FAA to Begin “Ratcheting Down” Operations Under Sequestration

This week, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta laid out the FAA’s plan if mandatory federal budget cuts go into effect on March 1.  He indicated that sequestration will mean furloughs, shuttered control towers, slowed NextGen modernization programs, selective repairs of navigation aids, and a “steady ratcheting down” of FAA operations.  According to AOPA Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Melissa Rudinger, general aviation will suffer the greatest impacts of sequestration.

Because the budget reduction program requires percentage-based cuts across the board, all FAA programs will be vulnerable, including control towers under the FAA’s Contract Tower Program, which are expected to gradually close.   Eventually Lockheed-Martin Flight Service and DUAT flight planning will also be affected.  Advocacy groups, including AOPA, are pushing for a legislative solution before the March 1 deadline.

FAA Proposes to Swallow Cornelia Fort Airpark Class C Exclusion

In a recent proposal, the FAA set forth its plan to take back a Class C airspace exclusion extending from the surface up to 2,400 feet MSL, which extends in a 1.5 NM radius around the former Cornelia Fort Airpark.  Although Cornelia ceased operations last year, the Class C exclusion remains approximately 4 NM north of Nashville International Airport (KBNA).  The only reason cited by the FAA for removing the Class C airspace exclusion is that “it would restore the Class C surface area to the standard configuration of a 5 NM radius around Nashville International Airport and would enhance the management of aircraft operations at the airport.”  However, the FAA failed to cite any current issue with the management of aircraft around KBNA which would necessitate removing the current exclusion.  Public comments regarding this proposal must be received by April 1, 2013.