In the aftermath of the U.S. terrorist attacks, general and business aviation is facing severe flight restrictions. For example, flights below 3,000 ft agl within a three-nautical-mile radius of any major professional or college sporting event or “any other major open-air assembly” are now prohibited throughout the U.S. VFR flying below, through or above enhanced Class B airspace was not allowed.
The FAA has revised the Houston Class B airspace to contain the operations of jetliners to the new runways recently activated at George Bush Intercontinental Airport and Hobby Airport. The revisions, which involve expanding the lateral limits of areas B, C and D, go into effect on October 30. To help general aviation navigate the airspace, the FAA developed eight waypoints for the Houston terminal area.
Ever since the nerve-shattering morning of September 11, the skies over Manhattan have been strangely quiet. At first it was the same sort of silence that settled over the rest of the U.S.–the product of a total operations ban that was the national airspace lockdown.
Eurocontrol is evaluating proposals to introduce new “charging volumes for airspace” in which different ATC fees would apply for using different parts of Europe’s airspace. This would result in operators paying higher rates for using lower flight levels and particularly busy airspace sectors, such as those in southeast England.
Some flight schools have gone out of business since September 11 though the actual number is elusive. A National Air Transportation Association spokesman said a member survey taken two weeks after the terrorist attacks yielded shocking results. NATA’s membership conservatively lost between $300 million and $500 million during the period when all flight instruction and VFR flying were banned.
On October 11 the House small business subcommittee on regulatory reform and oversight considered the financial hit to small aviation business from restrictions on the National Airspace System. The hearing was intended to quantify dollar needs and consider expansion of recipients for aid under H.R.3007, introduced on October 3 by Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) with 25 cosponsors.
By the middle of last month, as the Bush Administration was cautiously lifting many of the September 11-inspired airspace restrictions, NBAA and other general aviation organizations continued to work for Part 91 IFR operations within the New York and Washington temporary flight restriction (TFR) areas, including Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA).
The FAA awarded to ITT in August an 18-year, $1.8 billion contract to provide nationwide automatic dependent surveillance- broadcast (ADS-B) service through- out the National Airspace System. ITT will design, build, install, operate and maintain that critical element of the FAA’s NextGen infrastructure, with the agency’s involvement limited to certification and operational oversight.
Customers flying to Eurocopter’s Donauwörth training center and customer service facility in Germany now benefit from a helicopter-dedicated airspace layout, the first of its kind in Europe, according to the local Eurocopter flight operations team. The new flight procedures allow operations in almost all weather conditions.
Since mid-March, approaches at the airport have been GPS-based, allowing flights in IMC.
While legislation that would direct the Transportation Security Administration to study the vulnerability of general aviation airports to terrorist acts is dragging through Congress, there is talk in the GA community about possible changes to the widely reviled Washington, D.C., air defense identification zone (ADIZ). The ADIZ now covers 3,700 sq mi that closely follow the Washington-Baltimore Class B airspace.