Airspace Rules and Regulations
Federal Regulations & Guidance
Federal regulations governing the protection of airspace and aircraft operating areas and facilities are contained in 14 CFR Part 77, Safe, Efficient Use, and Preservation of the Navigable Airspace, which is a federal regulation that requires mandatory notification of proposed structures and equipment when the notice requirements are met. Part 77 defines specific surfaces, which protect different elements of the airport and its surrounding airspace. There are five surfaces under Part 77: Primary, Approach, Transitional, Horizontal and Conical, as well as a 100:1 notification surface (similar to Lee County’s 125:1). These surfaces, along with many others, provide a threshold of protection for Instrument Flight Procedures including approaches, arrivals, departures and en-route procedures.
Order 8260.3B, The United States Standard for Terminal Instrument Procedures (TERPS) is a primary document used by the FAA for the purpose of airspace procedure design. It also includes a series of more complex surfaces customized to protect individual instrument procedures. When obstructions are found to be in conflict with these surfaces, then the utility of an airport can be reduced, particularly by increasing weather minimums and decision altitudes for pilots. For example, when an obstruction penetrates a TERPS visual surface, then landing operations may be restricted if the reported visibility is below one statute mile. In this situation, aircraft must divert to another airport or continue a holding pattern until weather conditions improve to an acceptable level.
Advisory Circular 150/5300-13A, Airport Design offers airport sponsors criteria to meet when designing portions of an airport. A portion of this document deals with threshold siting standards that determine the usable length of a runway for landing and takeoff. Penetrations to the surfaces defined in this document can result in an airport reducing the usable length of its runways, which may reduce the utility of the airport. In these circumstances, a reduction to utility may translate to economic loss for the airport and the region it serves.
Chapters 330-339 Florida Statutes define regulations for the state of Florida. General aviation airports are not always subject to all federal guidance and, therefore, must adhere to state guidelines. Typically, states adopt and enforce their own policies, which are modeled from FARs. The state of Florida enforces guidance similar to the FAA’s Airport Design Advisory Circular as mentioned above. These statutes protect the integrity of airspace surrounding small reliever airports such as Page Field. Similarly, penetrations to the associated surfaces will produce effects that may reduce the utility of the airport.
The Airport Compatible Land Use Guidebook published by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Aeronautics Division is a comprehensive manuscript that describes the state statutes and how to effectively comply with those statutes.
The Lee County Land Development Code, Sec. 34-1000 is the legal arm by which the municipality enforces state and federal regulations. This ordinance defines the Tall Structure Permitting Process for the Lee County Port Authority. The code stipulates that all proposed projects within the jurisdiction of Lee County and the city of Fort Myers must comply with the Tall Structure Permitting Process.
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