FAA: Lower flying jumbo jets won’t increase noise for Fayette
Regulators are considering changes to the Class B airspace around Hartsfield Jackson International Airport that would lower the minimum ceiling over most of Fayette County from 8,000 feet to 6,000 feet for the largest of jets.
The change should not increase jet noise here since the departure and arrival patterns at Hartsfield will not change, according to officials with the Federal Aviation Administration.
“The Class B changes should not cause an increase of over-flight noise from what residents are experiencing today,” FAA officials said in a summary of the proposal.
The FAA also contends that the larger jets are already operating in these areas and altitudes currently, but they are not contained within the Class B airspace.
The Class B airspace is designed to reduce the potential for midair collisions in the airspace surrounding airports with high density air traffic operations, according to the FAA. Generally, the Class B airspace is restricted to larger jet traffic to help keep it separated from smaller planes that are not in communication with air traffic controllers.
According to handouts from the FAA, the change is being sought because the increase in traffic at Hartsfield has made it difficult to keep all large turbine engine-powered airplanes in the existing Class B airspace. Because of that, air traffic controllers are having to notify the pilots they are leaving and reentering Class B airspace, increasing the workload on the controllers.
Lowering the Class B airspace ceiling in the Atlanta area will reduce controller workload and enhance safety in the area, according to FAA officials.
“It would also increase safety and reduce air traffic controller workload by reducing the number of radio communications that air traffic controllers must use to inform IFR aircraft when they are leaving and re-entering Class B airspace,” according to an FAA handout. “This would reduce the amount of distraction that air traffic controllers face in issuing these communications and free radio time for more important control instructions.”
The change would affect planes leaving Falcon Field, as they would be allowed to climb only to below 6,000 feet without having to contact air traffic controllers for clearance into the Class B airspace. Currently, such planes can climb to 7,500 feet before hitting the Class B ceiling.
A final decision on the matter is expected by November, and the comment period expired April 3.