Air Force ignoring GA concerns about proposed MOAs
The Air Force has proposed creating a military operations area (MOA) near Delta Junction, Alaska. This would make permanent what the Air Force has been using as a temporary MOA, or TMOA, periodically for the past three years.
Like the TMOA, the permanent Delta MOA would shut off access to V-444, a major east-west route. Without access to V-444, pilots would need to make a detour of nearly 400 miles using an airway with a minimum en route altitude that is 5,000 feet higher—a significant difference for most general aviation aircraft.
AOPA has expressed its objections to the plan. In Nov. 16 comments written in response the TMOA proposal, AOPA notes that the airspace will impose both safety and economic hardships on GA operators and businesses, as well as on residents who rely on aviation as the only means of year-round access to their communities.
The Air Force also has conducted an environmental assessment of making the MOA permanent. That assessment ended in a “finding of no significant impact.”
“By issuing a ‘finding of no significant impact,’ the Air Force is choosing to ignore the many concerns already raised by the general aviation community about this airspace,” said Peter Lehmann, AOPA manager of air traffic services. “AOPA has expressed its concerns about the MOA plan on several occasions. We will continue to oppose this MOA and urge pilots who would be affected by the airspace to do the same.”
Pilots have until Dec. 22 to file comments on the proposed permanent MOA and the environmental assessment finding of no significant impact. Written comments should be addressed to Mr. James W. Hostman, 611 CES/CEAO, 10471 20th Street, Suite 302, Elmendorf AFB, AK 99506-2200.
November 26, 2008