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FAA to activate Colorado restricted areaFAA to activate Colorado restricted area

The FAA has published a final rule establishing a restricted area within existing special-use airspace near Trinidad, Colorado, including changes proposed by AOPA based on feedback from general aviation pilots.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Army.

R-2603 will be established as of Dec. 7 within the Piñon Canyon Military Operations Area, but will not be activated until it is depicted on sectional charts. The new editions of the Denver and Wichita Sectionals will be issued Jan. 4, 2018.

New editions of instrument approach and departure charts also will be updated to depict R-2603, the FAA said in the final rule published Oct. 10.

The FAA created Restricted Area R-2603 “to ensure realistic Army training which provides increased ground-to-air, air-to-ground, and air-to-air battle space to increase training capacity and relieve training congestion at Fort Carson.”

The FAA agreed to modify the airspace boundaries to minimize the impact of the restricted area on GA pilots’ use of airway V-169. It also agreed to activate R-2603 by notices to airmen, providing 24 hours’ prior notice.

Responding to an AOPA concern about GA operations in the area during adverse weather, the FAA said that if icing conditions forced pilots to descend to altitudes that would put the aircraft into the activated restricted area, “Denver ARTCC would coordinate with the Using Agency and those altitudes would be released,” the FAA said.

“These modifications will reduce the restricted area's adverse impact on general aviation while allowing the military to accomplish its mission,” said Rune Duke, AOPA director of airspace and air traffic.

Duke credited AOPA Northwest Mountain Regional Manager Warren Hendrickson and AOPA Airport Support Network volunteers in the area with gathering the user feedback that helped effect the modifications of the proposal that were adopted in the final rule.

Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz

Associate Editor Web
Associate Editor Web Dan Namowitz has been writing for AOPA in a variety of capacities since 1991. He has been a flight instructor since 1990 and is a 30-year AOPA member.
Topics: Advocacy, IFR, Airways

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