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UK Airspace classes and what they look like on a chart

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UK Airspace: The 5 Classes and what they look like on a chart. 

In the UK there are currently five classes of airspace; A,C,D,E and G.  The classification of the airspace determines the flight rules which apply and the minimum air traffic services which are to be provided to those with transponders and radio contact. Classes A, C, D and E are areas of controlled airspace and G is uncontrolled airspace.

All controlled airspace A,C,D and E is provided primarily to protect it's users, mostly commercial airliners, and as such, aircraft which fly in controlled airspace must be equipped to a certain standard and their pilots must hold certain flying qualifications. Pilots must obtain clearance from Air Traffic Control (ATC) to enter such airspace and, except in an emergency situation, they must follow ATC instructions implicitly. To simplify this, as a Paramotor pilot ALL 'controlled' airspace is a no go. 

Class A. In class A airspace, only Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) flying is permitted. It is the most strictly regulated airspace where pilots must comply with ATC instructions at all times. Aircraft are separated from all other traffic and the users of this airspace are mainly major airlines and business jets.

Class A airspace 

Class C. Class C airspace in the UK extends from Flight Level (FL) 195 (19,500 feet) to FL 600 (60,000 feet). Both IFR and Visual Flight Rules (VFR) flying is permitted in this airspace but pilots require clearance to enter and must comply with ATC instructions. Some airways & CTAs may have sections of Class C.

YOU WILL NOT SEE CLASS C ON YOUR 1:250 or 1:500 CHART due to it's altitude. 

Class D.  Class D airspace is for IFR and VFR flying.  An ATC clearance is needed and compliance with ATC instructions is mandatory. Control areas around aerodromes are typically class D and a speed limit of 250 knots applies if the aircraft is below FL 100 (10,000 feet). An aerodrome is a location from which flight operations take place such as large commercial airports, small General Aviation airfields and Military Air Bases. The term airport may imply a certain stature (having satisfied certain certification criteria or regulatory requirements) that an aerodrome may not have. So whilst all airports are aerodromes, not all aerodromes are airports.

Class D Airspace5ae57d7aed955_ScreenShot2018-04-29at09_07_54.png.9ff14f8a4bd7a1f035ce5c3e73f3ff15.png


Class E. Class E airspace is for IFR and VFR use. Parts of the Belfast TMA and ATS routes in Scotland. A clearance is not required for VFR flights within Class E airspace, however pilots are strongly advised to contact the appropriate ATSU. IFR flights are provided with air traffic control service and are separated from other IFR flights. All flights receive traffic information as far as is practical.

Class E airspace

Class G. In class G airspace (everywhere else), 'aircraft' may fly when and where they like, subject to a set of simple rules. Although there is no legal requirement to do so, many pilots notify Air Traffic Control of their presence and intentions and pilots take full responsibility for their own safety, although they can ask for help if equipped with a radio and transponder.  


For another 'Bite size' lesson you may enjoy the link below. 


If you found this useful please share the link :-)



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