FAA Metroplex implementation important National ATC goal
Early NEPA processes did not go well
LAS team got it right!!!
The implementation of the Las Vegas Metroplex ATC design was just announced. Unlike many of the previous actions in bringing NextGen to specific tracks over neighborhoods, the LAS process appears to have been well received by the public. What was well done?
Implementation of NextGen on a local basis has been a critical and unfortunately contentious step in bringing the safety, efficiency, and environmental benefits to the public. Congress in authorizing the satellite-based ATC, based on the reduction in noise, carbon emissions and other MACROs pluses defined by the FAA, gave it greater latitude in implementing the ATC changes under NEPA. The initial spate of NEPA reviews were not well received by the public:
Phoenix’s Battle With FAA’s NextGen ATC Implementation Requires Expert Knowledge Of The Science And Art Of Design
NextGen Noise: RNP’s Concentrated IMPACT May Justify Substantive Change In FAA Policies Under A Proper Study
Noise Sensitivity, Safety & Efficiency Standards Must Be Included In Portola Valley’s Balanced Proposal To Fix Its FAA ATC Problems
The FAA has a library of all of its 29 Metroplex NEPA reviews
Lessons learned have been used to build better communication with the general public. The dimensions, requirements and simultaneous/multiple/dynamic elements of a sound design are not intuitive for the ordinary citizens. The FAA LAS team made exceptional efforts to educate the LAS neighbors:
The level and clarity of the FAA’s explanations and the lengths to which the team went to inform the public, all contributed to the relative smoothness of the NEPA review. CONGRATULATIONS FAA LAS team.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will implement the Las Vegas Metroplex project on Feb. 25, 2021.
The comprehensive project will use satellite navigation to move air traffic more safely and efficiently through the area. New routes for McCarran International Airport, Henderson Executive Airport, and North Las Vegas Airport will be more direct, automatically separated from each other and have efficient climb and descent profiles. It is one of 11 Metroplex projects nationwide.
Community involvement was a critical part of the project’s environmental process. The FAA conducted a thorough environmental review and extensive public engagement for the project, including 11 public workshops in 2017 and 2019.The agency also held four public comment periods totaling more than 120 days, and evaluated and responded to more than 140 comments.
After the FAA implements the new procedures, some flight track dispersion will continue to occur as it does today. Additionally, air traffic controllers will continue to sometimes direct aircraft off published routes for safety or efficiency or to reroute them around weather systems.
The FAA issued the Finding of No Significant Impact-Record of Decision (FONSI-ROD) for the Las Vegas Metroplex project in July 2020. The agency’s initial plan to implement the new routes in November 2020 was delayed by the COVID-19 public health emergency.
After issuing the FONSI-ROD, the FAA made minor adjustments to five procedures that are part of the project. The agency conducted a thorough review of the changes and confirmed they did not warrant a supplement to the final Environmental Assessment, consistent with FAA environmental policy.
The Las Vegas Metroplex environmental website includes Google Earth features that enable the public to view historic and projected flight paths associated with the project, as well as the noise analysis the FAA conducted at more than 172,000 grid points throughout the projected General Study Area.
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