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FAR 91.215 states that a mode C transponder is required for...

all aircraft in all airspace above the ceiling and within the lateral boundaries of a Class B or Class C airspace area designated for an airport upward to 10,000 feet MSL

My flight instructor and I disagree on how this regulation is interpreted. He says that I need a transponder to fly underneath class C. I understand it to mean that I only need and transponder if I am both above and within the lateral boundaries (i.e. overflying the airspace).

Which is the correct interpretation?

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  • $\begingroup$ Based on the quote you provided, grammatically you are correct. Inclusion of the work "above", plus use of "and" rather than "or" supports this. I will be interested in what others have to say... $\endgroup$ – Michael Hall Jan 9 at 22:37
  • $\begingroup$ No, you don't. The class B mode c ring is overriding, however. If you are under c but are somehow within a mode c ring, you need the transponder. $\endgroup$ – acpilot Jan 11 at 1:31
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You are correct. You do not need a transponder to operate under Class C airspace if there are no other overlapping airspace areas. In fact, if you read a little further in that reg, you'll see that is one of the places where aircraft built with no electrical system are allowed to fly at all!

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