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AOPA says to FAA, "Protect this Montana airstrip!"AOPA says to FAA, "Protect this Montana airstrip!"

January 5, 2004

Docket Management System
U.S. Department of Transportation
Room Plaza 401
400 Seventh Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20590-0001

RE: FAA Docket No. FAA-2003-15411, and Airspace Docket No. 02-ANM-15

To Whom It May Concern:

The Aircraft Owners and Pilot's Association (AOPA), representing over 400,000 general aviation pilots, is concerned with the proposed dimensions of restricted area R-4601B within the Hays Military Operations Area (MOA) near Hays, Montana. AOPA recommends that the southern boundary of the proposed restricted area be modified so it does not conflict with aircraft arrivals and departures to the Cow Creek airstrip located under the floor of the proposed restricted area.

The implementation of R-4601B airspace over the Cow Creek airstrip would negatively impact general aviation operations using the airstrip. This particular landing facility is over 2,400 ft long, making it one of the longest available backcountry strips in the state suitable for twin-engine and tricycle gear aircraft. The proposed restricted airspace would eliminate the availability of this valuable strip to pilots during activation.

To preserve operations at the Cow Creek strip AOPA strongly suggests that one of the following options be considered:

  • relocate the southern boundary of R-4601B 3 nautical miles to the north or;
  • provide a 3nm radius, 1,500ft AGL cutout centered around the Cow Creek airstrip.

AOPA supports the implementation of a manned tower equipped with VHF capability to offer pilots operating in the area accurate SUA information as proposed. In addition, we encourage charting the tower frequency on the appropriate sectional chart.

AOPA appreciates the opportunity to comment and looks forward to working with the military to implement the suggested changes.



Brent Hart
Government Analyst

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