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Changes Proposed in Military Training Flight Area

The roar of military aircraft performing training in the skies over the Allegheny Highlands is nothing new, but a new proposal could increase the number, location, and minimum height of these flights over the entire listening area and beyond.

A letter from the Air National Guard, dated June 13th, was received by the Highland Chamber of Commerce and EDA. The letter informed of a proposal for widening the current designated training airspace for the 113th Wing, District of Columbia Air National Guard from 16 to 80 nautical miles. In West Virginia, this would affect the counties of Pocahontas, Pendleton, Greenbrier, Randolph, Harrison, Barbour, Tucker, Lewis, Upshur, Braxton, Webster, and Nicholas and in Virginia, the counties of Highland, Bath, Allegheny and Botetourt. The letter does not specify the number of flights which could occur, but does say the minimum altitude of the flights would be reduced to 1,000 feet.

This proposal is a modification of the current Evers MOA, or Military Operating Agreement, and would “expand beyond the lateral footprint of the current Evers MOA, subdivide the new airspace into five portions that increase the ability of air traffic control to accommodate civil operations, and establish three air traffic control assigned airspaces.” Also, “Under the proposed action, there would be no infrastructure changes, no ground disturbing activities, and no ordnance deployment within the proposed MOAs. No supersonic operations or release of chaff and flares would be conducted. Weekend and nighttime operations at all altitudes would be limited.”

Federal, state and local agencies received the same information, as did the Green Bank Observatory.

The Air National Guard is preparing an Environmental Assessment to consider the human and environmental impact of these changes. The letter invited comments from the agencies be addressed to technical lead and environmental planner Ramon Ortiz – questions or comments on the current Evers MOA can be directed to Major Joseph Sundy. The draft Environmental Assessment will be available on the 113th Wing Guard website to invite public participation during a 45-day comment period. The mailing, e-mail and website addresses for contact are available with this story on our website, www.alleghenymountainradio.org.

 

Ramon Ortiz

3508 Fetchet Avenue, Joint Base Andrews, Md. 20762-3157

ramon.c.ortiz2.civ@mail.mil

 

Maj. Joseph Sundy

NGB/A4AM, Sheppard Hall, 3501 Fetchet Avenue, Joint Base Andrews, Md. 20762-5157

usaf.dc.113-wg.list.pa-ft@mail.mil, with “Evers MOA” in the subject line

 

113th ANG Website – https://www.113wg.ang.af.mil/aboutus/

Story By

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Scott Smith

Scott is the News Director for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan, and also is a member of the boards of the Highland-Bath Farm Bureau , Highland Chamber of Commerce and Highland Sheep and Wool Association. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

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