FAA Warns To Watch Class B Boundaries

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Pilots should be wary when operating close to the boundaries of Class B airspace, the FAA said recently in a Safety Alert for Operators. Flight crew who are on a visual approach may sometimes stray outside the boundaries of the designated airspace, the FAA said. In addition, the published approaches may sometimes take an airplane temporarily outside the airspace. At the same time, GA pilots may be operating close outside the boundaries without talking to ATC, as they depend more and more on inflight navigation aids such as GPS moving maps. That proximity increases the risk of a near-midair collision, the FAA says. The solution is for all pilots, whether flying inside or outside the Class B space, to become familiar with the vertical and lateral boundaries, the FAA said.

In addition, the SAFO notes, during busy times, pilots and flight crew might follow a controller’s instructions that cause them to exit the Class B airspace, but the crew is not aware of the excursion because the controllers are too busy to advise them. All pilots should “maintain external vigilance,” avoid distractions, and apply see-and-avoid practices anytime they are operating near Class B airspace boundaries, according to the SAFO. Class B airspace surrounds the nation’s busiest airports.

Comments (5)

EVERYTHING works on paper!

Posted by: Don Lineback | February 8, 2017 7:01 AM    Report this comment

Typical government edict--"watch out for the trap we set for you."

The LAST thing pilots should be doing is questioning controllers on the frequency--spending time to monitor whether the controller instructions took them outside of the protected airspace while they are on an IFR flight plan and under ATC control..

The SAFO says "avoid distractions"--and this is one of them.

Posted by: jim hanson | February 8, 2017 11:27 AM    Report this comment

Typical government edict--"watch out for the trap we set for you."

The LAST thing pilots should be doing is questioning controllers on the frequency--spending time to monitor whether the controller instructions took them outside of the protected airspace while they are on an IFR flight plan and under ATC control..

The SAFO says "avoid distractions"--and this is one of them.

Posted by: jim hanson | February 8, 2017 11:27 AM    Report this comment

Ditto....Sure, the FAA has nothing else to do....Humm, does 9/11 ring a bell?

Posted by: Elk Hunt | February 9, 2017 6:07 PM    Report this comment

Reading the SAFO, the gist seems to be:
"Watch out if you're flying near the boundaries of a Class B space. The big iron that's approaching a Class B airport might temporarily wander out of the Class B space, either horizontally or vertically, because stuff happens. With GA planes using their fancy nav aids to fly near the edge of Class B space, there's a chance for near misses at the boundaries. Everybody - both the big iron and the GA planes - needs to be aware of the boundaries and be vigilant about See and Avoid when near the edge of Class B."

It's common sense, once you think about it.

I did my flight training out of a small airport that was underneath a Class B ledge. We regularly flew out at 10 feet (we hoped) under the ledge. We assumed we were OK because the big iron would never fly near us. This SAFO is saying that's not necessarily always true - See and Avoid.

Posted by: Rollin Olson | February 10, 2017 1:36 AM    Report this comment

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