Apr. 21, 2004 - The FAA on Tuesday announced its intention to establish a new restricted area requested by the U.S. Air Force near Alexandria, La., effectively closing a Victor airway to most general aviation traffic. R-3801 straddles V-212 and extends to 23,000 feet msl, well above the ceiling of most light GA aircraft, and inaccessible to any VFR pilots.
Despite sound arguments by AOPA that the change would be detrimental to GA pilots, the FAA sided with the Air Force and imposed the change. "Victor airways are intended for efficient use of the National Airspace System," said AOPA Manager of Air Traffic Heidi Williams. "The FAA and Air Force should have looked harder for other alternatives.
"Being sent around the restricted area is going to cost pilots both time and fuel - and that's assuming they're talking to controllers," Williams continued. "For VFR pilots who don't need to talk to ATC, the restricted area is one big 'Keep Out' sign."
The new restricted area becomes effective June 10, 2004.