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IFR access to North Carolina's Outer Banks a step closerIFR access to North Carolina's Outer Banks a step closer

IFR access to North Carolina's Outer Banks a step closer

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Greater access to Outer Banks, North Carolina, could be coming to IFR pilots in the form of a new low altitude area navigation (RNAV) route; AOPA is hoping the same route can be published for VFR pilots to use as well for safer transitions through the surrounding special-use airspace.

In formal comments, AOPA expressed its support for the FAA's proposal to establish a low altitude area navigation (RNAV) route, T-243, to the Outer Banks that would provide IFR access to Billy Mitchell Airport in Hatteras and Ocracoke Island Airport in Ocracoke. AOPA, the FAA, and the military officials at nearby Cherry Point worked together to draft the route.

As proposed, T-243 would be open to aircraft with a global navigation satellite system, including GPS or WAAS, with en route and terminal capability. However, AOPA suggested that the route be incorporated into publications, such as the Aeronautical Information Manual, for air traffic control and pilots so that those flying VFR could use it as well.

The association also wants to ensure the safety of those using the proposed route, which runs through an area surrounded by special-use airspace, and urged the FAA, state of North Carolina, and the military to work together to fund the implementation of radar coverage for the area.

Currently, the altitude for T-243 is not defined. AOPA recommended that several altitudes be made available in order for users to receive the maximum benefit from the route.

May 5, 2006

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