Seattle Class B footprint could shrink

July 25, 2011

AOPA is supporting the FAA’s proposed modification of Seattle’s Class B airspace with a reduced footprint and features that were responsive to concerns expressed by general aviation pilots.

Members are encouraged to comment on the notice of proposed rulemaking by Aug. 16.

In formal comments submitted July 20, AOPA expressed appreciation for the “commonsense approach” the FAA took when designing a modification that incorporates variable ceiling heights, and includes only the airspace required to contain arrivals and departure from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The current proposal is the result of the FAA’s consideration of comments offered from a series of informal meetings with airspace users in December 2010. The design would make Seattle the first Class B airspace in the nation to have more than one ceiling height, as AOPA reported June 20.

AOPA has identified one potential improvement to the design that was brought to light by members’ suggestions: To avoid an adverse impact on glider operations at Tiger Mountain near Issaquah, Wash., from a lowered Class B floor in the area, AOPA has proposed establishing an airspace cutout in that sector to maintain the existing 6,000-foot msl Class B floor. Such an accommodation would be similar to one made for glider operations near Bergseth Field in Enumclaw, Wash.

Members can submit comments by Aug. 16 online under Docket No. FAA-2011-0232. Please share your comments with AOPA.

Proposed changes to Seattle Class B airspace 

Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz | Aviation Writer

Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.