The AIM discusses services provided to satelitte airports of class C airspace.

What determines whether an airport is considered a satellite? Distance, private or public classification, etc?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'm not sure there's "criteria", its just a close proximity airport where IFR procedures require the assistance of ATC. VFR pilots don't really talk to the governing airport. I don't believe any private airfield is a satellite airport. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Jan 29 '20 at 18:55
  • $\begingroup$ I have always thought that satellite airports were those that were either in Class C airspace at the surface (i.e. with 5NM of primary airport) or under the shelf of Class C (i.e. within 10 NM of primary airport) $\endgroup$
    – wbeard52
    Jan 30 '20 at 3:51
  • $\begingroup$ @wbeard52 I know what you mean, and you're kind of getting at the ambiguity I'm trying to resolve. What if an IAP for an airport well out of the class C airspace cuts into the class C? Would that automatically make it a satellite airport? Is it any airport within the 20NM range where radar service is provided? I don't know. $\endgroup$ Jan 30 '20 at 3:57

The answer is found in §91.130 and AIM 3-2-4.

A satellite airport is any airport under the class C shelf outer are of 20NM.

§91.130 Operations in Class C airspace.

(a) General. Unless otherwise authorized by ATC, each aircraft operation in Class C airspace must be conducted in compliance with this section and §91.129. For the purpose of this section, the primary airport is the airport for which the Class C airspace area is designated. A satellite airport is any other airport within the Class C airspace area.

(b) Traffic patterns. No person may take off or land an aircraft at a satellite airport within a Class C airspace area except in compliance with FAA arrival and departure traffic patterns.

What does Class C airspace area mean?

AIM 3-2-4 Class C Airspace Sub Paragraph 3 Note 4

Though not requiring regulatory action, Class C airspace areas have a procedural Outer Area. Normally this area is 20 NM from the primary Class C airspace airport. Its vertical limit extends from the lower limits of radio/radar coverage up to the ceiling of the approach control's delegated airspace, excluding the Class C airspace itself, and other airspace as appropriate. (This outer area is not charted.)

I believe the answer above is correct. There is also another way of looking at it.

§71.51 Class C airspace. The Class C airspace areas listed in subpart C of FAA Order 7400.11D (incorporated by reference, see §71.1) consist of specified airspace within which all aircraft operators are subject to operating rules and equipment requirements specified in part 91 of this chapter. Each Class C airspace area designated for an airport in subpart C of FAA Order 7400.11D (incorporated by reference, see §71.1) contains at least one primary airport around which the airspace is designated.

That document shows the boundaries of Class C Airspace Area and does not include the outer area.

ASO SC C Myrtle Beach, SC Myrtle Beach International Airport (lat. 33°40'47"N., long. 78°55'42"W.)

That airspace extending upward from the surface to and including 4,000 feet MSL within a 5-mile radius of the Myrtle Beach International Airport, and that airspace extending upward from 1,200 feet MSL to and including 4,000 feet MSL within a 10-mile radius of the Myrtle Beach International Airport. This Class C airspace area is effective during the specific dates and times of operation of the Myrtle Beach Approach Control facility, as established in advance by a Notice to Airmen. The effective date and times will thereafter be continuously published in Airport/Facility Directory.

AMENDMENTS 03/27/97 62 FR 6698 (Added)

Since the information from the FAA conflicts with one another, I would ask for a legal interpretation.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.