With almost no fanfare, there will be a major change in Ottawa’s airspace in a couple of weeks. Information about the change is buried deep in this PDF file (thanks to Blake Crosby for the heads-up). Here’s a page from the 8 April 2010 CFS with the new airspace:
In case the AIC link dies, or you don’t feel like searching the whole file, here’s the relevant text:
AERONAUTICAL INFORMATION CIRCULAR 4/10
CHANGES TO THE OTTAWA/GATINEAU CONTROL ZONE
NAV CANADA, the country’s provider of civil air navigation services, conducted an aeronautical study that evaluated the airspace and publications in Ottawa, Ontario and the surrounding airports. The study recommended changes to the airspace and publications for Ottawa International, Ottawa/Gatineau, Ottawa/Rockcliffe, and Ottawa/Carp airports. These changes will be implemented over a period of time.
The first planned change is to extend the Ottawa/Gatineau control zone south, to the south side of the Ottawa River, with an exclusion over the river at 700 feet above ground level (AGL) and below.
This change will take effect 8 April 2010 at 0901 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). The appropriate
aeronautical publications will be amended.
For further information, please contact: [...]
This may sound innocent enough, extending the Gatineau Airport control zone from the north shore of the Ottawa River less than a mile to the south shore, but it effectively closes off the only eastbound class G corridor out of Ottawa, one used very heavily by pilots from Rockcliffe Airport. This will now be mandatory frequency (MF) airspace while the Gatineau FSS is open, and we’ll all have to call Gatineau as soon as we take off from Rockcliffe.
Making an extra radio call isn’t a big deal, but I wonder how many Ottawa pilots will notice this change in the new CFS, or the AIC buried deep in that PDF file? I learned about it only because a pilot from Toronto told me. As far as I know, there has been no major effort to reach out and inform local pilots — no mention in emails from local flying clubs, blogs, etc., and the chief instructor at at least one of the local flying clubs was unaware this morning of when it was coming in or exactly what the change would be. I wouldn’t be surprised to see dozens of airspace vios after April 8, as pilots follow the same route they’ve followed for years without realizing they have to make a now-mandatory call to Gatineau. Normally, I’d have expected to be hearing about something like this for months before it happened.