Air Force Targets Colorado, New Mexico for Intrusive Training
Southern Colorado targeted for its mountainous terrain
HOLLY NOTE: These LATN (low altitude tactical navigation) sorties began Friday night, Sept. 17 and the resulting nose was unbelievable even with windows closed and TV on. Running sometimes as low as only 200 feet overhead, valid opposition has already been voiced over contamination of air, land and water with aviation fuel, disturbing the wildlife and an impact on the quiet lifestyle of this area. The Air Force euphemistically defined the flight training racket as “a temporary increase in noise levels”. It is so loud, you can feel the sound reverberate in your chest. Let's not forget that the Osprey has not enjoyed a good safety record with numerous air crashes to its discredit.
The military claimed that these training missions wouldn't take lace over populated areas, but Pueblo metro's population is roughly 160,000 and Colorado Springs metro area is well over 600,000. According to the Trinidad Times Independent "air crews are prohibited from flying over the same point more than once per day". In two days, we've experienced 6 flyovers.
First the Army attempted to expand Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site through eminent domain and now this. Public opposition quashed the southern Colorado base expansion; maybe it will kill the Osprey flyovers.
September 4, 2010
By Matt Hildner
Pueblo Chieftain; Pueblo, CO
The U.S. Air Force is proposing training flights over most of Southern Colorado to increase their crews' experience with flying in mountainous terrain.
Image: The Air Force has proposed training flights over parts of Colorado and New Mexico highlighted in this map. (Cannon Air Force Base)
C-130 and CV-22 Osprey aircrews from Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexico would fly as low as 200 feet at speeds around 200 mph, or subsonic speed, as often as three times a day as part of the training program.
"The proposed (low altitude tactical navigation) area in Colorado and New Mexico was selected due to the varied topography and weather, proximity to Cannon AFB and lack of large civilian populations," the agency stated in a news release.
The only counties in the region not affected by the proposal are Baca, Bent, Kiowa and Prowers.
The majority of sorties would take place at 500 feet above ground and 95 percent of them would occur on weekdays.
The flights would be forbidden over towns, airfields and wilderness areas. Airdrops are not proposed for the area.
The operation wing based at Cannon that would conduct the training flights is limited to narrow corridors over flat terrain designed for F-16 aircraft.
Previous military training flights have been a source of consternation throughout Southern Colorado.
F-16 training flights by the Air National Guard prompted an unsuccessful lawsuit more than a decade ago that was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld the flights.
Bob Senderhauf, a Custer County Realtor who was one of the 19 parties in the suit, said he was unaware of the current proposal.
Senderhauf said that while the Air National Guard flights have not caused big problems over the past decade, an increase in the number of flights over the past six to eight months has led to complaints from residents in Huerfano County and southern Custer County.
Saguache County also was a party to that lawsuit and County Commissioner Sam Pace recalled previous training flights that buzzed Moffat School and the town of Crestone.
"It would be so loud and sudden, you'd fall over," Pace said.
He said the commissioners had yet to see the proposal but likely would consider commenting on it.
The first of two comment periods is open until Oct. 4.
The proposal from the Air Force must undergo review under the National Environmental Policy Act.
C-130 aircraft in the proposal are the primary planes the Air Force uses to transport cargo and air drop troops into hostile territory, according to the Air Force's website.
The planes have a wingspan of 132 feet and can range in length from 97 feet to 112 feet, depending on the model.
The Air Force CV-22 Osprey craft, which can land and take off like a helicopter, is a tiltrotor aircraft used to conduct long range and resupply missions for special operations forces.
The plane is 57 feet in length with a wingspan of 84 feet.
To view information on the proposal to establish a Low Altitude Tactical Navigation area, visit http://www.cannon.af.mil/index.asp