Uncharted changes in Chicago

New arrival path crosses VFR flyway

February 12, 2014

FAA diagram of the new approach pattern to Runway 22L at Chicago Midway. Inbound traffic will cross the Lake Michigan shoreline within a currently published VFR flyway.

The FAA has implemented a new approach flow from the east into Chicago Midway Airport, and issued a letter to airmen detailing changes that affect a popular VFR flyway along the Lake Michigan shoreline.

Arrivals inbound to Runway 22L at Midway will cross the shoreline (from Navy Pier south to Gary/Chicago International Airport) between 2,400 and 3,000 feet msl. The currently published terminal area chart includes a VFR flyway on the reverse, a route that hugs the shoreline with a recommended altitude at or below 2,500 feet msl.

The letter to airmen, issued Feb. 6 in conjunction with implementation of the new procedures at Midway, amends the flyway recommendation to an altitude at or below 2,000 feet msl. The next charting cycle for the Chicago Terminal Area Chart begins May 1, leaving an 84-day gap between the implementation of the new approach pattern and the updated charting.

Pilots flying VFR in the area should monitor Midway’s ATIS and note that when Zulu and Yankee approaches are announced, that means the new traffic flow is likely in use. The new flow is expected to be utilized about 3 percent of the time.