In general, the airspace below a Class B shelf is Class E airspace until 1200' or (more often) 700' AGL, and then Class G to the surface.

Immediately surrounding the Hudson and East Rivers in New York City is the EWR/JFK/LGA Class B airspace, which has a floor of 1500 MSL in that area. Over the Hudson River the floor drops to 1300 MSL; over the East River the floor remains 1500 MSL, except within the LGA surface area where the floor is 1100 MSL.

Over the two rivers and below the Bravo floors are the Hudson and East River Class B Airspace Exclusion Special Flight Rules Areas, which are defined at 14 CFR 93 subpart W.

Image depicting the Hudson and East River SFRAs in the context of the NYC Class B metroplex airspace

This is excluded airspace is, of course, not Class B, because it is explicitly excluded from Class B airspace. Is it Class E and/or G airspace, as expected for other airspaces below the Bravo shelf? Or is it a "special" non-Class E/G airspace area?

Practically, what are the visibility and cloud clearance requirements in this SFRA airspace?


2 Answers 2


Having special flight rules in Part 93 doesn't mean that the regular flight rules of Part 91 don't still apply. The SFRA is within the faded magenta line on the sectional chart, indicating Class G up to 700 and Class E above that. In fact, it is within the New York E5 airspace as listed on page E-373 of the current JO 7400.11E.

New York E5 airspace

AEA NY E5 New York, NY
That airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface within an area bounded by a line beginning at lat. 40º49'00'' N., long. 73º17'02''W., to lat. 40º36'00''N., long. 73º12'27''W., to lat. 40º29'42''N., long. 73º30'53''W., to lat. 40º29'43''N., long. 73º52'12''W., to lat. 40º15'00''N., long. 74º00'00''W., to lat. 40º14'32''N., long. 74º29'47''W., to lat. 40º24'45''N., long. 74º51'22''W., to lat. 41º08'17''N., long. 75º00'00''W., to lat. 41º23'15''N., long. 74º43'13''W., to lat. 41º26'08''N., long. 73º52'54''W., to lat. 41º16'48''N., long. 73º34'53''W., to the point of beginning excluding the airspace that coincides with the Wrightstown, NJ, Pittstown, NJ, Philadelphia, PA, Poughkeepsie, NY, Newburgh, NY, and Danbury, CT Class E airspace areas.

AMENDMENTS 04/15/04 68 FR 70137 (Revised) Corr: 69 FR 11943

  • $\begingroup$ @ymb1 - here is an expanded version of the NY sectional Chart showing the magenta line (i.e. Class E airspace) $\endgroup$
    – 757toga
    Aug 15, 2021 at 15:41
  • $\begingroup$ @757toga: many thanks, I've added it to the answer. $\endgroup$
    – user14897
    Aug 15, 2021 at 15:45
  • $\begingroup$ Trying to answer the OP's question as it was asked : 'Or is it a "special" non-Class E/G airspace area?' Specifically, the SFAR is classified as an "Other Airspace Area." This doesn't mean the airspace area surrounding or inclusive of the SFRA is changed/excluded, except as noted in the specific Part 93 rule that specifically excludes the Class B airspace it, the SFRA airspace, otherwise intrudes into. Perhaps a distinction without a functional difference. $\endgroup$
    – 757toga
    Aug 15, 2021 at 16:42

In my opinion, the Hudson River and East River Exclusion areas (an SFRA - which is classified as an "Other Airspace Area,") is specifically excluded from Class B airspace but not excluded, however, from the Class E/G airspace within which, based on altitude, it (this SFRA) exists. The special rules and procedures that apply to this (SFRA) are published in Part 93.

In my opinion, FAR 91.155 weather requirements applicable to Class E airspace [700 and above, but below Class B] and applicable to Class G airspace below 700, apply.

enter image description here

The VFR visibility and cloud clearance requirements are shown in FAR 91.155.

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ My answer above was edited to include information provided by @ymb1. Thanks $\endgroup$
    – 757toga
    Aug 12, 2021 at 22:22
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the edit re classification. I think the exclusion area was implemented after a mid-air collision(s). It makes sense what you wrote, though I'm thinking the two strata of weather requirements in such a confined corridor goes against making things easier/clearer. I mean why not Class B minimums since it's not G/E? $\endgroup$
    – user14897
    Aug 14, 2021 at 1:07
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @ymb1 I think aircraft doing local operations below 700 in the SFAR would be unhappy if class B weather requiments were imposed. The weather in NY can be difficult especially in the winter. $\endgroup$
    – 757toga
    Aug 14, 2021 at 1:23
  • $\begingroup$ Do you have FAR references for the visibility requirements? $\endgroup$
    – Hot.PxL
    Aug 14, 2021 at 3:30
  • $\begingroup$ @Hot.PxL-faasafety.gov/files/helpcontent/Courses/…. This link is a training course that provides the 91.155 reference. $\endgroup$
    – 757toga
    Aug 14, 2021 at 3:42

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