A proposed restricted area at Fort Irwin, Calif., would confine aircraft to a small corridor in busy airspace and could negatively affect the safety of general aviation pilots, AOPA told the FAA Aug. 28.
In response to a proposal that would establish a new restricted area, R-2502A, as part of an expansion of the Army National Training Center (NTC) at Fort Irwin, AOPA Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs Rob Hackman wrote that the FAA should reduce the effects of nearby airspace restrictions on current users of the airspace before adding another restricted area. Area pilots have expressed concerns that the proposed restricted area would not provide an adequate buffer around Victor Airway 394, he added.
“Should pilots flying through this area need to deviate for any reason, including congestion or weather, the proposed restricted area could limit their options,” Hackman wrote. “Pilots could be put in the position of maintaining the safety of their aircraft and passengers or violating a restricted area and possibly disrupting a military training mission.”
The proposed R-2502A would extend from the surface to 16,000 feet msl and would restrict airspace above the expanded land maneuver area created to support the training center. It would be in the immediate vicinity of eight existing restricted areas, seven of which have unlimited altitude and continuous operations; the FAA should ensure that the existing restricted areas are returned to the National Airspace System when they are not in use before it considers the establishment of any additional restricted area, Hackman wrote.