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maestrojjp
Topic Author
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Jul 12, 2009 3:20 am

Airspace Classification Downgrades/Upgrades?

Sun Jul 12, 2009 5:25 am

Hello all,

Been reading for years, first post. I'm a private pilot with a strong passion for aviation in general, particularly airline and airport operations, and airport infrastructure. Over the past many years of reading and researching, I've come up with many topics that I feel would be a great discussion for some of the brilliant minds on the board, and/or questions that could only be answered by you folks. I hope to make a fun home here.

It's a great community, and I feel I know some members even though I've never gotten to speak to anyone directly on the forums. Given that, it's downright surprising to read the way some people speak to others on this site - I have a great respect for people's knowledge, but the way it's delivered with arrogance and shortness sometimes is awfully unnecessary. I'll make sure not to operate as such, and you can be assured that any topics I present for discussion will be well thought-out and interesting!  Smile

Side note, I love the CMH airport, the airport authority, and the city itself - would love to chat more with folks around here or with similar interests. Trained and currently fly from CMH (not TZR/OSU). Dying to get into the field as a career, as well.

--

First question/topic - suitable, IMO, for the Civil Aviation forum.

Has there ever been any examples of airspace classification being "downgraded" from a Class B to a Class C, because of either permanently losing a significant amount of aircraft operations, or because other airports with a lower distinction are busier?

I'll offer an example of a thought I had - CMH (http://www.airnav.com/airport/KCMH) averages 449 aircraft operations daily while PIT (http://www.airnav.com/airport/KPIT) averages 354 a day. Now, we all know about the hub that US operated at PIT which would easily justify a class B status for the airport. HP's hub at CMH could also have justified this, but the US/PIT operation was obviously much larger.

So, while CMH is arguably more busy, it is designated airspace as Class C, while PIT is Class B - opposite of what logic would seem to dictate.

1.) The main question is has any airport ever been reduced in status from B back to C? Where and why? Is this something the FAA regularly reviews/considers, given challenges with ATC staffing and the different rules/regulations required between airspaces?

2.) Is there any consideration given to airport infrastructure/facilities in deciding this? Using the CMH/PIT example, PIT does have three long parallel runways and a fourth crosswind runway, as well as more advanced approach lighting and great passenger facilities. CMH only has two parallel runways and MALSR approach lighting, and their most used runway lacks a PAPI. They have excellent passenger facilities. But, CMH has more operations. Are these factors part of a decision?

3.) Is there consideration to either a. International service differences or b. Size of aircraft seen at the field in the debate?

4.) Is there any consideration given to the population of the metro area the airport is serving in this distinction, or is it strictly the number of operations?

5.) When's the last time that a Class C airport has been "upgraded" to a Class B? Where was it?

Thanks in advance for any insight.

Cheers,
JJ
 
User avatar
VirginFlyer
Posts: 5688
Joined: Sun Sep 10, 2000 12:27 pm

RE: Airspace Classification Downgrades/Upgrades?

Sun Jul 12, 2009 7:17 am



Quoting MaestroJJP (Thread starter):
Been reading for years, first post. I'm a private pilot with a strong passion for aviation in general, particularly airline and airport operations, and airport infrastructure. Over the past many years of reading and researching, I've come up with many topics that I feel would be a great discussion for some of the brilliant minds on the board, and/or questions that could only be answered by you folks. I hope to make a fun home here.

Let me be the first to say g'day and welcome to a.net! Hope you will enjoy it!

Quoting MaestroJJP (Thread starter):
Given that, it's downright surprising to read the way some people speak to others on this site - I have a great respect for people's knowledge, but the way it's delivered with arrogance and shortness sometimes is awfully unnecessary.

Yes, it's a bit disheartening sometimes - you have to wonder whether people behave like this away from the computers, and if so, how on earth they manage to get through life... For the most part I tend to just ignore them - if they can't take the time to be polite and constructive, I don't want to waste my time.

On to your questions, I'm afraid I can't offer too much in the way of specifics because I am not at all familiar with the airspace system in the USA (other than the fact that the authorities here variously tried to copy and not copy it here, with predictably problematic results). In terms of changing airspace classification, a lot of airports in Australia have lost control service a decade or so ago, and been downgraded from Class D (non-radar primary) to CTAFs (which we used to call MBZs, and before that MTAFs...). We actually don't have a Class B here (although from talking to some Americans in the past, I understand our Class C, which is a radar primary, is equivalent to both your Class C and Class B).

My understanding of how things work here is that the type of control services being provided are reviewed when an airport passes above or below a certain number of daily movements. I believe the relationship between the number of movements and the desired class of control is set out in an ICAO PANS (Procedures for Air Navigation Services) document - I think it is PANS-ATM but I could be wrong on that. One of the GA airports in Sydney is currently being reviewed as a result of a significant increase in traffic (due to the closure of another airport), and may recieve a full time control service, as opposed to the weekends-only service it currently has.

I would be surprised if the airspace classification directly took into account the size of the metro area - I'm pretty sure it is all about traffic numbers. Now obviously a larger metro area will probably produce more traffic, but that may not always be the case...

Quoting MaestroJJP (Thread starter):
First question/topic - suitable, IMO, for the Civil Aviation forum

Personally I think you may get a better response to this topic in the Tech/Ops forum. While Civil Aviation is definitely busier, it tends to focus more on general concepts and not specific operational details like this. If you want to have the thread moved to the Tech/Ops forum, you can use the "Suggest Deletion" button and write in the dialogue box that you believe the thread is more suited to Tech/Ops - the moderators should be able to move it for you.

