AIM 3-2-3

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3-2-3. Class B Airspace

a. Definition. Generally, that airspace from the surface to 10,000 feet MSL surrounding the nation's busiest airports in terms of IFR operations or passenger enplanements. The configuration of each Class B airspace area is individually tailored and consists of a surface area and two or more layers (some Class B airspace areas resemble upside-down wedding cakes), and is designed to contain all published instrument procedures once an aircraft enters the airspace. An ATC clearance is required for all aircraft to operate in the area, and all aircraft that are so cleared receive separation services within the airspace. The cloud clearance requirement for VFR operations is "clear of clouds."

b. Operating Rules and Pilot/Equipment Requirements for VFR Operations. Regardless of weather conditions, an ATC clearance is required prior to operating within Class B airspace. Pilots should not request a clearance to operate within Class B airspace unless the requirements of 14 CFR Section 91.215 and 14 CFR Section 91.131 are met. Included among these requirements are:

1. Unless otherwise authorized by ATC, aircraft must be equipped with an operable two-way radio capable of communicating with ATC on appropriate frequencies for that Class B airspace.

2. No person may take off or land a civil aircraft at the following primary airports within Class B airspace unless the pilot-in-command holds at least a private pilot certificate:

(a) Andrews Air Force Base, MD

(b) Atlanta Hartsfield Airport, GA

(c) Boston Logan Airport, MA

(d) Chicago O'Hare Intl. Airport, IL

(e) Dallas/Fort Worth Intl. Airport, TX

(f) Los Angeles Intl. Airport, CA

(g) Miami Intl. Airport, FL

(h) Newark Intl. Airport, NJ

(i) New York Kennedy Airport, NY

(j) New York La Guardia Airport, NY

(k) Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, DC

(l) San Francisco Intl. Airport, CA

3. No person may take off or land a civil aircraft at an airport within Class B airspace or operate a civil aircraft within Class B airspace unless:

(a) The pilot-in-command holds at least a private pilot certificate; or

(b) The aircraft is operated by a student pilot or recreational pilot who seeks private pilot certification and has met the requirements of 14 CFR Section 61.95.

4. Unless otherwise authorized by ATC, each person operating a large turbine engine-powered airplane to or from a primary airport shall operate at or above the designated floors while within the lateral limits of Class B airspace.

5. Unless otherwise authorized by ATC, each aircraft must be equipped as follows:

(a) For IFR operations, an operable VOR or TACAN receiver; and

(b) For all operations, a two-way radio capable of communications with ATC on appropriate frequencies for that area; and

(c) Unless otherwise authorized by ATC, an operable radar beacon transponder with automatic altitude reporting equipment.

NOTE- ATC may, upon notification, immediately authorize a deviation from the altitude reporting equipment requirement; however, a request for a deviation from the 4096 transponder equipment requirement must be submitted to the controlling ATC facility at least one hour before the proposed operation.

REFERENCE- AIM, Transponder Operation, Paragraph 4-1-19.

6. Mode C Veil. The airspace within 30 nautical miles of an airport listed in Appendix D, Section 1 of 14 CFR Part 91 (generally primary airports within Class B airspace areas), from the surface upward to 10,000 feet MSL. Unless otherwise authorized by ATC, aircraft operating within this airspace must be equipped with automatic pressure altitude reporting equipment having Mode C capability.

However, an aircraft that was not originally certificated with an engine-driven electrical system or which has not subsequently been certified with a system installed may conduct operations within a Mode C veil provided the aircraft remains outside Class A, B or C airspace; and below the altitude of the ceiling of a Class B or Class C airspace area designated for an airport or 10,000 feet MSL, whichever is lower.

c. Charts. Class B airspace is charted on Sectional Charts, IFR En Route Low Altitude, and Terminal Area Charts.

d. Flight Procedures.

1. Flights. Aircraft within Class B airspace are required to operate in accordance with current IFR procedures. A clearance for a visual approach to a primary airport is not authorization for turbine- powered airplanes to operate below the designated floors of the Class B airspace.

2. VFR Flights.

(a) Arriving aircraft must obtain an ATC clearance prior to entering Class B airspace and must contact ATC on the appropriate frequency, and in relation to geographical fixes shown on local charts. Although a pilot may be operating beneath the floor of the Class B airspace on initial contact, communications with ATC should be established in relation to the points indicated for spacing and sequencing purposes.

