Section 5. Service Center OSG Actions
- SUA proposals should be processed as expeditiously as possible, consistent with thorough analysis, public notice procedures, and environmental requirements. 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 environmental studies.
- The Service Center OSG will notify the appropriate military representative, in writing, if a significant processing delay is anticipated or major problems arise.
This paragraph describes the basic SUA processing requirements accomplished by the Service Center OSG. The Service Center OSG may supplement or modify the sequence of these items as needed.
CFAs have a limited process identified in Chapter 27.
- Assign a rulemaking docket number or nonrulemaking study number, as appropriate (see Chapter 2 of this order).
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 airspace.
- Review the proposal package for content and compliance with the requirements of this order.
- Task affected FAA ATC facilities to conduct an aeronautical study of the proposal (see Section 6 of this chapter).
- Determine if other airspace or airport actions are pending or on file at other FAA offices (e.g., Airports, Flight Standards, PBN, etc.) for possible conflict with the proposal.
- Coordinate with other FAA offices (e.g., Airports, Flight Standards, PBN, QCG (Quality Control Group), etc.), as required, for assistance in identifying impacts on airport development plans, aviation safety, and IFR/VFR operations.
- Coordinate the proposal with adjacent Service Centers, if necessary.
- Circularize nonrulemaking proposals as specified in Chapter 2 and Chapter 21, Section 1, of this order. Send an information copy of each circular to the Rules and Regulations Group, AJV-P2.
- For restricted area or prohibited area proposals, submit the proposal package and Service Center OSG recommended action to the Rules and Regulations Group, AJV-P2, to initiate rulemaking action.
- Determine if an informal airspace meeting is necessary.
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 this order.
- Review all public comments received. Evaluate comments with respect to the proposal's effect on the safe and efficient utilization of airspace. Where required, consider the proposal's impact on the safety of persons and property on the ground. All substantive aeronautical comments must be addressed in the final rule or nonrulemaking case file. The OSG is responsible for drafting the FAA's response to substantive public comments received.
- Review aeronautical study results.
- Evaluate aeronautical impacts identified through public comments, aeronautical study, or other sources. Coordinate with the proponent regarding ways to mitigate aeronautical impact and/or resolve problem areas. As additional impacts are identified during the processing of the proposal, provide the information to the proponent.
- Review environmental or land-use comments addressed to the FAA, then forward them to the proponent and Service Center OSG Environmental Specialist for consideration in appropriate environmental documents.
- 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.
- Coordinate with the Service Center OSG Environmental Specialist for review of the proponent's environmental documents (see paragraph below).
- Determine whether to recommend FAA headquarters approve the proposal, or disapprove the proposal at the Service Center level (see paragraphs and , below).
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 Center OSG must carefully weigh the extent of that impact against the need and justification provided by the SUA proponent. The Service Center OSG's recommendation should include a discussion of how aeronautical issues were resolved or provide information addressing the Service Center OSG's analysis of the aeronautical impact that cannot be mitigated.
In coordination with the Service Center OSG 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.
After considering all pertinent information, the Service Center OSG determines whether it is necessary to negotiate proposal changes with the proponent, disapprove the proposal or recommend approval to the Rules and Regulations Group, AJV-P2. All FAA environmental documentation requirements must be completed before a recommendation for approval can be forwarded to the Rules and Regulations Group, AJV-P2.
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.
- The Service Center OSG may disapprove any SUA proposal, however, such disapproval should be based on valid aeronautical reasons or non-compliance with FAA policy. The Service Center OSG must notify the proponent, in writing, stating the reasons for disapproval. Reasonable efforts should be made to resolve problem areas before disapproving the proposal. Provide an information copy of the disapproval correspondence to the Rules and Regulations Group, AJV-P2.
- If the proponent resubmits the proposal after resolving problem areas, the Service Center OSG should determine required actions and resume processing the proposal.
- If the proponent resubmits the proposal without resolving problem areas, the Service Center OSG must forward the case along with their recommendation to the Rules and Regulations Group, AJV-P2, for further action.
Submit SUA proposals recommended for approval to the Rules and Regulations Group, AJV-P2, for final determination and processing. Include the following (as applicable):
- A Service Center OSG transmittal memorandum containing a brief overview of the proposal and their recommendation for headquarters action. Describe any amendments made to the original proposal in response to public comments, or negotiations to mitigate impacts, etc. Include the desired airspace effective date.
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, the OSG must coordinate with AIS to depict that information on aeronautical charts.
- An 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 TBL 21-2-1.
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 description.
- A sectional aeronautical chart depicting the final boundaries of the proposed area, including any subdivisions.
- A copy of the proponent's airspace request correspondence and proposal package, to include all applicable items required by Section 3 of this chapter.
- 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 resolved or the Service Center OSG's analysis of the aeronautical impacts that cannot be mitigated.
- Identify any modifications made to the proposal to mitigate environmental effects.
- A copy of the aeronautical study.
- If an informal airspace meeting was held, include a summary of meeting discussions, issues raised at the meeting, and copies of written comments submitted at the meeting or during the associated comment period.
- Copies of pertinent correspondence received from other FAA offices (e.g., Flight Standards, Airports, adjacent Service Centers, affected ATC facilities, etc.).
- FAA environmental documents. Do not submit an approval recommendation prior to completion of the FAA's final decision on environmental impacts, per procedures in Chapter 33 of this order.
- Any other information that should be considered by the Rules and Regulations Group, AJV-P2, in making a final determination on the proposal.
- Normally, proposals which lessen the burden on the public by reducing the boundaries, altitudes, or by revoking SUA, do not require advance public notice and comment. An abbreviated proposal package may be submitted in accordance with paragraph 21-3-4.
- SUA reduction or revocation normally does not require an environmental impact statement or environmental assessment because it is covered by the categorical exclusion in FAA Order 1050.1.
- Proposals to establish or modify SUA are normally initiated by a DOD proponent. However, 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 Center OSG 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 using agency with an equivalent capability to perform its mission.
- When initiating a proposal, the Service Center OSG will prepare the SUA proposal package and required documentation. The proposal will be coordinated with affected military using agencies through the appropriate military representative, or non-military using agencies directly, to identify and document the impact of the proposed change. If an environmental analysis is required, the Service Center OSG will determine responsibility assignment.
- If the using agency objects and agreement cannot be reached, but there is strong justification to proceed with the proposal, the Service Center OSG must send the proposal package to the Rules and Regulations Group, AJV-P2. 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 Service Center OSG's recommendation including their analysis of the proposal in light of the using agency's objections. Do not initiate public notice procedures for such proposals without concurrence from the Rules and Regulations Group, AJV-P2.