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4 Answers

Special Use Airspace – I am stumped after all these years

Asked by: 3298 views Airspace

I have been teaching airspace for over 40 years as both a military and civilian instructor pilot and I am pretty comfortable discussing airspace and weather requirements with my students.  However, the other afternoon one my students asked me a question that I am embarrassed to admit, have never considered.


My student asked me what the visibility and cloud clearance requirements were when operating VFR in a Military Operations Area (MOA) and in a Restricted Area that is not operational, or a Restricted Area that is operational and the controlling agency has authorized you to enter.


Upon review of section 91.155 “Basic weather minimums” I note that the visibility and cloud clearance requirements specified in the regulation are only applicable to Class B, C, D, and E airspace.  Both a Restricted Area and Military Operations Area are defined as Special Use Airspace in part 73.


After considerable thought and research I don’t have an answer, any help out there?

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4 Answers

  1. Nathan Parker on May 15, 2012

    Special Use Airspace is merely a subclassification of A-G.  In other words, all Special Use Airspace still has an A-G classification.

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  2. Micah on May 16, 2012

    Nathan, what do you mean by A-G classification? Do you mean the A, B, C…. G airspaces? 
    My presumption would be that special use is generally E or G airspace (unless it extends higher than 18,000, in which case it would be A).

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  3. Nathan Parker on May 16, 2012

    “Do you mean the A, B, C…. G airspaces? ”
    Yes.  It may be true that most SUA is E/G, but there are a lot of prohibited/restricted areas around B/C airspaces.  And some of the SUA may not have an upward bound (warning areas?), so may be presumed to extend into Class A.

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  4. W Page on Aug 21, 2013

    Special Use Airspace (SUA) is categorized as other than A, B, C, D, E, or G – Controlled or Uncontrolled Airspace (see AIM 3-1-1). AIM 3-1-4 states, “No person may operate an aircraft under basic VFR when the flight visibility is less, or at a distance from clouds that is less, than that prescribed for the corresponding altitude and class of airspace.” All FAR/AIM cloud clearance and visibility references specifically address A, B, C, D, E, or G airspace only. What are the VFR minimums in SUA? They are not published, but are also not necessarily the same as A, B, C, D, E, or G airspace – it is PFM.

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