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Proposed Rule

Proposed Establishment of Class C Airspace and Revocation of Class D Airspace, Fayetteville (Springdale), Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport; AR

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

SUMMARY:

This notice proposes to establish a Class C airspace area and revoke the existing Class D airspace area at the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (XNA), Fayetteville (Springdale), AR. The FAA is proposing this action due to the increase in aircraft operations at XNA and the potential for a midair collision between aircraft arriving and departing XNA and other aircraft operating close to the existing Class D airspace area. The establishment of this Class C airspace area would require pilots to establish and maintain two-way radio communications with air traffic control (ATC) and operate with an altitude encoding transponder while in and above the Class C airspace area. The FAA is taking this action to promote the efficient use of airspace, and reduce the risk of midair collision in the northwest Arkansas terminal area.

DATES:

Comments must be received on or before March 13, 2003.

ADDRESSES:

Send comments on this proposal to the Docket Management System, U.S. Department of Transportation, Room Plaza 401, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20591-0001. You must identify the docket numbers FAA-2002-13514/Airspace Docket No. 02-AWA-4, at the beginning of your comments.

You may also submit comments on the Internet at http://dms.dot.gov. You may review the public docket containing the proposal, any comments received, and any final disposition in person in the Dockets Office between 9 Start Printed Page 3838a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The Docket Office (telephone number: 1-800-647-5527) is on the plaza level of the Department of Transportation NASSIF Building at the above address.

An informal docket may also be examined during normal business hours at the office of the Regional Air Traffic Division, Federal Aviation Administration, 2601 Meacham Blvd; Fort Worth, TX 76193-0500.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Steve Rohring, Airspace and Rules Division, ATA-400, Office of Air Traffic Airspace Management, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20591; telephone: (202) 267-8783.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Comments Invited

Interested parties are invited to participate in this proposed rulemaking by submitting such written data, views, or arguments, as they may desire. Comments that provide the factual basis supporting the views and suggestions presented are particularly helpful in developing reasoned regulatory decisions on the proposal. Comments are specifically invited on the overall regulatory, aeronautical, economic, environmental, and energy-related aspects of the proposal.

Communications should identify both docket numbers and be submitted in triplicate to the address listed above. Commenters wishing the FAA to acknowledge receipt of their comments on this notice must submit with those comments a self-addressed, stamped postcard on which the following statement is made: “Comments to Docket No. FAA-2002-13514/Airspace Docket No. 02-AWA-4.” The postcard will be date/time stamped and returned to the commenter.

All communications received on or before the specified closing date for comments will be considered before taking action on the proposed rule. The proposal contained in this notice may be changed in light of comments received. All comments submitted will be available for examination in the Rules Docket both before and after the closing date for comments. A report summarizing each substantive public contact with FAA personnel concerned with this rulemaking will also be filed in the docket.

Availability of NPRM's

An electronic copy of this document may be downloaded through the Internet at http://dms.dot.gov. Recently published rulemaking documents can also be accessed through the FAA web page at http://www.faa.gov or the Superintendent of Document's web page at http://www.access.gpo.gov/​nara.

Additionally, any person may obtain a copy of this notice by submitting a request to the Federal Aviation Administration, Office of Air Traffic Airspace Management, ATA-400, 800 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20591, or by calling (202) 267-8783. Communications must identify both docket numbers for this notice. Persons interested in being placed on a mailing list for future NPRM's should call the FAA's Office of Rulemaking, (202) 267-9677, for a copy of Advisory Circular No. 11-2A, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Distribution System, which describes the application procedure.

Background

In November of 1998, XNA commenced operation. The airport is a public-use facility that is serviced by a radar approach control located at Fort Smith, AR, and a non-Federal airport traffic control tower. XNA currently has a Class D airspace area. The number of enplanements for XNA has increased and now exceeds the FAA criteria for Class C airspace area candidacy. A study of aircraft operations in the area has revealed that the proximity of XNA to seven other airports within a 20-nautical-mile radius and the current flight paths of aircraft operating in the Northwest Arkansas terminal area has increased the potential for a midair collision. With the current Class D airspace area, aircraft operating in the Northwest Arkansas terminal area may fly as close as 4.4 nautical miles from XNA without communicating with ATC. Additionally, these aircraft are frequently operating at altitudes that may conflict with aircraft arriving or departing XNA. Establishment of a Class C airspace area would reduce the potential for midair collisions and increase the level of safety in the Northwest Arkansas terminal area by requiring aircraft to establish and maintain 2-way radio communication with ATC when operating in the proposed Class C airspace area, and to operate with an altitude encoding transponder when in and above the proposed area.

Public Input

In January, 2001, the FAA held three informal airspace meetings in the Northwest Arkansas area to solicit public input regarding the planned establishment of a Class C airspace area. Additionally, an ad hoc committee was formed and met during May and June, 2001. The information received during the informal airspace meetings and the recommendations made by the ad hoc committee were considered and formed the basis for designing the proposed Class C airspace area.

