[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 45 (Tuesday, March 8, 2011)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 12643-12645]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-5251]



Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 71

[Docket No. FAA-2011-0078; Airspace Docket No. 10-AEA-20]
RIN 2120-AA66

Proposed Establishment of Helicopter Area Navigation (RNAV) 
Routes; Northeast United States

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).


SUMMARY: This action proposes to introduce low altitude helicopter RNAV 
routes into the United States domestic Air Traffic Service (ATS) route 
structure to be used by suitably equipped helicopters having IFR-
approved Global Positioning System (GPS)/Global Navigation Satellite 
System (GNSS) equipment. Additionally, the FAA is proposing to 
establish two such routes in the northeast corridor between the 
Washington, DC and New York City metropolitan areas. The FAA is 
proposing this action to enhance safety and to improve the efficient 
use of the navigable airspace for en route IFR helicopter operations.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before April 22, 2011.

ADDRESSES: Send comments on this proposal to the U.S. Department of 
Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., 
West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001; 
telephone: (202) 366-9826. You must identify FAA Docket No. FAA-2011-
0078 and Airspace Docket No. 10-AEA-20 at the beginning of your 
comments. You may also submit comments through the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Paul Gallant, Airspace, Regulations & 
ATC Procedures Group, Office of Airspace Services, Federal Aviation 
Administration, 800 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20591; 
telephone: (202) 267-8783.


Comments Invited

    Interested parties are invited to participate in this proposed 
rulemaking by submitting such written data, views, or arguments, as 
they may desire. Comments that provide the factual basis supporting the 
views and suggestions presented are particularly helpful in developing 
reasoned regulatory decisions on the proposal. Comments are 
specifically invited on the overall regulatory, aeronautical, economic, 
environmental, and energy-related aspects of the proposal.
    Communications should identify both docket numbers (FAA Docket No. 
FAA-2011-0078 and Airspace Docket No. 10-AEA-20) and be submitted in 
triplicate to the Docket Management System (see ADDRESSES section for 
address and phone number). You may also submit comments through the 
Internet at http://www.regulations.gov.
    Commenters wishing the FAA to acknowledge receipt of their comments 
on this action must submit with those comments a self-addressed, 
stamped postcard on which the following statement is made: ``Comments 
to FAA Docket No. FAA-2011-0078 and Airspace Docket No. 10-AEA-20.'' 
The postcard will be date/time stamped and returned to the commenter.
    All communications received on or before the specified closing date 
for comments will be considered before taking action on the proposed 
rule. The proposal contained in this action may be changed in light of 
comments received. All comments submitted will

[[Page 12644]]

be available for examination in the public docket both before and after 
the closing date for comments. A report summarizing each substantive 
public contact with FAA personnel concerned with this rulemaking will 
be filed in the docket.

Availability of NPRMs

    An electronic copy of this document may be downloaded through the 
Internet at http://www.regulations.gov. Recently published rulemaking 
documents can also be accessed through the FAA's Web page at http://www.faa.gov/airports_airtraffic/air_traffic/publications/airspace_amendments.
    You may review the public docket containing the proposal, any 
comments received and any final disposition in person in the Dockets 
Office (see ADDRESSES section for address and phone number) between 9 
a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. An 
informal docket may also be examined during normal business hours at 
the office of the Eastern Service Center, Operations Support Group, 
Federal Aviation Administration, Room 210, 1701 Columbia Ave., College 
Park, GA 30337.
    Persons interested in being placed on a mailing list for future 
NPRMs should contact the FAA's Office of Rulemaking, (202) 267-9677, 
for a copy of Advisory Circular No. 11-2A, Notice of Proposed 
Rulemaking Distribution System, which describes the application 


    Currently, there are no published, public-use, helicopter-specific 
IFR RNAV routes in the U.S. National Airspace System (NAS). Helicopter 
operator representatives have asked the FAA to develop such routes 
since helicopter flight performance characteristics differ 
significantly from high performance turboprop and turbojet aircraft. 
Additionally, published helicopter RNAV routes would increase the 
safety and efficiency of helicopter operations by affording pilots 
greater situational awareness and enabling more direct IFR routing. The 
proposed routes would also make available lower IFR altitudes, which 
could potentially help helicopters avoid icing conditions during winter 
operations. Further, TK routes would expand opportunities for 
helicopter operators to take advantage of developments in Performance 
Based Navigation technology. TK routes would be designated only within 
U.S. domestic airspace.

Helicopter RNAV Route Identification and Charting

    The proposed helicopter RNAV routes would be identified by the 
prefix ``TK'' followed by a three digit number. The ``T'' prefix is one 
of several International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) designators 
used to identify domestic RNAV routes. ``K'' is an ICAO designator used 
to indicate routes primarily for use by helicopters. The FAA has been 
allocated the number block 501 through 650 for use in identifying U.S. 
TK routes.
    As with the existing T routes, TK routes would be depicted in blue 
on the appropriate IFR en route low altitude chart(s). Each route 
depiction would include the route number along with a Global Navigation 
Satellite System (GNSS) Minimum Enroute Altitude (MEA) to ensure 
obstacle clearance and communications reception.

