For Immediate Release

December 4, 2001
Contact: Joette Storm
Phone: (907) 271-5296

After nearly a year of studying air routes in the Anchorage airspace, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will propose several changes affecting general aviation pilots. The changes will be shared with the public at 6 p.m. Friday, December 7 at the Spenard Recreation Center.

FAA staff will present proposed new routes commonly used by pilots of light aircraft to depart and enter the airspace of local airports. Pilots who use Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, Merrill Field, Lake Hood Seaplane Base and other area airports as well as pilots who transit the Anchorage area without landing would be affected by any changes. The intended result of the proposals is to provide pilots a means of arriving and departing Anchorage area airports that reduces the interaction between aircraft using adjacent airports or overflying the area.

FAA personnel at the Anchorage Airport Traffic Control Tower identified a need to update routes used by general aviation pilots. Many of these routes have been in existence for 15 years or more without much change. An evaluation of current traffic patterns began last fall and FAA representatives have continued to talk and listen to pilots throughout the year. The proposals to be presented on Friday were developed with input from general aviation pilots and user group representatives.

At a workshop in April, FAA presented initial drafts of the proposal and pilots brought their ideas to the drawing board. That resulted in additional meetings with segments of the industry to consider the impacts of any changes on the commercial and general aviation flights.

There will be a 30-day comment period that will end on January 8, 2002. The new routes may be finalized as early as February in time to be communicated to pilots and implemented before next summer.