[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 81 (Monday, April 28, 2014)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 23300-23303]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-09337]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 77

[Docket No. FAA-2014-0134]
RIN 2120-AF90


Proposal To Consider the Impact of One Engine Inoperative 
Procedures in Obstruction Evaluation Aeronautical Studies

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Transportation.

ACTION: Notice of proposed policy; request for comment.

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SUMMARY: This action proposes to establish a new policy that would 
consider the impact of one engine out procedures in the aeronautical 
study process conducted under existing 14 CFR part 77 criteria when the 
airport operations potentially affected by a determination of no hazard 
are able to use a dedicated one engine out flight path. Additionally, 
this proposed policy statement notes that the FAA has the authority to 
consider the cumulative effects of construction in concentrated areas 
when evaluating the potential for a hazard to navigation.

DATES: Send your comments on or before June 27, 2014.

ADDRESSES: You may send comments [identified by Docket Number FAA-2014-
0134] using any of the following methods:
     Government-wide rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and follow the instructions for sending your 
comments electronically.
     Mail: Docket Operations, U.S. Department of 
Transportation, West

[[Page 23301]]

Building, Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Routing Symbol M-30, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.
     Fax: 1-202-493-2251.
     Hand Delivery: To Docket Operations, Room W12-140 on the 
ground floor of the West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., 
Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, 
except Federal holidays.
    For more information on the notice and comment process, see the 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.
    Privacy: We will post all comments we receive, without change, to 
http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information you 
provide. For more information, see the Privacy Act discussion in the 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.
    Docket: To read background documents or comments received, go to 
http://www.regulations.gov at any time or to Room W12-140 on the ground 
floor of the West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, 
between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal 
holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: John Speckin, Airport Obstruction 
Standards Committee, Region and Center Operations, Office of Finance 
and Management, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence 
Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591; telephone: (816) 329-3053; email: 7-ACE-Federal-Registry-Notice@faa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Comments Invited

    The FAA invites interested persons to join in this notice and 
comment process by filing written comments, data, or views. The most 
helpful comments reference a specific portion of the proposal, explain 
the reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data. We 
ask that you send us two copies of written comments.
    We will file in the docket all comments we receive, as well as a 
report summarizing each substantive public contact with FAA personnel 
about this proposal. The docket is available for public inspection 
before and after the comment closing date. If you wish to review the 
docket in person, go to the address in the ADDRESSES section of this 
preamble between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except 
Federal holidays. You may also review the docket using the Internet at 
the web address in the ADDRESSES section.
    Privacy Act: Using the search function of our docket Web site, 
anyone can find and read the comments received into any of our dockets. 
This includes the name of the individual sending the comment (or 
signing the comment for an association, business, labor union). You may 
review DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register 
published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477-78) or you may visit http://regulations.gov.
    Before acting on this proposal, we will consider all comments we 
receive on or before the closing date for comments. We will consider 
comments filed late if it is possible to do so without incurring 
expense or delay. We may change this proposal because of the comments 
we receive.
    If you want the FAA to acknowledge receipt of your comments on this 
proposal, include with your comments a preaddressed, stamped postcard 
on which the docket number appears. We will stamp the date on the 
postcard and mail it to you.

Proprietary or Confidential Business Information

    Do not file in the docket information that you consider to be 
proprietary or confidential business information. Send or deliver this 
information directly to the person identified in the FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document. You must mark the 
information that you consider proprietary or confidential. If you send 
the information on a disk or CD-ROM, mark the outside of the disk or 
CD-ROM and also identify electronically within the disk or CD-ROM the 
specific information that is proprietary or confidential.
    Under 14 CFR 11.35(b), when we are aware of proprietary information 
filed with a comment, we do not place it in the docket. We hold it in a 
separate file to which the public does not have access and place a note 
in the docket that we have received it. If we receive a request to 
examine or copy this information, we treat it as any other request 
under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552). We process such a 
request under the DOT procedures found in 49 CFR Part 7.

Availability of Documents

    You can get an electronic copy using the Internet by:
    (1) Searching the Federal eRulemaking portal (http://www.regulations.gov/search);
    (2) Visiting the FAA's Regulations and Policies Web page at http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies; or
    (3) Accessing the Government Printing Office's Web page at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/aces/aces140.html.

