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6 Answers

Non Standard Class G – Vanished in CONUS!!! Why?

Asked by: 886 views ,

I was checking the sectionals and to my surprise ALL non standard class G in the CONUS disappeared!!  Non Standard G = not 700 and not 1200.

The only place where you can find the zigzag blue (non-1200 G) is on coastal waters!

In Central Oregon there was a lot of G starting at 5500MSL, it's all gone.

Why? New radars? ADS-B?

Any NPRM on this?

i guess this is a big deal for professional scud runners that depend on class G

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6 Answers

  1. John D Collins on Apr 21, 2017

    You are late to the party, The high class G airspace found mostly in the West is all gone. The rational is basically that with RNAV and point to point navigation allow use of much of this airspace and ATC has had issues with IFR traffic transiting these areas as they were class G.

    It was all handled thru the standard rule making process which is required for airspace designation.

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  2. Russ Roslewski on Apr 22, 2017

    “I was checking the sectionals and to my surprise ALL non standard class G in the CONUS disappeared!! Non Standard G = not 700 and not 1200.”

    No it hasn’t, at least not quite yet. The big bend area of Texas has some 14,500 G airspace (search for the airport 09TS). There’s also some SE of the SJN VOR, for just two examples.

    For the “zippered” class G, there’s a bunch just north of Las Vegas and some near Yuma, AZ, for two examples of that.

    They amount of this airspace HAS been dramatically reduced over just the last few years for the reasons John states, but it’s still out there.

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  3. Skyfox on Apr 25, 2017

    There’s a small patch of it near Isle Royale in Lake Superior, and more of it across the border in Canada.

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  4. william0203usa on May 04, 2017

    AOPA response:


    Thank you for contacting the Pilot Information Center. With the increased use of GPS/GNSS navigation systems, pilots routinely file and fly flight plans using point-to-point routes instead of published airways. As a result of this, the FAA’s Western Service Center has expanded Class E airspace in approximately 19 locations for vectoring IFR aircraft between en route airspace and terminal areas. This has triggered an addition of Class E airspace and a significant reduction of Class G airspace in parts of Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, and a few other states.

    Class E airspace impacts the way many of our members fly in the western part of the United States, mainly due to the different weather requirements from Class G to Class E. Class G airspace at or below 1,200 feet AGL requires 1 SM visibility while remaining clear of clouds during daylight hours. From sunset to sunrise Class E minimums apply, which below 10,000 feet MSL are 3 SM visibility with 1,000 feet above, 500 feet below and 2,000 feet horizontally from clouds.

    AOPA is reaching out to the FAA’s Western Service Center to better understand the process and data that drove the decision for these changes in the Western Service Area and determine if any modifications to the current airspace should be perused, as there was no NPRM issued. We will also ask to establish a process for collaborating more closely with users on future airspace changes.

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  5. Russ Roslewski on May 05, 2017

    Thanks for asking AOPA to look into it and posting their response!

    I have to question their statement, though, “Class E airspace impacts the way many of our members fly in the western part of the United States, mainly due to the different weather requirements from Class G to Class E. ”

    I am curious who this is impacting. How many of their members fly around in this predominantly mountainous area and operationally need to fly VFR when the weather will not allow the 3-152 visibility and cloud clearance that Class E requires? I’m having a hard time envisioning many pilots who want to be able to fly VFR with only 1 mile of visibility and “clear of clouds” in the mountains (or anywhere, really). Is this actually an impact? (Maybe it is and I am missing something – anybody have any examples?)

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  6. R. Anderson on May 07, 2017

    Hey Russ, early morning operations in many parts of the country, even during summer months, where farms are serviced by crop dusters often requires flying with less than 3 miles and 152 conditions until the day warms up and low visibility improves. This is not an isolated circumstance and occurs often. Flying from an uncontrolled airport in G airspace carrying mail, cancelled checks (not so much any more), and other similar operations happens every day in visibility less than 3 miles. Also, in many foothill areas (e.g., northern California) visibility and lowering cloud cover requires operations at 1 mile, clear of clouds.

    Remember, all of the small airports in G airspace, with paved and unpaved runways (notably out west) are there for a reason. Probably thousands of necessary operations/flights occur every year without incident in class G airspace with less than 3 miles visibility.

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