by Tony Crawford, Chairman, Airport Committee
The desire of many of our pilots to separate ourselves from the radio traffic from Merritt Island has resulted in today’s AAC decision to move to 122.725 effective 8/15/19 consistent with the chart publishing schedule.
The last time we tried this we used a frequency that was legal to use as a CTAF, it being a MULTICOM frequency, but the FCC disallowed the publishing of it because they only wanted us to use one of the seven UNICOM frequencies which 122.725 is.
Several of the AAC members have been occasionally monitoring 122.725 and found the traffic to be less objectionable than what can be heard and often not understood coming from another location, presumably Merritt Island.
A publication change request now has to be submitted to the National Flight Data Center. We hope the processing of this change will affect the 8/15/19 chart data.
I will mention this CTAF change plan several times between now and then to remind everyone as well as to provide an alert if things don’t go as planned.
The closest airports currently using 122.725 are:
Crystal River, KCGC
Leesburg, KLEE UNICOM
The air traffic control tower at New Smyrna airport is now in operation. New Class D airspace is associated with this control tower and this is of significance to Spruce Creek pilots. Fortunately, the new airspace has been designed with Spruce Creek airport in mind. Class D airspace is normally a circle with a four nautical mile radius around the central airport. The good folks at Daytona Approach Control have worked with the Airport Authority Committee at Spruce Creek and negotiated with the FAA for a smaller circle with a radius of 3.2 nautical miles. This is significant for two reasons. First, it provides adequate uncontrolled airspace at the east end of our runway for normal traffic patterns to and from runways 06 and 24. Second, it leaves a corridor from Spruce Creek airport toward the ocean which can be used for VFR arrivals and departures without the requirement of entering either the Daytona Beach Class C airspace or the New Smyrna Beach Class D airspace.
The new Class D airspace around New Smyrna Beach airport adds complexity and restrictions to flight around the Spruce Creek airport but the situation is certainly manageable. Most local VFR flights can be conducted without difficulty but there are four new requirements. First, traffic patterns must be kept reasonably close to Spruce Creek airport when operating on the east and southeast side of the airport. This poses no problem and is actually helpful to keep our traffic patterns tighter and safer. Second, arriving and departing traffic at Spruce Creek airport must maneuver to the west side of Interstate 95 when passing directly to the west of the New Smyrna airport to stay outside the new airspace. Thirdly, any flight in a southeasterly direction from Spruce Creek airport must be in radio contact with New Smyrna tower and must receive clearance to enter their airspace. Finally, VFR arrivals and departures between Spruce Creek Airport and the ocean coastline must remain between the Daytona Beach and New Smyrna Beach controlled airspace circles.
This last restriction is actually the best part because it preserves the right for Spruce Creek pilots to fly VFR to and from the ocean coastline without the necessity of radio contact or a clearance from Air Traffic Control. The corridor to and from the ocean is one NM wide at its narrowest part and extends from the surface to 1199 feet MSL. The procedures within this corridor have been named the “Creek Arrival” and the “Creek Departure.” This terminology should be used as part of your radio transmissions on the CTAF when using this corridor. Further, your outbound heading reference is 070 degrees and should be flown at 800 feet MSL. The inbound heading reference is 250 degrees and should be flown at 1000 feet MSL. There are good ground references which can also be used
(see chart). These include the 1-95 bridges over Spruce Creek and the residential harbor complex near the ocean coastline. This local area procedure and terminology is recognized by both Daytona Beach Approach Control and the New Smyrna Beach control tower and will facilitate transitions into their controlled airspace. Most importantly, this local area procedure will provide an organized and predictable separation for aircraft operating in this narrow corridor.
Increased air traffic and new controlled airspace is a fact of life. It is very important for all Spruce Creek pilots to keep themselves informed and to fly competently in our complex airspace system. If you need help, this might be a good time to update your Flight Review with an instructor pilot. Be safe and enjoy the great flying experience at Spruce Creek.