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User avatar
By magentabluesky
#405280
Mike,

How about running it by your local Spokane FSDO Office and let us know what their official word is on the subject.

They will give you the official word. They are there to help and they are happy to be of service.

Thanks,

mg
User avatar
By Wonder Boy
#405282
See 3,875 posts back. I did that, along with many others before finally getting someone from the FAA commissioners office to return my call.
And that's why I repeating the same thing over and over sighting what is written, what I was told how, and why it is.

The key most everyone ignores, the shaded magenta that surrounds the dashed magenta is the floor of class E. The dashed magenta extends up to it, a "designated altitude" of class E.
After that the lateral boundaries of class E is the shaded magenta, up to 1200' and so on. (Excluding extensions)
The surface are lateral boundaries do not exist past 700' there is no boundary any more as it is now all class E.
At the surface it was a boundary between class E and class G.
User avatar
By magentabluesky
#405283
Ok Mike,

It was your post #305456
Wonderboy wrote:I just spoke with Tim at our local FSDO http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/fie ... m?state=WA

Tim told me the airspace in question: E sfc are only active under VFR minimums. Told me during VFR times, act as if it doesn't exist.
. . . .

I will accept that answer from FAA Tim of the Spokane FSDO, makes sense to me. It has to do with you maintaining the VMC (visual meteorological conditions) of Part 103.23.
magentabluesky wrote:Once upon a time in the old days: a control zone was not in effect unless the weather at the airport was IMC (Instrument meteorological conditions). The control zone was from the surface to 14,500ft. If above the surface of the airport to 14,500ft VMC (visual meteorological conditions) (on top) were encountered you did not need an IFR (instrument flight rules) clearance to fly through the control zone with an aircraft. Note: Part 103.21 requires ultralight vehicle be flown by visual reference with the surface so “on top” is not allowed.

So in the old days of control zones Part 103.17 only required clearance when the weather at the airport was IMC and the control zone was in effect. There was a relationship between Part 103.17 and Part 103.23 that supports that old interpretation.

I have never heard Class E surface described as only being in effect when the weather was IMC, but it would be a great question to ask the FAA. The FAA is the only one who could really answer that question.

If the question was previewed with a review of the old control zone and the example of transitioning the Winslow Class E surface airspace, clear and a million, the FAA may give a favorable answer.

Why does KBIH have a Hang Glider symbol in the middle of the Class E surface airspace?
Link Post 405238

To answer the last question is: Hang Gliders do not need a clearance to enter the Class E surface airspace at KBIH when the weather is VMC (visual meteorological conditions).

So, just as a review:

Part 103.21 Ultralights must be operated by visual reference with the surface.

As long as the weather is better than listed in Part 103.23 for Class E Surface Airspace, Ultralights do not need a clearance to enter the lateral boundaries of the Class E Surface Airspace. It is the weather you the ultralight pilot is experiencing or is about to experience.

Explain Class E Surface Airspace Clearance requirements in relation to the weather experienced and not by comparing it to the adjacent Class E Airspace.

Any Questions?

Yes we still might have questions. I will follow up on this.
Last edited by magentabluesky on Wed Oct 10, 2018 12:29 am, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
By Wonder Boy
#405288
Go around it who cares anymore.....

final thought as the horse is dead and beaten

viewtopic.php?p=306913#p306913

The bottom line the lateral boundaries for a "surface area" do not exist once a designated altitude it reached, say class E 700' this is a designated altitude for class E and the airspace in question .
Now you have a new area with new lateral boundaries that are not a surface area.
Last edited by Wonder Boy on Wed Oct 10, 2018 12:24 am, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
By Wonder Boy
#405290
magentabluesky wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 12:22 am
I will get to the bottom of this.
Start calling the commissioners office for the FAA, then write letters and keep calling, eventually you will get someone on the phone.
Thats what I did.
User avatar
By aeroexperiments
#405295
Wonder Boy wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 12:25 am
magentabluesky wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 12:22 am
I will get to the bottom of this.
Start calling the commissioners office for the FAA, then write letters and keep calling, eventually you will get someone on the phone.
Thats what I did.

