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By aeroexperiments
#206843
(Last edit: actually I think the AIM gives the clearest interpretation, if not legally binding. See post # 20 http://www.hanggliding.org/viewtopic.ph ... 093#207093 )

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Speaking of the FAR's and part 103 in particular-...

I found a webpage ( http://www.flytandem.com/airspace.htm ) that suggests it actually is ok for ultralights (including us) to fly through the class-E-to-surface rectangular keyways (extensions) that project outwards from some (class D or higher) airports. These class E areas have no altitude limit and I always thought Part 103 was interpreted to mean we were supposed to stay out of them (which sets up inconvenient barriers in many places). Futhermore I believe these Class-E-to-surface areas are usually set up to protect instrument traffic which could be present at any hour regardless of whether the tower is active or not.

Can anyone fill us in more on this?

(Edit-- Joe G., who was mentioned in the above webpage, emailed me that that was not any kind of official FAA interpretation. Good to know.)

Examples of these rectangular-Class E-to-surface keyways ("extensions") projecting from a Class D airport: http://www.airnav.com/airport/KSLE , http://www.airnav.com/airport/KMFR

Example of an airport with Class-E-to-surface airspace with no class D airspace: http://www.airnav.com/airport/KONP

These class-E-to-surface areas are shown by dashed magenta lines; this is different from the shaded magenta shapes which are simply variations in the floor of the Class E airspace (700 or 1200 AGL).

What if any of this class-E-to-surface airspace can we enter without the FAA frowning at us?

Just curious... Steve
Last edited by aeroexperiments on Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:18 pm, edited 11 times in total.
User avatar
By AIRTHUG
#206859
Below class E there is often class G airspace... near the ground. They're nearly interchangeable, except for some little things like cloud clearances...

"Class E to ground" signifies just that. Legally, yes, we can fly right through it.

Is it wise? That might be another story...

But if aircraft are flying IFR (instrument) rather than VFR (visual)... we wouldn't and shouldn't be flying there are anywhere else
User avatar
By AIRTHUG
#206860
aeroexperiments wrote:Speaking of the FAR's and part 103 in particular-- ( see this thread in Q and A, Learning to Hang Glide about flying in the dark http://www.hanggliding.org/viewtopic.php?t=19095 )
And that thread is not about flying in the dark.

It's about knowing the rules (LAWS) we must obey... ignorance is no excuse...
User avatar
By aeroexperiments
#206876
flyhigh013 wrote:Below class E there is often class G airspace... near the ground. They're nearly interchangeable, except for some little things like cloud clearances...

"Class E to ground" signifies just that. Legally, yes, we can fly right through it.

Is it wise? That might be another story...
Ryan you missed my point, I was talking about FAR 103.17

§ 103.17 Operations in certain airspace.
No person may operate an ultralight vehicle 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.

Has the FAA given some interpretation of this other than the literal one, which says stay out of all the class-E-to-surface that is associated in some way with some airport?

Note again that there is NO upward limit to this airspace...
flyhigh013 wrote:But if aircraft are flying IFR (instrument) rather than VFR (visual)... we wouldn't and shouldn't be flying there are anywhere else
PS -- It's not the main point here, but it is common for IFR and VFR traffic to be in the same airspace. IFR traffic is responsible for keeping a visual lookout like everyone else, when they are not in actual IMC (clouds). It's around the edges of the clouds that things get sketchy. Designating class E to surface keeps VFR pilots away from the edges of the clouds in these areas of high instrument traffic. In class G it's legal to be just barely clear of the clouds if you are within 1200 feet of the surface. In class E it's not. This probably isn't a "little thing" in the FAA's view....

Steve
Last edited by aeroexperiments on Thu Sep 23, 2010 12:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
By AIRTHUG
#206877
I'll PM Shadd... he's my airspace guru :lol:
User avatar
By aeroexperiments
#206882
Here's another illustration of Class-E-to-surface from the USPPA--
http://www.usppa.org/Resources/reading_charts.htm . They are saying we need to stay clear.

The flytandem website ( http://www.flytandem.com/airspace.htm ) comes to a different conclusion. They seem to be saying that in the case of a class D airport that reverts to class E when the tower is closed, the "Class-E-to-surface" designated "for the airport", as it pertains to FAR 103 (i.e. where we cannot fly without permission!) includes only the dashed blue class D circle around the airport and not any dashed magenta extensions. That would be good to know if true becomes sometimes the dashed magenta rectangles that extend away from the airport are quite large in area.

(Edit-- Joe G., who was mentioned in the above webpage, emailed me that that was not any kind of official FAA interpretation.)

Steve
Last edited by aeroexperiments on Tue Sep 28, 2010 11:36 am, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
By jimrooney
#206884
I'll PM Shadd... he's my airspace guru
:thumbsup:

Let us know his thoughts for sure.

