January 12, 2011
By Dan Namowitz
AOPA has submitted formal comments to the FAA supporting the proposed redesign of Class B airspace over Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Washington state. AOPA takes one exception to the design, however, and is calling for elimination of one Class B sector seen as an excessively restrictive way to accommodate traffic using Boeing Field—a Class D airspace airport just north of Seattle-Tacoma.
Comments may be submitted on the airspace redesign until Jan. 31. AOPA members are encouraged to submit comments on the airspace redesign, on which a series of informal meetings was held last month.
AOPA supported the FAA’s “common sense approach” to designing Seattle’s Class B airspace “to include only that airspace required for containment of arrivals and departures from SEA,” wrote AOPA Manager of Air Traffic Services Tom Kramer in a Jan. 10 letter to the FAA. He expressed AOPA’s support for the “unconventional” use of varying ceiling heights that effectively meet traffic-containment goals and also enhance efficiency of general aviation operations in the area.
Kramer requested in the letter that the 2,000-foot msl to 10,000-foot msl sector northwest of Seattle-Tacoma be eliminated from the design.
“Using Class B airspace to contain arrivals at a secondary Class D airport is a misuse of Class B airspace,” Kramer wrote. He reminded the FAA that no pilot outreach to identify safety concerns about the sector had been initiated, and that the FAA had not tried any less-restrictive methods to deal with traffic flows at Boeing Field when its Class D airspace was reviewed in early 2010.
Members can send written comments by Jan. 31 in triplicate to Mr. Clark Desing, Manager, Operations Support Group, AJV-W2, Western Service Center, Air Traffic Organization, Federal Aviation Administration, 1601 Lind Avenue SW, Renton, WA 98057. Members are also encouraged to send a copy of their comments to AOPA.
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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