The FAA on Thursday issued a final rule implementing AOPA-backed improvements to the VFR transition route past Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
"The proposed changes will help facilitate safety and efficiency of air traffic in the Los Angeles Basin by providing a much more clear and concise depiction of the airspace," wrote AOPA in its comments on the special air traffic rules, known as SFAR 51-1. The modifications also allow for the development of improved transition routes for general aviation aircraft in the vicinity of LAX, while continuing to allow VFR aircraft full access to the transition route.
The changes to the route include modifying the northern boundary of the special flight rules area (SFRA) to align it with Class B airspace revisions that were adopted in 1997. In addition, the new rule also revises the description of the SFRA to clearly define fixed altitudes at which aircraft may operate along the route.
SFAR 51-1 allows pilots to transit the LAX Terminal Control Area (TAC) through the SFRA without contacting air traffic control, provided they comply with the following specified procedures: The flight must be conducted under visual flight rules and must be squawking the discrete transponder code 1201 prior to entry; pilot must have a current LAX TAC chart on board the aircraft; anti-collision lights and position/navigation lights must be on; landing lights are recommended; indicated airspeed cannot exceed 140 knots; pilot shall operate on the Santa Monica (SMO) VOR 132-degree radial; if traveling in a northwesterly direction the aircraft shall be level at 4,500 msl; and if traveling in a southeasterly direction, the aircraft shall be level at 3,500 msl.
The changes to the SFAR will become effective December 25, 2003.