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AIM

10/12/17

3−2−5

Controlled Airspace

arriving aircraft should contact the Class C airspace

ATC facility on the publicized frequency and give

their position, altitude, radar beacon code, destina-

tion, and request Class C service. Radio contact

should be initiated far enough from the Class C

airspace boundary to preclude entering Class C

airspace before two-way radio communications are

established.

NOTE−

1. If the controller responds to a radio call with, “(aircraft

callsign) standby,” radio communications have been

established and the pilot can enter the Class C airspace.
2. If workload or traffic conditions prevent immediate
provision of Class C services, the controller will inform the
pilot to remain outside the Class C airspace until
conditions permit the services to be provided.
3. It is important to understand that if the controller
responds to the initial radio call without using the aircraft
identification, radio communications have not been
established and the pilot may not enter the Class C
airspace.
4. Though not requiring regulatory action, Class C
airspace areas have a procedural Outer Area. Normally
this area is 20 NM from the primary Class C airspace
airport. Its vertical limit extends from the lower limits of
radio/radar coverage up to the ceiling of the approach
control’s delegated airspace, excluding the Class C
airspace itself, and other airspace as appropriate. (This
outer area is not charted.)
5. Pilots approaching an airport with Class C service
should be aware that if they descend below the base altitude
of the 5 to 10 mile shelf during an instrument or visual
approach, they may encounter nontransponder, VFR
aircraft.
EXAMPLE−
1. [Aircraft callsign] “remain outside the Class Charlie
airspace and standby.”
2. “Aircraft calling Dulles approach control, standby.”

4. Departures from:

(a) A primary or satellite airport with an

operating control tower. Two-way radio communica-

tions must be established and maintained with the

control tower, and thereafter as instructed by ATC

while operating in Class C airspace.

(b) A satellite airport without an operating

control tower. Two-way radio communications must

be established as soon as practicable after departing

with the ATC facility having jurisdiction over the

Class C airspace.

5. Aircraft Speed. Unless otherwise autho-

rized or required by ATC, no person may operate an

aircraft at or below 2,500 feet above the surface

within 4 nautical miles of the primary airport of a

Class C airspace area at an indicated airspeed of more

than 200 knots (230 mph).

d. Air Traffic Services. When two-way radio

communications and radar contact are established, all

VFR aircraft are:

1. Sequenced to the primary airport.
2. Provided Class C services within the Class C

airspace and the outer area.

3. Provided basic radar services beyond the

outer area on a workload permitting basis. This can be

terminated by the controller if workload dictates.

e. Aircraft Separation. Separation is provided

within the Class C airspace and the outer area after

two-way radio communications and radar contact are

established. VFR aircraft are separated from IFR

aircraft within the Class C airspace by any of the

following:

1. Visual separation.
2. 500 feet vertical separation.
3. Target resolution.
4. Wake turbulence separation will be provided

to all aircraft operating:

(a) Behind and less than 1,000 feet below

super or heavy aircraft,

(b) To small aircraft operating behind and less

than 500 feet below B757 aircraft, and

(c) To small aircraft following a large aircraft

on final approach.

NOTE−

1. Separation and sequencing of VFR aircraft will be

suspended in the event of a radar outage as this service is

dependent on radar. The pilot will be advised that the

service is not available and issued wind, runway

information and the time or place to contact the tower.
2. Separation of VFR aircraft will be suspended during
CENRAP operations. Traffic advisories and sequencing to
the primary airport will be provided on a workload
permitting basis. The pilot will be advised when CENRAP
is in use.
3. Pilot participation is voluntary within the outer area
and can be discontinued, within the outer area, at the pilot’s
request. Class C services will be provided in the outer area
unless the pilot requests termination of the service.