How do you find transition altitude as a controller?

@N1DG you don’t need to just write a response for the sake of it when it’s clearly been answered in more detail two comments earlier. Read the other replies first. You’re just cluttering up the thread with information that’s already provided, especially when you ‘think that’s what you heard’

To @Bare, me personally, if people request from higher up or in the Flight Levels even, it’s quicker and easier I find to just say ‘transition approved at or above 5000’

dang man. chillout. i obviously didnt know that, no need to call me out like that. didnt realize it as already answered

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Forgive me if I’m confused, but it seems you’re conflating the elevation shown on the airport info page with the “airspace altitude”.

There is no “top of airspace” info. Simply the airport elevation. You do the AGL math from there.

I’m confused by the question “if my airport is 2800, do I clear at 2000”. That would be underground.

Has your question been answered by the preceeding comments, or are you still unsure of what info is available?

As said above the default is 5000ft from ground level.

Thanks @MJames for helping shed some light, you knew exactly what I was asking!

@Tim_B thanks as well and apologies for not being clearer.

If you check out Tyler’s tutorial,

At 2:30sec, he says by clicking on the airport, in the top right corner of the map will appear the controlled airspace. Example: sfc---->2800 or surface to 2800ft tells tower controller and pilots that transition only required from surface to 2800ft (if I’m understanding correctly).

The other part of my question was theoretical. Within IFATC, if a pilot is at 2500ft, and the tower controls sfc----->2800ft, pilot requests transition, what’s the correct command: cleared at or above 2000/ at or above 3000/ at or above 5000.

I thought the answer would be: at or above 3000, but that was incorrect. The correct answer was: at or above 2000ft. And if I’m understanding correctly, the reason being is tower would be clearing outside of towers airspace if clearing at 3000 in this particular scenario.

Okay, I just wanted to clarify you weren’t referring to the elevation. I’ll be honest, I don’t see that info there anymore either. Perhaps it was outmoded in an update.

Either way, all you need is the elevation anyway, because you can do the math to AGL.

Ask 10 people, you’ll get 8 different answers. Never above 5k AGL. As far as how low to go, @JoshFly8 has very strong opinions on the subject.


Josh is whom I reached out to for clarification. Dude has been super awesome!

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I may not be in the IFATC yet but I know that transition is at 5000ft AGL from the airfield…

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In the UK at is 6000ft and you find the transition by looking on the charts


Towers Airspace with regards to transitions is 5000 feet Above field elevevation

Transition altitudes will vary every time, some pattern traffic will fly at 1000 AGL, some will fly at 1500 AGL etc etc. You always use your judgement based on what altitude people are in your pattern! Considering pattern traffic is VFR your only required to maintain 500ft of vertical separation.

Please don’t give out answers if your unsure of them.


I left out the obvious but now that I re-read what I wrote it does make it sound like it’s MSL and not AGL. I specified to make the decision based on pattern traffic, but again I can see I could’ve worded that better. Sorry about that!


Thank you very much @stevenwalker109. @JoshFly8 was able to answer this question during my ATC training. Your answer is exactly what I was taught. I don’t know why this was a little harder to grasp with the tutorials.

Yes, GA’s should be flying patterns between 1000-1500 AGL and jets 2000-3000 AGL. Tower’s airspace is between SFC—5000 AGL so Tower cannot clear transition at 5000 because that is technically at the very top of Tower’s airspace. Clearing above 5000 is basically denying the aircraft entry to the airport. Rather, Tower should clear 1000ft above the highest aircraft in the airports pattern. So if it’s a small airport and GA’s are flying patterns, clear above 2500 ft and if it’s a larger airport with jets in the pattern, clear at 3000-4000 ft.

Thanks you to everyone who helped me figure this out!


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