Chief flight instructor at Lynn heads airspace mapping initiative that will impact 28 airports

The solution to South Florida’s airspace issue is better communication between flight schools and pilots, said Jensen

Published Nov. 17, 2009

Lynn University’s School of Aeronautics chief flight instructor, Timothy Jensen, was recently asked by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Safety Team to coordinate an initiative to divide up the airspace between the different flight training areas in South Florida – a project that will impact 28 airports in our region. Specifically, Jensen and his team will focus on the airspace from Fort Lauderdale west to the Everglades, west of Coral Springs to US-27, north to Lake Okeechobee, then east to Palm Beach and south to Fort Lauderdale.

Timothy Jensen, B.A., C.F.I., C.F.I.I., M.E.I.Last year, the FAA’s Phil Daspit began working on this initiative to make the airspace even safer for pilots. “In our airspace there are regulations that guide everyone’s operations to be as safe as they can possibly be,” said Jensen. “Rest assured, it is not the Wild West. This meeting will just advance the interest of safety.”

Jensen and representatives from other local flight schools including Bob DeVriend, manager for Boca Raton Airport Tower; Andrew Laws, chief pilot for Palm Beach Flight Training; Betsy Porter, FAA; Bud Borner, certificated flight instructor; Pat Langridge, chief flight instructor for Professional Flight Training; Gary Ross, designated pilot examiner; Vinny Billisi, president of Airborne Systems; and Ian Dasho, director of American Flyers, met last week to get the project off the ground.

Some of the issues Jensen and his team will address in hopes of reducing air traffic congestion and mitigating the risk of mid-air collisions include indentifying:
  • how to best divide the airspace into practice areas
  • common checkpoints
  • appropriate air-to-air frequencies to communicate with other flight schools
  • the usage of different altitudes to go into or out of the practice areas

According to Jensen, the solution to South Florida’s airspace issue is better communication between flight schools and pilots. “The flight schools will need to make agreements on where we all practice, name the areas, make sure we communicate with whoever is in the practice area and set standard practices,” said Jensen. “Whatever results from this round of meetings will be passed onto the FAA. There will be follow up meetings, potentially quarterly, to have the schools talk to each other to see how our agreements work out and/or solve other inter-school problems as they arise.”