Section 5. Regional/Service Area
a. SUA proposals should be processed as
expeditiously as possible, consistent with
thorough analysis, public notice procedures, and
environmental requirements. This is necessary to ensure
that decisions are based on the most current data, and
that limited funding and personnel resources are used
efficiently. The proponent should receive a timely
determination on the disposition of the proposal in
order to conduct its mission or consider alternatives.
Lengthy delays in processing the proposal may result in
the need for a supplemental public comment period,
and/or the revalidation of the aeronautical and
b. The service area office will notify the
appropriate regional military representative, in
writing, if a significant processing delay is
anticipated or major problems arise.
21-5-2. REGIONAL/SERVICE AREA OFFICE PROCESSING
This paragraph describes the basic SUA processing items
accomplished at the regional/service area office level.
The service area office may supplement or modify the
sequence of these items as needed.
a. Assign a rulemaking docket number or
nonrulemaking study number, as appropriate (see
Chapter 2 of
When amending any part of the legal description of an
existing SUA area, a docket number, or study number must
be assigned. This includes minor changes, editorial
corrections, and the reduction or revocation of the
b. Review the proposal package for content and
compliance with the requirements of this order.
c. Task concerned ATC facilities to conduct an
aeronautical study of the proposal (see
Section 6 of
d. Determine if other airspace or airport actions
are pending or on file at the region/service area
office for possible conflict with the proposal.
e. Coordinate with other FAA offices (e.g.,
Airports, FPT, Flight Standards, etc.) as required for
assistance in identifying impacts on airport development
plans, aviation safety, and IFR/VFR operations.
f. Coordinate the proposal with adjacent regional
office service area office, if necessary.
g. Circularize nonrulemaking proposals as
Chapter 2, and
Section 1 of this order. Send an information copy of
each circular to Airspace Regulations and ATC Procedures
h. For restricted area or prohibited area
proposals, submit the proposal package to Airspace
Regulations and ATC Procedures Group to initiate
i. Determine if an informal airspace meeting will
If informal airspace meetings or environmental public
meetings are planned, and the schedule is known, include
meeting information in the nonrulemaking circular, or in
the rulemaking package for publication in the NPRM.
Also, see meeting notification requirements in
Chapter 2 of
j. Review all public comments received. Evaluate
comments with respect to the proposal's effect on
the safe and efficient utilization of airspace. All
substantive aeronautical comments must be addressed in
the final rule or nonrulemaking case file. Where
required, consider the proposal's impact on the safety
of persons and property on the ground. Provide copies of
pertinent public comments to the concerned regional
k. Review aeronautical study results.
l. Evaluate aeronautical impacts identified
through public comments, aeronautical study, or other
sources. Coordinate with the proponent regarding ways to
lessen aeronautical impact and/or resolve problem areas.
As additional impacts are identified during the
processing of the proposal, provide the information to
m. Review environmental or
land-use comments addressed to the FAA, then forward
them to the proponent for consideration in appropriate
n. If, after the publication of an NPRM or a
non-rulemaking circular, the proposal is modified by the
proponent or to mitigate aeronautical or environmental
impacts, determine if the changes are significant enough
to necessitate a supplemental public comment period.
o. Coordinate with the service area office
Environmental Specialist for review of the proponent's
environmental documents (see paragraph
p. Determine whether to recommend FAA
headquarters approval of the proposal, or disapprove the
proposal at the regional/service area office level (see
paragraphs 21-5-6 and
21-5-3. AERONAUTICAL IMPACT CONSIDERATION
There is no set formula for balancing the various
competing user requirements for the use of airspace. If
approval of the SUA proposal would result in an adverse
aeronautical impact, every effort must be made to seek
equitable solutions to resolve or minimize the adverse
aeronautical effects. If the aeronautical impact cannot
be mitigated, the service area office must carefully
weigh the extent of that impact against the need and
justification provided by the SUA proponent. The
region's/service area office's recommendation should
include a discussion of how any aeronautical issues were
In coordination with the service area office
Environmental Specialist, the Airspace Specialist will
review the proponent's draft and final environmental
documents to ensure that the environmental analysis
matches the proposed airspace parameters (e.g., time of
use, lateral and vertical dimensions, types and numbers
of operations, supersonic flight). Any environmental
issues identified in this review must be forwarded to
the proponent for consideration.
21-5-5. REGIONAL/SERVICE AREA OFFICE DETERMINATION
After considering all pertinent information, the service
area office determines whether to recommend approval of
the proposal to FAA Headquarters, negotiate changes with
the proponent, or disapprove the proposal. If the
regional/service area office aeronautical processing is
completed before the proponent's environmental documents
have been finalized, the proposal may be forwarded to
FAA Headquarters for review of the aeronautical portion.
