The FAA is soliciting user comments regarding the notice of proposed rulemaking for the redesign of Chicago Class B airspace.
The proposal would contain the majority of the Chicago Class B airspace within the current 25-nautical-mile footprint and establish two new airspace extensions to contain aircraft arriving and departing from O’Hare International Airport. It incorporates several recommendations from area pilots, and AOPA suggested another improvement in comments on the proposal.
"AOPA appreciates the FAA’s efforts to develop a solution that equitably accommodates all segments of aviation in the redesign of Chicago’s Class B airspace. We request that the FAA consider raising the floor of Area F in order to meet the needs of commercial users and provide access for general aviation pilots," said AOPA Manager of Air Traffic Services Tom Kramer in comments on the proposal.
The proposed extension would have a floor of 4,000 feet. AOPA is concerned that it would increase the distance that north-south transient traffic must divert to avoid Class B airspace and would increase congestion in an already busy corridor west of the Class B airspace. The association recommended returning the area below 5,000 feet to the National Airspace System.
“The airspace contained in Area F below 5,000 feet is unusable for instrument approaches into ORD, but would be of great use for general aviation traffic transiting the area,” Kramer wrote.
The FAA has adopted some of the recommendations and alternatives that have been presented by local pilots and aviation groups during the airspace redesign process, including a recommendation to reduce the lateral dimensions of Area E to mitigate the impact to aircraft operating east of Chicago over Lake Michigan. The notice of proposed rulemaking is the final opportunity to comment on the proposed changes to Chicago’s Class B airspace. Comments will be accepted online through July 13; reference Docket No. FAA–2010–0347 in the comments.