The FAA is modifying a huge swath of airspace in the Phoenix area without listening to local pilots.
In its just-released final rule on the Phoenix Class B airspace redesign, the FAA rejected most of the recommendations made by AOPA and local pilots. The only positive change — one supported by AOPA — is that the ceiling of the Class B airspace will be lowered from 10,000 to 9,000 feet msl. The changes go into effect October 25.
"It is unfortunate that the FAA chose to ignore our plan, which was much simpler and addressed concerns raised by local pilots," said Heidi Williams, AOPA director of air traffic services. "The GA users' plan would have aligned 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."
AOPA is also concerned about the FAA's plan to lower the airspace floor east of Phoenix, a change that compresses traffic over noise-sensitive areas or forces pilots to climb over higher terrain.
Back in July, AOPA presented a simpler plan. It was supported widely by the aviation community. In its final rule, the FAA said it was concerned about possible traffic conflicts between airliners descending for landing at Sky Harbor Airport and GA traffic using an established VFR flyway east of the airport.
"Ironically, the FAA is implementing a plan that creates more complex airspace. This could lead to more inadvertent incursions and jeopardize safety," Williams said.
August 9, 2007