A new rule that will limit GA traffic at Pearson Field Airport (VUO) near Portland, Oregon, is causing frustration and even triggering protests from pilots who maintain the rule takes the wrong approach in its attempt to reduce congestion in the airspace surrounding Portland International Airport (PDX).
The rule, slated to take effect Oct. 1, creates a 1- by 8-mile area of airspace dubbed the “Pearson Box” that extends through the approach section used to access Runways 10L and 10R at PDX. It stipulates that just one aircraft is allowed in the box at any given time and gives priorities to airliners, which traverse the area at a rate of about 10 an hour.
With Pearson Field lacking a control tower, Portland controllers will be responsible for policing the traffic.
Pilots and Pearson Field personnel continue to voice their concerns about the rule to FAA personnel, who maintain the airspace change was the only option, other than undertaking the expense of building a control tower at Pearson Field that could provide proper wake turbulence separation and prevent traffic conflicts in the area.
Opponents of the measure say it will put GA pilots in danger as they are forced to await entry into the box by circling at low altitude near VUO, which is in Vancouver, Washington, near the Oregon border. They also say the regulation would threaten the financial standing of Pearson Field, which relies on easy access to attract its visitors.
After voicing their concerns at a meeting with FAA officials Thursday night, opponents of the rule will have another opportunity to speak out against the measure during a Saturday morning meeting at Pearson.