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Flying the Chicago Shoreline

Asked by: 596 views Airspace

I am planning a flight home around the lake from Michigan to Wisconsin via the lake shore. I was looking at the fly chart and it was showing areas to be at 2000 feet and all the way up to 3500 in some spots. My question is why is it 2000 feet in the one spot when the airspace does not start until 3600 feet in that area? I have flown this route before long ago but never remembered being below 2500. 

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2 Answers



  1. Kris Kortokrax on May 12, 2017

    First, those altitudes are suggested altitudes, not mandatory, however there is good reason to observe them.

    If you look at th RNAV approaches for runway 22L at Midway, you will see that incoming aircraft cross the lakeshore at 2400′.

    If you look at the departure procedures for Midway, you will see that aircraft are directed to stay at 3000′ or lower assigned altitude crossing the lakeshore.

    It’s all about separation.

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  2. Kris Kortokrax on May 12, 2017

    Sorry, I forgot to mention that there are a couple of helicopter sightseeing operations at heliports in Chicago. One of them does not have floats on their helicopters and flys the shoreline at probably 1500′. The other does have floats and flies out over the lake at about 1500′. Helicopters in the Chicago area self announce and monitor 123.02.

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