February 1, 2011
By Dan Namowitz
The FAA has established five new low-altitude air traffic service routes in airspace under control of the Denver and Minneapolis Air Route Traffic Control Centers.
The area navigation (RNAV) routes, also known as T-routes, over portions of Nebraska and South Dakota will become effective on May 5.
AOPA issued comments supporting creation of the new routes, designated T-281, T-283, T-285, T-286, and T-288, soon after they were proposed on Aug. 5 and continues to advocate for additional T-routes across the country.
T-routes are used by aircraft with IFR-approved GPS/Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) equipment. Using T-routes can lower the cost of flying and derive more benefits from installed approved navigational equipment. Currently, pilots flying in the area to be covered by the new routes must either fly under visual flight rules or file an instrument flight plan for disadvantageously high altitudes, to ensure radar coverage.
Route details, including fixes that make up the routes, can be found in the final rule published Jan. 28 in the Federal Register.
Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.
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