FARs related to VFR sailplane at FLs

ShawnC

Skirts Will Rise
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I was wondering what are the FARs that specify the cloud clearances for sailplanes that are operating above 18,000' MSL. Are that same as the Class E above 10,000', or are they Clear of Clouds?

I checked FAR 71, 91, I also looked in the AIM and found nothing. Personally I have yet to fly above 18,000' so I am not exactly sure, but I think that it might come from the clearance that you get to enter the Alpha airspace.

Any ideas?
 

501261

Consigliere
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This is a pure guess on my part, but from ATC's perspective if you have a clearance to go into Class A you are IFR in there eyes. Since you are IFR it doesn't matter if you are VMC or IMC or 1000' from a cloud or 500'. They are seperating you from all other traffic.

On the other hand if they just give you a block of airspace above 18 is that considered Class A? I don't know, I've never been that high in a glider.

I've always wondered about gliders above 18. Is it considered Class A and do you need an instrument rating? If so how do you get it, and does the glider need to be instrument approved? Is that even possible (how do you maintain altitude)? If it's instument approved, it certainly can't be icing approved (how would you power the deicing equipment) and most clouds above 18 would be below freezing.

My guess is that to go above 18 you would need a waiver from ATC "eliminating" the Class A, in a block of airspace you wish to fly. Since it is no longer Class A, either the Class E above 10 rules apply (1000') or they might call that block Class G airspace and clear of clouds would apply. The waiver will probably spell it out.
 

ShawnC

Skirts Will Rise
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I checked up with a Glider DE, he said that since you are still VFR, you follow the VFR rules above 10,000' because the block was cleared just for you, it is now Class E.
 
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