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Operating in the Various Types of Airspace

in Airspace

It is important that pilots be familiar with the operational requirements for each of the various types or classes of airspace. Subsequent sections cover each class in sufficient detail to facilitate understanding with regard to weather, type of pilot certificate held, as well as equipment required.

Basic VFR Weather Minimums

No pilot may operate an aircraft under basic VFR when the flight visibility is less, or at a distance from clouds that is less, than that prescribed for the corresponding altitude and class of airspace. [Figure 14-9] Except as provided in 14 CFR Section 91.157, Special VFR Weather Minimums, no person may operate an aircraft beneath the ceiling under VFR within the lateral boundaries of controlled airspace designated to the surface for an airport when the ceiling is less than 1,000 feet. Additional information can be found in 14 CFR section 91.155(c).

Figure 14-9. Visual flight rule weather minimums.

Figure 14-9. Visual flight rule weather minimums.

Operating Rules and Pilot/Equipment Requirements

The safety of flight is a top priority of all pilots and the responsibilities associated with operating an aircraft should always be taken seriously. The air traffic system maintains a high degree of safety and efficiency with strict regulatory oversight of the FAA. Pilots fly in accordance with regulations that have served the United States well, as evidenced by the fact that the country has the safest aviation system in the world.

All aircraft operating in today’s National Airspace System (NAS) has complied with the CFR governing its certification and maintenance; all pilots operating today have completed rigorous pilot certification training and testing. Of equal importance is the proper execution of preflight planning, aeronautical decision-making (ADM) and risk management. ADM involves a systematic approach to risk assessment and stress management in aviation, illustrates how personal attitudes can influence decision-making, and how those attitudes can be modified to enhance safety in the flight deck.

Pilots also comply with very strict FAA general operating and flight rules as outlined in the CFR, including the FAA’s important “see and avoid” mandate. These regulations provide the historical foundation of the FAA regulations governing the aviation system and the individual classes of airspace. Figure 14-10 lists the operational and equipment requirements for these various classes of airspace. It will be helpful to refer to this figure as the specific classes are discussed in greater detail.

Figure 14-10. Requirements for airspace operations.

Figure 14-10. Requirements for airspace operations.


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