Here at Pacific Flight Aviation, we offer two pilot certifications, private and commercial certificates, as well as the instrument rating. These high-level certificates allow pilots to fly with fewer restrictions than sports or recreation licenses with expanded airspace.
But what is airspace?
Airspace is all the space available to fly aircraft, under the jurisdiction of international and national law. Each pilot must consider the airspace in which they fly as each pilot certificate varies the classes of airspace.
Controlled and uncontrolled airspace consists of six classes: Class A, B, C, D, E and G. These classes are the primary spaces in which private and commercial pilots may fly. Each class varies in altitude and restrictions and protects air transportation areas. Below lists some of the key facts for each class.
Between 18,000 and 60,000 feet above the average sea level surrounding the continental U.S. and Alaska. An instrument rating and an IFR flight plan is required to enter this airspace.
From the average sea level to 10,000 feet around the busiest airports. This airspace requires a clearance from air traffic control and may not be enter until the clearance is granted.
Generally from the surface to 4,000 feet above an airport’s elevation. This airspace is customized for each airport and requires a pilot to establish two-way radio communication with air traffic control.
Generally from the surface to 2,500 feet above an airport’s elevation. This airspace is also customized for each airport and requires a pilot to establish two-way radio communication with air traffic control.
Controlled airspace not within Class A, B, C, or D airspace's. This is most of the airspace over the contiguous United States of America. Two-way radio communication is not required in this airspace.
Uncontrolled airspace that has not been designated as Class A, B, C, D, or E.
Generally, private and commercial pilots may fly in Class B, C, D, E and G airspaces if all qualifications are met, including, but not limited to, communication with air traffic control. An instrument rating further expands flying opportunities into Class A airspace.
Why is this important when learning how to fly? An expanded airspace is just one of many reasons to choose a private license over a sports or recreational one.