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March 9, 2011
By Dan Namowitz
The Navy is asking for public input on a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) that would consider West Coast base options for the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter.
Publication of the notice of intent to draft an EIS gives the public an opportunity to learn about the Navy’s plans, and to submit comments that will help drive the environmental review of where to base the new F-35C. The aircraft’s superior capabilities to its predecessor aircraft will likely require changes in airspace to accommodate training missions—and that is where the Navy may need to hear from current airspace users to ensure any impacts of airspace changes are considered as part of the Navy’s plans.
AOPA reported Feb. 2 that bases are being considered at Naval Air Station Lemoore or Naval Air Facility El Centro. Two public information meetings were held on the basing question in February.
AOPA submitted comments on the notice of intent Match 8, urging the Navy to form an ad hoc group of airspace users to provide immediate feedback and possible mitigation measures early in the basing process. Early engagement and collaboration among airspace users would result in solutions that accomplish military training goals with minimal impact on the National Airspace System, AOPA said.
Members are encouraged to submit comments on the notice of intent at the project’s website by March 14.
AOPA would also like to hear your concerns on the proposal, which can be shared by e-mailing a copy of your comments.
FAA Systems and Airspace,
Advocacy and Legislation
AOPA is looking to the Michigan Senate for “refinement” of proposals amended unfavorably in last-minute House action.
The General Aviation Pilot Protection Act would allow pilots to use the driver’s license medical standard for noncommercial VFR flights in aircraft weighing up to 6,000 pounds with no more than six seats, as long as they carry five or fewer passengers, fly below 14,000 feet msl, and fly no faster than 250 knots.
The Civil Aviation Medical Association is objecting to the FAA's proposed sleep apnea policy, warning that the evidence doesn't justify the approach.
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.