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Display restricted or controlled airspace or COM areas


Display restricted or controlled airspace or COM areas 

In this topic, you learn how to display restricted airspace, controlled airspace, and areas that use different communications frequencies on the map to support your work with flights. 

We estimate that this will take 7 minutes to complete.

Detailed explanation 

Display restricted and controlled airspace and flight communications areas 

Use the options on the lower half of the NAV Layers pane to display on the map both high- and low-level:

  • Restricted airspace
  • Controlled airspace
  • COM areas (areas in which distinct frequencies are used for flight communications) 


Since airspace in the same geographical area may be restricted at a low level, but not at a higher level, always ensure that you correctly select "High" or "Low" to be sure your display is accurate.

For information on high- and low-level airways, waypoints, holding patterns, and navaids, consult the topic Depicting high and low airways, waypoints, holding patterns, and navaids

This illustration depicts the low-level restricted airspace, featuring Las Islas Marias, off the Mexican coast. 

Airspace restrictions are defined by local authorities due to safety concerns. It is one of many types of special use airspace (SUA).  

 N-Tracking adds colored outlines to the map to depict these areas.

Begin this exploration of using the Restricted Airspaces option in the NAV Layers pane with the map positioned showing Mexico and its Pacific coast.

 For this example, you are zoomed to the 100 nm level. 

Interaction 1 Click the Layers button.

In this example, at the 100 nm zoom level, you cannot use the high/low level NAV Layer sliders.

For customers using the metric scale for your map, the same is true: At a zoom of 100 km, the sliders are "grayed out", which means you cannot use them.

 Zoom in to an appropriate level.

Interaction 1 Click Zoom in (+).

The navigation layers available for you to use at any given zoom level depend on the default settings you set in your user settings. For more details on enabling different layers at appropriate zoom levels, consult the topic, Adjust default zoom level for navigation layers

At the 20 nm (or km) zoom level, you can work with some of the sliders -- the ones that are white.

Before you activate the Restricted Airspace slider, notice that the High/Low button is set to the High position (its background is colored).

 It's important to remain aware of this setting while you work with this navigational information. Use the option that is applies for the flight you are analyzing and planning for.

Interaction 1 Click the Restricted Airspace slider.

At the high level, the map shows relatively few restricted airspaces (outlined in pink).

Notice the islands, Las Islas Marias, to the west? There are no high-level restricted airspaces in that area.

Now, add the layer showing low-level restricted airspaces to the map.

Interaction 1 Click the Low button.

You can see more restricted airspaces for the low level, and in particular, one encompassing part of Las Islas Marias.

This example should help you appreciate the importance of ensuring that you have the correct level selected when you do planning that involves restricted airspaces.

 For the next part of this exploration, we re-position the map over England.

Ensure you are zoomed in far enough to use the Restricted Airspace, Controlled Airspace and COM Areas sliders. 

Interaction 1 Click the Restricted Airspace slider.

For this example, look at low-level restricted airspace (a special use airspace or SUA).

  Remember from the first example you already reviewed: High-level SUAs may be different than low-level SUAs for the same geographic area. Always ensure you have the correct level turned on. Otherwise, you may be viewing incorrect data. 

Let's take a look at this highlighted SUA.

Interaction 1 Click the highlighted restricted airspace.

In this example, only one SUA displays. If there are multiple SUAs in the area you click, the information pane provides details for those SUAs

Interaction 1 Click the HUNSDON SUA list item.

N-Trackinghighlights the selected SUA in orange and the information pane on the right provides more details.

Interaction 1 Click the Close button.

Next, disable the Restricted Airspace layer and use the Controlled Airspace layer to monitor if any tracked flights are affected by such SUAs.

Interaction 1 Click the Restricted Airspace slider.

Interaction 1 Click the Controlled Airspace slider.

This image, from The Airport Pilots Forum and Resource shows the relation between airways and control areas (CTAs). 


Activate the Controlled Airspace option to view the boundaries of different types of airspace.

 You can find out more about each airspace by clicking on an area.

Interaction 1 Click within the highlighted area.

The information pane shows two airspaces. You can select either one to review more detailed information. For this example, click the class control area.

Interaction 1 Click the CTA Class C list item.

N-Tracking outlines the Class C control area in orange. Let's have a look at the London Terminal control area (TMA).

Interaction 1 Click TMA Class A.

The added details may be relevant for your planning or viewing the outline of the airspace on the map may be all you need.

Close the information pane and let's move on to the last navigational information tool -- COM (Communication) Areas

Interaction 1 Click the Close button.

Use the COM Areas layer to see where you may need to use different frequencies for flight communications. The operation of this layer is under development. Currently, only the area boundaries are visible -- detailed information is not available.

Interaction 1 Click the COM Areas slider.


You have added layers of navigational information -- the outlines of restricted or controlled airspaces. You have also learned how to view areas using different frequencies for flight communications.

You have also learned the importance of being sure that you're looking at information relevant to high or low airspaces.

 You're ready to move on to other topics to continue learning how to best use N-Tracking.  


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