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Proposed Rule

Proposed Modification of Class D Airspace; McChord Field (Joint Base Lewis-McChord), WA; Supplemental

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Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.


Supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNPRM).


This action proposes to modify the Class D airspace at McChord Field (Joint Base Lewis-McChord), Tacoma, WA. After a review of the airspace, the FAA found it necessary to amend the existing airspace for the safety and management of Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) operations at this location and Visual Flight Rules (VFR) at a satellite airport. This proposal would also remove a reference to the McChord Very High Frequency Start Printed Page 39987Omnidirectional Range beacon (VOR) from the legal description, update the airport name and city, and amend the geographical coordinates for the airport to match the FAA's database.


Comments must be received on or before September 9, 2021.


Send comments on this proposal to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590; telephone: 1-800-647-5527, or (202) 366-9826. You must identify FAA Docket No. FAA-2020-0896; Airspace Docket No. 20-ANM-17, at the beginning of your comments. You may also submit comments through the internet at

FAA Order 7400.11E, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, and subsequent amendments can be viewed online 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 FAA Order 7400.11E at NARA, email:, or go to​federal-register/​cfr/​ibr-locations.html.

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Richard Roberts, Federal Aviation Administration, Western Service Center, Operations Support Group, 2200 S 216th Street, Des Moines, WA 98198; 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 airspace. This regulation is within the scope of that authority as it would modify the Class D airspace to support IFR operations at McChord Field (Joint Base Lewis-McChord), Tacoma, WA.

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. Persons 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-2020-0896; Airspace Docket No. 20-ANM-17”. The postcard will be date/time stamped and returned to the commenter.

All communications received 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 the comments received. 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 Recently published rulemaking documents can also be accessed through the FAA's web page at​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 (see the ADDRESSES section for the address and phone number) between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except federal holidays. An informal docket may also be examined during normal business hours at the Northwest Mountain Regional Office of the Federal Aviation Administration, Air Traffic Organization, Western Service Center, Operations Support Group, 2200 S 216th Street, Des Moines, WA 98198.

Availability and Summary of Documents for Incorporation by Reference

This document proposes to amend FAA Order 7400.11E, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated July 21, 2020, and effective September 15, 2020. FAA Order 7400.11E is publicly available as listed in the ADDRESSES section of this document. FAA Order 7400.11E lists Class A, B, C, D, and E airspace areas, air traffic service routes, and reporting points.


The FAA published a notice of proposed rulemaking for Docket No. FAA-2020-0896 in the Federal Register (85 FR 69281; November 2, 2020) proposing to modify the Class D airspace McChord Field (Joint Base Lewis-McChord). Interested parties were invited to participate in this rulemaking effort by submitting written comments on the proposal. One comment was received during the comment period. The commenter was concerned that removing the entire area previously excluded for Spanaway Airport, would place aircraft arriving and departing Shady Acres Airport at a disadvantage while departing to the North and Landing to the South.

Subsequent to publication of the NPRM, the FAA received comments from the Aircraft Owners and Pilot Association (AOPA), the Airport Manager and local Pilots from Shady Acres Airport and the U.S. Air Force. AOPA, the Airport Manager and local pilots were in favor of a small portion of airspace, from the original area cutout for Spanaway airport, being maintained for satellite airport operations at Shady Acres Airport. These amendments would maintain the current level of operational safety, while adhering to FAA policy on airspace for satellite airports. The U.S. Air Force was not in favor of this recommendation. In addition, the FAA identified an area of airspace to the Northwest that needed additional clarification in its boundary and the U.S. Air Force identified that only the VOR was being decommissioned and not the Tactical Air Navigation System (TACAN), as previously reported. The FAA determined that the proposal needed additional consideration due to these comments.

The Proposal

The FAA is proposing an amendment to 14 CFR part 71 by modifying the lateral dimensions of the Class D airspace. The FAA initiated a review of the assigned airspace and drafted the subsequent proposal for modification due to three actions. The FAA decommissioned the McChord VOR because the U.S. Air Force was no longer going to maintain the NAVAID. Start Printed Page 39988As a result of the decommissioning, the FAA was required to redefine the airspace that uses the VOR as a reference and remove the reference from the associated airspace descriptions. The U.S. Air Force requested elimination of airspace previously excluded for operations at Spanaway Airport. In response, the FAA completed an airspace review to evaluate that request and the Class D airspace had not been examined in the previous two years as required by FAA Orders.

The exclusion of Class D airspace that is southeast of the airport would be modified to facilitate use of the airspace for aircraft arriving and departing Shady Acres Airport, in keeping with FAA Directives. A portion of the airspace overlying Lakewood, WA would also be eliminated, as it is no longer needed.

In addition, the Legal Descriptions Heading would be corrected to identify the proper city and state, the name of the airport and the geographical coordinates for McChord Field (Joint Base Lewis McChord) to match the FAA's National Airspace System Resource (NASR) database.

Class D airspace designations are published in paragraph 5000 of FAA Order 7400.11E, dated July 21, 2020, and effective September 15, 2020, which is incorporated by reference in 14 CFR 71.1. The Class D airspace designations listed in this document will be published subsequently in the Order.

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

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 will only affect air traffic procedures and air navigation, it is certified that this rule, when promulgated, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

Environmental Review

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

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List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 71

  • Airspace
  • Incorporation by reference
  • Navigation (air)
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The Proposed Amendment

Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me, the Federal Aviation Administration proposes to amend 14 CFR part 71 as follows:

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1. The authority citation for 14 CFR 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 7400.11E, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated July 21, 2020, and effective September 15, 2020, is amended as follows:

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Paragraph 5000 Class D Airspace.

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McChord Field (Joint Base Lewis-McChord), WA

(Lat. 47°08′17″ N, long. 122°28′35″ W)

That airspace extending upward from the surface to and including 2,800 feet MSL within a 5.4-mile radius of the McChord Field (Joint Base Lewis-McChord), beginning at the point the 315° bearing intersects the 5.4-mile radius clockwise to the point where the 162° bearing intersects the 5.4-mile radius thence south to lat. 47°02′10″ N, long. 122°26′13″ W, thence west to lat. 47°02′21″ N, long. 122°31′31″ W, thence north to lat. 47°04′19″ N, long. 122°31′27″ W, thence northwest to lat. 47°08′47″ N, long. 122°35′11″ W, thence east to lat. 47°08′35 N, long. 122°33′03 W, thence north to the point of beginning; and excluding that airspace at and below 1,000 feet MSL within an area bounded by a line beginning at the point the 119° bearing intersects the 5.4-mile radius clockwise to the point the 145° bearing intersects the 5.4-mile radius to lat. 47°04′34″ N, long. 122°24′2″ W; thence to lat. 47°05′43″ N, long. 122°22′24″ W; thence to the point of beginning.

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Issued in Des Moines, Washington, on July 19, 2021.

Maria A Aviles,

Acting Group Manager, Operations Support Group, Western Service Center.

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[FR Doc. 2021-15720 Filed 7-23-21; 8:45 am]