Contrary to popular opinion, airspaces in Spain are enforced, even if their structure sometimes seems to be a remnant from a military dictatorship and not always logical.
The whole of the Valencia region is heavily influenced by the local airport TMA. Be aware of the height limitations.
Check insigniavfr.enaire.es for the legally binding airspace structure. Unfortunately, it doesn´t follow standard ICAO format, but it does have the necessary information and NOTAMS.
The VFR heights displayed correspond to airspace G, you can operate in these normally.
In Spain Single European Rules of the Air apply since 2014. These establish that Paragliders are treated like sailplanes.
117. ‘sailplane’ means a heavier-than-air aircraft which is supported in flight by the dynamic reaction of the air against its fixed lifting surfaces, the free flight of which does not depend on an engine, including also hang gliders, paragliders and other comparable craft;SERA §2.117
A recent spanish law from 2022 allows introduces several limitations, such as operating height.
In Europe normally Paragliders are limited to VFR flights, without transponder, radio or ATC clearence. We are normally limited to Airspaces G and E:
(5) Class E. IFR and VFR flights are permitted. IFR flights are provided with air traffic control service and are separated from other IFR flights. All flights receive traffic information, as far as is practical. Continuous air-ground voice communications are required for IFR flights. A speed limitation of 250 kts IAS applies to all flights below 3 050 m (10 000 ft) AMSL, except where approved by the competent authority for aircraft types, which for technical or safety reasons cannot maintain this speed. All IFR flights shall be subject to ATC clearance. Class E shall not be used for control zones.SERA.6001 ANNEX: Rules of the Air §6.5
(7) Class G. IFR and VFR flights are permitted and receive flight information service if requested. All IFR flights shall be capable of establishing air- ground voice communications. A speed limitation of 250 kts IAS applies to all flights below 3 050 m (10 000 ft) AMSL, except where approved by the competent authority for aircraft types, which for technical or safety reasons cannot maintain this speed. ATC clearance is not required.SERA.6001 ANNEX: Rules of the Air §6.7
However, a spanish law forbids the operation of certain types of aircraft in restricted or controlled airspace, which also applies to airspace E. It however also aknowledges that this restriction doesn´t apply to sailplanes, due to SERA. So there appears to be a contradiction within spanish law and SERA in this regard.
In any case, use an app like Flightradar24 to check the approach paths to nearby airports on that day and stay well clear of any commercial air traffic, they can sometimes be encountered inside VFR airspace.
Near Valencia, the airspace structure means: height is severly limited everywhere under the TMA.
It´s best to always be aware of airspace and traffic and plan your flight accordingly.
If you accidentally graze off an airspace, don´t upload the flight, as it may be used to fine you, even some years into the future.
Update from december 2023
In December 2023 the airspace around Valencia was updated in the following ways:
- The TMA is expanded further inland affecting several XC routes
- Airspace G is raised in some areas closer to Valencia airport
- The CTR around Castellón airport is expanded
- Airspace E is substituted for airspace D inside the TMA
- Additional airpaces of class D severly limit the legal height, even far away from appoach paths to the airports. This affects especially the area around Castellón and Alicante, which used to have a lot more freedom for XC.
This page provides no legal advice and every pilot is responsible for knowing and adhering to the current valid air traffic laws themselves.
Have fun with the insigniavfr.enaire.es user interface and the very human friendly “Notices to Airmen”.