AOPA told the FAA this week that a U.S. Air Force proposal would slam the door to general aviation in a sizable area near Harrisburg, Pa. The Air Force wants to turn the Kiowa Military Operations Area (MOA) into a restricted area (R5802C) and activate it 365 days a year from sunrise to 2200 local.
Kiowa is currently scheduled to be active 180 days each year. "Even the military unit that schedules the airspace says that's excessive," said AOPA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Melissa Bailey. "The 193rd Special Operations Wing says it does not currently need the extra time."
Kiowa currently extends from 500 feet agl to 13,000 feet msl. But the Air Force wants to raise its ceiling to 17,000 feet and create two more restricted areas, R5802D and R5802E, stacked on top, reaching from 17,000 feet to FL250 (25,000 feet msl).
"That means that virtually any aircraft in the GA fleet that wanted to transition over the top of R5802 would have to be fitted with supplemental oxygen," said Bailey. "Between the four-mile-high column of restricted airspace and the 14-17 hours that it would be active every day of the year, the Air Force would effectively close this airspace to general aviation during daylight hours."