Chapter 17. Class D Airspace
Section 1. General
D airspace areas are terminal airspace that consist of
specified airspace (i.e., Surface Areas) within which all
aircraft operators are subject to operating rules and
equipment requirements. Service area offices are responsible
for the coordination and implementation of Class D airspace
a. Generally, a surface area is designated Class D
airspace to provide controlled airspace for terminal VFR or
IFR operations at airports having a control tower.
b. For non-towered airports requiring a surface area,
the airspace will be designated Class E, see FAAO JO 7400.9,
Airspace Designations and Reporting Points.
c. The designation of navigable airspace outside of the
United States is the responsibility of Airspace Regulations
and ATC Procedures Group (e.g., U.S. territories).
17-1-2. REGIONAL/SERVICE AREA OFFICE EVALUATION
a. Service area offices must biennially evaluate
existing and candidate Class D airspace areas using the
information contained in this chapter as a guideline.
b. If the conclusion of an evaluation indicates that
airspace modifications should be made, regions/service area
offices must follow the applicable procedures in this order.
the communications and weather observation reporting
requirements of paragraphs
17-2-10 are met, a
a. Must be designated where a FAA control tower is in
operation. Final rules will not be published in the Federal
Register prior to a control tower becoming operational at
the primary airport.
b. May be designated where a non-FAA control tower is in
c. Must be designated to accommodate instrument
procedures (planned, published, special, arrival, and
departure) if such action is justified and/or in the public
interest. The following factors should be considered:
1. Type of procedure, including decision height or
minimum descent altitude.
2. The actual use to be made of the procedure, including
whether a certificated air carrier or an air taxi/commuter
operator providing service to the general public uses it.
For special instrument procedures, consideration should be
given to availability to other users.
3. The operational and economic advantage offered by the
procedure, including the importance and interest to the
commerce and welfare of the community.
4. Any other factors considered appropriate.
17-1-4. TIME OF DESIGNATION
D or surface areas may be designated full-time or part-time.
If part-time, the effective time must be stated in
Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Service area offices must
ensure effective times are forwarded to NFDC to be published
in the NFDD.
17-1-5. PART TIME SURFACE AREAS
a. A provision may be incorporated in part-time Class D
surface area designations (rules) to allow, by Notices to
Airmen, for changes when minor variations in time of
designation are anticipated. To apply this provision a
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and final rule must be issued
which provides the following statement in the specific
airspace designation: “This surface area is effective during
the specific dates and times established, in advance, by a
Notice to Airmen."
b. The effective date and time
will thereafter be continuously published. Information
concerning these surface areas must be carried in the
following publications as applicable:
1. The Airport/Facility Directory for the contiguous
United States, Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands.
2. United States Flight Information Publication
3. The Pacific Chart Supplement.
c. Notices to Airmen specifying the dates and times of a
designated part-time area may be issued by the appropriate
facility only after coordination with the regional/service
area office The service area office must assure that such
action is justified and in the public interest.