But also be aware of this guys.... While the HG community LOVES to puzzle this stuff out in their heads, the FAA does not. And these are legal documents. It's all fun and games till you're in front of a judge. More realistically, till you're talking to the FAA guy that happens to have his "enforcement hat" on.

Have a nose around for the FAAs understanding of their "dual role". They know very well the distinction between when they're wearing the two hats. You should too :)

Suffice to say, yeah, ask those actually in the "know" as very few among us will be, even as much as we like to think we are.

Do realize that the only definitive answer you're actually going to get is going to come from an aviation lawyer. You *might* be able to get the correct information from someone at the FAA, but they tend to have the same "interpretation" disease that we have. With an aviation lawyer, this stuff is their bread and butter... they're very aware when you're dealing with areas dependant on "interpretation" and when you're not.... a distinction you don't always get from the FAA types.

Unfortunately, an aviation lawyer's time costs a mint.
We can likely get a "good enough" answer from someone who knows enough.
I'll see if my guru's have anything. One has the ear of an aviation lawyer... I'll see if he can be bothered.

Jim
User avatar
By jimrooney
#206886
Ok, I dug a bit on Rob's site (flytandem) to see what you were referencing...
I have recently been informed by Joe Gregor that "surface area Class E for an airport" is specifically defined in FAA Order 7400.9. In the past this area included everything within the dashed magenta line depicted around certain airports on the sectional charts - keyways included. This FAA Order has been recently (since 2003?) been changed much to our favor.
Have a look into 7400.9 (off to google for me too!)

The issue isn't if you can fly through Class E that's been designated to an airport... YOU CAN'T! ... please do not view this as a grey area... it's black and white.

What Rob and Joe are talking about is that the "keyway" section of airport class E airspace may not be designated as Class E to the surface.

Joe says it's not, and thus you could get around the keyhole bit... but please do not make the mistake in logic in thinking that this means the rest of the ring!

Jim
#206893
jimrooney wrote:http://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/medi ... 7400.9.pdf

Oh holy god... I'm not going through that monster.


Jim
Well this is most interesting. I did look at that document.(FAA Order JO 7400.9U) (August 18 2010 edition)

Note that really this thing only lists out the airspace. It doesn't legally lay out the rules for the airspace.

Remember that the phrasing in FAR 103 is "No person may operate an ultralight vehicle within... the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace designated for an airport". We're never at any point told precisely what "designated for an airport" means and unfortunately that's not entirely cleared up in the document below, but we're giving some vague ground for making a guess...

There is a category called "Class E Airspace Areas Designated As Surface Areas" (#6002, page E-1). Below the heading, the description says "The Class E airspace areas listed below are designated as a surface area for an airport."

(This is the start of the confusion right here. Right in the title, they should have called it something more like "Class-E-to-surface airspace designated for an airport." I guess. "Designated as surface areas" is meaningless, because they aren't listing ALL the Class-E-to-surface airspace in this category.)

This list includes the core class D rings of most or all Class D airports (presumably because they revert to class E when the tower is inoperative.) No altitude limit is stated (though they do have altitude limits when they are class D.) This might affect ultralights flying early in the morning but the towers will be open during most hang gliding hours, making these areas class D with definite altitude limits.

(Flying over one of these areas above the normal Class D ceiling, but when class E hours are in effect, is probably not something to waste time worrying about.)

This list also includes places like Newport Oregon http://www.airnav.com/airport/KONP where there is a Class E circle or irregular shape. Clearly this is somewhere we aren't supposed to go into without asking-- it is class-E-to-surface designated for an airport. Officially, there is no altitude limit of any kind on this airspace-- it goes from surface up to infinity (or till it hits a higher class of airspace).

HOWEVER, the dashed magenta class-E-to-surface extensions to Class D airports (like Salem http://www.airnav.com/airport/KSLE and Medford http://www.airnav.com/airport/KMFR in Oregon) are all listed under a completely different category: "Class E Airspace Areas Designated as an Extension to a Class D or Class E Surface Area. The Class E airspace areas listed below consist of airspace extending upward from the surface designated as an extension to a Class D or Class E surface area." (#6004, E-156)

We can also find corresponding headings for class-E-to-surface dashed magenta extensions to class C airspace (#6003, E-141) or class B airspace (E-155).

So the key question is, are the class-E-to-surface "extensions" considered to be "designated for an airport"? If yes, then we can't enter them without special permission in an ultralight. If no, we can. Or to put it another way, are the classification of "designated for an airport" and the classification of "extension" intended to be separate and mutually exclusive?

The phraseology and organization of the above document suggests--not very clearly-- that the FAA does not consider those class-E-to-surface extensions to class B/C/D to be "designated for an airport" as invoked by FAR 103. If so this is a good thing as some of these Class-E-to-surface extensions take up a lot of room. Note again that they do extend from the surface on upward indefinitely (until they hit some higher class of airspace).

