Comments are due by January 23 on a proposal to increase the size of the Minneapolis Class B airspace, namely expanding its upper limit to 10,000 feet msl. Traffic growth, recent TCAS alerts and the advent of a new runway are the main factors behind the proposal. In the first half of last year there were 17 TCAS events reported in the airspace to be included in the proposed changes.
Europe’s controlled airspace is to be expanded to absorb air transport growth, leaving the general aviation community with the prospect of paying air traffic management fees and having to adjust to a more complex operating environment.
The International Council of AOPA (IAOPA) submitted a petition to the International Civil Aviation Organization to modify language proficiency requirements scheduled to go into effect in two years. All ICAO member states must “adopt, and controllers and aircrews must conform to and achieve, new English language proficiency standards” by March 2008.
The configuration of Los Angeles (LAX) Class B airspace is set to change on December 22 to ensure that STAR routes are contained within the protected airspace and to “correct inefficiencies of several existing areas.” In addition, the VFR shoreline transition route with multiple altitudes will be reinstated to allow pilots “to retain flight following at all times.”
As opposition continued to mount against a plan to make the Washington, D.C., air defense identification zone (ADIZ) permanent, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta announced at the AOPA Expo that he has extended the comment period deadline from November 2 to February 6.
The FAA’s proposal to modify St. Louis Class B airspace mitigates much of the effect on general aviation thanks to early input from general aviation interests. Modifications are needed to protect instrument procedures for new Runway 11/29 at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, expected to be commissioned next April.
As the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) mounted a “national pilot alert” against the proposed permanent air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the Washington, D.C. area, general aviation received another black eye when a 22-year-old commercial-rated pilot allegedly stole a Citation VII and took it on a 350-mile joyride from St. Augustine Airport in Florida to Gwinnett County-Briscoe Field (LZU) in Lawrenceville, Ga.
A supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking modifies previously proposed (Nov. 23, 2003) changes to the Minneapolis Class B airspace. This action proposes to add a new Area F to contain large turbine-powered aircraft within Class B airspace during operations on new Runway 17/35 at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Runway 17/35, which is 8,000 feet long, is scheduled to become operational on October 27.
While many in general aviation were seeking to modify or eliminate the much-loathed Washington air defense identification zone (ADIZ), the FAA executed a 180-degree course change early last month and issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to make the ADIZ permanent.
Despite some 20,000 negative comments and calls to abolish the Washington, D.C., air defense identification zone (ADIZ), a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill resulted in little progress in making flying in or near the large block of airspace less onerous for general aviation pilots.