Rules proposed to support instrument flight
MANTI—The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is proposing a change in the airspace designation above the Manti-Ephraim Airport, which may require pilots to adjust their flight habits.
The proposal would establish a “Class-E” controlled airspace above and around the airport.
“The FAA is developing instrument flight procedures to increase aviation access to Manti-Ephraim Airport for properly equipped and certified pilots,” says Tom Clark, FAA airspace and procedures specialist.
“The proposed airspace change is required to provide a safety buffer between pilots operating under instrument flight rules (IFR) from those operating under visual flight rules (VFR).”
IFR and VFR are the two rule sets that govern civilian aviation. It is possible, in relatively clear weather, to fly a plane by referencing visual cues, such as the horizon to maintain orientation, nearby buildings and terrain features for navigation, and other aircraft to maintain “separation.” That is VFR.
When operation of an aircraft under VFR is not safe because weather or darkness obscure the visual cues, pilots must use IFR instead.
Using navigational aids like GPS and other instruments, IFR pilots must create a detailed flight plan covering departure, en route flight and arrival.
“In laymen’s terms, the new airspace and procedures would support properly equipped and certified pilots wishing to access Manti-Ephraim Airport while navigating via instruments versus using only visual cues,” said Clark.
The Manti-Ephraim Airport currently has no specific airspace designation, says Clark. That made its airspace essentially uncontrolled from ground level to 1,199-feet. The proposed change will lower the point where the controlled Class-E airspace begins above the airport.
The new Class-E airspace designation would extend upward from 700 feet above ground level within a 4-mile radius of the airport, with segments extending from the 4-mile radius to 11 miles southwest and 7.2 miles northeast of the airport. The southwest and northeast segments are above the two ends of the runway.
“This helps to protect those pilots operating under IFR by ensuring those flying visually will be able to see and avoid IFR aircraft,” said Clark.
Clark says that the proposed change means pilots flying at or above 700 feet above the land surface within the proposed airspace will be required to maintain at least 3 miles of flight visibility and a specific distance from clouds.
“This is part of an ongoing process to make navigation in and out of the airport safer and easier for pilots,” said Airport Board member and Ephraim City Councilman John Scott, “This is nothing but positive.”
On Monday, the FAA reopened the commentary period for the proposal until Feb. 22.
Send comments on this proposal to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, D.C. 20590. Telephone numbers are (800) 647-5527 or (202) 366-9826.
You must identify FAA Docket No. FAA-2016-8164; Airspace Docket No. 15-ANM-25, at the beginning of your comments.
You may also submit comments through the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov.