Section 3. Class C Airspace Processing


A Staff Study is required to identify and document the need to establish or modify a Class C airspace area. The study will be used to determine if an ad hoc committee should be formed to begin the airspace change process. The content of the study will depend on site-specific details for the situation being considered. The following is a list of suggested items for the study. This list and study format may be modified as needed.

  1. Executive Summary. A one-page summary that describes the problem, alternatives considered, and justification for the proposed airspace change request.
  2. Background. Describe the current operation and aviation activity in the area.
  1. Primary airport(s).
  1. Current passenger enplanement count.
  2. Airport(s)' latest total annual operations count.
  1. Satellite/secondary airport(s).
  1. Current passenger enplanement count.
  2. Airport(s)' total operations count.
  3. Types of operations conducted (for example, flight school training, gliders, parachuting, etc.).
  1. Description of the terminal area.
  1. IFR and VFR departure and arrival traffic flows at primary and satellite/secondary airports.
  2. Existing routes and altitudes that IFR and VFR traffic use while operating en route through the area or transitioning to/from all affected airports.
  1. Adjacent airspace considerations.
  1. Other ATC facility delegated airspace.
  2. Special use airspace.
  3. Unique geographical features.
  1. Statement of the Problem.
  1. Identify and document the operational issue. Explain how safety and the efficient management of air traffic operations in and through the terminal area are affected.
  2. Provide supporting data to illustrate the operational issue, such as Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) RAs, airspace modeling graphics, user/controller input, etc.
  1. Alternatives Considered. Nonrulemaking alternatives must be examined before proposing rulemaking airspace changes, for example:
  1. Are there internal operational measures that could resolve the problem (for example, new equipment, changing facility procedures, resectorization, etc.).
  2. Modification of instrument procedures.
  3. Pilot/controller education programs and aviation education safety seminars.
  1. Analysis of staffing options, and issues, such as:
  1. Current staffing status and the anticipated staffing requirements for implementing the proposed Class C airspace.
  2. Impact on air traffic and air navigation facilities, including new or modified control positions required; and new, or relocation of existing, navigational aids/communication equipment.
  1. Proposed airspace design.
  1. A written description of the complete Class C airspace area including full boundaries of all sub-areas existing and proposed. For examples, see FAA Order JO 7400.11, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points.
  2. A depiction of the proposed Class C airspace configuration on a VFR aeronautical chart.
  3. An explanation of how the proposed airspace design addresses the operational issue.
  4. Discussion of any anticipated adverse impacts on nonparticipating aircraft.
  1. Environmental considerations.
  2. Conclusions. Explain how the proposed airspace designation/modification will reduce the midair collision potential and enhance safety and efficiency in the terminal area.

The Service Center must ensure that user input is sought and considered prior to formulating any proposed Class C airspace area design.

  1. An ad hoc advisory committee, composed of representatives of local airspace users, must be formed to present input or recommendations to the FAA regarding the proposed design of the Class C airspace area. (See Chapter 14 of this order).
  2. Informal airspace meeting(s) must be conducted in accordance with Chapter 2 of this order.
  3. Based on the results of the Service Center's analysis of the staff study and user input, the Service Center determines whether the proposal should be continued to NPRM or terminated.
  1. The Service Center and facility will develop a proposed Class C airspace design, incorporating user input, to be published in an NPRM.
  2. The Service Center will submit a memorandum to Headquarters to initiate rulemaking action. The memorandum should summarize the background, requirement, justification, and Service Center recommendation. Include, as attachments, the following information:
  1. Ad hoc Committee Report.
  2. Informal Airspace Meeting summary(ies) and comments submitted.
  3. Responses to substantive ad hoc committee recommendations and Informal Airspace Meeting public comments received.
  4. Written proposed Class C airspace description.
  5. An explanation of how the proposed airspace design addresses the operational issue.
  6. Any other pertinent information.
  1. The Rules and Regulations Group will prepare the NPRM for publication in the Federal Register. A 60-day comment period applies to Class C NPRMs.

The Service Center must:

  1. Review all comments received in response to the NPRM.
  2. Coordinate with the ATC facility(ies) to address all substantive aeronautical comments.
  3. Finalize the Class C airspace design for submission to Headquarters.
  4. Submit a memorandum to Headquarters with recommendations for final action on the proposal. Include, as attachments, the following information:
  1. A discussion of how each substantive comment was addressed.
  2. The final version of the Class C airspace description. Explain any differences from the NPRM design.
  3. The requested airspace effective date.
  1. Headquarters will prepare the final rule.

After issuance of the final rule designating Class C airspace, user education meetings are required to publicize the implementation of Class C service. See FAA Order JO 7210.3, Facility Operation and Administration, Chapter 12, National Programs, for details.