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Rule

Amendment of the South Florida Low Offshore Airspace Area; Florida

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This action lowers the altitude floor within a part of the South Florida Low Offshore Airspace Area. This action provides additional controlled airspace to enable air traffic control (ATC) to more efficiently handle arriving instrument flight rules (IFR) aircraft at various coastal airports bordering along the South Florida Low Offshore Airspace Area.

DATES:

Effective Dates: 0901 UTC, February 11, 2010. The Director of the Federal Register approves this incorporation by reference action under 1 CFR part 51, subject to the annual revision of FAA Order 7400.9 and publication of conforming amendments.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Paul Gallant, Airspace and Rules Group, Start Printed Page 63972Office of System Operations Airspace and AIM, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20591; telephone: (202) 267-8783.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

History

On Wednesday January 21, 2009, the FAA published in the Federal Register a notice of proposed rulemaking to amend the South Florida Low Offshore Airspace Area (74 FR 3466). Interested parties were invited to participate in this rulemaking effort by submitting written comments on the proposal. One comment was received. The commenter concurred with the proposal.

Currently, ATC cannot vector arriving aircraft below 2,700 feet mean sea level (MSL) while operating within the South Florida Low Offshore Airspace Area, limiting system efficiency and increasing operational complexity. Lowering the floor of the South Florida Low Offshore Airspace Area to 1,300 feet MSL provides additional controlled airspace allowing ATC to use lower altitudes to vector arriving IFR aircraft at various coastal airports along the southeastern United States (U.S.) and the west coast of Florida. Airports that will benefit from this change include, but are not necessarily limited to, those that receive approach control service Myrtle Beach, SC; Airport Traffic Control Tower/Terminal Radar Approach Control (ATCT/TRACON), Fort Lauderdale, FL; ATCT, Miami, FL; ATCT/TRACON and Fort Myers International, FL, ATCT/TRACON. The change will increase National Airspace System (NAS) efficiency and reduce operational complexity at the terminal areas.

In the NPRM, the FAA proposed to lower the airspace floor from 2,700 feet MSL to 1,300 feet MSL throughout the entire South Florida Low Offshore Airspace Area. Following consultations with the Department of Defense (DOD) and a review of ATC requirements, the FAA determined that a 1,300 foot MSL floor was only needed within an 8 nautical mile (NM) wide segment of airspace along the boundary of the South Florida Low Offshore Airspace Area. Based on this review, the airspace extending upward from 1,300 feet MSL will apply only to that portion of the South Florida Low Offshore Airspace Area that lies between a line drawn 12 miles from and parallel to the U.S. shoreline and a line drawn 20 miles from and parallel to the U.S. shoreline. To clarify the airspace description in the vicinity of the Florida Keys, the new 1,300-foot MSL floor segment between 12 miles and 20 miles from the shoreline extends around the Marquesas Keys, but does not extend out to, or include the airspace around, the Dry Tortugas Islands. The floor in the remainder of the South Florida Low Offshore Airspace Area, outward from 20 NM from the shoreline, will continue to extend upward from 2,700 feet MSL.

This action does not change the status of any warning areas contained within the South Florida Low Offshore Airspace Area or affect DOD operations conducted therein. As with all warning areas, a letter of agreement between the controlling and using agencies is executed to define the conditions and procedures under which the controlling agency may authorize nonparticipating aircraft to transit the warning area.

With the exception of the change described above, and editorial changes, this amendment is the same as that proposed in the NPRM.

Offshore Airspace Areas are published in paragraph 6007 of FAA Order 7400.9T, signed August 27, 2009, and effective September 15, 2009, which is incorporated by reference in 14 CFR 71.1. The Offshore Airspace Area listed in this document will be published subsequently in the order.

The Rule

This action amends Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 71 by lowering the floor in a portion of the South Florida Low Offshore Airspace Area from 2,700 feet MSL to 1,300 feet MSL. The amendment applies to that segment of the South Florida Low that lies between a line drawn 12 miles from and parallel to the U.S. shoreline and a line drawn 20 miles from and parallel to the U.S. shoreline. The change provides additional controlled airspace allowing ATC to use lower altitudes to vecotor arriving IFR aircraft at various coastal airports along the boundary of the South Florida Low Offshore Airspace Area, increasing NAS efficiency and reducing operational complexity.

