(a) All airspace: U.S.-registered civil aircraft. For operations not conducted under part 121 or 135 of this chapter, ATC transponder equipment installed must meet the performance and environmental requirements of any class of TSO-C74b (Mode A) or any class of TSO-C74c (Mode A with altitude reporting capability) as appropriate, or the appropriate class of TSO-C112 (Mode S).
(b) All airspace. Unless otherwise authorized or directed by ATC, and except as provided in paragraph (e)(1) of this section, no person may operate an aircraft in the airspace described in paragraphs (b)(1) through (5) of this section, unless that aircraft is equipped with an operable coded radar beacon transponder having either Mode 3/A 4096 code capability, replying to Mode 3/A interrogations with the code specified by ATC, or a Mode S capability, replying to Mode 3/A interrogations with the code specified by ATC and intermode and Mode S interrogations in accordance with the applicable provisions specified in TSO C-112, and that aircraft is equipped with automatic pressure altitude reporting equipment having a Mode C capability that automatically replies to Mode C interrogations by transmitting pressure altitude information in 100-foot increments. The requirements of this paragraph (b) apply to -
(1) All aircraft. In Class A, Class B, and Class C airspace areas;
(2) All aircraft. In all airspace within 30 nautical miles of an airport listed in appendix D, section 1 of this part from the surface upward to 10,000 feet MSL;
(3) Notwithstanding paragraph (b)(2) of this section, any aircraft which was not originally certificated with an engine-driven electrical system or which has not subsequently been certified with such a system installed, balloon or glider may conduct operations in the airspace within 30 nautical miles of an airport listed in appendix D, section 1 of this part provided such operations are conducted -
(i) Outside any Class A, Class B, or Class C airspace area; and
(ii) Below the altitude of the ceiling of a Class B or Class C airspace area designated for an airport or 10,000 feet MSL, whichever is lower; and
(4) All aircraft in all airspace above the ceiling and within the lateral boundaries of a Class B or Class C airspace area designated for an airport upward to 10,000 feet MSL; and
(5) All aircraft except any aircraft which was not originally certificated with an engine-driven electrical system or which has not subsequently been certified with such a system installed, balloon, or glider -
(i) In all airspace of the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia at and above 10,000 feet MSL, excluding the airspace at and below 2,500 feet above the surface; and
(ii) In the airspace from the surface to 10,000 feet MSL within a 10-nautical-mile radius of any airport listed in appendix D, section 2 of this part, excluding the airspace below 1,200 feet outside of the lateral boundaries of the surface area of the airspace designated for that airport.
(c) Transponder-on operation. Except as provided in paragraph (e)(2) of this section, while in the airspace as specified in paragraph (b) of this section or in all controlled airspace, each person operating an aircraft equipped with an operable ATC transponder maintained in accordance with § 91.413 shall operate the transponder, including Mode C equipment if installed, and shall reply on the appropriate code or as assigned by ATC, unless otherwise directed by ATC when transmitting would jeopardize the safe execution of air traffic control functions.
(d) ATC authorized deviations. Requests for ATC authorized deviations must be made to the ATC facility having jurisdiction over the concerned airspace within the time periods specified as follows:
(1) For operation of an aircraft with an operating transponder but without operating automatic pressure altitude reporting equipment having a Mode C capability, the request may be made at any time.
(2) For operation of an aircraft with an inoperative transponder to the airport of ultimate destination, including any intermediate stops, or to proceed to a place where suitable repairs can be made or both, the request may be made at any time.
(3) For operation of an aircraft that is not equipped with a transponder, the request must be made at least one hour before the proposed operation.
(e) Unmanned aircraft.
(1) The requirements of paragraph (b) of this section do not apply to a person operating an unmanned aircraft under this part unless the operation is conducted under a flight plan and the person operating the unmanned aircraft maintains two-way communication with ATC.
(2) No person may operate an unmanned aircraft under this part with a transponder on unless:
(i) The operation is conducted under a flight plan and the person operating the unmanned aircraft maintains two-way communication with ATC; or
(ii) The use of a transponder is otherwise authorized by the Administrator.
(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 2120-0005)
[Doc. No. 18334, 54 FR 34304, Aug. 18, 1989, as amended by Amdt. 91-221, 56 FR 469, Jan. 4, 1991; Amdt. 91-227, 56 FR 65660, Dec. 17, 1991; Amdt. 91-227, 7 FR 328, Jan. 3, 1992; Amdt. 91-229, 57 FR 34618, Aug. 5, 1992; Amdt. 91-267, 66 FR 21066, Apr. 27, 2001; Amdt. 91-355, 84 FR 34287, July 18, 2019; Amdt. No. 91-361, 86 FR 4512, Jan. 15, 2021]