Class A, that’s high eh?
Class A airspace is a fairly straight forward type of airspace to understand, it covers the entire globe, from 18,000′ msl or FL180 (flight level 180) up to and including FL600 (or 60,000′ msl).
- You need a Altitude encoding transponder
- An instrument rating and be on an IFR flight plan
- Instrument equipped aircraft
- You need DME for operating at and above FL240 (Distance Measuring Equipment, fancy way of saying GPS or something that tells you how far you are from a VOR / navigational station).
Yes some rare aircraft can actually fly at 60,000′ and beyond. How high can they go? Well that’s classified, but here’s a fun story of a SR-71 Black Bird
Los Angeles Center reported receiving a request for clearance to FL 600 (60,000ft).
The incredulous controller, with some disdain in his voice, asked: “How do you plan to get up to 60,000 feet?”
The pilot (obviously a sled driver), responded: “We don’t plan to go up to it, we plan to come down to it…”