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Class G Airspace

Glass G “Golf” Airspace

Airspace appears complicated at first,  but remember that airspace is like a layered cake. Just unfortunately not as delicious, or edible in any form for that matter.   We’ll go ahead and start building our layered cake from the ground up, explaining each layer at a time!

Class Golf

When it comes to Class G, think “G” for Ground.  Class G airspace will always start at the ground and go up to 14,500′ msl as a maximum.  The reason we put that in bold is because it is likely to appear on your written exam! In all reality, Class G airspace always ends well before 14,500′ msl due to another layer of airspace being on top of it.  In most cases, the airspace overlying Class G is Class E airspace.

Thus the most common thing you will find in the space between all airports is Class G airspace going up to 1,200′ agl, and then Class E airspace starting above that.  Airports that are non-towered but still somewhat busy will have Class G airspace extending upward to 699′ agl, and then Class E airspace over top starting at 700′ agl.  To see examples of this, check out the video above!

Class G Requirements:

  • Uncontrolled, you do not need to contact ATC to enter or land in Class G airspace.
  • There are no specific equipment requirements.
  • Basic VFR minimums apply, which are 1sm visibility and Clear of Clouds (don’t fly your airplane into a cloud or let it touch a cloud)
    • These minimums cover most Class G airspace, but are only valid during the daytime when you are within 1,200′ agl of the surface.
  • VFR minimums at night below 10,000′ msl  but higher than 1,200′ above the surface (agl), are: 3sm visibility, 1,000′ above clouds, 500′ below clouds, and at least 2,000′ horizontal from clouds.
  • VFR minimums above 10,000′ msl day or night, and more than 1,200′ agl: 5sm visibility, 1,000′ above clouds, 1,000′ below clouds, 1sm horizontal distance from clouds.

cloud clearance requirements ground school pilot

 

Class G Airspace and Mountainous Terrain:

A lot of people wonder how can you be higher than 10,000′ msl (above sea level) and still within 1,200′ of the surface (only 1,200′ agl or less).  This really only applies out west in very mountainous terrain where the mountains are 10,000′ or more above sea level. In these areas, it is possible to be flying in mountainous terrain upwards of 10,000 AGL, but be less than 1,200 AGL from the surface. Keep in mind that by doing so, you’d be close to the surface of a mountain which doesn’t always end well for airplanes!

You don’t have to remember all of this!  Just remember “91.155” which is the section number in the FAR/AIM that contains the table below.  It is totally fair game to use that as a reference during your checkride.  No one expects you to remember ALL of this off the top of your head.  Just the basics will suffice!

Airspace
Flight visibility
Distance from
clouds
Class A —————————– Not Applicable ——————- Not Applicable.
Class B —————————– 3 statute miles ——————– Clear of Clouds.
Class C —————————– 3 statute miles ——————– 500 feet below.
1,000 feet above.
2,000 feet horizontal.
Class D —————————– 3 statute miles ——————— 500 feet below.
1,000 feet above.
2,000 feet horizontal.
Class E:
Less than 10,000 feet MSL.
3 statute miles ——————– 500 feet below.
1,000 feet above.
2,000 feet horizontal.
At or above 10,000 feet MSL. 5 statute miles ——————– 1,000 feet below.
1,000 feet above.
1 statute mile horizontal.
Class G:
1,200 feet or less above the
surface (regardless of MSL
altitude).
Day, except as provided in
Sec. 91.155(b).
1 statute mile ———————- Clear of clouds.
Night, except as provided in
Sec. 91.155(b).
3 statute miles ——————– 500 feet below.
1,000 feet above.
2,000 feet horizontal.
More than 1,200 feet above the
surface but less than 10,000
feet MSL
Day ———————————– 1 statute mile ———————- 500 feet below.
1,000 feet above.
2,000 feet horizontal.
Night ——————————— 3 statute miles ——————– 500 feet below.
1,000 feet above.
2,000 feet horizontal.
More than 1,200 feet above the
surface and at or above
10,000 feet MSL.
5 statute miles ——————– 1,000 feet below.
1,000 feet above.
1 statute mile horizontal.