AOPA's efforts on behalf of Houston-area pilots paid off when the FAA published its final rule modifying the Houston Class B airspace. The rule incorporates AOPA recommendations to reduce the impact on VFR traffic.
The new rule establishes VFR waypoints to help VFR pilots navigating in and around the Class B airspace. AOPA Airport Support Network volunteers played a key role, providing valuable input that helped the FAA and controllers from the Houston Tracon develop those waypoints.
The new changes include lowering the Class B shelves east and west of George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) by 1,000 feet, eliminating a heavily traveled VFR flyway, and extending the Class B shelf to the southwest of William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) by 5 nm.
The airspace is being modified to allow "tri-multaneous" approaches to three runways at IAH and to accommodate the new primary runway at HOU.
"AOPA did not want to see the Class B floor lowered," said AOPA Manager of Air Traffic Heidi Williams. "But once it became clear that that was what the FAA was going to do, we worked hard to establish the VFR waypoints. We're pleased that the FAA worked with us to find a solution that will reduce the impact on VFR pilots."
Changes to the Class B airspace become effective October 30, 2003.