The Proposal

    The FAA is proposing an amendment to Title 14, Code of Federal 
Regulations (14 CFR) part 71 that would establish the first two low 
altitude IFR helicopter RNAV Routes. The proposed routes would provide 
more direct routing for IFR helicopters in the northeast corridor 
between the New York City and Washington, DC, metropolitan areas. The 
routes would serve New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore and 
Washington, DC area airports/heliports. The proposed routes would begin 
and end at points air traffic control uses for routing helicopters. The 
new helicopter RNAV routes, as described below, would be designated TK-
502 and TK-504, and would be depicted on the appropriate IFR Enroute 
Low Altitude charts. Only RNAV-equipped helicopters capable of filing 
flight plan equipment suffix ``G'' could file for the TK routes. The TK 
routes are being proposed to enhance safety and to facilitate the more 
flexible and efficient use of the navigable airspace for en route IFR 
helicopter operations.
    The FAA has determined that this proposed regulation only involves 
an established body of technical regulations for which frequent and 
routine amendments are necessary to keep them operationally current. 
Therefore, this proposed regulation: (1) Is not a ``significant 
regulatory action'' under Executive Order 12866; (2) is not a 
``significant rule'' under Department of Transportation (DOT) 
Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034; February 26, 1979); 
and (3) does not warrant preparation of a regulatory evaluation as the 
anticipated impact is so minimal. Since this is a routine matter that 
will only affect air traffic procedures and air navigation, it is 
certified that this proposed rule, when promulgated, will not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities 
under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.
    The FAA's authority to issue rules regarding aviation safety is 
found in Title 49 of the United States Code. Subtitle I, Section 106 
describes the authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII, 
Aviation Programs, describes in more detail the scope of the agency's 
authority. This rulemaking is promulgated under the authority described 
in Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart I, Section 40103. Under that section, 
the FAA is charged with prescribing regulations to assign the use of 
the airspace necessary to ensure the safety of aircraft and the 
efficient use of airspace. This regulation is within the scope of that 
authority as it modifies the route structure as required to preserve 
the safe and efficient flow of air traffic.

Environmental Review

    The FAA has determined that this action qualifies for categorical 
exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act in accordance 
with FAA Order 1050.1E, Environmental Impacts: Policies and Procedures, 
paragraph 311a. This airspace action is not expected to cause any 
potentially significant environmental impacts, and no extraordinary 
circumstances exist that warrant preparation of an environmental 

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 71

    Airspace, Incorporation by reference, Navigation (air).

The Proposed Amendment

    In consideration of the foregoing, the Federal Aviation 
Administration proposes to amend 14 CFR part 71 as follows:


    1. The authority citation for part 71 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40103, 40113, 40120; E.O. 10854, 
24 FR 9565, 3 CFR, 1959-1963 Comp., p. 389.

Sec.  71.1  [Amended]

    2. The incorporation by reference in 14 CFR 71.1 of FAA Order 
7400.9T, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 18, 
2010 and effective September 15, 2010, is amended as follows:

[[Page 12645]]

Paragraph 6012 Helicopter area navigation routes [new].

* * * * *

TK-502 Westminster (EMI), MD to DECKR, PA [New]

Westminster (EMI), MD VORTAC
    (Lat. 39[deg]29'42'' N., long. 76[deg]58'43'' W.)
    (Lat. 39[deg]39'48'' N., long. 76[deg]27'43'' W.)
    (Lat. 39[deg]45'59'' N., long. 76[deg]06'56'' W.)
    (Lat. 40[deg]02'14'' N., long. 75[deg]34'46'' W.)
    (Lat. 40[deg]14'30'' N., long. 74[deg]53'31'' W.)
    (Lat. 40[deg]21'58'' N., long. 74[deg]25'23'' W.)
    (Lat. 40[deg]28'42'' N., long. 74[deg]11'33'' W.)
    (Lat. 40[deg]31'22'' N., long. 74[deg]07'30'' W.)
    (Lat. 40[deg]39'07'' N., long. 74[deg]02'42'' W.)
* * * * *

TK-504 RUSEY, MD to BANKA, NJ [New]

    (Lat. 39[deg]16'07'' N., long. 76[deg]11'19'' W.)
    (Lat. 39[deg]25'47'' N., long. 75[deg]58'43'' W.)
    (Lat. 39[deg]51'21'' N., long. 75[deg]47'17'' W.)
    (Lat. 40[deg]01'26'' N., long. 75[deg]20'54'' W.)
    (Lat. 40[deg]10'38'' N., long. 74[deg]51'48'' W.)
    (Lat. 40[deg]10'12'' N., long. 74[deg]22'32'' W.)
    (Lat. 40[deg]22'53'' N., long. 74[deg]03'04'' W.)

    Issued in Washington, DC, on March 2, 2011.
Rodger A. Dean,
Acting Manager, Airspace, Regulations and ATC Procedures Group.
[FR Doc. 2011-5251 Filed 3-7-11; 8:45 am]