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Public meetings planned on Alaska restricted area expansionPublic meetings planned on Alaska restricted area expansion

AOPA is encouraging pilots in Alaska to participate in public meetings scheduled in June in connection with a planned upgrade of the Clear Air Force Station and the expansion of adjacent special-use airspace.

Graphic courtesy of the Missile Defense Agency.

The meetings have been scheduled for June 4, 5, and 6 at locations in Anchorage, Anderson, and Fairbanks as the U.S. Missile Defense Agency prepares an environmental impact statement on expanding a restricted area needed for operating long-range discrimination radar at Clear.

“The proposed airspace change may significantly expand the restricted area along a popular general aviation route in interior Alaska, making it impractical for pilots to navigate using the river or the highway in the future,” said AOPA Alaska Region Manager Tom George.

AOPA is evaluating the proposal in conjunction with the Alaska Airmen Association and other groups, he said.

The restricted-airspace expansion would require horizontal and vertical modifications, and would be in effect 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to contain high-intensity radiated fields that could affect aircraft navigational systems. The radiation “would not be a threat to humans,” he said.

AOPA is concerned that the airspace expansion would hinder access to Clear Airport, a facility used as a staging area for Civil Air Patrol glider training and as an alternate for Healy and Nenana airports in bad weather. 

Pilots also are concerned that the proposed airspace change has the potential to impact VFR traffic coming through Windy Pass, “probably the most heavily used pass through the Alaska Range between the two largest cities in the state.”

George urged AOPA members to review the proposal, assess its impact on their operations, and share the assessment with AOPA. A graphic depiction of the airspace redesign was just released, which should help pilots understand potential impacts, he said.

The public meetings will be held on June 4 from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at Loussac Library, third floor, in Anchorage; June 5, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at Anderson School, Multipurpose Room, in Anderson; and on June 6 from 4:30 to 7 p.m., at the Carlson Center, Prow Room, in Fairbanks.

Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz

Associate Editor Web
Associate Editor Web Dan Namowitz has been writing for AOPA in a variety of capacities since 1991. He has been a flight instructor since 1990 and is a 30-year AOPA member.
Topics: Advocacy, Airspace Redesign, Security

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