The FAA has delayed by a month plans to implement a controversial airspace amendment over Portland, Ore. and Vancouver, Wash. More details have also emerged about just how restrictive the so-called "Pearson Box" AVweb first reported earlier this week would be. According to OregonLive, the plan would have given priority to traffic from nearby Portland International (PDX) and only one aircraft at a time would be allowed in the one-mile by eight-mile box that would encompass Vancouver's Pearson Field. The root of the proposal appears to be that traffic in the Pearson pattern was triggering TCAS alerts in overflying airliners. "FAA will be delaying implementation of any airspace changes for at least 30 days. During this time we intend to re-engage with stakeholders to see if we can find some middle ground on this issue," FAA officials wrote in an email to Vancouver city officials.
The Pearson Box proposal caught the local flying community and city government officials off guard when it was announced on Sept. 20, and implementation was set for Oct. 1. The box would effectively end flight training at Pearson and inconvenience others using the airport. Officials were also concerned that the unique nature of the proposed airspace would confuse non-resident pilots trying to use Pearson. "The city of Vancouver and the Port of Portland have safely and effectively shared airspace on both sides of the Columbia River for more than 50 years at their respective airports -- bustling Portland International and small, historic Pearson Field," Vancouver spokeswoman Barbara Ayers said.