As first proposed by the FAA in January 2013, this modification will keep large turbine aircraft in Class B airspace as they fly instrument landing procedures to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Dallas Love Field.
The new Class B configuration will not change existing visual and instrument flight paths, altitudes, or procedures for arrivals and departures from Addison Airport, wrote the FAA in the final rule announcing the Class B modification in the in the January 21 Federal Register. Dallas Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) will continue to sequence all arrivals at Addison Airport.
Above is our Class B airspace, and it is an incredibly busy place. In 2011, DFW had more than 646,800 operations, Dallas Love had more than 179,100, and Addison had more than 91,120. That’s more than 900,000 takeoffs and landings a year from just three airports. Add the other airports encompassed by the DFW Class B and the total is way over a million.
To fly within it, pilots of properly equipped aircraft must request a clearance from air traffic control before they cross any of the solid lines that define its segments and follow their directions there after. This enhances safety and the flow of traffic to and from airports. Class B’s vertical constraints are defined by the big, boldface alphanumeric altitudes in thousands. The top is a uniform 11,000 feet; the bottom depends. Over DFW and Love Field to the east, Class B starts at the surface. Over Addison, east of DFW and north of Love, it starts at 3,000 feet. On March 6, the 13-mile ring north of DFW will continue clockwise and corral a boldface 25/110.
The dashed line that arcs around Addison Airport is the limit of its Class D airspace. If pilots are flying in or through this area, they must be in radio contact with Addison’s control tower. And that was one reason why the FAA is modifying the airspace. When arriving from the north, the instrument approach descent path to Love Field clips the edge of Class D, which means the airliners on approach have to contact Addison tower. Simply put, to ensure their safety, FAA regulations require airplanes inbound to airport within its surface footprint must not leave Class B airspace.
The new airspace segment over Addison will keep airliners on approach in Class B airspace all the way to Dallas Love. And it will compress the Class D airspace available for visual flight rules operations above Addison’s traffic patterns, 956 feet for light aircraft and 1,356 feet for large aircraft.
Addressing this in the final rule, the FAA said that pilots not destined for the airport would have to “fly further, or at different altitudes, in order to remain clear of the Class B airspace…. Ultimately, it is the pilot’s responsibility to evaluate all factors that could affect a planned flight and determine the safe course of action whether it is circumnavigating the Class B airspace, flying over or beneath the Class B airspace, utilizing a chartered VFR flyway, or requesting a Class B clearance.”