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Amendment of Class E Airspace; Merced, CA

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Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.


Final rule.


This action modifies Class E surface airspace and Class E airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface at Merced Regional/Macready Field, Merced, CA, to accommodate airspace redesign due to the decommissioning of the El Nido VHF Omnidirectional Range/Distance Measuring Equipment (VOR/DME) as the FAA transitions from ground-based to satellite-based navigation. This action also removes Class E airspace extending upward from 1,200 feet above the surface; updates the airport name to match the FAA's aeronautical database; and replaces the outdated term Airport/Facility Directory with Chart Supplement. These actions are necessary for the safety and management of instrument flight rules (IFR) operations at this airport.


Effective 0901 UTC, January 3, 2019. The Director of the Federal Register approves this incorporation by reference action under Title 1, Code of Federal Regulations, part 51, subject to the annual revision of FAA Order 7400.11 and publication of conforming amendments.


FAA Order 7400.11C, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, and subsequent amendments can be viewed on line at​air_​traffic/​publications/​. For further information, you can contact the Airspace Policy Group, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20591; telephone: 202-267-8783. The Order is also available for inspection at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this material at NARA, call 202-741-6030, or go to​federal-register/​cfr/​ibr-locations.html.

FAA Order 7400.11, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, is published yearly and effective on September 15.

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Richard Roberts, Federal Aviation Administration, Operations Support Group, Western Service Center, 2200 S 216th St., Des Moines, WA 98198-6547; telephone (206) 231-2245.

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Authority for This Rulemaking

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 airspace necessary to ensure the safety of aircraft and the efficient use of Start Printed Page 54237airspace. This regulation is within the scope of that authority as it amends Class E airspace at Merced Regional/Macready Field, Merced, CA, to support IFR operations.


The FAA published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) for Docket FAA-2017-1092 in the Federal Register (83 FR 2574; January 18, 2018) to modify Class E airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface at Merced Regional/Macready Field, Merced, CA. Interested parties were invited to participate in this rulemaking effort by submitting written comments on the proposal to the FAA. Two comments were received in support of the proposal. In their comment, AOPA stated that the NPRM did not comply with FAA guidance in Order 7400.2, Procedures for Handling Airspace Matters, because a graphic was not included in the docket. Additionally, AOPA encouraged the FAA to follow their guidance by making the action effective date concurrent with publication of the VFR sectional chart publication date.

The FAA has determined AOPA's comments raised no substantive issues related to the proposed changes to the airspace addressed in the NPRM. To the extent the FAA failed to follow its policies related to publishing graphics in the docket and coincidental to the sectional chart date, we note the following.

The FAA provided graphics for this proposal on February 15, 2018. Nevertheless, specific to AOPA's comment regarding the FAA already creating a graphical depiction of new or modified airspace overlaid on a Sectional Chart for quality assurance purposes, this is not correct nor required in all cases. During the airspace reviews, airspace graphics may be created, if deemed necessary, to determine if there are terrain issues, or if cases are considered complex. However, in many cases, a graphic is not required when developing an airspace proposal.

With respect to AOPA's comment addressing effective dates, FAA Order 7400.2L, para 2-3-7.a.4. states that, to the extent practicable, airspace areas and restricted areas should become effective on a sectional chart date and that consideration should be given to selecting a sectional chart date that matches a 56-day en route chart cycle date. The FAA does consider Class E airspace amendment effective dates to coincide with the publication of sectional charts, to the extent practicable; however, this consideration is accomplished after the NPRM comment period ends in the Final Rule. Substantive comments received to NPRMs, flight safety concerns, management of IFR operations at affected airports, and immediacy of required proposed airspace amendments are some of the factors that must be taken into consideration when selecting the appropriate effective date. After considering all factors, the FAA may determine that selecting an effective date that conforms to a 56-day en route chart cycle date that is not coincidental to sectional chart dates is better for the NAS and its users rather than awaiting the next sectional chart date.

Class E airspace designations are published in paragraph 6005 of FAA Order 7400.11C, dated August 13, 2018, and effective September 15, 2018, which is incorporated by reference in 14 CFR part 71.1. The Class E airspace designation listed in this document will be published subsequently in the Order.

Availability and Summary of Documents for Incorporation by Reference

This document amends FAA Order 7400.11C, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 13, 2018, and effective September 15, 2018. FAA Order 7400.11C is publicly available as listed in the ADDRESSES section of this document. FAA Order 7400.11C lists Class A, B, C, D, and E airspace areas, air traffic service routes, and reporting points.

The Rule

This amendment to Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 71 amends Class E airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface at Merced Regional/Macready Field, Merced, CA, to within a 6.6-mile (increased from a 6.1-mile) radius of the airport, and removes the segment extending southeast of the airport (2.6 miles southeast of the El Nido VOR/DME) due to the decommissioning of the navigation aid.

Also, this action remove the Class E airspace extending upward from 1,200 feet above the surface because it is wholly contained within the Sacramento en route airspace area.

Regulatory Notices and Analyses

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, is non-controversial and unlikely to result in adverse or negative comments. It, therefore: (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 only affects air traffic procedures and air navigation, it is certified that this rule, when promulgated, does not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

Environmental Review

The FAA has determined that this action qualifies for categorical exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act in accordance with FAA Order 1050.1F, “Environmental Impacts: Policies and Procedures,” paragraph 5-6.5a. 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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Lists of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 71

  • Airspace
  • Incorporation by reference
  • Navigation (air)
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Adoption of the Amendment

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

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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(f), 106(g); 40103, 40113, 40120; E.O. 10854, 24 FR 9565, 3 CFR, 1959-1963 Comp., p. 389.

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2. The incorporation by reference in 14 CFR 71.1 of FAA Order 7400.11C, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 13, 2018, and effective September 15, 2018, is amended as follows:

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Paragraph 6002 Class E Airspace Areas Designated as Surface Areas.

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AWP CA E2 Merced, CA [Amended]

Merced Regional/Macready Field, CA

(Lat. 37°17′05″ N, long. 120°30′50″ W)

Within a 4.3-mile radius of Merced Regional/Macready Field. This Class E 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 Chart Supplement.Start Printed Page 54238

Paragraph 6005 Class E Airspace Areas Extending Upward From 700 Feet or More Above the Surface of the Earth.

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AWP CA E5 Merced, CA [Amended]

Merced Regional/Macready Field, CA

(Lat. 37°17′05″ N, long. 120°30′ 50″ W)

That airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface within a 6.6-mile radius of Merced Regional/Macready Field.

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Issued in Seattle, Washington, on October 19, 2018.

Shawn M. Kozica,

Manager, Operations Support Group, Western Service Center.

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[FR Doc. 2018-23478 Filed 10-26-18; 8:45 am]