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LA Special Flight Rules

A generous alternative for VFR pilots

Want to fly over one of the world’s busiest airports without talking to ATC?
Photography by Alicia Herron
Photography by Alicia Herron

It might sound like a great way to get intercepted, but it is the norm over LAX. The biggest hassle of flying VFR in the LA Basin is the airspace, and particularly the Class Bravo airspace. The LA Special Flight Rules area (SFRA) offers an alternative to VFR pilots that, with a little ground prep, you can use too.

For flight instructors, this is a great tool to teach your students about SFRAs as well, so even if you aren’t local to California or planning to fly on the West Coast, you can still use this as a learning aid. We should prepare our students for flying anywhere, and this is a great opportunity to increase their knowledge of navigating complex airspace.

Why you should go:
This is a rare and unique opportunity to fly over a Class B airport without calling ATC. And the flight itself will sharpen your flight planning skills.
The perfect place to avoid traffic at a busy airport is to fly high and right over the field, and that’s exactly where this corridor will take you. And not only is this flight functional, its scenic. Your reward will be a great view of arriving and departing traffic, Los Angeles International Airport’s iconic space age Theme Building, as well as SoFi Stadium, the Santa Monica Pier, and maybe even the Goodyear blimp. While flying the SFRA is straightforward, it is important to get every step correct. Remember, these are guidelines that need to be verified and are not to be used for navigation purposes.

  • Squawk 1201.
  • Monitor and make position reports on 128.55 MHz—typical calls are entering or exiting over Imperial Highway, the south runways (25L and R), the north runways (24L and R), and entering or exiting at Ballona Creek.
  • Track the SMO 132-degree radial.
  • Maintain 3,500 for southeast bound transitions.
  • Maintain 4,500 for northwest bound transitions.

[email protected]

Alyssa J. Miller

Alicia Herron

Publications Content Producer
Publications Content Producer Alicia Herron joined AOPA in 2018. She is a multiengine-rated commercial pilot with advanced ground and instrument flight instructor certificates. She is based in Los Angeles and enjoys tailwheel flying best.

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