Section 1, Lesson 1
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Special Use Airspace Overview

Special Use Airspace Overview

Special use airspace are types of airspace that are overlayed on existing airspace. It is established for a variety of reasons, including to protect non-participating aircraft from military operations, to protect areas of national security or to alert pilots to potential dangers. As you proceed through the next two topics, consider why types of special use airspace are established and what risks may be present.

Lesson Notes

Special use airspace (SUA) consists of 6 kinds of airspace. They don’t have specific speed, weather or equipment requirements. Instead, they add extra restrictions to the airspace that already exists in the area. For example, Restricted Airspace could be placed in an area that contains G, E and A airspace. Each specific airspace has a corresponding letter (noting the type) and number (specific indentification). R-214, for example, would designate Restricted Airspace #214. The side or top of sectional charts has a list of all of that chart’s SUA, corresponding altitudes, active times and controlling facility name and frequency. So, if you want to enter a restricted airspace, you know which frequency to call.

A common checkride “gotcha” is for examiners to ask where you can find more information about a special airspace designation. Remember that it’s on the side or top of your sectional chart!

Flashcard Questions

How can a pilot identify a type of special use airspace on a sectional chart?

Where can a pilot find the frequency for the controlling facility of a special use airspace?

Another pilot asks you if there is any Prohibited Airspace on your local sectional chart. What is the quickest way you could find out?