Authority for This Proceeding

    Under Section 40103(a), the Administrator has broad authority to 
regulate the safe and efficient use of the navigable airspace. The 
Administrator is also authorized to issue air traffic rules and 
regulations to govern the flight, navigation, protection, and 
identification of aircraft for the protections of persons and property 
on the ground and for the efficient use of the navigable airspace (49 
U.S.C. 40103(b)). The Administrator may also conduct investigations and 
prescribe regulations, standards, and procedures in carrying out the 
authority under this part (49 U.S.C. 40113). The Administrator is 
authorized to protect civil aircraft in air commerce (49 U.S.C. 
44701(a)(5)).
    Under Section 44701(a)(5), the Administrator promotes safe flight 
of civil aircraft in air commerce by prescribing regulations and 
minimum standards for other practices, methods, and procedures 
necessary for safety in air commerce and national security. Also, 
Section 44718 provides that under regulations issued by the 
Administrator, notice to the agency is required for any construction, 
alteration, establishment, or expansion of a structure or sanitary 
landfill, when notice will promote safety in air commerce and the 
efficient use and preservation of the navigable airspace and airport 
traffic capacity at public use airports. This statutory provision also 
provides that, under regulations issued by the Administrator, the 
agency determines whether such construction or alteration is an 
obstruction of the navigable airspace, or an interference with air 
navigation facilities and equipment or the navigable airspace. If a 
determination is made that the construction or alteration creates an 
obstruction or otherwise interferes, the agency then conducts an 
aeronautical study. The study evaluates the adverse impacts on the safe 
and efficient use of the airspace, facilities or equipment, as well as 
the cumulative impact resulting from the proposed construction or 
alteration of a structure when combined with the impact of other 
existing or proposed structures.

Proposed Policy Statement

    Navigable airspace is being encroached around the country with the 
net effect of decreasing access for aviation operations. Structures as 
diverse as microwave towers to office buildings and wind turbines are 
being built in ever-increasing numbers near many airports. While 
developers may

[[Page 23302]]

erect these structures, the FAA must consider the impact of the 
structures on the safe operation of flight and their impact on the 
safe, efficient use and preservation of the navigable airspace and 
airport capacity and efficiency. Additionally, aircraft operators must 
plan for the potential of an engine failure (one engine inoperative, or 
OEI) during take-off in accordance with 14 CFR parts 25, 121, and 135. 
An engine failure could prevent the aircraft from climbing at the 
normal climb rate and structures near an airport could, under such 
circumstances, create a safety risk. Thus, the agency interest in 
studying the potential impact of these structures is not limited solely 
to whether aircraft could avoid the proposed structures under normal 
circumstances. The agency should also consider the impact of OEI.
    The potential impact of a structure is particularly significant at 
airports where existing development or other factors effectively limit 
operator options in an OEI situation. At these airports, increasing 
encroachment of the airspace may effectively reduce the amount of 
usable runway because of OEI procedures.\1\
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    \1\ Indeed, the increased concentration of structures could 
significantly impact the ability of the FAA to mitigate the risk to 
safety and capacity for any reason. Title 49 U.S.C. 44718 
specifically requires the FAA to consider the cumulative impact 
resulting from the proposed construction or alteration of a 
structure when combined with the impact of other existing or 
proposed structures.
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    The FAA is tasked with multiple mandates. Assuring aviation safety 
is the FAA's primary mission, including safety of navigable airspace, 
aircraft safety and airport safety, and responsibility for assuring 
that safety is shared by the agency's air traffic organization and 
aviation safety organization. Additionally, the Office of Airports is 
tasked with assuring the safety and the continued viability of public 
airports, and with maintaining and expanding aviation capacity at those 
airports. To that end, the FAA routinely supports significant 
investments at these airports to increase airport capacity and 
efficiency through the approval of new runways and extension of 
existing runways. This proposed policy statement addresses the 
different mandates of the FAA, while recognizing the right of 
developers to erect structures near airports and air navigation 
facilities.
    The FAA is not authorized to grant or deny construction projects. 
Rather, Part 77 defines a number of obstruction standards that are used 
to identify obstacles that may have an adverse impact on the navigable 
airspace. Even upon the issuance of a Determination of Hazard, the 
developer is free to continue construction. However, zoning authorities 
and private insurers may be reluctant to permit construction of the 
structure, given the FAA's determination that it poses a hazard to 
navigation. Should the developer proceed with construction, the FAA, 
through its air traffic organization, takes action to mitigate the 
impact of the obstruction by altering procedures (e.g., departure 
routes, climb gradients) to ensure that safety is maintained. In making 
a hazard determination under part 77, the FAA has historically only 
considered aircraft operations under normal circumstances. OEI 
procedures have been considered emergency procedures and have not been 
considered by the FAA when conducting an aeronautical study under Part 
77.
    As long as the aircraft could operate with altered flight tracks, 
the FAA has not considered other potentially costly impacts to the 
carriers. These include, for example, greater fuel burn, reduced 
payload, or reduced numbers of passengers. As a result, aviation 
flexibility may be compromised, and the carriers have noted they are 
experiencing a growing erosion of capacity because of the encroachment 
from obstructions near airports. To keep up with this situation, the 
FAA is now planning to evaluate a broader definition of capacity when 
evaluating new obstacles in a defined OEI departure area with the 
intent to preserve the usable runway length at federally obligated 
airports.
    The responsibility to consider all obstructions beyond the runway 
end and make the necessary adjustments to OEI departure procedures 
falls upon the aircraft operator to ensure safe clearance. Every air 
carrier takeoff operation must plan for an engine failure. OEI 
procedures may force an operator to reduce the takeoff weight of the 
aircraft, either by reducing the number of passengers or the amount of 
cargo or fuel when circumstances mandate.
    Historically, the FAA has held that this is an economic issue 
rather than a capacity issue largely based on the premise that airports 
are not incurring serious encroachment from multiple obstructions near 
the airport. However, the last forty years have shown economic activity 
and structures only accelerating around airports--creating an ever 
increasing risk. To address this, the FAA is planning to integrate the 
OEI requirements within its Part 77 analysis.
    Air carriers believe that the FAA should include OEI requirements 
in its Part 77 determinations to help ensure an unobstructed departure 
path in the event of an emergency engine-out situation. Simply 
accommodating the multiple OEI procedures of all operators at an 
airport is not possible. The OEI procedures could be so diverse as to 
effectively create a zone around the entire airport where hazard 
determinations would be made at a height and distance that the FAA has 
consistently determined no hazard exists. Another solution is merited.
    In May of 2008, the FAA initiated and sponsored the National OEI 
Pilot Project to develop OEI surface policy guidance. It engaged the 
airport owners/sponsors in developing an OEI surface and depicting it 
on the Airport Layout Plan (ALP). The OEI Pilot Project utilized the 
specific knowledge, expertise, and operational experience of airport 
management, local government/community, and air carriers to develop 
policy guidance for OEI surfaces that would satisfy the needs of the 
majority of airports and air carriers.
    Based on this pilot program, the FAA has determined that it is 
desirable for airport owners, with input from users/operators and 
communities, to define an OEI departure area for each runway end 
supporting commercial service operations in coordination with the FAA. 
Developing OEI surfaces is a voluntary decision the airport owner makes 
in coordination with the FAA, with input from the users/operators and 
local community. Once the surface is defined for each critical runway 
end and agreed to by all stakeholders, it is the intention of the FAA 
to consider a consolidated OEI surface(s) and the effects of new 
structures encroaching them under its existing Part 77 authority.
    Consideration of the dedicated OEI surfaces would extend to the 
full scope of existing Part 77 requirements. The FAA does not need to 
amend Part 77 to implement this change. Accordingly, while the FAA is 
willing to consider the impact of the proposed structure, it would not 
require notification of structures solely for the purpose to study for 
possible impact to an OEI surface. If a structure does not require 
filing under Part 77 or does not exceed an obstruction standard under 
Sec.  77.17, then it will not be studied for possible impact to an OEI 
surface. While aircraft operators can choose to develop an OEI 
procedure that is outside of the areas covered by Part 77 notice 
criteria, the FAA would not consider those procedures when evaluating 
the potential impact of the proposed structure on the safety and 
capacity of the navigable airspace or airport.

