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Proposed San Francisco Airspace Redesign Positive for GA
March 1, 2018 - A proposed redesign of San Francisco’s Class B airspace includes changes that will have a mostly positive impact on general aviation traffic in the area. The redesign strays from the typical concentric circle Class B layout, and instead aligns the airspace with San Francisco International Airport arrival and departure procedures.
The unique shape of the redesigned airspace will require pilots to rely on GPS-based navigation technology to navigate the area at most altitudes. However, the design at the surface level still aligns with the distance measuring equipment (DME) arc, allowing pilots at low altitudes to continue to rely on ground-based navigational equipment.
The redesign is intended to make more efficient use of the Class B airspace and replace unnecessary areas with Class E or Class G airspace where possible. The FAA has maintained the five existing VFR flyways and has taken into account the heavy GA traffic in the area among the airline traffic. According to the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), the redesign will “better segregate IFR aircraft arriving/departing SFO and visual flight rules (VFR) aircraft operating in the vicinity of the SFO Class B airspace area.”
While the majority of the redesign will have positive implications for GA, improvements can be made in some areas where there are proposed Class B expansions. EAA is working with AOPA and other groups to examine areas where the redesign is restrictive to GA, and aspects that could be altered to further accommodate GA traffic, and will submit comments with suggested adjustments.