The Marines' proposed Core Military Operations Area (MOA) near the Outer Banks would be unsafe for general aviation (GA) pilots, squeezing them into a narrow corridor, according to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA).
"This proposal seems more like an airspace grab than a necessity," said Heidi Williams, AOPA director of air traffic services. "The Marines want the airspace for 16 hours a day simply because they plan to use the area for six minutes a day to transit from the coast to offshore alert and warning areas."
MOAs are sections of airspace intended to separate military aircraft from other types of aircraft. MOAs have lateral and vertical boundaries as well as times in which they are active.
The Core MOA is proposed to be in use from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily between 3,000 feet and 18,000 feet. This would force pilots flying over Cape Lookout National Seashore on the Outer Banks into a 1,000-foot corridor because federal regulations mandate that pilots must stay at least 2,000 feet above the ground in that area.
AOPA recommends raising the floor of the MOA to 5,000 feet msl; establishing a military training route or alert area instead; or instituting a radio frequency and telephone number for pilots to obtain real-time information on the status of the airspace.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is currently accepting comments on this proposal. They should be filed by January 31, 2007, and sent to: FAA, Eastern Service Center, System Support Group, AJO-2E2B.1, P.O. Box 20636, Atlanta, GA 30320.
The nearly 410,000-member Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association has represented the interests of general aviation pilots since 1939. General aviation includes all flying except the scheduled airlines and the military. Nearly two-thirds of all U.S. pilots, and three-quarters of the GA pilots, are AOPA members.
January 11, 2007