AOPA has told the FAA that the agency should not grant a U.S. Air Force petition for a new military operations area (MOA) in Louisiana without modifications for safety and airspace reasons.
The Air Force wants to combine the Lady and Jones MOAs in north-central Louisiana into one area known as the Hackett MOA and, more importantly, conduct lights-out night-vision goggle (NVG) training.
"Neither Lady, Jones, nor the proposed Hackett MOA was on the list of lights-out operational areas the Air Force requested when they asked for an exemption from FAR 91.209 earlier this year," said AOPA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Melissa Bailey.
"NVG training is unquestionably an important element of preparing for the national defense," said Bailey. "But just as unquestionably, lights-out operations—with no anti-collision or position lights—deny transiting aircraft the ability to fulfill the requirement to see and avoid other traffic.
"If the Air Force wants to conduct NVG operations in north-central Louisiana, it should have included Hackett, Jones, or Lady in the request for exemption. At least one other proposed MOA was."
AOPA also told the FAA that the southern boundary of Hackett MOA ought to be changed. The Air Force proposal would put the boundary within 1 nm of Nachitoches Regional Airport (IER). AOPA suggested a change that would give IER a 4-nm buffer and allow normal operations from both of the airport's runways.