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 regulation: (1) Is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866; (2) is not a “significant rule” under Department of Transportation (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 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 FAA's authority to issue rules regarding aviation safety is found in Title 49 of the United States Code. Subtitle I, Section 106 describes the authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII, Aviation Programs, describes in more detail the scope of the agency's authority.

This rulemaking is promulgated under the authority described in Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart I, Section 40103. Under that section, the FAA is charged with prescribing regulations to assign the use of the airspace necessary to ensure the safety of aircraft and the efficient use of airspace. This regulation is with the scope of that authority as it provides additional controlled airspace for IFR aircraft operations at airports along the coast of the southeastern U.S.

ICAO Considerations

As part of this action relates to navigable airspace outside the United States, this notice is submitted in accordance with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) International Standards and Recommended Practices.

The application of International Standards and Recommended Practices by the FAA, Office of System Operations Airspace and AIM, Airspace & Rules, in areas outside the United States domestic airspace, is governed by the Convention on International Civil Aviation. Specifically, the FAA is governed by Article 12 and Annex 11, which pertain to the establishment of necessary air navigational facilities and services to promote the safe, orderly, and expeditious flow of civil air traffic. The purpose of Article 12 and Annex 11 is to ensure that civil aircraft operations on international air routes are performed under uniform conditions.

The International Standards and Recommended Practices in Annex 11 apply to airspace under the jurisdiction of a contracting state, derived from ICAO. Annex 11 provisions apply when air traffic services are provided and a contracting state accepts the responsibility of providing air traffic services over high seas or in airspace of undetermined sovereignty.

A contracting state accepting this responsibility may apply the International Standards and Recommended Practices that are consistent with standards and practices utilized in its domestic jurisdiction.

In accordance with Article 3 of the Convention, state-owned aircraft are Start Printed Page 63973exempt from the Standards and Recommended Practices of Annex 11. The United States is a contracting state to the Convention. Article 3(d) of the Convention provides that participating state aircraft will be operated in international airspace with due regard for the safety of civil aircraft. Since this action involves the designation of navigable airspace outside the United States, it has been reviewed by the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense in accordance with the provisions of Executive Order 10854.

Environmental Review

The FAA has determined that this action qualifies for categorical exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act in accordance with FAA Order 1050.1E, “Environmental Impacts: Policies and Procedures,” paragraph 311a. This airspace action is not expected to cause any potentially significant environmental impacts, and no extraordinary circumstances exist that warrant preparation of an environmental assessment.

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List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 71

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Adoption of 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, B, C, D, AND E AIRSPACE AREAS; AIR TRAFFIC SERVICE 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 6007 Offshore Airspace Areas.

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South Florida Low, FL [Amended]

That airspace extending upward from 2,700 feet MSL bounded on the west by the Houston Oceanic CTA/FIR; bounded on the north from west to east by the Jacksonville Air Route Traffic Control Center boundary, a line 12 miles from and parallel to the U.S. shoreline and lat. 34°00′00″ N., bounded on the east by the New York Oceanic CTA/FIR and the San Juan Oceanic CTA/FIR; bounded on the south from east to west by the Santo Domingo FIR, the Port-Au-Prince CTA/FIR and the Havana CTA/FIR; excluding the Grand Bahama TCA and the Nassau TCA; and that airspace extending upward from 1,300 feet MSL within the portion of the South Florida Low that lies between a line drawn 12 miles from and parallel to the U.S. shoreline and a line drawn 20 miles from and parallel to the U.S. shoreline, along the full length of the South Florida Low and extending around the Marquesas Keys, but excluding the Dry Tortugas Islands.

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Issued in Washington, DC, on November 23, 2009.

Edith V. Parish,

Manager, Airspace and Rules Group.

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[FR Doc. E9-28899 Filed 12-4-09; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-13-P