AOPA calls for changes to Kansas MOA proposal

November 11, 2009

February 26, 2004

Federal Aviation Administration
Air Traffic Division
Manager, Airspace Branch, ACE-520
901 Locust Street
Kansas City, MO 64106

RE: Modifications to Smoky, Smoky High and Bison Military Operations Areas (MOAs), KS; FAA Case 03-ACE-47-NR

Dear Ms. Wallis:

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), representing over 400,000 general aviation pilots, opposes the proposed modifications of the Bison and Smoky Military Operations Areas (MOAs) near Lyons, Kansas. The proposal to lower the floor of the MOA would encroach on and negatively impact local pattern operations at Ellsworth Municipal Airport in Ellsworth, Kansas. We request the proposal be modified by providing an airspace cut-out over the airport to allow safe pattern operations.

Specifically, AOPA requests a 3 nautical mile radius and 1,500ft Above Ground Level (AGL) cut-out to allow for airport traffic pattern operations at Ellsworth airport. The current Bison MOA boundary allows for unimpeded pattern operations at Ellsworth airport. However, the proposed modifications of the MOA would lower the floor to encroach upon the traffic pattern at Ellsworth and create an unsafe flying environment for both the military and general aviation users of the airport. This safety issue could easily be resolved through an exclusionary area or by maintaining the current 1,000-foot floor for the MOA.

AOPA appreciates the opportunity to comment on this proposal, and we look forward to working with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the United States Air Force in mitigating the impact on general aviation.

Sincerely,

Brent Hart
Government Analyst

CC: Lt. Col. Mark Gillett
Dale Weinhold, Ellsworth Municipal Airport Advisory Board, KS