miles from the airport, up to and including 2,500 feet AGL. However, if the aircraft radio fails in flight, the PIC 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 in flight under IFR, the pilot should continue the flight by the route assigned in the last ATC clearance received; or, if being radar vectored, by the direct route from the point of radio failure to the fix, route, or airway specified in the vector clearance. In the absence of an assigned route, the pilot should continue by the route that ATC advised may be expected in a further clearance; or, if a route had not been advised, by the route filed in the flight plan. Additionally, beginning January 1, 2020, aircraft operating in the Class E airspace described in 14 CFR part 91, section 91.225, must have ADS-B Out equipment installed, which meets the performance requirements of 14 CFR part 91, section 91.227.

Class G

When approaching to land at an airport without an operating control tower in Class G airspace:

  1. Each pilot of an airplane must make all turns of that airplane to the left unless the airport displays approved light signals or visual markings indicating that turns should be made to the right, in which case the pilot must make all turns to the right.
  2. Each pilot of a helicopter or a powered parachute must avoid the flow of fixed-wing aircraft.

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 within four nautical miles from the airport, up to and including 2,500 feet AGL. However, if the aircraft radio fails in flight, the PIC 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 in flight under IFR, the pilot should continue the flight by the route assigned in the last ATC clearance received; or, if being radar vectored, by the direct route from the point of radio failure to the fix, route, or airway specified in the vector clearance. In the absence of an assigned route, the pilot should continue by the route that ATC advised may be expected in a further clearance; or, if a route had not been advised, by the route filed in the flight plan.

Uncontrolled Airspace

It is possible for some airports within Class G airspace to have a control tower (Lake City, FL, for example). Be sure to check the Chart Supplement U.S. (formerly Airport/Facility Directory) to be familiar with the airport and associated airspace prior to flight.

Ultralight Vehicles

No person may operate an ultralight vehicle within Class A, Class B, Class C, or Class D airspace or within the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace designated for an airport unless that person has prior authorization from the ATC facility having jurisdiction over that airspace. (See 14 CFR part 103.)

Unmanned Free Balloons

Unless otherwise authorized by ATC, no person may operate an unmanned free balloon below 2,000 feet above the surface within the lateral boundaries of Class B, Class C, Class D, or Class E airspace designated for an airport. (See 14 CFR part 101.)

Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Regulations regarding unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) are currently being developed and are expected to be published by summer 2016 as 14 CFR part 107.

Parachute Jumps

No person may make a parachute jump, and no PIC may allow a parachute jump to be made from an aircraft, in or into Class A, Class B, Class C, or Class D airspace without, or in violation of, the terms of an ATC authorization issued by the ATC facility having jurisdiction over the airspace. (See 14 CFR part 105.)