FAR 77.17 Standards for Determining Obstructions


(A) An existing object, including a mobile object, is, and a future object would be, an obstruction to air navigation if it is of greater height than any of the following heights or surfaces:

  1. A height of 500 feet above ground level at the site of the object.
  2. A height that is 200 feet above ground level or above the established airport elevation, whichever is higher, within 3 nautical miles of the established reference point of an airport, excluding heliports, with its longest runway more than 3,200 feet in actual length, and that height increases in the proportion of 100 feet for each additional nautical mile of distance from the airport up to a maximum of 500 feet.
  3. A height within a terminal obstacle clearance area, (Terps®) including an initial approach segment, a departure area, and a circling approach area, which would result in the vertical distance between any point on the object and an established minimum instrument flight altitude within that area or segment to be less than the required obstacle clearance.
  4. A height within an en route obstacle clearance area, including turn and termination areas, of a Federal airway or approved off-airway route, that would increase the minimum obstacle clearance altitude.
  5. The surface of a takeoff and landing area of an airport or any imaginary surface established under FAR Part 77.19,  77.21, or 77.23. However, no part of the take-off or landing area itself will be considered an obstruction.

Additional height penalty for traverse ways

(B) Except for traverse ways on or near an airport with an operative ground traffic control service, furnished by an air traffic control tower or by the airport management and coordinated with the air traffic control service, the standards of paragraph (A) of this section apply to traverse ways used or to be used for the passage of mobile objects only after the heights of these traverse ways are increased by:

  1. Seventeen feet for an Interstate Highway
    That is part of the National System of Military and Interstate Highways where overcrossings are designed for a minimum of 17 feet vertical distance.
  2. Fifteen feet for any other public roadway
  3. Ten feet or the height of the highest mobile object that would normally traverse the road, whichever is greater, for a private road.
  4. Twenty-three feet for a railroad, and,
  5. For a waterway or any other traverse way not previously mentioned, an amount equal to the height of the highest mobile object that would normally traverse it.

Ways to avoid surface penetration

(C) If your structure penetrates allowable height for surfaced analyzed, you can do the following to prevent a penetration:

  1. Lower the height of your structure
  2. Move the structure further away from airport
  3. Use Airspace OMS software to determine new location that is ideal for your needs.

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