The FAA has reduced the size of the Class E airspace around Sitka, Alaska, to allow approaching VFR pilots to get close enough to check the weather.
Earlier this year, a member reached out to AOPA and inquired about the expanded size of the Class E surface area that extends to the north and west of Sitka Rocky Gutierrez Airport in Southeast Alaska.
AOPA reached out to the FAA's western flight procedures team; explained the problem this posed for VFR operators, especially in marginal weather conditions that are not uncommon in Southeast Alaska; and asked them to re-examine the need for this airspace. After review, the FAA found that it could make some minor adjustments to the instrument procedures without impacting IFR operations, and agreed to reduce the size of the surface area. The revised area is significantly shortened, as of the September 8 chart revision, shown above.
Jim McClay, AOPA director of airspace, air traffic, and security, is pleased with the result: “We thank the FAA for reviewing and making these changes in support of pilots operating under visual flight rules in this beautiful, but at times challenging, part of Alaska.”