AOPA has expressed concern that the proposed enlargement of an expansive special-use airspace area in Wisconsin would create a mass of military airspace that would reduce the utility of underlying civilian airports and make north-south air travel difficult in the state.
AOPA is working with the plan’s Camp Douglas, Wisconsin-based proponent to resolve the general aviation community’s concerns. AOPA urges members to review the draft environmental assessment and submit comments on how the expansion would affect their flight operations by Feb. 28.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs, the Volk Field Special Activity Airspace (VFSAA) modification proposal “would extend the current military operations area further north in Portage, Wood, Clark and Eau Claire counties. The proposal also pushes the military operations area north and east in Waupaca County and east across the Waushara and Green Lake County lines into Winnebago, Fond du Lac and Dodge counties. A small portion of the military operations area will extend into the southwest corner of Marathon County. In the southern portion of the military operations area, the VFSAA will extend further south in Juneau and Monroe counties.”
The proposal would provide what the military describes as sufficient airspace for operations by modern fighters and munitions, such as non-eye-safe lasers, in the special-activity airspace.
Modifications to the swath of airspace would include raising some airspace sector floors, and reconfiguring and expanding borders. A new restricted area would be created “to support the use of long-range, non-eye safe laser training,” and would be activated with four hours of advance notice by notam.
“AOPA is concerned that the new special-use airspace will have adverse impacts on the underlying airports and on any civil traffic transiting from southern Wisconsin to northern Wisconsin,” said Rune Duke, AOPA director of airspace and air traffic. “The proposal would expand on the existing military airspace so that it would be about 120 nautical miles wide from east to west, which could result in significant delays and limit access to many communities should the entire complex be active.”
AOPA has begun “considerable outreach” to measure the possible impact on GA. Simultaneously, the association has committed “to work with the military proponent on a solution that will allow military training to take place while not causing significant impacts to civil aviation.”