Lowest safe altitude

Lowest safe altitude

The lowest safe altitude (LSALT) is a term used in aviation and in particular in air navigation. It is an altitude that is at least 1,000 feet above any obstacle or terrain within a defined safety buffer region around a particular route that a pilot might fly. The safety buffer allows for errors in the air by including an additional area that a pilot might stray into by flying off track. By flying at or above this altitude a pilot complies with terrain clearance requirements on that particular flight leg.

FAA definition

In the United States in particular, the Federal Aviation Administration calls this concept the Minimum Safe Altitude (MSA), and specifically defines it as follows in § 119 of Part 91 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR):
# "Anywhere": an altitude allowing a safe emergency landing without undue hazard to person or property on the ground;
# "Over Congested Areas": an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal distance of less than 2,000 feet;
# "Over Populated Areas": an altitude of 500 feet AGL;
# "Over Open Water or Sparsely Populated Areas": an altitude allowing for a linear distance greater than 500 from any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure;
# "Helicopters": an altitude lower than in definitions 2, 3, and 4 above, as long as it is not in violation of definition 1 and in compliance with any routes or altitudes specifically prescribed for helicopters by the Administrator.

External links

* [http://www.casa.gov.au/ Civil Aviation Safety Authority - Australia]
* [http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=82a3ff470c98b92227cdd83d35adffc9&rgn=div8&view=text&node=14: eCFR Title 14 §91.119 Minimum safe altitudes: General]

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