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    Under this proposed policy, if notice of a proposed structure is 
filed with the FAA and the structure would exceed an obstruction 
standard, the structure would be a hazard to air navigation if it 
exceed the OEI surface for that runway and it was not shielded in 
accordance with paragraph 6-3-13 of FAA Order 7400.2,\2\ Procedures for 
Handling Airspace Matters. The FAA invites comment on whether 
additional exceptions are warranted to this finding of a hazard 
determination for these obstructions.
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    \2\ Existing structures within the OEI surface would be 
grandfathered and not subject to this proposed policy; however, this 
proposal would apply to modifications to such structures.
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    The FAA believes any airport and experiencing encroachment should 
work with its users during the Master Planning process and propose to 
depict a dedicated OEI surface on the Airport Layout Plan (ALP). If 
this results in a large number of pending proposals, then the FAA will 
give top priority to those submitted by the core airports. Core 
airports are those with more than 1% of total enplanements, defined as 
large hubs, or airports with 0.75% or more of total non-military 
itinerant operations. These core airports are the most likely to have a 
near-term need to define OEI departure areas. FAA will then process 
requests from non-core airports on a first come, first served basis, 
consistent with available FAA resources. FAA approval of proposed 
changes to the ALP will require consideration of potential 
environmental impacts under the National Environmental Policy Act 
(NEPA). As part of the NEPA review, the FAA will identify and 
appropriately address any disproportionately high and adverse impacts 
on minority and low income populations in accordance with the Executive 
Order on Environmental Justice.
    The FAA intends to amend agency guidance and directives to 
encourage airports to collaborate with stakeholders to proactively 
identify OEI departure tracks and consider potential impacts of land 
use development upon airport capacity. The FAA is seeking input on the 
negative or positive impact from all parties that could result from 
this policy change, including developers, airport owners, aircraft 
operators, local governments, and any other group that feels they will 
be impacted.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on April 21, 2014.
Raymond Towles,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regions and Center Operations, 
Office of Finance and Management, Federal Aviation Administration.
[FR Doc. 2014-09337 Filed 4-24-14; 4:15 pm]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-P