Mike, I know you did that, I haven't forgotten the history of this thread, but there's no way that if you made contact with 10 different FAA officials, from various regions around the country, that the majority of them would give that answer. Absolutely no way.

Why would you expect consistency on an issue like this where the language is a bit foggy?

The FAA can't keep it's own head straight about this sort of thing. For example, back to the extensions, I'm certain that there have been rulings and memos BOTH WAYS on that issue. I don't currently have links to any except the memo that I referenced here https://aviation.stackexchange.com/ques ... 5714#55714 and here https://aviation.stackexchange.com/ques ... 5806#55806 , which is favorable to us, as well as completely logical.

Obviously I'm not trying to change your mind on the altitude issue any more, you are completely convinced, and I have no new points to make on the subject. Rather, I'm just trying to say--

1) Don't expect consistency on this issue from the FAA

2) Still the vast majority of answers will go against your interpretation

3) There's every reason to think that if you go asking questions about the altitude limit, you may also get a confused and bungled ruling or memo or comment or whatever that says we can't fly in the "extensions" either, even though that's a bunch of garbage. Why do I say that? Because of this: (from both of the two links I gave above; it's easier to find in the second link where it appears at the very end of the text.) Yes I am the author of this answer so I'm just quoting myself here but give it some thought before you go asking the FAA a bunch of questions:

"It is likely that we will see some FAA rulings that impact on these topics in the near future. As things stand right now, there appears to be a loophole in regulations that will go into effect in the near future (HR 302) regarding Small Unmanned Aircraft (radio-controlled airplanes and "drones"), which will allow SUA's to operate above 400' altitude without "prior authorization from Air Traffic Control" ONLY if they are in Class-E-to-surface "extensions", and nowhere else in the nation's airspace-- except perhaps in Class E not-to-surface airspace that was entered from a Class-E-to-surface "extension", or after climbing above the top of the Class E floor while flying "with prior authorization" in Class B, C, or D airspace or while flying with "prior authorization" in Class-E-to-surface airspace of the "designated for an airport" variety. It is unlikely that this is what was intended. There are at least two logical ways to fix the problem: 1) extend the 400' AGL limit (in the absence of "prior authorization") to all airspace, not just Class G, or 2) explicitly include all Class-E-to-surface airspace including "extensions" in the airspace in which "prior authorization" is needed. However, it is possible that the FAA will simply bludgeon the issue into submission and overrule the January 10 2018 memorandum, however well-founded it may be, by ruling that the meaning of "within the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace designated for an airport" DOES include the Class-E-to-surface extensions."

I know you say the "extension" issue doesn't directly bear on the altitude limit and I agree except for the fact that if they start talking to you about the one issue, they'll probably say something that bears on the other issue too. The language describing them is so interconnected that they are hard to separate.

Steve
Last edited by aeroexperiments on Wed Oct 10, 2018 1:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
By aeroexperiments
#405296
Re post 305456, revisited 405283 viewtopic.php?p=405283#p405283
Wonder Boy wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2012 5:34 pm
Waking up an old topic as I have been looking for an answer.

I just spoke with Tim at our local FSDO http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/fie ... m?state=WA
Tim told me the airspace in question: E sfc are only active under VFR minimums. Told me during VFR times, act as if it doesn't exist.
(I can not find anything in writing though repeating what he said.)
Said to call him anytime with more questions. ( Thinking I need to now)

I had forgotten about that part of your past research. I don't believe you are going to get consistent interpretations from the FAA on THAT subject either-- what happens when the weather is above basic VFR minimums-- again I would suspect that this answer you got is in the minority. What does it mean for that airspace to be "active"? Meaning the weather is so bad that you have to request Special VFR to be there, and otherwise the regs don't apply? Including what other regs, the regs on free balloons, and the regs on drones? How about for that matter the regs against doing aerobatics above this airspace? There's nothing at all in the FAR's or AIM that supports any of that, or gives any sort of definition of the Class-E-to-surface airspace (surrounding an airport) being "active" or not. But if controllers have adopted this lingo where they say the Class-E-to-surface is only "active" during such times as a Special VFR clearance is needed, then maybe that lingo has sort of become widespread in the FAA and some people may tend to apply the same logic to ultralights. Certainly it's LESS surprising to me that you found someone who said this, than that you found someone who said the altitude limits only went up to 700' AGL.

