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Course Name:
ALC-480: Class B Airspace VFR Operations
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Regulations

There are specific requirements for aircraft equipment, airspace clearance, pilot certification and flight visibility that must be met in order to fly through a Class B area.

An aircraft must have an ATC clearance to enter Class B airspace.

In order to enter Class B airspace under VFR conditions, an aircraft must be equipped with a two way radio capable of communicating with ATC and an operable transponder with automatic altitude reporting capability. 

An altitude reporting transponder is also required within the 30 mile mode C veil surrounding the class B airport from the surface to 10,000’.  


A pilot must have at least a Private Pilot certificate in order to enter Class B airspace. 

Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) part 91.131 contains the regulations for operations in Class B.  Sport Pilots and Recreational Pilots may operate in most Class B airspace provided they have the specific training and endorsements specified in FAR 61.325 or 61.101(d) respectively.  Additionally, Student Pilots may operate in Class B airspace for which they have received specific training and endorsements as specified in FAR 61.95.   Part 91 Appendix D section 4 lists the 12 Class B airports which are prohibited for student, sport and recreational pilots.


Aircraft below 10,000 MSL are not permitted to operate at indicated airspeeds of greater than 250 knots (FAR 91.117(a).  Additionally, FAR 91.117(c) specifies that aircraft may not operate in excess of 200 knots indicated airspeed in airspace below Class B airspace or in VFR corridors through Class B airspace.


91.155 VFR weather minimums in class B are 3 statute miles visibility and clear of clouds.  A pilot with private pilot or higher certification may also request from ATC a ‘Special VFR’ clearance to operate in Class B with 1 mile visibility and clear of clouds.  In order to request Special VFR at night, the pilot must be instrument rated and the aircraft certified for IFR operations.    Part 91 Appendix D section 3 lists airports at which Special VFR is prohibited.  Student, Sport and Recreational Pilots may not request Special VFR clearances.  Note that typically only one aircraft may operate under a Special VFR clearance at a time in the class B airspace, and ATC reserves the right to deny Special VFR depending upon workload or other operational considerations. 

Within the Class B Airspace, ATC will separate VFR traffic from other VFR and IFR aircraft which weigh 19,000 pounds or less by one or more of the following:

  1. target resolution
  2. 500 feet vertical separation
  3. Visual separation

VFR traffic will be separated from other VFR/IFR aircraft weighing more than 19,000 pounds by one or more of the following:

  1. 1 ½ miles lateral separation
  2. 500 feet vertical separation
  3. Visual separation

In addition to the standard Class B rules and restrictions, there may potentially exist other requirements specific to certain airports.  For example, there may be specific airport noise abatement procedures or airport landing reservation requirements.  It is imperative that the pilot consult a current A/FD (Airport Facility Directory) and review the airport NOTAMS as part of the pre-flight briefing to be aware of any special requirements for the airport or Class B Airspace.