The FAA has given the go-ahead for the Wisconsin Air National Guard to activate an expanded complex of special-use airspace near the Volk Field Combat Readiness Training Center in Camp Douglas, Wisconsin.
AOPA has been an active participant in the review process since launching an outreach campaign about the plan’s impact on pilots last January. The final configuration of the large airspace area includes design elements to mitigate its impact on general aviation traffic, as recommended by AOPA in formal comments, said Rune Duke, AOPA director of airspace and air traffic.
The new or amended airspace boundaries and altitudes will appear on low altitude en route charts Nov. 10. The Green Bay Sectional Chart will pick up the changes on Dec. 8, and they will appear on the April 27, 2017, edition of the Chicago Sectional. A graphic notice will be published in the Notices to Airmen Publication until the airspace has been added to all affected charts.
Activation of the airspace will be announced at least four hours in advance, by notam, as AOPA recommended in its comments, Duke said.
“AOPA has also submitted a request for a new RNAV Route, or T-Route, to enable efficient avoidance of the special-use airspace, and both the National Guard Bureau and Wisconsin Air National Guard support that request,” he said.
When air traffic control can provide separation services, IFR traffic may be cleared through the active MOAs. Also, under an existing letter of agreement, the Minneapolis Air Route Traffic Control Center is able to “recall” airspace below 5,000 feet msl on 15 minutes notice when necessary—such as when it must be kept clear of traffic for an aircraft flying a GPS approach to an airport underlying the airspace. Pilots can check the status of the airspace at the FAA’s website.
The Wisconsin Air National Guard is expected to hold “a very large exercise” in the airspace during the first two weeks of May 2017, so pilots should expect the entire complex to be active during that period, Duke said.
The airspace will not be activated during the heavy air traffic period around EAA AirVenture 2017 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
“Also, we expect the Wisconsin Air National Guard to request an additional restricted area that was part of their original plan, and AOPA will look closely at that proposal’s impact on general aviation operations,” he said. However, the military will relinquish its annual use of the Lightning Temporary MOA once the new airspace takes effect, Duke said.