EAA Efforts Help Re-Establish Tampa-Area VFR "Bridge" Corridor
September 28, 2006 — EAA's efforts in the Tampa-St. Petersburg (Florida) area have helped re-establish the "Bridge" VFR corridor, used for more than 40 years by VFR pilots transitioning through Tampa Class B airspace.
This safe and effective corridor was closed earlier this month when internal FAA controller coordination procedures were questioned, leaving some controllers uncertain when a VFR aircraft was flying the 2,100-foot MSL route. The controller procedure used "point outs," where one controller would call another to alert them to an aircraft using the Bridge corridor.
Instead of allowing the Bridge corridor flights to continue while the FAA improved the internal controller-to-controller procedure, FAA elected to close the corridor, leaving general aviation pilots no choice than to fly around the Tampa Class B airspace into the congested area just outside of it. EAA contacted Tampa air traffic officials and urged the corridor to reopen, and encouraged Tampa-area pilots to contact those officials to support and reopen the Bridge corridor and procedures.
"EAA is pleased to say we have heard from the manager of the Tampa air traffic control tower, and that the controller procedure problems are being remedied," said Randy Hansen, EAA Government Program Specialist. "They said the Bridge VFR corridor should be reopening on or about October 20, once all controllers are fully trained on the new procedures. Over the past 40 years, the Bridge corridor has been proven a safe and effective transition path for VFR flights in the Tampa area, and we're happy to see that FAA officials have listened to their constituent pilots."
There may be some changes to the Bridge corridor but none that will greatly affect use of the VFR flight path. Laurie Zugay, manager of the Tampa tower, also told EAA that she welcomes input from pilots after the corridor reopens next month. Zugay said pilots can call her at the Tampa tower (813-371-7700) with comments on controller service and the revised Bridge corridor procedures. Pilots will need to report their N-number/call sign, the date they flew through the corridor and the time of that flight, along with their comments.