New Las Vegas Class B design effective Aug. 22

Las Vegas airspace changes lack accommodation for GA

July 24, 2013

FAA graphic not for navigation.

While making a few minor changes to the originally proposed design, the FAA largely ignored the concerns of AOPA and pilots who use the Las Vegas airspace, raising the Class B ceiling to 10,000 feet throughout without adding transition routes that would increase efficiency and safety. The FAA did indicate it will examine the creation of transition routes, but only after final implementation of the new Class B design Aug. 22.

The final design will force aircraft unable to climb above 10,000 feet to make long, fuel-wasting circumnavigations in cases where a Class B clearance is not provided; the typically high density altitudes mean many general aviation aircraft will be unable to make the climb.

AOPA urged the FAA to reconsider raising the ceiling, noting there was no clear justification for adding this burden to GA operations. The final design retains a hodgepodge of different floors, further complicating VFR navigation in particular.

While AOPA voiced appreciation for the creation of VFR waypoints to ease navigation around the Class B airspace, the FAA stopped well short of implementing the full scope of changes requested through formal comments from AOPA and pilots who operate in the area.