Major Ottawa Airspace Change on 8 April

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:


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.

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6 Responses to Major Ottawa Airspace Change on 8 April

  1. Pingback: Free Flight Video Magazine » Blog Archive » Major Ottawa Airspace Change on 8 April

  2. viennatech says:

    This is in addition to other “hidden” changes such as we can no longer call QC RDO on 126.7 you must use the new freq of 123.375 (Don’t confuse this with practice area freq of 123.35!) This wasn’t even published anywhere but you can find it deep in the NOTAMS. Something I had to discover the hard way trying to amend a flight plan last week airborne. Also don’t call Ottawa Tower on 118.8 if you’re flying in from the North, gotta use 120.1 if you’re anywhere North of 07/25 and 118.8 if you’re South.

    So there you have it, we should use the LAHSO blog as our “official” source of pilot info.

  3. Tony Hunt says:

    I agree David – I saw this when my new CFS arrived on Tuesday, and by Wednesday evening there was a copy of the AIC (but no diagram) on the counter at Rockliffe. Possible airspace changes and an Ottawa VTA were mentioned at a staff meeting several months ago at RFC, but this was the first concrete indication of the changes.

    I am not sure if these changes will meet the stated aim of eliminating the issue of regular low-level intrusions through the Rockliffe circuit. In fact, I suspect it will now encourage NORDO pilots to remain below 700′ over the river and fly “under” the Rockliffe circuit.

    BTW I see you hold business meetings in Francesco’s? The owner is also a pilot, but I go there to buy the fresh-roast decaf.

  4. Tony Hunt says:

    Hi V-tech; I found the new Quebec Radio frequencies in the current CFS (Feb – Apr), they are in the Comm section of each airport. The change from 126.7 was not explicitly stated, but the new freqs are there. Now things are similar to London Radio, which uses different freqs throughout the region and I rely on my Garmin database to tell me which freq to use as I transit.

    The new (North-side) tower frequency was promulgated by NOTAM and effective immediately. It works well, but I noticed last night that in the evening they have one controller for both North & South frequencies.

    I tried to reach you last night from RFC – I had a student cancellation and an empty seat for a 1.5 hour night flight back to Carp via Maniwaki and Arnprior. I left you a message to call dispatch but I had to leave about 2130 (after the runway lights were repaired).

    Sorry for the hijack David.

  5. Blake says:

    I always read the AICs every month or so to see what changes are coming up. This is the “standard” ICAO way of notifying users about changes to services, or airspace in Canada.

    In most cases it’s information for “the big guys”. But sometimes there are little nuggets like this one that pop in there.

  6. Jim Mantle says:

    I was randomly reading through the AIC sometime in March and saw this as well. I suggested to Simon that it be posted on the RFC website – at least those that book the club aircraft will see it.

    I was talking to the proprieter at the Touch N Go store at CYRP. Apparently the change in airspace has caused quite a run on purchase of the new CFS – and he said some of the EAA guys are quite proud of their eight year old CFS but are now relenting and purchasing new editions.

    There was a similar airspace change – addition of restricted airspace somewhere out in the prairies, straddling the VFR route called the trans-Canada highway. It was published in the AIC, but the next map update was months away. Lots of pilots got busted, and COPA has suceeded in eliminating the CYR on the south side of the highway.


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