(b) Departing aircraft require a clearance to depart Class B airspace and should advise the clearance delivery position of their intended altitude and route of flight. ATC will normally advise VFR aircraft when leaving the geographical limits of the Class B airspace. Radar service is not automatically terminated with this advisory unless specifically stated by the controller.

(c) Aircraft not landing or departing the primary airport may obtain an ATC clearance to transit the Class B airspace when traffic conditions permit and provided the requirements of 14 CFR Section 91.131 are met. Such VFR aircraft are encouraged, to the extent possible, to operate at altitudes above or below the Class B airspace or transit through established VFR corridors. Pilots operating in VFR corridors are urged to use frequency 122.750 MHz for the exchange of aircraft position information.

e. ATC Clearances and Separation. An ATC clearance is required to enter and operate within Class B airspace. VFR pilots are provided sequencing and separation from other aircraft while operating within Class B airspace.

REFERENCE- AIM, Terminal Radar Services for VFR Aircraft, Paragraph 4-1-17.

NOTE- 1. Separation and sequencing of VFR aircraft will be suspended in the event of a radar outage as this service is dependent on radar. The pilot will be advised that the service is not available and issued wind, runway information and the time or place to contact the tower.

2. Separation of VFR aircraft will be suspended during CENRAP operations. Traffic advisories and sequencing to the primary airport will be provided on a workload permitting basis. The pilot will be advised when center radar presentation (CENRAP) is in use.

1. VFR aircraft are separated from all VFR/IFR aircraft which weigh 19,000 pounds or less by a minimum of:

(a) Target resolution, or

(b) 500 feet vertical separation, or

(c) Visual separation.

2. VFR aircraft are separated from all VFR/IFR aircraft which weigh more than 19,000 and turbojets by no less than:

(a) 1 1/2 miles lateral separation, or

(b) 500 feet vertical separation, or

(c) Visual separation.

3. This program is not to be interpreted as relieving pilots of their responsibilities to see and avoid other traffic operating in basic VFR weather conditions, to adjust their operations and flight path as necessary to preclude serious wake encounters, to maintain appropriate terrain and obstruction clearance or to remain in weather conditions equal to or better than the minimums required by 14 CFR Section 91.155. Approach control should be advised and a revised clearance or instruction obtained when compliance with an assigned route, heading and/or altitude is likely to compromise pilot responsibility with respect to terrain and obstruction clearance, vortex exposure, and weather minimums.

4. ATC may assign altitudes to VFR aircraft that do not conform to 14 CFR Section 91.159. "RESUME APPROPRIATE VFR ALTITUDES" will be broadcast when the altitude assignment is no longer needed for separation or when leaving Class B airspace. Pilots must return to an altitude that conforms to 14 CFR Section 91.159.

f. Proximity operations. VFR aircraft operating in proximity to Class B airspace are cautioned against operating too closely to the boundaries, especially where the floor of the Class B airspace is 3,000 feet or less above the surface or where VFR cruise altitudes are at or near the floor of higher levels. Observance of this precaution will reduce the potential for encountering an aircraft operating at the altitudes of Class B floors. Additionally, VFR aircraft are encouraged to utilize the VFR Planning Chart as a tool for planning flight in proximity to Class B airspace. Charted VFR Flyway Planning Charts are published on the back of the existing VFR Terminal Area Charts.

Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) — Chapter 3 — Airspace
3-1-1 General • 3-1-2 Airspace Dimensions • 3-1-3 Airspace Hierarchy • 3-1-4 Basic VFR Weather Minimums • 3-1-5 VFR Cruising Altitudes

3-2-1 General • 3-2-2 Class A • 3-2-3 Class B • 3-2-4 Class C • 3-2-5 Class D • 3-2-6 Class E
3-3-1 General • 3-3-2 VFR Requirements • 3-3-3 IFR Requirements
3-4-1 General • 3-4-2 Prohibited Areas • 3-4-3 Restricted Areas • 3-4-4 Warning Areas • 3-4-5 MOAs • 3-4-6 Alert Areas • 3-4-7 Controlled Firing Areas
3-5-1 Airport Advisory Services • 3-5-2 MTRs • 3-5-3 TFRs • 3-5-4 Parachute Ops • 3-5-5 VFR Routes • 3-5-6 TRSAs • 3-5-7 National Security Areas