April 24, 2003
AOPA has filed formal comments opposing the proposed creation of full-time military operations areas (MOAs) near Townsend, Georgia.
"The impact on general aviation traffic is significant," said Heidi Williams, manager of air traffic for AOPA. "The eastern boundary of the MOA would overlie Interstate 95, a major VFR flyway, and several Victor airways. It also imposes a barrier to both VFR and IFR aircraft transiting the airspace and threatens the economic viability of the underlying general aviation airports."
The military currently activates three temporary MOAs (Quick Thrust, Gator, and Fort Stewart) for a maximum of 28 days annually, but it wants to make the special-use airspace (SUA) permanent. The proposal calls for establishment of the Coastal MOA airspace complex from 300 feet above ground level to 18,000 feet msl and charted as active from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local five days a week and other times by notam.
According to military officials, they do not believe the proposal has any impact on VFR operations since federal aviation regulations do not prohibit VFR aircraft from operating in activated MOA airspace. But AOPA members say it does impact their flying. In a recent membership survey, 73 percent said they deviate around MOAs because of the frequent lack of real-time information about military flight activity.
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