Atlanta Class B Airspace Redesign
Ad Hoc Committee Meeting Recap
March 3, 2009
Carol Comer, Aviation Programs Manager for GDOT gave a brief welcome and announcements, asked
new members to introduce themselves. She then turned the meeting over to Committee Chairman,
Mike VanWie expressed that the Committee’s agenda is not to stand in the way of progress and
improved efficiency at Hartsfield but also does not want to sacrifice the efficiency of local airports to
accommodate Hartsfield. He asked that all comments that are to be included in the Ad Hoc formal letter
to FAA be given to him in electronic format, no pdfs, word documents are preferred.
He stated a few initial questions to FAA:
• What is the proposed schedule for the airspace change and how long it will take before the
proposal is published for public comment?
• What environmental documents are/were required to make an airspace change?
He also encouraged airports to notify and include their local communities regarding the airspace change.
Hazen Briggs, FAA, gave responses to Mike’s questions.
• It takes a total of 2‐5 years for airspace changes to be implemented. He then explained the
process. Please see initial meeting minutes.
• The only environmental document needed to change airspace is a Categorical Exclusion (CATEX).
A CATEX is given when categories of actions have no significant effect on the human
environment and are, therefore, categorically excluded from the preparation of environmental
impact statements and environmental assessments. Addressing the noise issue he explained
that a change in airspace does not create additional noise and the changes in this airspace is
containing existing traffic.
• Community involvement is important to the airspace changing process but would be better
represented in future steps of the process. The Ad Hoc is responsible for supplying the FAA with
aviation related issues.
Mike then asked the question if the airspace change would have to be redefined once the new NextGen
technology is implemented or when the Hartsfield runway is extended.
Hazen responded that the NextGen technology would be in the distant future but feels that the airspace
would get smaller once the technology is able to be implemented.
Jim Allerdice, FAA responded that the preliminary airspace design encompasses the runway extension
Jim Renwick, Big T Airport, asked about the possibility of VFR corridors through the airspace.
Hazen replied that there are safety concerns ‘tunneling’ through the airspace, but would consider it if it
was included in the formal comments from the Ad Hoc Committee.
Tom Snyder, Falcon Aviation Academy, asked about the possibility of using transition routes (t‐routes)
that are clearly defined for North/South and East/West traffic flows.
Jim Allerdice answered that the FAA is in the process of looking at t‐routes for the Atlanta area.
Albert Ensell, FAA, commented that those who would like to discuss t‐routes, meet with him at a
separate date and time.
Tom requested that the airspace be clearly definable and that the preliminary airspace proposal’s odd
corners may create some confusion.
Hazen responded that that would be a good suggestion to include in the Committee’s formal comments.
Jim Renwick asked that if the floor is 3000’ at what altitude would the airlines be located.
Jim Allerdice suggests that VFR traffic travel 1000’ below the floor because commercial aircraft will
sometimes be as low as 3000’.
Patrick Horvath, Whispering Pines Airport, commented that where the floor is 2000’ a VFR pilot flying at
1000’ is very unsafe.
There were various other conversations had.
Carol then suggested that the committee go around the room and get suggestions and concerns from
Joe Rutkiewic, Newnan Airport: the preliminary design had been discussed with tenants and the
Newnan engineering firm and noted that most pilots operate like the floor is 5000’ already so he does
not see a big impact on the airport at this time.
Patrick Horvath, Whispering Pines Airport: had two issues with the design. The first being how to clearly
define the airspace for airplanes with limited technology and the second being a pilot’s ability to
navigate North/South over Hartsfield.
Frank Basile, Mallard’s Landing Airport: T‐routes would ease his concerns.
Harry Houckes, NBAA: this preliminary design does not really create major issues.
Jim Renwick, Big T Airport: there are no major concerns, however is interested in t‐routes.
Mel Greene, Big T Airport: airport is not very busy so there would be little to no impact.
Gary Crenshaw, Tara Field: a box in current airspace is utilized for aerobatic flying and thinks there will
be no negative impacts.
Tarp Head, Head Balloons: lowering of airspace for balloonist who already operate as low as possible to
avoid Class B will create GA traffic in the balloon operating area. Most balloonist operate from 1000’ to
Rocky Bailey, Brookridge Airport: concerned about dropping 2000’ of airspace, however is interested in
Tom Elrod, Chief Pilot – Fayette County Sheriff's Office Aviation Unit: doesn’t have a major concern and
is interested in t‐routes.
Bill Skinner, Covington Airport: concerned about the constraints in altitude over the airport. Design
would put traffic right over the Cities of Covington and Oxford and is concerned about an increase in
Doug Rounds, Ridgeview Airport: the airport would be out of Class B but does have a lot of non‐radio
VFR traffic such as sailplanes, balloons, and trainers.
Joy Walker, Windrift Aerodrome: the runway is split in the middle on the 35nm line, has some sailplane
and balloon traffic.
Karl VonHagel, Cobb County Airport: met with tenants and is concerned about identifying boundaries
with aircraft older equipment, would like to see a North/South corridor.
Tom Snyder, Falcon Aviation Academy‐FCC: multi‐engine aircraft already fly south to train outside of
Class B, however VFR training is still under Class B, is interested in t‐routes.
Wally Wallace, Falcon Aviation Academy‐FCC: same as Tom’s remarks
Dan Emin, Quality Aviation – PDK: lowering of the floor makes it tough for training.
Carol asked if a suggestion from the Ad Hoc Committee for the formulation of t‐routes would be
Hazen responded yes but would not like to suspend the Ad Hoc process for t‐route assessment.
Harry asked if the business aircraft’s flight floor would be reduced in the new airspace.
Jim Allerdice responded yes, that it would enable the containment of large turbo‐powered aircraft.
Reiterated that the changes to the airspace do not substantially change the traffic operation, just
contains the current traffic. The only route changing is Mikey, form the West.
Carol asked if there was an option for a cut‐out over Covington since they dropped from 10,000’ to
Jim Allerdice responded yes.
Carol then offered that a draft recommendation be proposed at next meeting and asked for a date and
time for the next meeting.
The date and time of the second Ad Hoc Committee meeting was set. It will be Tuesday, April 14, 2009
at the GDOT‐Aviation Programs Office at the Fulton County Airport. We would like to send out synopsis
of today’s meeting and comments for all to review by March 23, 2009.
The meeting was adjourned.