4-5-6. MINIMUM EN ROUTE ALTITUDES

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  • 4-5-6. MINIMUM ENROUTE ALTITUDES

    Except as provided in subparas a and b below, assign altitudes at or above the MEA for the route segment being flown. When a lower MEA for subsequent segments of the route is applicable, issue the lower MEA only after the aircraft is over or past the Fix/NAVAID beyond which the lower MEA applies unless a crossing restriction at or above the higher MEA is issued.

    1. An aircraft may be cleared below the MEA but not below the MOCA for the route segment being flown if the altitude assigned is at least 300 feet above the floor of controlled airspace and one of the following conditions are met:

      NOTE: Controllers must be aware that in the event of radio communications or GNSS failure, a pilot will climb to the MEA for the route segment being flown.

      1. For aircraft using VOR, VORTAC or TACAN for navigation, this applies only within 22 miles of that NAVAID.
      2. When radar procedures are used, the following actions are taken:
        1. (a) In the absence of a published MOCA, assign altitudes at or above the MVA or MIA along the route of flight, and
        2. (b) Lost communications instructions are issued.
      3. The aircraft is GNSS equipped.
    2. An aircraft may be cleared to operate on jet routes below the MEA (but not below the prescribed minimum altitude for IFR operations) or above the maximum authorized altitude if, in either case, radar service is provided.

      NOTE: Minimum en route and maximum authorized altitudes for certain jet route segments have been established above the floor of the jet route structure due to limitations on navigational signal coverage.

    3. Where a higher altitude is required because of an MEA, the aircraft must be cleared to begin climb to the higher MEA as follows:
      1. If no MCA is specified, prior to or immediately after passing the fix where the higher MEA is designated. (See FIG 4-5-1.)
        FIG 4-5-1 No MCA Specified
        FIG 4-5-1
      2. If a MCA is specified, prior to the fix so as to cross the fix at or above the MCA. (See FIG 4-5-2.)
        FIG 4-5-2 MCA Specified
        FIG 4-5-2
    4. GNSS MEAs may be approved on published ATS routes. Air traffic may assign GNSS MEAs to GNSS-equipped aircraft where established.

      NOTE: On high altitude ATS routes, the GNSS MEA is FL180 unless published higher.

    5. Where MEAs have not been established, clear an aircraft at or above the minimum altitude for IFR operations prescribed by 14 CFR Section 91.177.
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