Pilots operating in the airspace in and around Oregon’s Aurora State Airport should be vigilant about aviating, communicating, and navigating the newly charted Class D airspace after the air traffic control tower debuts at the airfield Oct. 15.
The new control tower might come as a surprise to pilots flying in the Portland and Salem corridor because the FAA’s current Seattle Sectional Chart won’t show the controlled airspace until a scheduled December update.
“AOPA is working with the FAA to create a policy that will align airspace enactments with the VFR charting cycles to reduce confusion and the inadvertent violations of airspace,” said Rune Duke, AOPA director of government affairs airspace and air traffic. “The Seattle Sectional Chart will not be updated to depict the new Class D airspace until December 10 and pilots are reminded to check notices to airmen regarding this airspace change.”
Duke said the Class D airspace will extend from the surface to 2,700 feet msl within a 5-mile-radius of the airport, except to the east, where it reduces to 4.2 miles. Cutouts are provided for Lenhardt Airpark and the private McGee Airport to allow their operations to take place outside of the Class D surface area as long as the pilots remain below the 1,200-foot shelf (1,000 feet agl).
The new tower frequency is 120.35 MHz, and ground control is 119.15. Pilots can find weather and operational information by tuning in the ATIS on 118.525 MHz. The tower is active daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Pacific time. Duke said pilots can get IFR clearances from Portland Approach on 119.95 MHz when the tower is closed.
A recent expansion of the nearby Salem Class D airspace southwest of Aurora caused concern for pilots, air traffic controllers, and agricultural businesses at Independence State Airport when airspace changes at McNary Field were implemented before the normal charting cycle as well.