Simpler is often better, even when it comes to airspace redesign. But so far, that hasn't been what the FAA wants to hear. AOPA has filed its formal comments on the Phoenix Class B redesign proposal. The Phoenix Tracon has been pushing for the changes, alleging traffic conflicts between airliners descending for landing at Sky Harbor Airport and GA traffic using an established VFR flyway east of the airport. Back in July, AOPA presented a simpler plan - one that was supported widely by the aviation community - but the FAA ignored it in the published document. In its recent comments, AOPA reiterated the GA user's plan, which would align many of the sectors with ground features or navaids, making it much easier for pilots to locate sector boundaries and remain in the appropriate airspace. The tracon plan would create much more complex airspace, most likely leading to more inadvertent incursions. While AOPA does support the FAA's intent of lowering the ceiling of the Class B airspace from 10,000 to 9,000 feet, AOPA is concerned about control issues regarding Falcon Field's Class D airspace. And lowering part of the floor east of Phoenix would compress traffic over noise- sensitive areas or force pilots to climb over higher terrain.
April 27, 2007