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How do you know when Class E airspace starts at 700 feet AGL vs. 1,200 feet AGL?

Class E is the most confusing of all classes of airspace because there are multiple types of Class E that start at various altitudes.

Recall that the thick and fuzzy magenta circle or set of lines indicate Class E airspace starting at 700 ft. AGL.

Class E starting at 700 ft AGL

Everywhere else, meaning anytime you’re outside of the thick and fuzzy magenta circle or set of lines, or nothing is being indicated on the sectional chart, Class E airspace starts at 1,200 ft. AGL.

Here are the common types of Class E that you will encounter:

  • The surface area designated for an airport (starts at the surface; identified by the dashed magenta line/circle; requires airspace authorization)​
  • Extension to a surface area (identified by the dashed magenta line/box appearing on Class D airspace; does not require airspace authorization)
  • Transition airspace
  • (starts at 700 ft AGL; identified by the thick fuzzy magenta circle/border around an airport; does not require airspace authorization)
  • (starts at 1,200 ft AGL; not identified on charts; governing airspace when not under other controlled airspace; does not require airspace authorization)
  • En Route Domestic Areas (starts at 1,200 ft AGL; identified by the thick fuzzy blue line; does not require airspace authorization)
  • Victory Airways (starts at 1,200 ft AGL and is identified by the light blue line. These are like the highways in the sky. Victor airways do not require airspace authorization)
  • Offshore airspace areas (starts at indicated altitude; identified by the blue zipper line, does not require airspace authorization)
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