Old 11th Mar 2020, 10:32
  #420 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 458
Class E now defacto Class D?

I was curious about Sunfish's comment about the Class E level being a trap for VFR pilots, since VFR aircraft do not require a clearance in class E. Where is the trap?

I checked the requirements in API for VFR flight in Class E, and found this curiosity:
Class E : VFR : Radio COM RQMNTS : Continuous two way

Continuous 2 way is a definite step above monitoring the frequency.

For Class D airspace clearance is required but "For entry into Class D airspace, establishment of two way communications between the aircraft and ATC constitutes a clearance for the pilot to enter the Class D airspace"

There is also a definition of 2 way communication:
ATC Response
(aircraft callsign): Communications Established: Yes
Response to the initial radio call without using the aircraft callsign: Communications Established: No

It appears to enter Class E you need to call ATC, and have them respond with your call sign. Then you have 2 way communications. It looks very much the same as for Class D - yes you don't need a clearance for Class E, but satisfying the Class E requirements WOULD be considered a clearance in Class D.

I don't recall this being part of the original education or implementation. It is a bit awkward, effectively "You don't need a clearance, you just need something exactly the same as a clearance". It really appears there are conflicting forces at work - an overall movement to implement airspace changes, with others coming along later and making small changes to create problems.
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