August 28, 2013
By Benét J. Wilson
AOPA is asking members to submit comments on plans by the Department of Energy to establish a warning area off the coast of Alaska near Oliktok Point. The association is concerned that the proposed warning area would create a barrier for VFR traffic off shore Oliktok Point that could put pilots in harm’s way.
In 2011, the Department of Energy proposed establishing a warning area near Oliktok Point, where unmanned operations would be conducted. At the time, AOPA strongly urged the FAA to deny the proposed request, stating in formal comments the association's opposition to the creation of segregated airspace for unmanned flight operations. The FAA, in response to AOPA and other industry comments, withdrew the proposal.
Two years later, the Department of Energy issued a new proposal that would keep unmanned operations from taking place inside the proposed warning area. AOPA fully expects that no unmanned operations would be conducted in the proposed warning area without further public notifications and an opportunity for comment.
AOPA submitted comments expressing concerns, including the proximity of the proposed warning area to the shoreline of Oliktok Point. Members are urged to look at the proposal and submit their own comments, by Sept. 5. Comments should be submitted to Ms. Johanna Forkner, Federal Aviation Administration, Northwest Mountain Region, 1601 Lind Ave S.W., Renton, Wash., 98057. Comments can also be emailed to 7-ANM-OSG-Public-Notice-Inbox@faa.gov; share comments with AOPA via firstname.lastname@example.org.
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