In all cases, a final determination on the proposal by
FAA Headquarters must be deferred until applicable NEPA requirements
Supplemental public notice with an additional comment
period may be necessary if significant changes are made
to the proposal after it was advertised for public
comment. If a FAA determination has not been issued
within 36 months of the last aeronautical public comment
period or, if it is known that the aeronautical
conditions in the area have changed significantly from
what existed at the time of that last comment period, a
supplemental comment period is required. Supplemental
comment periods may be reduced to 30 days in length.
a. The service area office may disapprove any SUA
proposal, however, such disapproval should be based on
valid aeronautical reasons. The service area office must
notify the proponent, in writing, stating the reasons
for disapproval. Reasonable efforts should be made to
resolve problem areas before rejecting the proposal.
Provide an information copy of the disapproval
correspondence to Airspace Regulations and ATC
b. If the proponent resubmits the proposal after
resolving problem areas, the service area office should
determine required actions and resume processing the
c. If the proponent resubmits the proposal
without resolving problem areas, the service area office
must forward the case along with the region's
recommendation to Airspace Regulations and ATC
Procedures Group for further action.
OF APPROVAL RECOMMENDATIONS TO FAA HEADQUARTERS
Submit SUA proposals recommended for approval
to Airspace Regulations and ATC Procedures Group for
final determination and processing. Include the
following (as applicable):
a. A service area office transmittal memorandum
containing a brief overview of the proposal and
the region's/service area office's recommendation for
headquarters action. Summarize any amendments made to
the original proposal in response to public comments, or
negotiations to mitigate impacts, etc. If coordination
with the designated controlling agency indicates that
plans exist to provide nonparticipating pilots with
traffic advisories, or real-time area activity status
information, provide a VHF frequency and facility
identification to be depicted on aeronautical charts.
b. A separate attachment that contains the
recommended legal description of the area (e.g.,
boundaries, altitudes, times, controlling agency,
and using agency). Use the format shown in
If only part of the description of an existing area is
being amended, the attachment should show just the
changed information rather than the full legal
c. A sectional aeronautical chart depicting the
final boundaries of the proposed area, including any
d. A copy of the proponent's airspace request
correspondence and proposal package, to include
all applicable items required by
Section 3 of
e. A copy of aeronautical comments received in
response to the NPRM or non-rulemaking circular, along
with a discussion of how each substantive comment was
addressed or resolved.
f. A synopsis of FAA environmental issues or
concerns which were forwarded to the proponent, if
applicable. Identify any modifications made to the
proposal to mitigate environmental effects.
g. A copy of the aeronautical study.
h. A summary of meeting discussions and copies of
written comments submitted at the meeting, if an
informal airspace meeting was held.
i. Copies of pertinent correspondence from other
FAA offices (e.g., Flight Standards, Airports, adjacent
service area office, affected ATC facilities, etc.).
j. Environmental documents (if not submitted
k. Any other information that should be
considered by FAA Headquarters in making a final
determination on the proposal.
21-5-8. HANDLING OF PROPOSALS TO REDUCE OR REVOKE SUA
a. Normally, proposals which lessen the burden
on the public by reducing the size, or times of use,
or by revoking SUA, do not require advance public notice
and comment. An abbreviated proposal package may be
submitted in accordance with paragraph
b. An environmental analysis of the SUA reduction
or revocation action is not normally required. However,
if FAA plans to implement new routes or air traffic
procedures in the affected airspace, that route or
procedural action may require its own environmental
21-5-9. FAA INITIATED SUA PROPOSALS
a. Proposals to establish or modify SUA are
normally initiated by a DOD proponent. However, since it
is responsible for ensuring the safe and efficient use
of the navigable airspace, the FAA may initiate SUA
proposals when such actions are necessary to resolve a
safety issue, enhance joint use, or enhance the
capability of the SUA to accommodate the using agency's
mission. Prior to initiating a SUA proposal, the service
area office must exhaust every avenue to resolve the
issues by other means. When modification of an existing
SUA area is contemplated, full consideration must be
given to providing the affected user with an equivalent
capability to perform its mission.
b. When initiating a proposal, the service area
office will prepare the SUA proposal package and
required documentation. The proposal will be coordinated
with the affected military units through the appropriate
regional military representative. If an environmental
analysis is required, the service area office will
determine responsibility assignment.
c. In developing a proposal,
the service area office must, through the regional
military representative, consult with the concerned DOD
department to identify and document the impact of the
proposed change on affected military units' mission(s).
d. If any using agency objects and agreement
cannot be reached, but there is strong justification
to proceed with the proposal, the service area
office must send the proposal package to Airspace
Regulations and ATC Procedures Group for further action.
Include with the proposal package, the reason for the
proposal, a copy of the objections, a summary of efforts
to resolve the objections, and the region's
recommendations. Do not initiate public notice
procedures for such proposals, without Airspace
Regulations and ATC Procedures Group concurrence.