The New ABC's
Know the latest where of your nearby airspace | Airspace
An envelope recently arrived from the FAA. The last time it was a
grant of exemption (tandems) so letters from the FAA aren't all bad.
Thankfully, this one was only mildly bad--sort of a two-edged sword for
The contents described a proposed change to the Chicago Class B
airspace that overlies my house and flying areas. They want to extend it
both west and east. The easterly addition won't have much affect since
it's way out over lake Michigan, but the western part will (new areas
marked in blue on the chart at right). For most paramotorists, it won't
matter much. But for those who like to do thermaling out west it will
cap their flights to 4000 feet MSL. That sucks. Summertime clouds
frequently rise above 4000 feet MSL.
Admittedly, I've had a sum total of two flights that would have been
affected by the change and still relish the degree of freedom we have.
Flying airliners around the area gives me another perspective, too.
On numerous occasions, while guiding the 737 away from Midway airport,
I've found myself below the B airspace because O'Hare controllers didn't
have room to vector everybody. Guess who got left out in the cold with?
Yup, Midway departures. Of course I'm looking out for stray
paramotorists and other ultralights but I'm going 230 mph. They
can be perfectly legally out there, at 3000 feet (I've been there
personally) putsing around playing nylon pylon.
So my hope is that the trade-off to accepting this airspace change
(as if we really have much choice) is being able to insure better
separation between business and pleasure aloft.
The chart at right shows what's changing in Chicago.
Although this change affects Chicago, we must all be aware that such
changes happen frequently all over the country. Stay on top of the
airspace in your local area, too, so we continue to be allowed such easy
access to the vast majority of our glorious land.