Seattle airspace redesign a model of collaboration

October 26, 2011

A new Class B airspace design that will go into effect Dec. 15 in Seattle, Wash., is a positive example of a process that combined creative thinking and collaboration with users to produce a successful outcome with widespread support from pilots.

The FAA has published its final rule establishing the airspace modification. Pilots are urged to study the new boundaries that will become effective with the issue of the next editions of sectional and terminal area charts that also take effect on Dec. 15.

The FAA took the needs of all airspace users into consideration, and employed outside-the-box planning to come up with a design that mitigated most general aviation concerns while using only the airspace necessary to contain arrivals and departures at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

The reduced contours of the Class B area allowed the return of some unused airspace to the National Airspace System.

AOPA supported the proposal in formal comments that expressed the association’s appreciation for the ‘commonsense approach” taken with the design.