The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association is objecting to an FAA proposal to raise the ceiling of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) Class B airspace to 10,000 feet. However, AOPA is supporting another part of the proposal that would eliminate some Class B airspace east and west of the airport.
"The FAA is doing some of the right things but doing them the wrong way," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "They should implement the desirable changes now rather than dragging it out."
The FAA has started a time-consuming process that would lead to a notice of proposed rulemaking, the formal proposal to make the airspace changes. AOPA contends the law permits the FAA to make the desirable changes now without initiating yet another rulemaking process.
(Informal public meetings on the proposed changes are scheduled for August 16 and 17 at 7 p.m. in the Dennert's Community Meeting Room, Lunken Airport, 351 Wilmer Ave., Cincinnati, Ohio. AOPA urges area pilots to attend.)
In April 1999, the FAA issued a final rule replacing the Cincinnati Class C area with more restrictive Class B airspace. This new area extended up to 8,000 feet msl and out to 25 nautical miles from the CVG hub airport.
AOPA objected to the Class B airspace design, calling it an "unnecessary airspace grab that effectively restricts, limits, and hampers a pilot's use of the public airspace."
In June 1999, AOPA filed a formal petition asking for reconsideration of the CVG Class B boundaries, noting that internal FAA technical information suggested that the configuration was not justified by existing CVG traffic patterns and traffic counts.
Later that year, the FAA began an airspace review with an ad hoc user group, and later conducted an FAA staff study. One result is the current proposal to "notch" Class B boundaries east and west of CVG. Eliminating these two sections of Class B airspace will improve general aviation access to outlying airports.
Another part of the new proposal, however, would raise the vertical limits of the Class B airspace from 8,000 to 10,000 feet.
"AOPA adamantly opposes raising the current airspace ceiling," said Boyer. "There is no safety justification for this change, and it would unnecessarily hamper general aviation access."
Boyer said the ad hoc user group had concluded that the current 8,000-foot ceiling provided adequate protection for air carrier aircraft. AOPA found only three near-midair-collision reports for CVG in the past three years. All of those reported incidents occurred below 6,100 feet within the limits of the existing Class B airspace.
AOPA noted that the existing ceiling allows VFR pilots to transit the area "over the top" without the use of oxygen.
"AOPA is committed to working with the FAA to ensure that the CVG Class B airspace provides adequate protection for all aircraft without unnecessarily impacting general aviation," said Boyer. "We've asked the agency to take immediate steps to change the lateral boundaries of the airspace and abandon the proposal to raise the ceiling."
Pilots across the nation are facing increasing limits on access to airspace. The 360,000-member Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association challenges actions that unnecessarily restrict use of public airspace.
August 1, 2000