Remember what Jim Rooney said--
viewtopic.php?p=206884#p206884
and
viewtopic.php?p=206897#p206897

And this from blindrodie--
viewtopic.php?p=206895#p206895

Steve
User avatar
By Wonder Boy
#405297
I know, it really depends on who you talk to.
I got hung up on a few times by airport managers being told we "aren't aircraft stop wasting my time!"
And you need to find someone that knows our little "lateral boundary" rule and all the class E surface definitions.


Ask yourself this, if the intent if for us not to fly over at any altitude, it would be phrased that way.
It would be so clear to say "can not fly over the surface area" if that was the intent.
But they say "within the lateral boundaries" and to give the surface area definition "extends up to a designated altitude".
(The intent is to keep us out of the way of landing or departing aircraft. E surface area requirement: All airports with Class E surface areas are required to have a weather station and the ability for aircraft to contact ATC from the ground. In this case, ATC may include Flight Service, a center facility, or an approach/departure facility)

And again I ask, above 700', what the surface area a lateral boundary of?
Its all Class E (not so at the surface where it is a lateral boundary between Class E and Class G.
Attachments
class E.jpg
class E.jpg (25.59 KiB) Viewed 122 times
User avatar
By aeroexperiments
#405298
Wonder Boy wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 2:04 pm
Ask yourself this, if the intent if for us not to fly over at any altitude, it would be phrased that way.
It would be so clear to say "can not fly over the surface area" if that was the intent.
But they say "within the lateral boundaries" and to give the surface area definition "extends up to a designated altitude".

Mike, everything I have to say about parsing the meaning of the regs is given here -- https://aviation.stackexchange.com/ques ... thout-prio . Go down far enough and you will get to a section that addresses the altitude limits. Also see https://aviation.stackexchange.com/ques ... 5806#55806

But, since this discussion seems to be still on going I guess I'll take one more stab at saying a little more-- trying to specifically address what you said above--

I think that the reason they use the "within the lateral boundaries" phrase is that they've gone and NAMED or DESIGNATED the airspace as a "Surface Area" and so it no longer remains clear that if you were to say "within the surface area" or perhaps "over the surface area" you would mean anywhere over the surface footprint. If we were to say "within the Surface Area" or "over the Surface Area" and we're talking about a chunk of airspace named a "Surface Area" rather than the surface footprint of something, then we might want to know if there is a vertical limit to that chunk of airspace and where it is -- is there a certain height at which we are no longer "within the Surface Area" because we've climbed above the "Surface Area"? The clearest way they could think of to deal with this was just to say "within the lateral boundaries of the airspace designated as a surface area", meaning anywhere within the vertical wall rising upward from the dashed magenta line--the ground footprint of the "Surface Area"-- all the way to outer space. To understand why that language makes any sense at all you have understand that they've gone and NAMED or DESIGNATED the actual airspace as a "Surface Area", so the phrase no longer works well as a description just of the footprint on the ground of that airspace.

By the way, in the part of FAA Order JO 7400 where they say "Surface area designated for an airport where a control tower is not in operation. Class E surface areas extend upward from the surface to a designated altitude, or to the adjacent or overlying controlled airspace.", I've not come across one single case in all the airspace descriptions that follow that heading where they actually do designate any particular altitude. Maybe there is one but I haven't found it. So you just fall back on the standard definition of Class E as having no upper limit unless it is runs in to some higher class.

