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San Diego airspace plan would discourage overflying Navy 'assets'San Diego airspace plan would discourage overflying Navy 'assets'

The FAA is proposing to modify portions of the complex of airspace around San Diego to discourage civilian pilots from overflying naval vessels moored in the area.

The proposal calls for three new national security areas to be established south of San Diego International Airport from the surface to 2,800 feet msl “near sensitive infrastructure” at naval installations at Point Loma, Coronado, and San Diego. The new NSAs, which pilots should avoid at their discretion, would be almost entirely located within Class B and D airspace.

“Currently there are no airspace control measures in place to discourage general aviation traffic from overflying surface ships and submarines moored at their respective facilities,” the FAA said in its proposal, noting the density of high-value naval assets in proximity to “major low altitude air corridors.”

Pilots may submit comments on the impact of the airspace proposal until April 20 as provided below.

According to Section 3-4-8 of the Aeronautical Information Manual, national security areas “consist of airspace of defined vertical and lateral dimensions established at locations where there is a requirement for increased security and safety of ground facilities. Pilots are requested to voluntarily avoid flying through the depicted NSA. When it is necessary to provide a greater level of security and safety, flight in NSAs may be temporarily prohibited by regulation under the provisions of 14 CFR Section 99.7.”

AOPA encourages pilots to submit comments on the plan, which would add complexity to an already extremely complicated body of airspace.

The association solicited feedback from the Southern California Airspace Users Working Group, and has reached out to helicopter pilots to ensure that the proposal has wide dissemination, said Rune Duke, AOPA director of airspace and air traffic.

“The fact that the proposed NSAs would be captured almost entirely within the lateral and vertical areas of existing Class B and D airspace does offer a mitigation for much of the operational complications raised by the proposal,” Duke said. “However, the proposed areas are located near a well-trafficked general aviation corridor and could further constrain traffic.”

Pilots may submit comments no later than April 20 by email or by mail to Department of Transportation, Operations Support Group, Western Service Center, ATTN: Steve Haga, 1601 Lind Ave SW, Renton, WA 98057. Please share your comments with AOPA.

Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz

Associate Editor Web
Associate Editor Web Dan Namowitz has been writing for AOPA in a variety of capacities since 1991. He has been a flight instructor since 1990 and is a 30-year AOPA member.
Topics: Advocacy, Airspace Redesign, Airspace

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