Columbus, Ga., airspace to become Class D

May 24, 2010

Pilots flying in the Columbus, Ga., area could have more airspace available for transit without talking to air traffic control. The FAA has proposed to downgrade the Class C airspace around Columbus Metropolitan Airport to Class D to “enhance safety and facilitate more efficient use of airspace.”

The agency recommended the change because the airport no longer meets the criteria for Class C airspace. Passenger enplanement and instrument operations have fallen below the threshold that requires Class C airspace. The criteria call for 75,000 instrument operations or 250,000 passengers annually at the primary Class C airport. Based on figures from 2008, the most complete data available, Columbus totaled 22,795 instrument operations and 51,288 passengers, the agency said.

“This is a good example of how the airspace redesign process can have a positive outcome,” said Tom Kramer, AOPA manager of air traffic services. “AOPA is supportive of the FAA’s efforts to evaluate and ensure airspace classifications are modified to match requirements and user needs.”

The proposal would establish part-time Class D airspace 4.4 nautical miles around the airport, extending up to 2,900 feet msl. The proposed Class D airspace would be designated as part time and in effect when the Columbus Air Traffic Control Tower is in service. At all other times, the airspace would revert to Class E. Class E surface areas around the airport would change as well. For more details about the proposed airspace changes, see the FAA’s notice of proposed rulemaking. Pilots can comment on the changes before July 19 online. Identify FAA Docket No. FAA-2010-0386.