MEMBER ALERT: AOPA will be closing at 1:45 p.m. Eastern on Dec. 6 and will reopen at 8:30 a.m. Eastern on Dec. 9.
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.
FAA Systems and Airspace,
Department of Transportation,
Class B Airspace,
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AOPA is urging Santa Rosa County officials who operate Peter Prince Field in Milton, Fla., to revise proposed rules to eliminate potential conflicts.
The House has passed a bill requiring the TSA to consult stakeholders, including general aviation representatives, before making major changes to security policy.
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.