Mastering Airspace for UAV Pilots

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During the UAV Flight training classes we teach at UAV Experts, we spend some time on Sectionals and Airspace. I will point to a map on our large flat screen and ask a student what airspace are we are in. This is a trick question, which requires a question from the student before it can be answered. When I point to the map and ask for the airspace, the student should respond with, “what altitude are you flying at?”

The confusing part for new students is that the airspace system is actually built in three-dimensional space. You need to know what altitude you are at in order to determine what airspace you are in.

It takes most new UAV pilots a long time to become familiar and comfortable with the National Airspace System, especially when they’re only able to look at flat sectional charts. If you have taken your Part 107 test, or are currently studying, now you know that Sectionals and Airspace is a large portion of the 70 question test. It is critical for you to know the airspace you are flying in, and if it is safe for you to be there. 

Many people struggle to fully understand how it works with a flat sectional chart or on a tablet screen. 

We should all know that: 

  • Solid cyan lines are class B, 
  • Dashed cyan lines are class D, 
  • Solid magenta lines are class C, 
  • Fuzzy magenta lines are class E below 700 Ft 
  • Dashed magenta lines are class E to the surface 

When you see all of these lines on a flat piece of paper, the various airspaces can run together, making it easy to make a mistake identifying where you are.

Russ Still over at Gold Seal has come up with a fantastic way to show and teach airspaces as part of their online Part 107 training program. Russ is releasing more and more of their Airspace Mastery videos, where they are teaching airspace and actually showing it in 3D.

The video below is an exceptionally good one and speaks to Class B and Class E surface extensions, versus the regular Class E Surface. The video also shows a tower that bumps up through Class E. Are you safe to fly above the 1000 ft tower in the video?  

Watch the video and leave me your feedback in the comments section below and let me know if this kind of 3D airspace video helps you understand airspaces better.

Do you want to get your Part 107 certificate? If so, Gold Seal UAV Ground School is the place I suggest. Use coupon code UAVEN50 and save $50 off of the entire UAV Ground School program. Lifetime access, Night Waver lessons, and even a UAV business program all included for one low price.


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