Updated: Jan 26
Understanding IFR En-Route Altitudes is important for Instrument Rated Pilots to fly safely in the En-Route Environment. The MEA is one of the most popular altitudes you will utilize.
Here's what you need to know.
MINIMUM EN-ROUTE ALTITUDE
MEA stands for Minimum En-Route Altitude. They are depicted on IFR Low En-Route Charts as seen in the picture below.
WHY IS THE MEA IMPORTANT?
They are extremely important in IFR flying because they guarantee a pilot 2 things: Obstacle Clearance and Suitable Navigation Coverage.
When a pilot flies at or above the depicted MEA altitude, he or she is guaranteed a certain amount of obstacle clearance (in other words, you won't be hitting any terrain or man made structures). In Non-Mountainous Areas, the MEA Altitude gives a pilot 1,000' of obstacle clearance within 4 NM either side of the course centerline. In Mountainous Areas, the MEA Altitude gives a pilot 2,000' of obstacle clearance within 4 NM either side of the course centerline.
Suitable Navigation Coverage
When a pilot flies at or above the depicted MEA altitude, he or she is guaranteed navigational radio coverage for the entire route segment. This means there will not be a lapse in VOR signal coverage.
It is important to fly at or above MEA Altitudes when flying along Victor Airways in the IFR Environment. This is because you will have sufficient navigation coverage throughout the route segment and are guaranteed not to run in to any obstacles.
Author - Nate Hodell
CFI/CFII/MEI/ATP - Creator of wifiCFI - Owner of Axiom Aviation Flight School.
This information is included in the Instrument Rating En-Route Procedures Lessons on wifiCFI. Sign up today to watch videos, listen to podcasts, take lesson quizzes, join live webinars, print lesson quicktakes, and more by clicking this link >