I spent some time today looking at the Toronto VTA and the CFS entries for Buttonville (YKZ), Downsview (YZD), Pearson (YYZ), and Toronto Island (YTZ) airports. My goal was to try and understand the airspace around my home airport (Buttonville).
I think I’ve figured it out. But first, some definitions:
Those are the highlighted areas around the aerodromes (blue for class “C” airspace, red for class “D” and green for class “E”). Their purpose is to offer better control between IFR and VFR traffic. They are only present around aerodromes with a tower (notice the lack of a CZ around the Makrham airstrip to the north east of buttonville).
Terminal Control Area
You can see this area on the map by the blue radiating lines around Pearson. It’s purpose is to control IFR traffic to arriving and departing aircraft. The space between the floor of the TCA and ground level is uncontrolled. For example, at the 15NM marker, the TCA is between 2000′ and 12,500′. From ground level to 2000′ the airspace is uncontrolled. VFR traffic is allowed to operated in this uncontrolled area. VFR traffic is allowed in the controlled portion, however they must request clearence to do so.
Ok, so lets run through a scenario. Lets say you take off from Buttonville and head north. From the time you take off until you reach Highway 404 and Stouffville road (#1 on map) you will have to remain below 2500′. Technically you can go above that, but you’d have to contact Toronto Centre to request clearence into Pearsons TCA. Once you are north of #1 and you are below 2500′, then you are in uncontroleld airspace. Although you dont see it on the map, the TCA ends just north of Newmarket. From that point on, uncontrolled airspace extends up to 18000′.
If you take off from Downsview and head North West, you’d have to stay below 1700′ unless you want to request clearence from Toronto Centre. From listening to ATC most people request clearence to enter soon after taking off.
Let me know if I’ve gotten anything wrong.