Certainly there's ample ground here for the FAA to construe this any way they want and throw your ass in the clink . What is to say that those extensions are NOT considered to be "designated for" the nearby class C or class D airports?

Double-check with your local FSDO (FAA office)!
Or like Jim said.... lawyers, interpretations, etc...

Steve
Last edited by aeroexperiments on Wed Sep 29, 2010 3:21 pm, edited 21 times in total.
By blindrodie
#206895
Double-check with your local FSDO (FAA office)!
Best line posted yet...

However even the FSDO's will differ in their interpretations! 8)
User avatar
By dievhart
#206896
Hey now, that pretty cool Jim...
SFO starts on B-54 (page 132 of 1444)
Half Moon Bay is on page E-911 (page 1251)
look up the airport code and then do a search in this pdf for that code.....
last updated 9/15/10 it looks like.
Diev
jimrooney wrote:http://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/medi ... 7400.9.pdf

Oh holy god... I'm not going through that monster.
Hahahhaa... seek the advice of an expert ;)

Jim
User avatar
By jimrooney
#206897
Best line posted yet...

However even the FSDO's will differ in their interpretations!
This is why if you REALLY need to know, you need to talk to an aviation lawyer. It's their business to know. FSDOs do lots of things and have people that come from VERY different backgrounds. Getting the ex-atp pilot who now flies a desk and "enforces" the rules is not uncommon. They're experts in paperwork, not necessarily the rules... and even the ones that are, know *their* section of the rules... not the one you're asking about.

Contrast this to someone who's business is how aviation law works.
Very different worlds.
I wouldn't trust the FSDO's read of the rules any further than I could throw them.

Jim
User avatar
By laminac
#206903
I did find this

Airspace we can enter only with prior authorization from the controlling authority
Class A, B, C, D controlled airspace (FAR 103.17)
Lateral boundaries of Class E airspace designated for an airport (FAR 103.17)
Prohibited or restricted areas (FAR 103.19)
Areas designated in a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) (FAR 103.20)


http://www.eagleparagliding.com/?q=node/68

(yeah yeah I know it's a paragliding site)

I also found this

http://www.usppa.org/Resources/reading_charts.htm
below is found about half way down on the right in the gray area.

The dashed blue lines encircling the tower controlled (blue) Sanford airport denote its class D airspace. The magenta dashed line in a rectangle shape off the left is the "class E airspace designated for an airport". It's also called the surface area of class E and it requires permission. It is the only case of class E where you must have permission from the controlling facility.

since this would be lateral boundaries of class E airspace we are not allowed in them without permission. This is how I understand it, but correct me if I'm wrong.
Last edited by laminac on Thu Sep 23, 2010 4:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
By flyhg1
#206904
jimrooney wrote:I wouldn't trust the FSDO's read of the rules any further than I could throw them.
If you get gigged for violating FAR 103.17 the first people you will be talking to will be your friendly local FSDO, and it will be their decision on how far and how serious to take it. Therefore, even though it is true that FSDOs vary in their interpretations of the FARs, knowing in advance how your local FSDO will define "...within the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace designated for an airport ..." would seem to me to be important.

My guess is that in cases like KCON on the NY Sectional it will include the entire area outlined by the dashed magenta line.

http://skyvector.com/

A reference to a website probably won't carry much weight when it comes to your defense, and keep in mind that the government has lots of money to spend in pursuit of their case. You, on the other hand, get to use your own for your defense, and it will still be gone even if you happen to win.

Bruce
User avatar
By aeroexperiments
#206909
laminac wrote: I also found this

http://www.usppa.org/Resources/reading_charts.htm
below is found about half way down on the right in the gray area.

The dashed blue lines encircling the tower controlled (blue) Sanford airport denote its class D airspace. The magenta dashed line in a rectangle shape off the left is the "class E airspace designated for an airport". It's also called the surface area of class E and it requires permission. It is the only case of class E where you must have permission from the controlling facility.

since this would be lateral boundaries of class E airspace we are not allowed in them without permission. This is how I understand it, but correct me if I'm wrong.
It's all very weird. The most literal interpretation of FAR 103 would seem to be as you said above as those extensions are class-E-to-surface and they would not be there if there was an not airport there. Period.

It doesn't really make any sense at all that in the larger FAA document (FAA Order JO 7400.9U) cited above, some of the class-E-to-surface areas are explicitly given the title "designated as surface areas" and other class-E-to-surface areas (namely, the dashed magenta rectangular extensions from Class D and Class C airports) are not given that title. It gives us no real answer on whether or not the class-E-to-surface extensions to the class D and C airspace are considered to be "designated for an airport" or not.

