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Proposed Rule

Proposed Amendment of the Pacific High and Low Offshore Airspace Areas; California

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:

Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

SUMMARY:

This action proposes to amend the Pacific High and Low Offshore Airspace Areas by providing additional airspace in which domestic air traffic control procedures could be used to separate and manage aircraft operations in the currently uncontrolled airspace off the California coast. This proposed change would enhance the efficient utilization of that airspace within the National Airspace System.

DATES:

Comments must be received on or before July 22, 2010.

ADDRESSES:

Send comments on this proposal to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001; telephone: (202) 366-9826. You must identify FAA Docket No. FAA-2010-0187 and Airspace Docket No. 09-AWP-10 at the beginning of your comments. You may also submit comments through the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Ken McElroy, Airspace and Rules Group, Office 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:

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 (FAA Docket No. FAA-2010-0187 and Airspace Docket No. 09-AWP-10) and be submitted in triplicate to the Docket Management Facility (seeADDRESSES” section for address and phone number). You may also submit comments through the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov.

Commenters wishing the FAA to acknowledge receipt of their comments on this action must submit with those comments a self-addressed, stamped postcard on which the following statement is made: “Comments to FAA Docket No. FAA-2010-0187 and Airspace Docket No. 09-AWP-10.” 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 action may be changed in light of comments received. All comments submitted will be available for examination in the public 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 be filed in the docket.

Availability of NPRMs

An electronic copy of this document may be downloaded through the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov. Recently published rulemaking documents can also be accessed through the FAA's Web page at http://www.faa.gov/​air_​traffic/​publications/​airspace_​amendments/​.

You may review the public docket containing the proposal, any comments received and any final disposition in person in the Dockets Office (seeADDRESSES” section for address and phone number) between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. An informal docket may also be examined during normal business hours at the office of the Western Service Center, Operations Support Group, Federal Aviation Administration, 1601 Lind Avenue, SW., Renton, WA 98055.

Persons interested in being placed on a mailing list for future NPRMs should contact 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.

History

In October, 2009, the Los Angeles Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) personnel conducted a comprehensive review of the offshore airspace in the ARTCC's area of responsibility. The review revealed that many of the aircraft transiting in the offshore airspace are being diverted around pockets of uncontrolled airspace. In order to facilitate operations in the offshore areas, modification of the Pacific High and Low Offshore Airspace Areas is needed. Currently, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) oceanic air traffic control (ATC) procedures are used to separate and manage aircraft operations that extend beyond the lateral boundary of the existing Pacific High and Low Offshore Airspace Areas. Modifying the Pacific Offshore Airspace Areas by extending the boundaries further south of the current location to the Mexico Flight Information Region (FIR), will allow the application of domestic ATC separation procedures over a larger area. This proposal to modify the offshore airspace area would enhance system capacity and allow for more efficient utilization of that airspace. This action does not change the status of any warning areas contained within the Pacific Offshore Airspace Areas or affect Department of Defense (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.

The Proposal

The FAA is proposing an amendment to Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 71 to modify the Pacific High and Low Offshore Airspace Areas, by extending the present airspace boundaries further southeast of the current location to the Mexico FIR capturing pockets of uncontrolled airspace off the California coast. This proposed modification would allow the application of domestic ATC separation procedures in lieu of ICAO separation and enhance system capacity and allow for more efficient utilization of that airspace.

Offshore airspace areas are published in paragraph 2003 and 6007, respectfully, 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 listed in this Start Printed Page 32120document will be published subsequently in the Order.

The FAA has determined that this proposed 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 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 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 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 within the scope of that authority as it modifies the high and low offshore airspace areas off the coast of California.

ICAO Considerations

As part of this proposal relates to navigable airspace outside the United States, this notice is submitted in accordance with the 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 and Rules Group, 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 exempt 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, in part, the designation of navigable airspace outside the United States, the Administrator is consulting with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense in accordance with the provisions of Executive Order 10854.

Environmental Review

This proposal will be subject to an environmental analysis in accordance with FAA Order 1050.1E, “Environmental Impacts: Policies and Procedures,” prior to any FAA final regulatory action.

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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, B, C, D, AND E AIRSPACE AREAS; AIR TRAFFIC SERVICE 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 7400.9T, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, signed August 27, 2009 and effective September 15, 2009, is amended as follows:

Paragraph 2003 Offshore Airspace Areas.

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Pacific High, CA [Amended]

That airspace extending upward from 18,000 feet MSL to and including FL 600 bounded on the north by the Vancouver FIR boundary, on the east by a line 12 miles from and parallel to the U.S. shoreline, and on south by the Mexico FIR boundary, and on the west by the Oakland Oceanic CTA/FIR boundary, excluding active Warning Area airspace.

* * * * *

Paragraph 6007 Offshore Airspace Areas.

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Pacific Low, CA [Amended]

That airspace extending upward from 5,500 feet MSL bounded on the north by the Vancouver FIR boundary, on the east by a line 12 miles from and parallel to the U.S. shoreline, and on south by the Mexico FIR boundary, and on the west by the Oakland Oceanic FIR boundary, excluding active Warning Area airspace.

Start Signature

Issued in Washington, DC, May 26, 2010.

Edith V. Parish,

Manager, Airspace and Rules Group.

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[FR Doc. 2010-13603 Filed 6-4-10; 8:45 am]

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