Section 1. General


Class E airspace consists of:

  1. The airspace of the United States, including that airspace overlying the waters within 12 NM of the coast of the 48 contiguous states and Alaska, extending upward from 14,500 feet MSL up to, but not including 18,000 feet MSL, and the airspace above FL600, excluding -
  1. The Alaska peninsula west of longitude 160°00'00"W.; and
  2. The airspace below 1,500 feet above the surface of the earth.
  1. Surface area designated for an airport. When designated as a surface area for an airport, the airspace will be configured to contain all instrument procedures to the extent practicable.
  2. Airspace used for transition. Class E airspace areas extending upward from either 700 or 1,200 feet AGL used to transition to/from the terminal or en route environment.
  3. En Route Domestic Areas. Class E airspace areas that extend upward from a specified altitude and provide controlled airspace in those areas where there is a requirement to provide IFR en route ATC services but the Federal airway structure is inadequate.
  4. Federal Airways. The Federal airways and low altitude RNAV routes are Class E airspace areas and unless otherwise specified, extend upward from 1,200 feet to, but not including, 18,000 feet MSL. The colored airways are green, red, amber, and blue. The VOR airways are classified as Domestic, Alaskan, and Hawaiian.
  5. Offshore Airspace Areas. Class E airspace areas that extend upward from a specified altitude to, but not including, 18,000 feet MSL and are designated as offshore airspace areas. These areas provide controlled airspace beyond 12 miles from the coast of the U.S. in those areas where there is a requirement to provide IFR en route ATC services and within which the U.S. is applying domestic procedures.
  1. A Class E surface area is designated to provide controlled airspace for terminal operations where a control tower is not in operation. Class E surface areas extend upward from the surface to a designated altitude; or to the adjacent or overlaying controlled airspace. Class E airspace surface areas must meet the criteria in paragraph 17-1-3 of this order.
  2. When a surface area is established to accommodate part time operations at a Class C or D airspace location, the surface area will normally be coincident with that airspace. If the airspace is not coincident, it should be explained in the rule.

If the communication and weather requirements described in paragraphs 17-2-9 and 17-2-10 are met, Class E surface airspace may be designated to accommodate:

  1. IFR arrival, departure, holding, and en route operations not protected by other controlled airspace.
  2. Instrument approach procedures. Surface airspace may be designated to accommodate special instrument procedures if such action is justified and/or in the public interest. The following factors are among those that 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 it is used by a certificated air carrier or an air taxi/commuter operator providing service to the general public.


For special instrument procedures, consideration should be given to availability to other users.

  1. The operational and economic advantage offered by the procedure, including the importance and interest to the commerce and welfare of the community derived by the procedure.
  2. Any other factors considered appropriate.