Latest Letter to NOAA on West Coast Airspace Grab

NOAACongressman Issa’s Office has advised us that it would be best to summarize what the issue is that the California Pilots Association has with the NOAA change of airspace along the entire west coast. Click Read More to read the letter.

 Dr. Jane Lubchenco – Head 
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 
1401 Constitution Avenue, NW
Room 5128
Washington, DC 20230

December 20, 2012

Dr. Lubchenco,

The California Pilots Association is a non-profit volunteer organization. Our mission is: Promoting and Protecting California’s General Aviation Airports and Flight Privileges.

We are sending this letter through the office of Congressman Issa because it has been suggested that the original letter we sent to NOAA may have been lost, and therefore was not reviewed by someone in authority.


Earlier this year the California Pilots Association sent NOAA Headquarters a copy of a letter addressed to the FAA regarding the 2012 west coast animal sanctuary airspace changes, which were driven by NOAA – National Marine Sanctuaries. We did not receive a reply from NOAA.

This unnecessary modification changed the existing voluntary coastal wildlife flight restrictions to a formalized structure, which also included threats to aviators in the form of assumption of guilt for any aviator believed to be in violation by unknown and untrained ground observers.

In our opinion, the previous volunteer restricted west coast wild life advisory areas were successfully observed and avoided. We fail to understand why the status was changed.

Frankly, it is our belief that the NOAA – National Marine Sanctuaries airspace modification was a regulation seeking an issue. The state’s pilots have hundreds of pages of existing aviation regulations to track. What we did not need was to add more complexity in the form of an unjustified air space change.

While we are aware that the NOAA worked with the FAA, NOAA’s – National Marine Sanctuaries has never provided justification for this air space modification to the actual airspace users. We question this change and request the factual data for a time period of five (5) years, 2007-2011 in the form of, 1) The number of documented violations, and, 2) The geographic area of each violation.

Formal Request 1.  We request that the violation data used to justify these air space changes, as specified by geographic area, i.e., southern California, central California, and northern California for the previous five (5) year period from 2007-2011 be made available to the California Pilots Association for review.

Further, based upon the new regulatory wording, we were shocked by NOAA’s – National Marine Sanctuaries “guilty until proven innocent” wording and posture regarding potential air space violations. This un-American position is unacceptable – period.  NOAA can do better and must change its threatening regulatory language effective immediately.

Formal Request 2.  We formally request that the “guilty by proximity or observation” language be removed and modified to better reflect the “innocent until proven guilty” rights as observed in the United States.

Based upon our experience with a lack of response from lower level NOAA personal, and the feedback we are receiving from others trying to deal locally with NOAA’s – National Marine Sanctuaries personnel, it appears that NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries believes it isn’t required to answer to anyone. We respectfully disagree.

Formal Request 3. We request that NOAA’s – National Marine Sanctuaries personnel be advised that their function includes a respectful dialog regarding the questioning of this airspace, or any other aviation related change and the reasoning behind it.

On behalf of the California Pilots Association’s board, and the state’s pilots, the California Pilots Association, thank you in advance for your attention and action regarding this important aviation matter.

Respectfully submitted,

Edward A. Rosiak – President California Pilots Association
PO Box 6868
San Carlos, CA 94070-6868

cc:            Congressman Darrel Issa
                Craig Fuller CEO/Chairman AOPA
                Jay White – General Counsel California Pilots Association