Las Vegas airspace plan remains short on solutions

November 6, 2012

The FAA has published a notice of proposed rulemaking for the redesign of the Las Vegas Class B airspace that makes minor concessions to general aviation's concerns but fails to adopt a majority of GA's safety and efficiency recommendations, AOPA said. Members are encouraged to study the NPRM and submit comments on its impact by Dec.26.

The expansive NPRM does little to mitigate concerns raised by users in public meetings held on the plan, said Melissa McCaffrey, AOPA senior government analyst for air traffic services. She expressed disappointment at the FAA's lack of responsiveness to numerous concerns including increasing the Class B airspace ceiling to 10,000 feet msl from 9,000 feet; floor heights that vary from sector to sector; and the absence of RNAV terminal routes (T-routes) that would provide IFR flights with an efficient means of transitioning through the airspace.

“AOPA does credit the FAA with establishing 16 new VFR waypoints that coincide with charted VFR checkpoints, and the creation of four new VFR checkpoints and waypoints to identify the Class B airspace,” she said. “T-routes, though not officially part of the Class B airspace redesign process, would also mitigate the impact by providing IFR flights with a safe and efficient way through the airspace.”

The FAA responded positively to concerns expressed by local glider pilots by relocating a portion of the eastern boundary to lessen the impact on glider operations, she added.

Members may comment on the NPRM online or by mail to U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M– 30, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, Washington, DC 20590–0001

Please cite FAA Docket No. FAA–2012–0966 and Airspace Docket No. 12–AWA–5, at the beginning of your comments. Please share your comments with AOPA.

Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz | Aviation Writer

Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor.