Proposed SUA could affect 20 airports in four states

June 12, 2008

The Air Force wants to create a mega complex of special-use airspace that would span four states and affect more than 20 general aviation airports. The proposed expansion of the Powder River Military Operations Area would claim airspace in Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, and South Dakota and cover an area 300 nm by 165 nm from an altitude of 500 feet agl through Flight Level 600.

The Air Force claims the space is needed for training in B-1 and B-52 bombers, which would be allowed to fly at supersonic speeds above 10,000 feet msl and deploy flares and chaff.

“We are closely following this proposal and will be dealing directly with the Air Force to get a better understanding of the proposal, but we also need local pilots to tell the Air Force how this proposal would affect them and their ability to fly,” said Pete Lehmann, AOPA manager of air traffic services.

Pilots are strongly urged to attend one of the 15 public meetings scheduled by the Air Force to get community-specific input on the proposal. The meetings will be held between June 15 and July 16. For details of the meeting schedule and locations, visit the Web site.