The U.S. Air Force has released a draft environmental impact statement in connection with its proposal to reconfigure special-use airspace at Holloman Air Force Base in southern New Mexico for F–16 fighter pilot training.
Members may examine the three proposed alternatives for “optimizing” the airspace contained in the draft environmental impact statement and submit comments online by January 31, or at one of a series of informal meetings scheduled between November 18 and December 5.
The draft environmental impact statement details three proposed airspace configurations and their potential impact. It also addresses “relinquishing unneeded training airspace back to the National Airspace System,” which is a key advocacy priority for AOPA in airspace proposals involving special-use airspace. AOPA emphasized the need to preserve the availability of airspace when submitting preliminary comments in September 2017, when the military first made public its intent to initiate the airspace modification.
In that filing, AOPA also noted the importance of general aviation to New Mexico’s economy, citing a study’s findings that “aviation supports over 48,000 jobs and $1.3 billion in payroll. There are 60 public-owned, public-use airports in the state, serving more than 4,500 active pilots and 3,300 general aviation aircraft.”
AOPA plans to submit new comments after reviewing the draft environmental impact statement and encourages members to submit their comments as well. To help us determine the issues on which GA pilots place the highest priority for attention, please also share a copy of your comments with AOPA.