New Detroit Airspace Effective April 3

Diagram of the proposed Class B airspace configuration
Finalized Airspace Configuration

The FAA finalized last week the redesigned Class B airspace over Detroit, Michigan, as proposed August 2012, effective 3 April 2014 to coincide with the next chart cycle.

With this new rule came another discussion of the impact on flight training activities at EMU:

The Class B airspace established southwest of DTW is required to contain large turbine-powered aircraft conducting dual SIILS arrival procedures to Runways 4L/3R, as well as arrivals entering the DTW terminal airspace via the POLAR1 STAR. It extends over approximately three quarters of the Eastern Michigan University (EMU) Aviation flight school’s southern practice area with 3,500-foot MSL, 4,000-foot MSL, and 6,000-foot MSL Class B airspace floors. The EMU southern practice area is subdivided into four sub-areas with virtually no impact to the west northwest sub-area and minor impacts to the southern sub-area, but training activities in the northeast and southeast sub-areas will be limited to 4,000 feet MSL, unless pilots receive a Class B airspace clearance. The FAA does not expect a substantive change to the concentration of VFR training aircraft or training activities conducted in that practice area or the other practice areas located further southwest of DTW under the 6,000-foot MSL Class B airspace shelf. The training activities conducted in those practice areas today could continue under the DTW Class B airspace or within Class B airspace with the appropriate Class B airspace clearance.

Missing from this discussion, again, is the fact that it is often not possible to obtain a Class B airspace clearance in the existing Detroit area.  To say that there is “virtually no impact” from expanding Class B airspace seems inaccurate.  Maneuvers such as chandelles and power-on stalls often exceed 6,000 feet to conserve time and altitude during training.  The airspace changes are likely to cause students to practice these maneuvers at lower altitudes.

Expansion of the Class B airspace designated to the surface appears to intersect the visual route between the EMU southern practice area and the base airport YIP, which will impact that training route and all south departures.

The new airspace certainly brings exciting changes to the entire Detroit area this summer.  Be careful to maintain awareness of the new airspace boundaries.

Previous Post: Detroit Airspace Redesign

CFI Checkrides Do Count as Flight Reviews

Federal Register Cover PageYes, it’s true!  After a CFI or CFII checkride, you do not need another flight review for 24 calendar months.

For example, I passed the commercial AMEL practical test on 26 October 2012.  When I was hired in October 2013, I reported my flight review date for my commercial test, meaning I would need a flight review in 2014.  But, then my flight review date changed.  Why?

As of 15 November 2013, flight instructor practical tests are recognized as flight reviews.  This rule was published as a revision to FAR 61.56 in the Federal Register under RIN 2120-AK23 on 16 September 2013, pages 56822 through 56829.

Thanks to this new regulation, my flight review date changed to 19 August 2013.  I will need a flight review in 2015.

If you find conflicting information on this topic, it is likely obsolete.  This new regulation does not appear in the ASA printing of the 2014 FAR/AIM.

Enjoy the new grace period, and have a Happy New Year!

First Officer Qualification Rule in Detail

Cover page of the Federal Register for July 15.The new first officer qualifications are a hot topic.  On July 10, the FAA released its Final Rule, which should appear in the Federal Register next week.  Everyone has something to say about this.  But opinions aside, all I can I find on the web is the text of the new rule and several paraphrased copies of the FAA press release.

Let’s take a closer look at what’s inside the 221 pages of the Pilot Certification and Qualification Requirements for Air Carrier Operations.

To get the most important information up front here, I compiled a detailed summary of changes as they would apply to a graduate of a qualifying 4-year degree program.

I also outlined the structure of the Final Rule and noted the page numbers of some important sections.  The small page numbers correspond to the unofficial FAA version, followed in parentheses by the official page number in the Federal Register.  For example: Page 1 (42324).  This will help you to reference either version of the Final Rule.

Continue reading First Officer Qualification Rule in Detail