And by the way, yes I think you might indeed be able to make the case that a Class-E-to-surface area "designated for an airport", i.e. surrounding the airport whose approaches it protects, DOES in some sense come to an end if it hits an overlying Class C shelf. But even above the Class C shelf -- or even within the Class C shelf for that matter you are still technically "within the lateral boundaries" of "the airspace designated as a surface area for an airport". Could you technically make the case that above the ceiling of the Class C shelf you are in G rather than E? You probably could, IF it weren't for the fact that the definitions of ANOTHER other chunk of Class E airspace-- specifically the surrounding chunk whose floor ends at 700' AGL-- probably is written to include all the airspace within the faded magenta boundary except that taken up by the Class C, etc. So you are in that chunk of Class E when you are above the Class C shelf. Or take the simple case of Class-E-to-surface airspace designated for an airport like at Newport Oregon-- http://vfrmap.com/?type=vfrc&lat=44.580 ... 58&zoom=10 -- I may be wrong but I bet that JO 7400 doesn't even address whether, if you are in an airplane above Newport at 800' AGL, you are within the Class-E-to-airspace "designated as a surface area for the airport", or within the Class E w/ 700' floor designated by the faded magenta border. I bet an aircraft at that point in space (800' AGL) would fit the technical definitions of BOTH of these types of airspaces as delineated in JO 7400. So it would be in BOTH kinds of Class E at once. In fact if it were at 1300' it would fit within three different boundaries given for Class E airspace -- the Class-E-to-surface, the Class E starting at 700', and the Class E starting at 1200'. I just looked at page E-652 (covers Class-E-not-to-surface boundaries near Newport) in JO 7400 https://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/med ... 00.11C.pdf and that's sure what it looks like to me. That's why we don't need to worry about what happens above the top of the Class C shelf-- we're still in some other Class E. And we're still within the "lateral boundaries of the Class E Airspace Designated As a Surface Area For An Airport", even if we aren't actually in the "Class E Airspace Designated As a Surface Area For An Airport." And there's nothing in the regs that gives any significance to the fact that as we climbed through the Class C shelf (with permission of course) we may have technically left the "Airspace Designated As a Surface Area For An Airport." Because as we come out of the top of the Class C shelf, we still end up back in Class E airspace, and we still are "within the lateral boundaries" of the lower chunk of Class E, the chunk that was "Designated As a Surface Area For An Airport."

Don't take the quotes in this post as verbatim from the regs, I'm just trying to convey the general meaning. See the link I gave at the front of this post for verbatim quotes

Man this can gobble up time. Well, anyone who does go talk the FAA, let us know whatever you find-- and who (or at least in what capacity the person was) you heard it from. If anyone comes across links to official past rulings on this stuff other than the one I've mentioned (Jan 10 2018 Memorandum), though honestly I'm afraid those past rulings may say things I'd rather not hear. (re the extensions.)

Re the altitude limits, if you want to ask a question, try to phrase it carefully. In regard to the altitude limit, we're less interested to know where is the top of the airspace variously called (in the FAR's , JO 7400, AIM, etc ) "surface area of Class E airspace designated for an airport", "Class E Airspace Areas Designated as a Surface Area", " Class E airspace areas..designated as a surface area for an airport", "Surface area designated for an airport where a control tower is not in operation", or "Class E surface area". (By the way these all refer to the exact same thing-- the kind of Class-E-to-surface airspace that actually surrounds the airport whose approaches it protects.) Rather than worrying about where is the top of the airspace defined by these phrases, what we really need to know is what is the vertical limit of the airspace defined by the exact phrase "within the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace designated for an airport". Don't confuse them by asking about the other stuff. (And by the way everything in this paragraph IS an exact quote from FAR 103.17, JO 7400, or the AIM.)

Steve
Last edited by aeroexperiments on Wed Oct 10, 2018 3:52 pm, edited 3 times in total.
User avatar
By magentabluesky
#405299
I will get everyone a definitive answer. It will not be a FAA inspector or FSDO answer. It will be an Official FAA answer from Washington DC.

The way I see this at the moment is: Ultralights need prior authorization from ATC to enter the lateral boundaries to the Class E surface airspace regardless of the weather. The lateral boundaries extend from the surface until the intersection of some higher class of airspace which is usually Class A airspace at 17,999ft.

Per the Scott Gardner January 10, 2018 Letter addressing the same issue and language with drones under Part 107.41 prior ATC authorization is not required by Ultralights for lateral boundaries of Class E surface extensions but Ultralights are still required to maintain the VFR required weather minimum when operating within the Class E airspace.

