October 15, 2008
By Elizabeth A Tennyson
The U.S. Air Force is asking for a Special Flight Rules Area near Phoenix, but AOPA is objecting to the proposal on the grounds that it would unnecessarily complicate the already busy airspace in the region.
The Air Force says the airspace is needed because of numerous near-miss incidents involving civilian and military aircraft. But AOPA points out that the Air Force data to support its claims is old, with no information about near-midairs after 2000. In addition, the Air Force is placing the entire burden for solving the problem on general aviation, refusing to change any of its own procedures.
“We are in the process of thoroughly analyzing the Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) for this airspace, but we are very concerned about any proposal that would make navigating the Phoenix area more difficult,” said Peter Lehmann, AOPA manager of air traffic services.
Under the NPRM, pilots would have to establish radio contact with Luke AFB to enter the airspace, much as they do to enter Class C airspace. But pilots who are unable to make radio contact or choose not to would have to make a nearly 100-nm detour around the airspace, which would abut most of the western side of the Phoenix Class B airspace.
AOPA has been following this issue for nearly three years and plans to file comments detailing its concerns about the plan. Affected pilots are encouraged to file their own comments by mailing them to Docket Operations, M-30, U.S. Department of Transportation; 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Room W12-140; West Building Ground Floor; Washington, DC 20590-0001. Comments must be received no later than Dec. 15.
Collaboration between the German government, academia, and airplane manufacturers may make future aircraft cabins more protective of pilots and passengers. The Safety Box team plans to apply auto racing technology to general aviation.
A father and his 14-year-old son were helping another pilot ferry a newly purchased aircraft from California to their home field in Virginia. The three made an overnight stop in Albuquerque before flying on to Illinois for fuel. But shortly after they parked the aircraft in Marion, Ill., they were approached by as many as 18 uniformed and non-uniformed law enforcement officers who came running toward the airplane.
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