AIM 3-5-5

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3-5-5. Published VFR Routes

Published VFR routes for transitioning around, under and through complex airspace such as Class B airspace were developed through a number of FAA and industry initiatives. All of the following terms, i.e., "VFR Flyway" "VFR Corridor" and "Class B Airspace VFR Transition Route" have been used when referring to the same or different types of routes or airspace. The following paragraphs identify and clarify the functionality of each type of route, and specify where and when an ATC clearance is required.

a. VFR Flyways.

1. VFR Flyways and their associated Flyway Planning Charts were developed from the recommendations of a National Airspace Review Task Group. A VFR Flyway is defined as a general flight path not defined as a specific course, for use by pilots in planning flights into, out of, through or near complex terminal airspace to avoid Class B airspace. An ATC clearance is NOT required to fly these routes.

FIG 3-5-1 VFR Flyway Planning Chart

2. VFR Flyways are depicted on the reverse side of some of the VFR Terminal Area Charts (TAC), commonly referred to as Class B airspace charts. (See FIG 3-5-1.) Eventually all TACs will include a VFR Flyway Planning Chart. These charts identify VFR flyways designed to help VFR pilots avoid major controlled traffic flows. They may further depict multiple VFR routings throughout the area which may be used as an alternative to flight within Class B airspace. The ground references provide a guide for improved visual navigation. These routes are not intended to discourage requests for VFR operations within Class B airspace but are designed solely to assist pilots in planning for flights under and around busy Class B airspace without actually entering Class  B airspace.

3. It is very important to remember that these suggested routes are not sterile of other traffic. The entire Class B airspace, and the airspace underneath it, may be heavily congested with many different types of aircraft. Pilot adherence to VFR rules must be exercised at all times. Further, when operating beneath Class B airspace, communications must be established and maintained between your aircraft and any control tower while transiting the Class B, Class C, and Class D surface areas of those airports under Class B airspace.

b. VFR Corridors.

1. The design of a few of the first Class B airspace areas provided a corridor for the passage of uncontrolled traffic. A VFR corridor is defined as airspace through Class B airspace, with defined vertical and lateral boundaries, in which aircraft may operate without an ATC clearance or communication with air traffic control.

2. These corridors are, in effect, a "hole" through Class B airspace. (See FIG 3-5-2.) A classic example would be the corridor through the Los Angeles Class B airspace, which has been subsequently changed to Special Flight Rules airspace (SFR). A corridor is surrounded on all sides by Class B airspace and does not extend down to the surface like a VFR Flyway. Because of their finite lateral and vertical limits, and the volume of VFR traffic using a corridor, extreme caution and vigilance must be exercised.

FIG 3-5-2 Class B Airspace

3. Because of the heavy traffic volume and the procedures necessary to efficiently manage the flow of traffic, it has not been possible to incorporate VFR corridors in the development or modifications of Class B airspace in recent years.

c. Class B Airspace VFR Transition Routes.

1. To accommodate VFR traffic through certain Class B airspace, such as Seattle, Phoenix and Los Angeles, Class B Airspace VFR Transition Routes were developed. A Class B Airspace VFR Transition Route is defined as a specific flight course depicted on a TAC for transiting a specific Class B airspace. These routes include specific ATC-assigned altitudes, and pilots must obtain an ATC clearance prior to entering Class B airspace on the route.

2. These routes, as depicted in FIG 3-5-3, are designed to show the pilot where to position the aircraft outside of, or clear of, the Class B airspace where an ATC clearance can normally be expected with minimal or no delay. Until ATC authorization is received, pilots must remain clear of Class B airspace. On initial contact, pilots should advise ATC of their position, altitude, route name desired, and direction of flight. After a clearance is received, pilots must fly the route as depicted and, most importantly, adhere to ATC instructions.

FIG 3-5-3 VFR Transition Route
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