AIM 3-2-5

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3-2-5. Class D Airspace

a. Definition. Generally, that airspace from the surface to 2,500 feet above the airport elevation (charted in MSL) surrounding those airports that have an operational control tower. The configuration of each Class D airspace area is individually tailored and when instrument procedures are published, the airspace will normally be designed to contain the procedures.

b. Operating Rules and Pilot/Equipment Requirements:

1. Pilot Certification. No specific certification required.

2. Equipment. Unless otherwise authorized by ATC, an operable two-way radio is required.

3. Arrival or Through Flight Entry Requirements. Two-way radio communication must be established with the ATC facility providing ATC services prior to entry and thereafter maintain those communications while in the Class D airspace. Pilots of arriving aircraft should contact the control tower on the publicized frequency and give their position, altitude, destination, and any request(s). Radio contact should be initiated far enough from the Class D airspace boundary to preclude entering the Class D airspace before two-way radio communications are established.

NOTE- 1. If the controller responds to a radio call with, “[aircraft callsign] standby,” radio communications have been established and the pilot can enter the Class D airspace.

2. If workload or traffic conditions prevent immediate entry into Class D airspace, the controller will inform the pilot to remain outside the Class D airspace until conditions permit entry.

EXAMPLE- 1. “[Aircraft callsign] remain outside the Class Delta airspace and standby.” It is important to understand that if the controller responds to the initial radio call without using the aircraft callsign, radio communications have not been established and the pilot may not enter the Class D airspace.

2. “Aircraft calling Manassas tower standby.” At those airports where the control tower does not operate 24 hours a day, the operating hours of the tower will be listed on the appropriate charts and in the A/FD. During the hours the tower is not in operation, the Class E surface area rules or a combination of Class E rules to 700 feet above ground level and Class G rules to the surface will become applicable. Check the A/FD for specifics.

4. Departures from:

(a) A primary or satellite airport with an operating control tower. Two-way radio communications must be established and maintained with the control tower, and thereafter as instructed by ATC while operating in the Class D airspace.

(b) A satellite airport without an operating control tower. Two-way radio communications must be established as soon as practicable after departing with the ATC facility having jurisdiction over the Class D airspace as soon as practicable after departing.

5. Aircraft Speed. Unless otherwise authorized or required by ATC, no person may operate an aircraft at or below 2,500 feet above the surface within 4 nautical miles of the primary airport of a Class D airspace area at an indicated airspeed of more than 200 knots (230 mph).

c. Class D airspace areas are depicted on Sectional and Terminal charts with blue segmented lines, and on IFR En Route Lows with a boxed [D].

d. Arrival extensions for instrument approach procedures may be Class D or Class E airspace. As a general rule, if all extensions are 2 miles or less, they remain part of the Class D surface area. However, if any one extension is greater than 2 miles, then all extensions become Class E.

e. Separation for VFR Aircraft. No separation services are provided to VFR aircraft.

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