Mar. 1, 2004 — AOPA says proposed changes to two military operations areas (MOAs) near Lyons, Kansas, would create unsafe flying conditions and have a severe negative impact on a general aviation airport that underlies the MOAs. In a letter to the FAA, the association said the proposal needs to be changed.
Ellsworth Municipal Airport (9K7) is currently under Bison MOA, whose floor is 200 feet above Ellsworth's traffic pattern. The Air Force request would shift the boundary between Bison and the adjoining Smoky MOA so that half of Ellsworth would remain under Bison and half under Smoky, whose floor is only 500 feet above ground level.
"That potentially puts GA pilots flying in the traffic pattern in direct conflict with military aircraft on maneuvers," said AOPA Manager of Air Traffic Heidi Williams. "The FAA needs to establish an exclusionary area 3 nm in radius and up to 1,500 feet agl to protect both GA pilots in the pattern and military pilots on training missions."