I was reading Cessna IFR Training program and came across this line that airspace above 14,500 MSL is controlled with few exceptions.

Screenshot from Cessna IFR training program

What does it really mean? Class A doesn't start until 18,000 ft, and although Class E is controlled, it is legal to fly in and out of this airspace without talking to anyone, additionally it also doesn't require communication or navigation equipment. So I have following questions.

  1. If I am away from radar coverage area but inside Class E and flying VFR at 15,500 MSL, is that controlled or uncontrolled, if controlled then controlled by who?
  2. Did they mean to say that as you recall class E is controlled?
  3. What is the real world example of airspace above 14,500 ft MSL but uncontrolled?

2 Answers 2


Class E airspace starts at 14500 feet MSL except for the airspace below 1500 feet AGL or designated and charted to start lower (SETVODA). There are areas like the US Rocky Mountains that are more than 13000 feet in elevation.

Class E is controlled airspace. Sectionals and charts will give you the information for the controlling agency. But just as if not more important, the minimum VFR weather requirements have to match those of controlled airspace (3-152, 5-111).

§71.71 Class E airspace.  
Class E Airspace consists of:  

(a) The airspace of the United States, including that
airspace overlying the waters within 12 nautical miles 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.; 
(2) The airspace below 1,500 feet above the surface of the earth.
  1. If you are inside Class E airspace, you are in controlled airspace. You would have to refer to your aeronautical charts to determine the controlling agency for specific regions.

  2. They did not mean to say "as you recall class E is controlled."

  3. I cannot find any examples of uncontrolled airspace in the U.S. that is above 14,500' MSL as Class E begins there by default.

Source: FAA PHAK Chapter 15

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ For #3, you will find plenty of exceptions where the terrain rises above 13,000ft. $\endgroup$
    – StephenS
    Commented May 23, 2020 at 17:46

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