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Rule

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

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AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This action establishes a Class C airspace area and revokes the existing Class D airspace area at the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (XNA), Fayetteville (Springdale), AR. The FAA is taking 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 Start Printed Page 25490existing Class D airspace area. The establishment of this Class C airspace area requires pilots to establish and maintain two-way radio communications with air traffic control (ATC) when operating in the Class C airspace area, and operate with an altitude encoding transponder while in and above the Class C airspace area. This action promotes the efficient use of airspace and reduces the risk of midair collision in the northwest Arkansas terminal area.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

0901 UTC, July 10, 2003.

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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:

Background

On January 27, 2003, the FAA proposed (68 FR 3837) to establish a Class C airspace area and revoke the existing Class D airspace area at XNA. The FAA proposed this action due to an increase in aircraft operations at XNA and a study indicating an increased potential for a midair collision in the XNA terminal area. 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. These aircraft are frequently operating at altitudes that may conflict with aircraft arriving or departing XNA. Establishing a Class C airspace area will 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. The study also identified the need for improved communications in the XNA terminal area. In response to that need, the FAA has taken action to install a remote transmitter and receiver (RTR) that will enable pilots to contact ATC prior to entering terminal airspace.

Discussion of Comment

In response to the notice of proposed rulemaking, the FAA received one comment. The Aircraft Owner's and Pilots Association did not oppose the proposed establishment of a Class C airspace area provided an RTR is installed to improve the ability of pilots to communicate with ATC prior to entering the Class C airspace area. The FAA agrees that an RTR is needed and as stated above, has taken action to acquire and install an RTR that is scheduled to be operational on or before the effective date of this airspace action (barring any reduction of funding).

The Rule

This amendment to part 71 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR part 71) establishes a Class C airspace area and revokes the existing Class D airspace area at XNA. The FAA is taking this action due to an increase in aircraft operations and an increased potential for a midair collision in the Northwest Arkansas terminal area. Establishing this Class C airspace area will require pilots to maintain two-way radio communications with ATC when operating in the Class C airspace area and to operate with an altitude encoding transponder while in or above the Class C airspace. Additionally, this Class C airspace area will promote the safe and efficient use of airspace, and reduce the risk of a 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 intended 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 final rule will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities, will 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 final rule will revoke the Class D airspace area currently surrounding the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport and will establish a Class C airspace area there. The FAA will 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 will not incur any other costs for air traffic control staffing, training, or equipment. Changes to sectional charts will occur during the chart cycle and will cause no additional costs beyond the normal update of the charts. Any public meeting and safety seminar will not result in costs to the aviation community because they will occur regardless of whether or not this rule becomes final. Aircraft owners and operators will 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 will increase the level of safety for the operations that occur at the airport. Therefore, the FAA has determined the final rule to 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 Start Printed Page 25491business, 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.

Most 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 final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

International Trade Impact Assessment

This final rule is a domestic airspace rulemaking and will 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 final 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 Amendment

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In consideration of the foregoing, the Federal Aviation Administration amends

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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

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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]
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2. The incorporation by reference in

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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 east of a line 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 east of a line 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 beginning at 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.; thence to the point of beginning. 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.

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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 May 5, 2003.

Reginald C. Matthews,

Manager, Airspace and Rules Division.

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[FR Doc. 03-11920 Filed 5-12-03; 8:45 am]

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