Do VFR airplanes have to stay in Class E airspace?

There are places in the U.S. (e.g. much of the upper peninsula of Michigan) where class E airspace bottoms out at 14,500 MSL, yet the ground is still relatively low (e.g. 1000 MSL).

A. Why is that? (why wouldn't it be 1200 or 700 AGL)

B. Do VFR pilots have to stay in class E airspace (assuming they're not in B C or D), or can they go outside of it?

3 Answers

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  • John R
    Lv 7
    5 years ago
    Best Answer

    The only airspace that VFR traffic is never allowed in is Class A, above 18,000 ft. VFR is permitted in Class B, C, D, E, and G.

    Over sparsely populated areas, class E only surrounds airport transition areas and Victor airways. Any airspace not other wise classified is class G airspace, which is completely uncontrolled. That's what you're refering to over the UP, where the class G that is normally under all Class E extends up to 14,500 ft.

    The difference between class E and G is visiblity requirements - below 10,000 you can legally fly VFR with 1 mile of visiblity in class G (legal, but still a really bad idea), Class E requires 3 miles of visiblity.

    Note to JetDoc: He's asking about uncontrolled airspace, not controlled airspace.

  • JetDoc
    Lv 7
    5 years ago

    VFR traffic IS allowed in controlled airspace. You just have to make radio contact with the ATC that controls that particular sector and ask permission first.

  • 5 years ago

    class e is uncontrolled airspace with the weather minima of controlled airspace. you usually see it when there is ifr activity - airways, transition areas - so us vfr kiddies can stay out of the way of the ifr grownups.

    operationally, you don't do anything you wouldn't normally do in uncontrolled airspace, except for keeping your eyes peeled for ifr traffic.

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