The A Area controls air traffic from Portland, Oregon (PDX) north to Vancouver, British Columbia (YVR) and from the Cascade Mountains west to one hundred miles over the Pacific Ocean. This airspace is divided into six non-stratified sectors that serve all users including commercial flights, general aviation and the diverse aircraft and activities of local military bases. One additional sector in the A area underlies both Whidbey RAPCON and Seattle TRACON airspace to provide arrival, departure and en route service over the Everett, WA area, which includes such diverse activities as newly produced Boeing Company heavy aircraft and attendees to the Northwest Experimental Aviation Association Fly-In.
The B area controls aircraft in most of Northern Oregon, from approximately 150 miles off the western coastline east, roughly to Idaho, between Portland and Eugene, Oregon. There are four low altitude sectors (Sectors 4, 5, 6 and 34) controlling the surface up to 24,000 ft and three high altitude sectors (42, 46 and 16) working traffic at and above 24,000 ft. Sector 4 works a shelf along the I-5 corridor from Portland, OR to Olympia WA, below 9000 feet. Sector 6 controls a wide array of traffic departing from Portland as well as all commercial traffic arriving Portland from the south. Both sectors provide approach control services to many small airports. Sector 6 is the busiest low altitude sector in the B area. Sector 5 works Portland departures to the southeast and supplies approach control services to the Bend-Redmond-Sun River recreational hub. Sector 34 works traffic arriving and departing Portland to the east. The B area high altitude sectors are split along north/south lines. Of the high altitude sectors, Sector 42 is the furthest west and controls traffic from Seattle and Portland to San Francisco Bay area destinations, as well as sequencing the Portland arrivals from California into one stream. Sector 46 is the middle sector. It controls the Portland departures to the southeast and sequences all Seattle area arrivals from most California and Nevada airports into one stream. Sector 16 controls the airspace over Eastern Oregon and provides service to multiple streams of aircraft including Portland departures and arrivals to the east, Seattle area departures heading to south east and traffic transiting from the Spokane area to all California destinations. Sector 16 is the busiest high altitude sector in the B area. There are two approach control facilities within the B-area. Portland Approach controls an area within 30 miles of the Portland Airport below 13,000 feet; Cascade Approach controls a similar area at Eugene below 9000 feet. The B area takes responsibility for Cascade Approach’s airspace at Eugene during the nighttime hours. The Cascade Mountain Range is dotted with prominent peaks that present a terrain risk to small aircraft.
The C area encompasses the airspace from the Cascade Mountains to Western Montana and from the Canadian border south into northeastern Oregon. It is made up of three low altitude sectors (8, 9, and 18), controlling below 24,000 ft. and four high altitude sectors (7, 11, 47, and 48), which control the airspace 24000 ft. and above. Three Approach Control facilities operate within the C Area. Spokane Approach is a 24-hour operation covering Spokane International Airport , Fairchild Air Force Base, Felts Field, Couer D’ Alene Air Terminal, and Deer Park Airport. Chinook Approach and Grant County Approach Controls operate from 6am to 10pm daily. Chinook encompasses Yakima, Pasco, Walla Walla and Richland Airports in Washington as well as Pendleton and Hermiston Airports in Oregon. Grant County Approach serves Moses Lake and Ephrata airports in Washington State. It serves as a major training support facility for Air Force and Navy tactical training and for Boeing flight test operations. The C Area controls the airspace contained within both Grant County and Chinook Airspace after these facilities close at night. The C Area contains a great deal of Special Use Airspace for military operations. Specially assigned airspace and are used for activities such as air refueling, terrain following, air combat maneuvers, armor, artillery, and air/ground fire exercises. The majority of the C Area’s commercial air traffic passes through its high altitude sectors, to and from Seattle, WA and Vancouver, B.C. International polar traffic between Europe and San Francisco or Los Angeles also traverses the C area.
The D area controls the airspace that extends from Eugene, Oregon south to a line between Arcata and Alturus, California and 150 miles off shore. There are three high altitude sectors (13, 14 and 15) in the D area and three low altitude sectors (30, 36 and 10). The three high altitude sectors were originally designed to optimize the air carrier traffic between large airports, such as Seattle and Los Angeles, but as the diversity of aircraft and air travel have developed, the complexity of a formarly straight forward workload has become much more complex. Sector 13 has always served the Seattle and Portland departures to the LA Basin and Sector 14 the arrivals returning northbound. Now the air taxi companies are providing transportation from moderately sized cities, such as Eugene, Medford and Redmond, Oregon, to a wide range of destinations. Sector 15 serves not only domestic air traffic between the northwest and the San Fransisco Bay area but also a very busy oceanic route to Alaska and the Orient. The three low altitude sectors (36 between Medford and Eugene, 30 from Medford to Arcata and 10 to the east of Medford, provide both VFR and IFR services to an assorted mixture of civilian and military aircraft. D area controllers provide approach control services to several airports which are geographically and operationally dissimilar, with great detail paid to weather dissemination and terrain hazards. The D area includes vast military airspace to serve the local air combat training facility and provides both approach and tower services when civilian and military facilities close at night.