Rep. G.K. Butterfield is adding congressional pressure to AOPA's request that the FAA formally extend the comment period on the Cherry Point Military Operations Area (MOA) proposal.
The North Carolina congressman told FAA Administrator Marion Blakey, "I am concerned that the FAA has failed to consider the full impact of this proposal on the general aviation community in North Carolina and contend that an extension of the comment period will give those most affected, North Carolina pilots, the opportunity to comment."
AOPA believes that the establishment of the Core and Gunny (previously called Matamuskeet) MOAs, along and just inland from the Outer Banks, would create safety hazards and operational difficulties for general aviation pilots. The MOAs would extend from 3,000 to 17,999 feet agl and would severely limit access to GA airports near Cherry Point.
And AOPA argues that the FAA didn't properly notify airspace users about the proposal.
Butterfield echoed that concern in his letter to the FAA administrator and pointed out the importance of general aviation to his state.
"North Carolina is home to over 13,000 pilots who rely on general aviation for business and pleasure," he said. "These proposed MOAs have serious implications for the state, and I respectfully urge you to consider the input of the North Carolina pilot community on the effect these changes will have on general aviation."
AOPA's Washington, D.C.-based legislative affairs staff had discussed the importance of this issue with Butterfield.
The FAA has not extended the comment period but was informally accepting comments past the deadline.
Comments on the effect of the MOAs on aeronautical activity should be sent to:
Federal Aviation Administration
Air Traffic Division
Manager, Operations Branch (ASO-530.8)
P.O. Box 20636
Atlanta, Georgia 30320
October 12, 2004