With regard to Mike’s (Wonder Boy) view to the expanding “Wedding Cake”, I would refer to the following:
JO 7400.11B
1003. Overlapping Airspace Designations.
(a) Airspace Hierarchy. Within the airspace classes, there is a hierarchy and, in the event of an overlap of airspace: Class A preempts Class B, Class B preempts Class C, Class C preempts Class D, Class D preempts Class E, and Class E preempts Class G.

(b) When overlapping airspace designations apply to the same airspace, the operating rules associated with the more restrictive airspace designation apply.
. . . .
While JO 7400.11B does not specifically reference Class E Surface as preempting Normal Class E (700ft or 1200ft), Class E Surface is “the operating rules associated with the more restrictive airspace” and therefore would apply. Class E Surface is more restrictive than Normal Class E.

The additional fact is the purpose of the Class E surface airspace in protecting IFR operations along with the AIM and Pilot/Controller Glossary stating: “When designated as a surface area, the airspace will be configured to contain all instrument procedures.”

But you really never positively know until the FAA speaks and I will get an official answer.
User avatar
By Wonder Boy
#405300
Great!
Hopefully you will get an official letter.
When I spoke with them, (not the FAA inspector or FSD) I was pointed to the definitions and rules that I have been regurgitating.
I was told there was no need for any letter as it is already there in writing nor would they supply one.
Fingers crossed you get a response this year.
User avatar
By aeroexperiments
#405301
magentabluesky wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 3:39 pm
I will get everyone a definitive answer. It will not be a FAA inspector or FSDO answer. It will be an Official FAA answer from Washington DC.
OK-- could be interesting given the potential loophole in the new drone/ SUA legislation that I've been pointing out, which is impacted by the very same language that impacts us. I was probably editing while you were typing-- you might want to take another look at my last post as you continue on this quest, as I gave a suggestion about what best to ask.

I'll stay tuned and try to check this thread or PM's once in a while. If you want to establish direct communication by email or phone drop me a PM and I should see it within a day or so.
Wonder Boy wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 3:49 pm

When I spoke with them, (not the FAA inspector or FSD) I was pointed to the definitions and rules that I have been regurgitating.
I was told there was no need for any letter as it is already there in writing nor would they supply one.
Classic FAA garbage! Do they say that because they DON'T realize the confusing nature of the regs and the fact that various FAA offices have likely issued contradictory Memoranda and rulings on these subjects in the past-- or because they DO realize exactly that?

Thanks for engaging in the discussion Mike (Wonder Boy) even if we don't agree
Steve
Last edited by aeroexperiments on Wed Oct 10, 2018 4:12 pm, edited 3 times in total.
User avatar
By Wonder Boy
#405302
magentabluesky wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 3:39 pm
The way I see this at the moment is: Ultralights need prior authorization from ATC to enter the lateral boundaries to the Class E surface airspace regardless of the weather. The lateral boundaries extend from the surface until the intersection of some higher class of airspace which is usually Class A airspace at 17,999ft.

One note about what you said there, you dont mention the first part of the definition: that it "extends up to a designated altitude, or the adjacent or overlying airspace".

All anyone references if the overlying airspace part of it. (that adjacent or overlying portion pertains to the surface area extensions. What I was told)
User avatar
By aeroexperiments
#405304
It might help Michael with his project if we had a list of any FAA rulings or memoranda that bore on the subject in any way. For example I'm 99% sure there was something from an FAA office in California that said ultralights could NOT fly in Class-E-to-surface extensions without prior authorization. If Michael had a list of several contradictory rulings this might help make the case that clarification was needed.

I'll try to see if I can google up the one I was vaguely remembering, in the next few days. Maybe posting to an ultralight forum or the EAA forum (I don't think I'm currently a member) might help.

It would be up to Michael of course whether he thought it best to reference unfavorable as well as favorable memoranda/ rulings in his request, just to show the need for clarification, or not. If it were me I probably would, if I were talking to someone truly in a position to author a meaningful interpretation, rather than just someone in a FSDO.

Steve
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