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Comments sought on Fallon Range expansion in NevadaComments sought on Fallon Range expansion in Nevada

Editor's note: This article was updated Jan. 10, 2019, to note that the original deadline for submitting comments on the draft environmental impact statement was extended 30 days to Feb. 14.

AOPA is encouraging pilots to review a draft environmental impact statement the U.S. Navy has released for the proposed modernization of the Fallon Range Training Complex in Nevada.

Image courtesy of U.S. Navy. Click to view larger image.

Pilots are urged to submit comments on the plan, which could have several consequential impacts on general aviation operations, by Feb. 14, 2019, a 30-day extension of the original January deadline for providing comments. 

A series of seven public information meetings will be held on the proposal between Dec. 10 and Dec. 13 as noted below.

The Navy has requested the modernization, which includes expanding and reconfiguring military operations areas and restricted areas included in the complex “to provide sustainable and  modernized airspace, range, maneuver areas, training facilities, and range infrastructure and resources that would support acceptably realistic air warfare training activities as well as special operations ground training activities in order to meet emergent and future threats.”

AOPA commented on the proposal in November 2016 during the public-scoping stage of the proposal, expressing support for the military’s need to train, but noting concerns about the plan’s specific impact on local and transient IFR and VFR flight operations.  

AOPA raised objections to negative effects that the proliferation of large areas of special-use airspace have on airspace utilization; to a lack of advance notice GA pilots might have about airspace activation; to the potential for off-airway IFR flights to add long distances to their flights during active periods; and to increased circumnavigation—and therefore greater expense—for VFR flights.

AOPA also called on the military to “engage in robust outreach with local pilot groups, such as the Southern California Airspace Users Working Group, state pilot groups, national pilot associations, nearby airports, and local fixed base operators to gather their input on what the impact will be of the FRTC Modernization.”

The Navy has announced the following schedule of public meetings at which a stenographer will be present to record oral comments from the public:

  • Dec. 10 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Hawthorne Convention Center, 932 E Street, Hawthorne, Nevada 89415–2281.
  • Dec. 10 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Gabbs School Gymnasium, 511 E Avenue, Gabbs, Nevada 89409–0147.
  • Dec. 11 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Austin Town Hall, 135 Court Street, Austin, Nevada 89310–9302.
  • Dec. 11 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Eureka Opera House, Grand Hall, 31 South Main Street, Eureka, Nevada 89316–1500.
  • Dec. 12 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Fallon Convention Center, 100 Campus Way, Fallon, Nevada 89406–2661.
  • Dec. 13 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at C Punch Inn and Casino, Kumiva Room, 1420 Cornell Avenue, Lovelock, Nevada 89419–0056.
  • Dec. 13 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at West 2nd Events Center, 600 West 2nd Street, Reno, Nevada 89503–5312.

Members may submit comments on the proposal by Feb. 14, 2019, online or by mail to Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, Code EV21.SG, 1220 Pacific Highway, Building 1, 5th Floor, San Diego, CA 92132–5190, Attn: Ms. Sara Goodwin, EIS Project Manager.

Members may share their comments with AOPA by email.

Topics: Advocacy, Special Use Airspace

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