The value of controlled airspace in the United States is for the safety of
all commercial and general aviation flights. Utter chaos reigns in skies without
controlled airspace. With thousands of airplanes in the skies every day carrying
hundred of thousand of people the necessity of a means of controlling them
The (FAA) Federal Aviation Administration is the regulative department of the
United States Government that controls the skies in the U.S. The FAA divided the
airspace into different categories, all of which have different regulations and
limits on both horizontal and vertical airspace restrictions. They are broken
down into basically three distinct airspaces: Class B, Class C, and Class D.
Class B airspace is controlled airspace that extends upward from the ground
surface to a specified altitude of 10,000 msl (mean sea level).
All aircraft that operate in this airspace are subject to regulations set
forth by the FAA. Some of the requirements for the pilot to operate in Class B
airspace are: the pilot must at the minimum hold a private pilot certificate,
and a current medical certificate. The aircrafts operating in Class B airspace
must have at least three pieces of equipment; the first is a two-way radio for
communication. The second piece of equipment, a transponder, tracks the
The third piece of equipment is a VOR (vertical omni range), which directs
the pilot’s position. Also, in order to operate in Class B airspace a person
must obtain a clearance for ATC (Air Traffic Control). The speed limit in Class
B airspace is restricted to 200 knots. Throughout the country, metropolitan
airports designate Class C airspace with a set of rings, extending from the
surface of the earth to an altitude of 4,000 feet above the airport elevation
and a radius of 5nm (nautical miles) from the center of the airport. This area
is known as a primary Class C airport.
There is an outer ring that extends out 10 nm from the airport and above the
surface from 1,200 feet to 4,000 feet. This area is used for transitioning to
and from the airport. The operating rules in the Class C are similar to that of
the Class B. The pilot is required to hold at least a private pilot license and
a valid medical certificate and to be classified as “current.” Current
requirement entails having completed at least three takeoffs and landings in the
same type of aircraft.