Steve
Last edited by aeroexperiments on Fri Sep 24, 2010 7:24 pm, edited 7 times in total.
User avatar
By jimrooney
#206918
flyhg1,
Nope. I'll take my lawyers interpretation over the FSDOs any day of the week.

They might be the one that I'm talking to first, but I'll just give them Greg's number.

It's like saying that asking a cop about a legal matter will give you a better answer than asking a lawyer who specializes in that particular matter.

I know it sounds knit picky, but I've dealt with too many dunderheads at FSDOs.
I've dealt with some spot on ones as well... but that's my point... you get what you get, and they most likely ain't going to be experts. They'll be better at reading the rules than you (us) will be though...ha, that's for sure!

But if I was looking into the legality of flying through specific airspace, sure I'd have a chat with the local FSDO guys, but I'd definitely have a chat with an aviation lawyer as well.

For a "in general" answer, maybe I'd stop with the FSDO, but I'd call a few. Hahahaha, see how many different answers you get from a few of them btw.

Like I said, they're not experts.
Not in the way an aviation lawyer is.

Jim
User avatar
By BBJCaptain
#206946
Maybe this might clear up some of the confusion, but then again maybe it won't

http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publicat ... m0302.html

http://www.faa.gov/library/manuals/avia ... r%2014.pdf

Class E airspace associated with either B,C, or D airspace is to provide a safety buffer for instrument approaches to said airports.
If the Class E extension is dashed magenta then its a surface are with the same vertical limits of the controlling airspace i.e. C surface up to 4000' or D up to 2500"
If it is shaded then it starts at 700' agl up to the class limit of the airspace.

If the tower is closed the hole area defined by the blue and magenta dashes becomes Class E surface area for the airport and still has the same limits.
The controlling agency becomes the approach control or en-route controller i.e. SoCal or LAX center.

If the tower is closed at a Class C airport with a shaded Class E extension. Then the airspace becomes a Class E surface area with a Class E extension.

It kinda makes you want to pull your hair out some times.

This is all to protect the IFR aircraft from any VFR traffic while on radar vectors, or on a non radar environment, while shooting a published approach to a towered or uncontrolled airport.

The best advise is to always have the current Sec chart for the area you are flying in. The first words out of the FAA's mouth will be do you have a current chart.
User avatar
By aeroexperiments
#207093
Look at it this way-- the AIM is not the FAR but gives some light on how the FAR might be interpreted.


Let's rewrite the AIM -- What if we drop the confusing and redundant phrase "surface area" from the text of the AIM?

Then it pretty much gives us a green light to fly in the Class-E-to-surface extensions to Class C and D airspace. Because FAR 103 only bars us from class-E-to-surface that is "designated for an airport", and the extensions are explicitly not listed in that category. In the list below, note that only category number 1 actually contains the airport within the class-E-to-surface airspace.

Here is how it reads after our re-write:
(stuff in parentheses is added)

Section 2. Controlled Airspace

3-2-6. Class E Airspace

d. Vertical limits. Except for 18,000 feet MSL, Class E airspace has no defined vertical limit but rather it extends upward from either the surface or a designated altitude to the overlying or adjacent controlled airspace

e. Types of Class E Airspace:

(e1. sub-class: Class-E-to-surface)

1. Designated for an airport. When designated for an airport, the airspace will be configured to contain all instrument procedures. (example http://skyvector.com/?ll=44.580361111,- ... t=1&zoom=3 ) (No ultralights allowed by order of FAR 103.17)

2. Extension. There are Class E airspace areas that serve as extensions to Class B, Class C, and Class D areas designated for an airport. Such airspace provides controlled airspace to contain standard instrument approach procedures without imposing a communications requirement on pilots operating under VFR. ( examples http://skyvector.com/?ll=42.3742222,-12 ... t=9&zoom=3 , http://skyvector.com/?id=KEUG&zoom=2 , http://skyvector.com/?ll=44.91012,-123. ... t=1&zoom=3 ) (Ultralights come on in, FAR 103.17 does not apply to "extensions". Just stay out of the Class B/C/D core.)

(e2. sub-class: Class-E-not-to-surface) (no restriction on ultralights in any of these classes listed below)

3. Airspace used for transition. There are Class E airspace areas beginning at either 700 or 1,200 feet AGL used to transition to/from the terminal or en route environment. (example http://flightaware.com/resources/airport/KCVO/sectional )

4. En Route Domestic Areas....

5. Federal Airways....

(Several other categories listed...)

It seems clear that that's what they MEANT to say.

Compare to the actual AIM (starting at 3-2-6) http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publicat ... m0302.html . The meaning looks the same just more confusing....

As far as the actual FAR's go, it's much less clear exactly what they mean. But the point of the AIM is to help clear up stuff like this right?
Last edited by aeroexperiments on Wed Mar 02, 2011 5:50 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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