Portland (OR) Class C now a "Soft B"?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Pilawt, Nov 5, 2021.

  1. Pilawt

    Pilawt Final Approach

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    For years there has been discussion of a Class B area for Portland Oregon. It's still a Class C, but the new VFR Terminal Area Chart suggests that ATC wants us to treat it as a Class B.

    Until recently the 1:250,000 Portland Terminal Area Chart was an inset on the Seattle Sectional. Now it's a separate publication. It covers a larger area than the old inset, and adds three north-south VFR transition routes at prescribed altitudes - "Timbers Route" over HIO, "Blazers Route" over PDX, and "Thorns Route" over Crown Point in the Columbia Gorge.

    The note in the margin says "Operation on transition routes at or below 4000' MSL requires ATC authorization from Portland Approach Control. Until authorization is received, remain outside the Class C airspace." That's a more stringent requirement than as set forth in 91.130 for Class C airspace -- and two of the three published routes don't even enter the Class C.

    Screen Shot 2021-11-05 at 9.39.20 AM.jpg

    Is a Class B for Portland just around the corner?
     
  2. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg En-Route

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    I'd rather see a joint class C for Hillsboro, that place is a thicket. Frankly I could see stealing the PDX C, demoting them to a D, and giving the C to HIO.

    I just flew from SFO B, through LAX B, on my way to SAN B. Portland and its satellites are nowhere NEAR that level of busy.
     
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  3. luvflyin

    luvflyin Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    So they did get the TAC published. The box you showed appears on Foreflight if you have 'bring chart to front with legends' in Map Touch Action in Settings. Still no separate TAC Chart available in Documents like there is for the Anchorage TAC. Anchorage's has been around for a long time and still no B there. Don't know how their Operations and Passenger Count compares to Portland's.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2021
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  4. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I'm wondering if the authorization requirement is enforceable on the two routes outside the class C. Other charts that have special rules contain specific citations to the applicable regulations. The Grand Canyon chart and the Phoenix TAC are examples.

    https://skyvector.com/?ll=35.76903056649198,-112.73981525158794&chart=230&zoom=3

    https://skyvector.com/?ll=33.48136574324175,-113.01326473544766&chart=121&zoom=2

    Here's the PDX TAC:

    https://skyvector.com/?ll=45.90888929695015,-122.87806944077042&chart=133&zoom=7
     
  5. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Was there a rulemaking activity for this? SFRAs generally require such. Under what authority is this usurption of airspace created? While I can find rulemaking for the VUO special area, I can't find this.
     
  6. RussR

    RussR En-Route

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    I don't get this at all. Both the eastern and western "transition routes" aren't "transition routes" at all - they don't "transition" anything - they seem to be where you'd fly anyway if you just wanted to avoid the Charlie.

    But yet the chart note says that you are REQUIRED to receive ATC authorization, even though these routes aren't even in airspace that requires you to contact ATC. They're just in normal, Class E/G airspace. And what determines whether you're on the "route" or not? How wide is it? How can you be required to contact ATC outside of existing Class A-D airspace?

    Of course, the note also says that until you get authorization, you have to remain outside Class C. Well, since these two routes ARE outside of the Class C, does that mean you can just fly them anyway?

    Yeah, this makes no sense.
     
  7. Jeff Oslick

    Jeff Oslick En-Route PoA Supporter

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    It is worded poorly (I'm being generous), but all it says in the end is don't enter the Class C without communication. Blazers within the Class C is the only one, as depicted, that the language could legally apply to.
     
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  8. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I think you're right. The fact that the requirement to remain outside class C airspace until authorization is received is stated immediately after the authorization requirement is stated would seem to be the tip off.

    The communication requirement would also apply to the Timbers route, because it says "at or BLW 2500," which takes the aircraft through the Hillsboro class D.
     
  9. luvflyin

    luvflyin Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    It’ll be interesting to see what happens if ‘enforcement’ happens. It would start at FSDO level. If they say you done wrong then you appeal. Next stop is Administrative Law Judge. If he say ya done wrong, next appeal gets ya to an actual Robe wearing Gavel carrying Judge and maybe even a Jury. I’m bettin’ you’ll be off the hook and the FAA will do a little ‘editing’ of the text on the Chart.
     
  10. wilkersk

    wilkersk Pattern Altitude

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    There's also a note on the chart about not busting the HIO class D. And, nowhere does it say that you have to use the VFR transition routes.
     
  11. luvflyin

    luvflyin Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Yup. Just says if you're operating on a Transition Route, you have to have ATC Authorization. So what is 'on them?' Dead center? Within a mile either side? Two miles? Four? What's the width of a 'transition route?'
     
  12. Domenick

    Domenick Line Up and Wait

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  13. wilkersk

    wilkersk Pattern Altitude

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    Actually, I think it says "CAUTION CTC HIO ATCT PRIOR TO ENTERING CLASS D AIRSPACE". So, I would think that if you're not entering either the class D or the class C, its voluntary. That being said, I think all they're trying to do is cut down on the number of TCAS "RA's" issued because of GA aircraft in the vicinity of PDX.

    I suspect that if more folks paid attention to and avoided traffic flow into and out of airports with part 121 ops, publishing VFR transition routes for anything less than a major Class B wouldn't be neccesary.
     
  14. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg En-Route

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  15. luvflyin

    luvflyin Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Yeah. I get all that and agree.
     
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