FAA plans to redesign Chicago Class B

September 18, 2008

The FAA has announced that it will modify the Chicago Class B airspace because air traffic controllers cannot contain aircraft within the boundaries of the current Class B. This is a problem controllers across country are experiencing because of an increase in air traffic over the past decade.

AOPA participated in ad hoc committee meetings to provide the FAA with recommendations for the new design, but the FAA rejected a recommendation crucial to general aviation.

The group had requested that the floor of the western portion of the airspace be set at 5,000 feet msl to allow GA pilots to fly under the area. The FAA, however, is planning to set the floor at 4,000 feet msl. The FAA’s proposal also would expand the entire eastern side of the Class B airspace from 25 nautical miles to 30 nm, from 4,000 feet msl to 10,000 feet msl.

“AOPA is opposed to the FAA’s call for this much airspace,” said Pete Lehmann, AOPA manager of air traffic services. “During the ad hoc meetings, the FAA only demonstrated a need for a small portion of this entire area. Instead, what they are proposing would push nonparticipating aircraft further over the lake.”

AOPA encourages pilots to attend one of three public meetings to voice their opinion of the redesign.