March 27, 2014 - The FAA recently granted EAA's request for a comment period extension regarding the proposed Powder River Training Complex (PRTC) military operating area (MOA) over the northern Great Plains. EAA was joined in the extension request by bureaus of aeronautics from Montana, North Dakota, and Wyoming. Public comments will now be accepted on or before Saturday, May 3.
The PRTC would expand to an area roughly the size of South Carolina (approximately 28,000 square miles
). It would include airspace over four states, with high and low complexes ranging from 500 feet AGL to FL 180. The complex is designed to facilitate low-level, high-speed combat training for B-1 and B-52 crews operating out of Ellsworth and Minot Air Force bases, and is scheduled to be active 240 days per year, including 10 days of Large Force Exercises. The Air Force completed an environmental impact study
for the expanded MOA in 2010, and the FAA released its airspace study
in February 2014, which is the final step before the MOA gets accepted and charted.
EAA is working closely with Montana, North Dakota, and Wyoming as well as other aviation associations to develop comments that the FAA can consider before the PRTC expansion is finalized.
"Our primary concern with this airspace change is safety, and we want to ensure that measures other than 'see and avoid' are in place to minimize the risk of GA aircraft inadvertently and unknowingly having airspace conflicts with fast-moving military aircraft," said Jonathan Harger, EAA government advocacy specialist. "We also have serious concerns about flight training, ag spraying, and recreational aircraft operations that might be negatively affected by the MOA, especially since much of the airspace starts at 500 feet AGL."
Comments must be submitted in writing to:
Manager, Operations Support Group
ATO Central Service Center, AGV-C2
Airspace Study 14-AGL-06NR
Department of Transportation
Federal Aviation Administration
2601 Meacham Boulevard
Fort Worth, Texas 76137
For more information, please see the Air Force's website
on the PRTC or call EAA's advocacy and safety office at 920-426-6522.