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CLASS C (Charlie) Airspace

Class C (Charlie) airports are not as busy as the large Class Bravo airports. Charlie airports are mid-size airports that are mixed of both airline and general aviation. Which allows a large number of instrument arrivals and departures, such as:

  • Santa Barbara​, CA

  • John Wayne, CA

  • Oakland, CA

  • Portland, OR

  • Fort Lauderdale, FL

These airports have an Air Traffic Control Tower, which makes Class C controlled airspace.

  • The airspace is shown by solid magenta lines on VFR sectional charts.

Santa Barbara Class Charlie

Airspace Dimensions:

Charlie airspace is from the Surface (SFC) up to 4,000 feet AGL. The altitude of the airspace is shown in MSL (measured sea level) on the VFR sectional charts.

  • The surface area has a 5 NM (nautical mile) radius

  • The upper shelf has a 10 NM radius.

    • It extends from 1,200 feet AGL up to 4,000 feet AGL. The altitude of the shelf is also shown in MSL.

At some Charlie airports that are located under Class Bravo airspace, the ceiling altitude of the Class Charlie may show a (T). The (T) indicates the top of the Charlie is up to but does not include the floor of the Class B shelf.

Not all Class ‘C’ airspace configurations are the same, depending on the local area and terrain, such as Asheville, NC (KAVL). The terrain around Asheville airport is over 2,000 feet above the airport elevation, limiting radar coverage, giving the odd airspace configuration.

Entry Requirements:

  • Student pilots with a student certificate are allowed to fly in Class Delta.

  • Establish and maintain 2 way radio communication with approach control is required before entering the airspace.

  • You must hear your aircraft tail number from ATC. If you do not hear your tail number from ATC, you CAN NOT enter Class Charlie airspace.

    • If ATC responds back with "RHA123, Standby". You may enter Class Charlie airspace, because 2-way communication has been established with ATC.

  • Mode C Transponder

Weather Minimums:

  • 3 SM (Statue Miles) of visibility

  • 152 - 1,000ft above, 500ft below, 2,000ft horizontal from clouds.


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