Pilots urged to speak out on airspace expansion for UAVs

January 21, 2010

The Air Force is hosting public meetings to allow pilots to comment on a draft environmental impact statement about the military’s proposal to expand its special-use airspace around Grand Forks Air Force Base for “remotely piloted aircraft,” known more commonly to pilots as UAV or UAS.

AOPA has voiced its opposition to the proposal that would modify existing training airspace, create new training airspace, and modify existing and create new infrastructure at Grand Forks Air Force Base and Camp Grafton South/R-5401.

“It is critical that pilots attend these meetings and voice their opinion,” said Heidi Williams, AOPA senior director of airspace and modernization. “With the great demand for UAS operations within the National Airspace System, this proposal to expand military airspace sets a standard for military airspace expansion across the country. We are likely to see many more proposals to follow if the Air Force successfully expands military airspace in the Grand Forks area.”

The meetings will take place Feb. 8, 9, 10, and 11 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. A presentation about the proposal will begin at 5:30 p.m., with a time for comments directly following. Those who cannot attend in person should send written comments by March 1 to HQ AMC/A7PI, 507 Symington Drive, Scott AFB, IL 62225-5022, Attn: Mr. Doug Allbright.

Date Location
Feb. 8 Alerus Center
Junior Ballroom 3
1200 South 42nd Street
Grand Forks, ND
Feb. 9 Lake Region State College Dining Room
1801 College Drive
Devils Lake, ND
Feb. 10 Chieftain Conference Center
Tepee Room
60 4th Avenue South
Carrington, ND
Feb. 11 NDSU Langdon
Research Ext. Center
9280 107th Ave NE
Langdon, ND