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FAA to modify California's Castle Airport airspaceFAA to modify California’s Castle Airport airspace

The FAA has proposed an airspace modification at Atwater, California’s Castle Airport that would expand the Class D airspace south of the airport, enlarging an area where the Class D airspace and the surfaced-based Class E airspace of nearby Merced Regional Airport/Macready Field overlap.

Graphic depicting proposed Class D at Castle Airport (MER) in blue. Class E surface area at Merced Regional/Macready Field Airport (MCE) is depicted in dashed magenta. Overlapping Class E airspace for both Castle and Merced Regional/Macready Field Airport upward from 700 feet above surface is depicted in magenta. Graphic courtesy of FAA.

AOPA encourages pilots whose operations would be affected by the proposal, published Jan. 23 in the Federal Register, to review the plan and submit comments to the FAA by March 9.

According to the FAA, the airspace modification would extend existing Class D airspace from a 4.5-mile radius to 4.6 miles south of Castle Airport, while removing Class D airspace southwest and northwest of the airport, “thereby containing instrument IFR departure aircraft until reaching 700 feet above the surface, and removing airspace not required by IFR operations.”

In 2007, AOPA assisted with an airspace redesign in the vicinity after pilots expressed concern about the effect of the two airports’ proximity on local traffic, especially northwest-bound departures from Merced Regional Airport.

AOPA is reviewing the current proposal and urges local pilots to assess its potential impact in comments to the FAA.

In addition to its proposed reconfiguration of airspace, the proposal would remove a legal-description reference to the El Nido VOR/DME, “due to its planned decommissioning as the FAA transitions from ground-based to satellite-based navigation.”

Comments may be submitted online or by mail to U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590. Please identify FAA Docket No. FAA-2017-1091 and Airspace Docket No. 17-AWP-26 at the beginning of your comments.

Please also 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, Airport

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