The Proposal

The FAA is proposing an amendment to part 71 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR part 71) to establish a Class C airspace area and revoke the existing Class D airspace area at XNA. The FAA is proposing this action due to an increase in aircraft operations in the Northwest Arkansas terminal area. The establishment of this proposed Class C airspace area would require pilots to maintain two-way radio communications with ATC when operating in a Class C airspace area and to operate with an altitude encoding transponder while in or above the Class C airspace. Implementation of the proposed Class C airspace area would promote the safe and efficient use of airspace, and reduce the risk of midair collision in the Northwest Arkansas terminal area.

The FAA has determined that this regulation only involves an established body of technical regulations for which frequent and routine amendments are necessary to keep them operationally current. Therefore, this proposed action: (1) Is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866; (2) is not a “significant rule” under DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034; February 26, 1979); and (3) does not warrant preparation of a regulatory evaluation as the anticipated impact is so minimal. Since this is a routine matter that will only affect air traffic procedures and air navigation, it is certified that this proposed rule, when promulgated, will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

The coordinates for this airspace docket are based on North American Datum 83. Class C airspace designations are published in paragraph 4000 of FAA Order 7400.9K, dated August 30, 2002, and effective September 16, 2002, which is incorporated by reference in 14 CFR 71.1. The Class C airspace designation listed in this document would be published subsequently in the order.

Regulatory Evaluation Summary

Changes to Federal regulations must undergo several economic analyses. First, Executive Order 12866 directs that each Federal agency shall propose or adopt a regulation only upon a reasoned determination that the benefits of the Start Printed Page 3839intended regulation justify its costs. Second, the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 requires agencies to analyze the economic effect of regulatory changes on small entities. Third, the Office of Management and Budget directs agencies to assess the effect of regulatory changes on international trade. In conducting these analyses, the FAA has determined that this proposed rule is not “a significant regulatory action” as defined in the Executive Order and the Department of Transportation Regulatory Policies and Procedures. This proposed rule would not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities, would not constitute a barrier to international trade, and does not contain any Federal intergovernmental or private sector mandate. These analyses, available in the docket, are summarized below.

The proposed rule would revoke the Class D airspace area currently surrounding the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport and establish a Class C airspace area there. The FAA would incur costs of approximately $500 in order to send a “Letter To Airmen” to pilots within a 50-mile radius of the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport informing them of the airspace change. The FAA would not incur any other costs for air traffic control staffing, training, or equipment. Changes to sectional charts would occur during the chart cycle and would cause no additional costs beyond the normal update of the charts. Any public meeting and safety seminar would not result in costs to the aviation community because they would occur regardless of this final rule. Aircraft owners and operators would incur minimal equipment costs to operate in the Class C airspace area. Most of the air traffic comes from a mix of air taxi and commuter aircraft. These aircraft should already have the necessary equipment to transition Class C airspace area.

The FAA contends that establishing the Class C airspace area surrounding the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport would increase the level of safety for the operations that occur at the airport. Therefore, the FAA has determined that the proposed rule would be cost-beneficial.

Final Regulatory Flexibility Determination

The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 establishes “as a principle of regulatory issuance that agencies shall endeavor, consistent with the objective of the rule and of applicable statutes, to fit regulatory and informational requirements to the scale of the business, organizations, and governmental jurisdictions subject to regulation.” To achieve that principal, the Act requires agencies to solicit and consider flexible regulatory proposals and to explain the rational for their actions. The Act covers a wide-range of small entities, including small businesses, not-for-profit organizations and small governmental jurisdictions.

Agencies must perform a review to determine whether a proposed or final rule will have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. If the determination is that it will, the agency must prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis (RFA) as described in the Act.

However, if an agency determines that a proposed or final rule is not expected to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, section 605(b) of the 1980 act provides that the head of the agency may so certify and an RFA is not required. The certification must include a statement providing the factual basis for this determination, and the reasoning should be clear.

All commercial and most general aviation (GA) operators who presently use the Northwest Arkansas Airport should be currently equipped to use the Class C airspace area. Though it is currently surrounded by Class D airspace, most of its air traffic comes from air taxi and commuter aircraft. These aircraft already have the necessary equipment to transition Class C airspace area. Those GA operators who currently transit the Northwest Arkansas terminal area without Mode C transponders can circumnavigate the Northwest Arkansas Class C airspace area at negligible cost, without significantly deviating from their regular flight paths. Accordingly, pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 605(b), the Federal Aviation Administration has determined that this propose rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The FAA solicits comments from the general aviation community and other interested parties. All commenters are asked to provide documented information in support of their comments.

International Trade Impact Analysis

This proposed rule is a domestic airspace rulemaking and would not constitute a barrier to international trade, including the export of U.S. goods and services to foreign countries or the import of foreign goods and services into the United States.

