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A terminal control area
(TMA, or TCA in the U.S. and Canada), also known as a terminal manoeuvring area
) in Europe, is an aviation
Aviation is the design, development, production, operation, and use of aircraft, especially heavier-than-air aircraft. Aviation is derived from avis, the Latin word for bird.-History:...
term to describe a designated area of controlled airspace
Controlled airspace is an aviation term used to describe airspace in which ATChas the authority to control air traffic, the level of which varies with the different classes of airspace. Controlled airspace is established mainly for three different reasons:...
surrounding a major airport where there is a high volume of traffic. TMA airspace will normally be designed in a circular configuration centred on the geographic coordinates of the airport, and differs from a control area
A control area is an aviation term that describes a volume of controlled airspace that exists in the vicinity of an airport. It has a specified lower level and a specified upper level. It usually is situated on top of a control zone and provides protection to aircraft climbing out from the airport...
in that it will include several levels of increasingly larger areas, creating an "upside down wedding-cake" shape.
In Canada, the inner circle of the TCA is generally a 12 NM radius from the airport geographic center based at 1200 feet AGL, with an intermediate circle at 35 NM based at 2200 feet AGL, and an outer limit at 45 NM radius based at 9500 feet AGL. In Canada, the TCA is normally designated as class B, C or D.
In the U.S., the airspace of a TCA is typically designated as class B. In the U.K., the airspace of a TMA is usually designated as class A, D or E.