Anyway, welcome once again, and I hope you get some detailed answers for your questions!

V/F
It is not for him to pride himself who loveth his own country, but rather for him who loveth the whole world. The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens. —Bahá'u'lláh
 
Basefly
Posts: 205
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2007 4:35 am

RE: Airspace Classification Downgrades/Upgrades?

Sun Jul 12, 2009 7:25 am

Welcome from me too...  Smile

Quoting MaestroJJP (Thread starter):
It's a great community, and I feel I know some members even though I've never gotten to speak to anyone directly on the forums. Given that, it's downright surprising to read the way some people speak to others on this site - I have a great respect for people's knowledge, but the way it's delivered with arrogance and shortness sometimes is awfully unnecessary.

I agree with you all together, but as Virginflyer said, i too just try to ignore them....

Welcome aboard again.....  thumbsup 
757/777-A340/A380, Love them.
 
DescendVia
Posts: 141
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 4:26 am

RE: Airspace Classification Downgrades/Upgrades?

Mon Jul 13, 2009 5:15 am

I don't know if this has any bearing on your questions or not but lets see.

There is a place in Ohio (MFD) that is actually a class D airport but its has approach control services. Now I'm not sure if it was "down graded" as MFD is never really busy nor is there a lot of satellite airports but it makes you wonder. They do have a C130 ANG base but they don't fly much either.
 
DescendVia
Posts: 141
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 4:26 am

RE: Airspace Classification Downgrades/Upgrades?

Mon Jul 13, 2009 5:19 am



Quoting DescendVia (Reply 3):

Dur..... you probably know all about MFD.

O well  Smile
 
maestrojjp
Topic Author
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Jul 12, 2009 3:20 am

RE: Airspace Classification Downgrades/Upgrades?

Mon Jul 13, 2009 5:39 pm

Thanks all for the welcome messages and comments, I look forward to talking more with all of you!

Quoting VirginFlyer (Reply 1):
My understanding of how things work here is that the type of control services being provided are reviewed when an airport passes above or below a certain number of daily movements. I believe the relationship between the number of movements and the desired class of control is set out in an ICAO PANS (Procedures for Air Navigation Services) document - I think it is PANS-ATM but I could be wrong on that. One of the GA airports in Sydney is currently being reviewed as a result of a significant increase in traffic (due to the closure of another airport), and may recieve a full time control service, as opposed to the weekends-only service it currently has.

I took at the link and I'd have to agree with you on methodology of classification, although as you mentioned I am not too familiar with the airspace in other countries. Number of movements seems like the most important factor to me too, but I do wonder how often the FAA considers these for established airports.

Along the lines of understanding other countries' airspaces, I've been searching for VFR charts online for other countries, similar to skyvector.com, but have been unsuccessful.

Quoting VirginFlyer (Reply 1):
Personally I think you may get a better response to this topic in the Tech/Ops forum. While Civil Aviation is definitely busier, it tends to focus more on general concepts and not specific operational details like this.

I actually did think of this, but I posted it in Civil Aviation on purpose because the traffic in the Ops forum is so much less. Plus, I wanted to introduce myself to the community and introduce the thoughts of airspace classification and the concepts to everyone for debate on what would be the most important in determining these. I was very disappointed when my thread was moved, actually. I was hoping for both advanced and generalized discussion.

Quoting DescendVia (Reply 3):
There is a place in Ohio (MFD) that is actually a class D airport but its has approach control services. Now I'm not sure if it was "down graded" as MFD is never really busy nor is there a lot of satellite airports but it makes you wonder. They do have a C130 ANG base but they don't fly much either.

Haha, yes, I do know of MFD and have flown in there a couple of times. It is unique in that the Class D has approach services, yes. I don't know of them having been Class C, but I'd love more info if it's out there.

Thanks all!

Cheers,
JJ
 
2H4
Posts: 7960
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2004 11:11 pm

RE: Airspace Classification Downgrades/Upgrades?

Mon Jul 13, 2009 5:59 pm

I'm still trying to learn what it takes to get an alert area. I've flown in more than one place where transient aircraft transition an area where "a high volume of pilot training activities" take place every day.

If the areas I have in mind don't qualify for alert areas, then I can't see how any place does.

2H4
Intentionally Left Blank
 
shmax525
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Apr 13, 2009 10:18 pm

RE: Airspace Classification Downgrades/Upgrades?

Wed Jul 15, 2009 4:10 am

I fly in the Columbus area almost daily, so I am very familiar with ops in that area.

As for your question, In my opinion PIT no longer has the traffic to be a class B airport, but I doubt their airspace will change because they already have the radar equipment, and there is still a decent amount of traffic in that area. I don't think CMH shouldn't be upgraded to a class B airport either, because the current setup is more the adequate for handling the amount of traffic that CMH receives. For me the barometer i use is the high traffic on the CLE appr/dep frequencies compared to the moderately low traffic levels on CMH's appr/dep frequencies.

The other thing I would consider is how much of the traffic is commercial. Over half of PIT's traffic is commercial, where as only 37% of CMH's traffic is commercial...

Do you fly in a club out of CMH/ what flight school did you train at?
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