Introduction to SCAUWG

Local pilots who fly VFR often in the Los Angeles airspace are aware of the size and complexity of the regulated airspace. Visitors to the area can easily become confused with the mix of air carrier and VFR aircraft traffic. In addition to Los Angeles Int’l airport, four additional major airports in the basin handle air carrier traffic. The configurations of the Class B, C, and D airspaces are not consistent and the altitudes vary.

In August 1986 a midair collision between an AeroMexico DC9 and the Piper PA028 induced the FAA to raise the top of the TCA (Terminal Control Area)from 7,000 ft to 12,500 ft; and close the VFR corridor that enabled VFR travel north/south over over the LAX airport. This created a barrier between the northern and southern parts of the LA Basin -- which caused great angst among the local aviation community.

As a result, local aviation community governments, airport operators, pilots and other airspace users organized as a group under the auspices of the Southern Association of Governments to work with the FAA on making the LA Basin airspace a viable resource to the community. Click here to see a .pdf of the original SCAG document authorizing the formation of SCAUWG.

This group, along with AOPA and others, worked with the FAA to reopen the "LAX Corridor", renamed Special Flight Rules Area; and lower the TCA (now called Class-B airspace) to 10,000 ft. Over the ensuing years, SCAUWG has evolved into a self-functioning and more indepenent organization in response to the changing needs of Southern California's airspace. Along with the growth and evolution of the Los Angeles basin over the years, there has been some small changes in the stakeholder makeup of the group; but the goal of ensuring safe yet open access to planes of all types throughout Southern California has remained the primary focus of the group.

History Chart

Long time SCAUWG member Al German, a CFII now representing AOPA in the SCAUWG, created a two-tier timeline depicting challenges and achievments of SCAUWG over the years. The time line, which begins in 1985, is related to the July and December issuance of the Los Angeles Area Termincal Chart -- which seems to most accurately reflect changes in the VFR airapce in Southern California. The green triangles define the start and/or end of SCAUWGs involvement with respect to the event noted. Section 1 at the top depicts TACs 11 through 34. TACs 35 through 59 are depicted below in Section 2. A .pdf copy of this time-line graphic can be seen here. The graphic shows how, over the years, SCAUWG has been effective in balancing the needs the various Southern California airspace users interests.