March 4, 2015

The second stage of FAA’s new plan for redesigning the airspace around Washington, D.C. goes live March 5, with 57 procedural designs that include 50 RNAV STARS/SIDS, seven Air Traffic Service (ATS) routes and 13 airspace alterations.

Among the changes are:

  • The TERPZ and WONCE waypoints are now reversed. On the new BWI TERPZ4 SID, what was TERPZ is now WONCE.
  • The BWI TERPZ4 SID has a top altitude of 4,000 feet, in spite of markings on individual waypoints that indicate “at or above” altitudes of as high as FL200. The new procedure calls for flights to climb and maintain 4,000 feet unless specifically advised otherwise by Potomac Consolidated Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON).
  • The BILIT, OJAAY and BARIN STARs will be discontinued after March 5.

Historically, Part 91 traffic departing Dulles International Airport (IAD) has not been be able to use some of the published SIDS because of the flight restricted zone around Washington, DC “But there is currently a new procedure in the works that will be useable to go around the FRZ to the north to eventually head south in bad weather situations,” said Bob Lamond, NBAA’s director of Air Traffic Services and Infrastructure. “It should be available around mid-year.”

For the first time in the Metroplex program, aircraft will be on a stacked optimized profile descent. The RAVNN4 STAR into Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) and the CAPSS1 STAR into Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA) are concurrent with a separation altitude of 2,000 feet – twice the vertical separation proscribed for RNAV operations.

FAA cautions that, for up to two weeks after the implementation of the DCA Metroplex changes, it may issue traffic management initiatives (TMIs) for traffic arriving into the Washington, DC area as a means of dealing with transitional factors. John Kelley, a member of the Airspace, Air Traffic Control and Flight Technologies Subcommittee of NBAA’s Access Committee, pointed out that this was done during the implementation of new north and east routes. However, the transition there went so smoothly that TMIs were discontinued after just seven days.

Kelley said he is impressed with the new plan, describing it as “magnificent.” Kelley is also a member of the board of directors at the Greater Washington Business Aviation Association. As a business aviation pilot and president of Kelley Aviation, LLC, he frequently operates in the airspace surrounding the nation’s capital and nearby Baltimore, MD, and helped represent business aviation interests during the redesign of the approaches and departures in Baltimore-Washington.

View a PowerPoint presentation on the new DC Metroplex plan.