AOPA opposes changes to Chicago Class B

October 2, 2008

Planned changes to Chicago’s Class B airspace encompass unnecessary airspace and could create new safety problems, AOPA told the FAA in formal comments submitted Oct. 1.

In the comments, AOPA questioned the need for such a large expansion of the eastern half of the Class B airspace, arguing that data presented by the FAA to an ad hoc committee of airspace users indicated the need for a smaller airspace area.

AOPA also pointed out that the committee recommended a 5,000-foot floor for an extension of the airspace to the west. Instead, the FAA is proposing lowering that floor to 4,000 feet—a move that could compress arriving traffic and create safety hazards. In its comments, AOPA offered a number of alternatives that would allow the FAA to raise the floor.

Finally, AOPA questioned the need for a 10,000-foot ceiling for the Class B airspace, noting that other busy terminal areas, including New York City Class B and Boston Class B, both use ceilings of 7,000 feet.

AOPA is asking the FAA consider implementing the alternative expansion proposal generated by the ad hoc committee of airspace users.