AVSIG: Class E Airspace Question wwswsigarch.jpg (7236 bytes)

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AVSIG Discussion Sections >> Air Traffic Control

Denny Cunningham
Top Gun


Reged: 09/01/01
Posts: 915
Loc: Gold Canyon, AZ
Re: Class E Airspace Question
      06/26/17 02:48 AM

Talked to the guy at FAA HQ that originally broached the question (he's actually retired FAA now, working for a contractor). He gave me some more details; here's my understanding of the situation as he explained it to me:


The airport in question is Walla Walla, Washington (KALW), which has a tower, but reverts to Class E when the tower is closed. There is a private strip underneath one of the Class E extensions, and the doctor that owns that strip got gigged by the feds for departing his strip when the tower was closed, but the weather reporting at KALW was showing the field to be IFR. The doc claimed he was VFR; the feds said the doc needed a clearance, either IFR or SVFR, to operate in the Class E under those conditions.

The doc said they were wrong. Upon further review, it appears that the doc was right, although perhaps not for the reasons he thought he was.

Turns out, there are actually six (!) different types of Class E airspace, E1 through E6, depending on what elements were used in determining why Class E protection of the airspace was necessary. The Class E that encircles the Walla Walla airport is E2, which is specifically associated with the airport. I think he said it was based on a 4.3nm radius (with some cutouts), and that the lateral dimensions are the same as the Class D when the tower is open. Of course, that airspace goes to the surface.

However, the Class E EXTENSIONS are not E2, they're E4-- and they do not go to the surface, but begin at a designated altitude above the surface (700 feet, IIRC). They exist not because of the airport, but because of the instrument approach.

Apparently, weather reporting at the airport pertains to the E2 portion, but not the E4 portions. So, reported weather at Walla Walla is not relevant to a pilot operating from the private airstrip located under the E4 extension. As long as he can maintain VFR, he's good. If he can't maintain VFR, an IFR clearance is required-- but SVFR is not an option.

Why? Because according to the 7110.65, "SVFR operations may be authorized for aircraft operating in or transiting a Class B, Class C, Class D, or Class E surface area...". The E4 extensions under discussion don't go to the surface, so the controller is prohibited from issuing a SVFR.


BTW, the phone call that prompted my original post came after the folks at HQ asked a FSDO pilot for an opinion, and he told them "If you ask ten different pilots, you'll get ten different answers." They decided to ask a few, and found out he was right. So, they're now developing guidance for both pilots and controllers, on this and similar subjects. They're working with AOPA to find the best way to disseminate the information to the pilot contingent.

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Entire topic
Subject Posted by Posted on
* Class E Airspace Question Denny Cunningham 06/15/17 03:24 AM
. * * Re: Class E Airspace Question Denny Cunningham   06/26/17 02:48 AM
. * * Re: Class E Airspace Question Richard Palm (PAO)   06/28/17 01:46 PM
. * * Re: Sectional Chart Tom Charlton   06/27/17 11:05 AM
. * * Re: Sectional Chart Denny Cunningham   06/27/17 03:38 PM
. * * Re: Sectional Chart Russell Holton   06/27/17 05:47 PM
. * * Re: Sectional Chart Andy Alson (HPN/NY)   06/27/17 12:19 PM
. * * Re: Sectional Chart Denny Cunningham   06/27/17 03:43 PM
. * * Re: Sectional Chart Kcid LlirreM   06/27/17 12:40 PM
. * * Re: Class E Airspace Question Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]   06/26/17 10:00 AM
. * * Re: Class E Airspace Question Denny Cunningham   06/26/17 02:38 PM
. * * Re: Class E Airspace Question Scott Dunham (RDU)   06/26/17 07:29 AM
. * * Re: Class E Airspace Question Denny Cunningham   06/26/17 02:19 PM
. * * Class E Airspace Question Ray Tackett   06/26/17 03:21 PM
. * * Re: Class E Airspace Question Denny Cunningham   06/26/17 04:33 PM
. * * Re: Class E Airspace Question Scott Dunham (RDU)   06/27/17 01:18 PM
. * * Re: Class E Airspace Question Denny Cunningham   06/27/17 03:47 PM
. * * Re: Class E Airspace Question Andy Alson (HPN/NY)   06/27/17 01:48 PM
. * * Re: Class E Airspace Question Scott Dunham (RDU)   06/27/17 04:56 PM
. * * Re: Class E Airspace Question Scott Dunham (RDU)   06/26/17 02:41 PM
. * * Re: Class E Airspace Question Andy Alson (HPN/NY)   06/26/17 12:18 PM
. * * Re: Class E Airspace Question Andy Alson (HPN/NY)   06/26/17 12:36 PM
. * * Re: Class E Airspace Question Denny Cunningham   06/26/17 02:34 PM
. * * Re: Class E Airspace Question Russell Holton   06/15/17 02:48 PM
. * * Re: Class E Airspace Question Denny Cunningham   06/15/17 04:00 PM
. * * Re: Class E Airspace Question Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]   06/15/17 07:11 PM
. * * Re: Class E Airspace Question Gil Buettner [KAUW]   06/15/17 06:41 PM
. * * Re: Class E Airspace Question Russell Holton   06/15/17 04:13 PM
. * * Re: Class E Airspace Question Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]   06/15/17 09:13 AM
. * * Re: Class E Airspace Question Scott Dunham (RDU)   06/22/17 09:38 PM
. * * Re: Class E Airspace Question Andy Alson (HPN/NY)   06/15/17 11:47 AM
. * * Re: Class E Airspace Question Andy Alson (HPN/NY)   06/15/17 11:33 AM
. * * Re: Class E Airspace Question Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]   06/15/17 11:56 AM
. * * Re: Class E Airspace Question Andy Alson (HPN/NY)   06/15/17 01:05 PM
. * * Re: Class E Airspace Question Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]   06/15/17 02:00 PM
. * * Re: Class E Airspace Question Scott Dunham (RDU)   06/22/17 09:07 PM
. * * Re: Class E Airspace Question Andy Alson (HPN/NY)   06/22/17 09:31 PM
. * * Re: Class E Airspace Question Scott Dunham (RDU)   06/22/17 09:39 PM
. * * Re: Class E Airspace Question sreyoB yrraL   06/15/17 05:29 PM
. * * Re: Class E Airspace Question Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]   06/15/17 07:14 PM
. * * Re: Class E Airspace Question sreyoB yrraL   06/15/17 08:05 PM
. * * Re: Class E Airspace Question Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]   06/16/17 08:49 AM
. * * Re: Class E Airspace Question Gil Buettner [KAUW]   06/16/17 11:26 AM
. * * Re: Class E Airspace Question Scott Dunham (RDU)   06/22/17 08:50 PM
. * * Re: Class E Airspace Question Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]   06/16/17 12:42 PM
. * * Re: Class E Airspace Question Jeff Hartmann CIC   06/17/17 12:07 PM
. * * Re: Class E Airspace Question Randy Sohn   06/18/17 03:06 PM
. * * Re: Class E Airspace Question Andy Alson (HPN/NY)   06/15/17 02:14 PM
. * * Re: Class E Airspace Question Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]   06/15/17 06:59 PM
. * * Re: Class E Airspace Question Andy Alson (HPN/NY)   06/15/17 07:03 PM
. * * Re: Class E Airspace Question Gil Buettner [KAUW]   06/15/17 09:06 AM

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