Unfunded Mandates Assessment

Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (the Act), enacted as Public Law 104-4 on March 22, 1995, requires each Federal agency, to the extent permitted by law, to prepare a written assessment of the effects of any Federal mandate in a proposed or final agency rule that may result in the expenditure of $100 million or more (when adjusted annually for inflation) in any one year by State, local, and tribal governments in the aggregate, or by the private sector. Section 204(a) of the Act, 2 U.S.C. 1534(a), requires the Federal agency to develop an effective process to permit timely input by elected officers (or their designees) of State, local, and tribal governments on a proposed “significant intergovernmental mandate.” A “significant intergovernmental mandate” under the Act is any provision in a Federal agency regulation that would impose an enforceable duty upon State, local, and tribal governments in the aggregate of $100 million (adjusted annually for inflation) in any one year. Section 203 of the Act, 2 U.S.C. 1533, which supplements section 204(a), provides that, before establishing any regulatory requirements that might significantly or uniquely affect small governments, the agency shall have developed a plan, which, among other things, must provide for notice to potentially affected small governments, if any, and for a meaningful and timely opportunity for those small governments to provide input in the development of regulatory proposals.

This proposed rule does not contain any Federal intergovernmental or private sector mandates. Therefore, the requirements of Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 do not apply.

Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (the Act), enacted as Public Law 0104-4 on March 22, 1995, requires each Federal agency, to the extent permitted by law, to prepare a written assessment of the effects of any Federal mandate in a proposed or final agency rule that may result in the expenditure of $100 million or more (when adjusted annually for inflation) in any one year by State, local, and tribal governments in the aggregate, or by the private sector. Section 204(a) of the Act, 2 U.S.C. 1534(a), requires the Federal agency to develop an effective process to permit timely input by elected officers (or their designees) of State, local, and tribal governments on a proposed “significant intergovernmental mandate.” A Start Printed Page 3840“significant intergovernmental mandate” under the Act is any provision in a Federal agency regulation that would impose an enforceable duty upon State, local, and tribal governments in the aggregate of $100 million (adjusted annually for inflation) in any one year. Section 203 of the Act, 2 U.S.C. 1533, which supplements section 204(a), provides that, before establishing any regulatory requirements that might significantly or uniquely affect small governments, the agency shall have developed a plan, which, among other things, must provide for notice to potentially affected small governments, if any, and for a meaningful and timely opportunity for these small governments to provide input in the development of regulatory proposals.

This proposed rule does not contain any Federal intergovernmental or private sector mandates. Therefore, the requirements of Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 do not apply.

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List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 71

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The Proposed Amendment

In consideration of the foregoing, the Federal Aviation Administration proposes to amend 14 CFR part 71 as follows:

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PART 71—DESIGNATION OF CLASS A, CLASS B, CLASS C, CLASS D, AND CLASS E AIRSPACE AREAS; AIRWAYS; ROUTES; AND REPORTING POINTS

1. The authority citation for part 71 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40103, 40113, 40120; E.O. 10854, 24 FR 9565, 3 CFR, 1959-1963 Comp., p. 389.

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[Amended]

2. The incorporation by reference in 14 CFR 71.1 of FAA Order 7400.9K, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 30, 2002, and effective September 16, 2002, is amended as follows:

Paragraph 4000—Subpart C—Class C Airspace

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ASW AR C Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport, AR [New]

Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport, AR

(Lat. 36°16′55″ N., long. 94°18′25″ W.)

That airspace extending upward from the surface to and including 5,300 feet MSL within a 5-mile radius of the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport, excluding that airspace from lat. 36°21′06″ N., long. 94°15′03″ W.; to lat. 36°15′30″ N., long. 94°12′28″ W.; and that airspace extending upward from 2,500 feet MSL to and including 5,300 feet MSL within a 10-mile radius of the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport excluding that airspace from lat. 36°26′53″ N., long. 94°17′42″ W.; to lat. 36°09′43″ N., long. 94°09′49″ W.; and that airspace extending upward from 2,900 feet MSL to and including 5,300 feet MSL within a 10-mile radius of the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport from lat. 36°26′53″ N., long. 94°17′42″ W.; thence clockwise on the 10-mile radius of the airport to lat. 36°09′43″ N., long. 94°09′49″ W. This Class C airspace area is effective during the specific dates and times established in advance by a Notice to Airmen. The effective date and time will thereafter be continuously published in the Airport/Facility Directory.

* * * * *

Paragraph 5000—Subpart D-Class D Airspace

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ASW AR D Fayettville (Springdale), Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport, AR [Removed]

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Start Signature

Issued in Washington, DC, on January 13, 2003.

Reginald C. Matthews,

Manager, Airspace and Rules Division.

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[FR Doc. 03-1313 Filed 1-24-03; 8:45 am]

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