November 20, 2013
By Jim Moore
The FAA has proposed adding nine RNAV terminal routes (T-routes) to the Atlanta Class B airspace, including one straight over the top of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The airspace optimization proposal is unlike many others seen around the country: It accommodates the needs of both air transport and general aviation traffic.
The FAA approach to airspace optimization has not been so friendly to GA operators elsewhere. AOPA opposed, for example, routes included in the proposed reconfiguration of the Washington, D.C., Class B airspace this year. Proposed transitions on the west side in that case would extend rather than reduce the distance flown by transitioning traffic, and degrade rather than enhance GA access.
In contrast, the Atlanta proposal—part of a nationwide Optimization of Airspace Procedures in a Metroplex (OAPM) program being conducted as part of the transition to satellite-based navigation and NextGen—includes T-319, a north-south route directly above Hartsfield-Jackson. This more-or-less direct route will save GA operators considerable time, fuel, and cost when transitioning the Atlanta Class B.
AOPA is preparing formal comments that voice strong support for the Atlanta proposal, and is hopeful that it can be replicated. T-routes were originally intended to give GA pilots viable alternatives to circumnavigation of Class B airspace.
Pilots are urged to review the proposal and submit comments by Dec. 30, and send a copy of those comments to AOPA.
AOPA Online Associate Editor Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot who enjoys competition aerobatics.
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