Some Background First – Part 135 and Part 91
This page covers the basics for Class II navigation, useful for those operators just starting out. If you simply want a quote for assistance in applying for this authorization, skip to the next page.
If not, this should bring you mostly up to speed. Much of the information we will cover applies to both Part 135 and Part 91 operators. When necessary, the difference between these will explained. For Part 91K operators, the rules are similar to Part 135 but are not covered here. Side note – the FAA has started to call Class II navigation “Oceanic and Remote Continental” navigation. For the purposes of this section, we will use the old and more familiar term, Class II.
Navigation is divided into two types, Class I and Class II. Class I navigation is any kind of enroute operation conducted entirely within the operational service volume of normal ground based navigation facilities (VOR, NDB). This also includes airways, and airways with MEA gaps that can occur in some areas. Note that an RNAV-only airway can still be Class I, even if there are no ground based navaids along the route, as long as you remain within the service volume of ground based navaids and can return to VOR or NDB navigation if your RNAV system fails.
Class II navigation is any time you are outside of the ground based facility airways.
Here is the easiest way to think about the difference – you are conducting Class I or Class II based on where you are, not how you are navigating. For instance, if you are flying along an airway, or flying a random VFR route within VOR service volumes, (even with your VORs switched off), you are conducting Class I navigation. Navigation type is classed on whether you are within service volume limits (including airways) or not.
This difference is often misunderstood by many pilots. If it helps, you can think about Class I and Class II as a category of airspace rather than a method of navigation. This is not entirely accurate, but it helps illustrate the point.
Class I Navigation
Class I navigation can be conducted via:
- Dead Reckoning
- RNAV – GPS
- RNAV – DME/DME
- RNAV – INS/IRS
- Visual Pilotage
Part 91 operators can fly all the Class I they want to, without any authorization. This is what we all did when we filed our first IFR flight plan in a piston single.
Part 135 operators require OpSpecs for each Class I navigation type, and have specific OpSpecs for normal routes, RNAV, and a separate one for Class A airspace (above 18,000 MSL).
- Class II navigation can be conducted via:
- RNAV – GPS (RNP4 and RNP10)
- RNAV – INS/IRS (RNP10 only)
- RNAV – INS/IRS + GPS updating (RNP and RNP10)
Note: In the Class II world, these are usually referred to as the Long Range Navigation System (LRNS). You will see this term often.
Both Part 91 and Part 135 operators require authorization to conduct Class II operations. Part 135 operators require OpSpecs, and Part 91 require LOAs (Letters of Authorization).
Which OpSpec or LOA is required?
The following OpSpecs/LOAs apply to Class II navigation:
B036 – This is the basic authorization, and is required as a prerequisite for the additional authorizations. This give the operator authorization to operate in basic Class II airspace including the Gulf of Mexico, WATRS, and areas not covered by the special authorizations shown next. (Note that Part 135 operators will need to have each area listed on their B050 OpSpec. Part 91 does not require this).
B037 – This OpSpec covers the Central East Pacific (CEP) and is required only for Part 135 operators.
B038 – This OpSpec covers the North Pacific (NOPAC) and is required only for Part 135 operators.
B039 – This OpSpec/LOA covers the North Atlantic (NAT) and is required for both Part 135 and Part 91 operators.
Operating in the NAT will also require you to comply with the equipment and authorization requirements of OpSpec/LOA A056 for Data Link. See the next page for more information.