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Air Force Low Altitude Training Area (LATA) Proposal
The US Airforce proposes to fly the CV-22 Osprey and the C-130 airplanes at altitudes of 300 feet above ground level.
They will fly at night and at speeds up to 350 MPH. These maneuvers include in-flight refueling. There will be three flights per night over the mountains and valleys of a 60,700 square mile area of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado. In addition, the area will be used for the training of pilots controlling attack and surveillance drones (UAVs)
THE LOW ANGLE TRAINING AREA PROPOSAL
Daily night-time year round training of CV22 Osprey and C130 tanker aircraft out of Cannon AFB, NM, at altitudes as low as 300 feet over an area that includes Grand Junction, Aspen, Crested Butte, Gunnison, Durango, and Pagosa Springs in Colorado, and Farmington, Aztec, Raton, Las Vegas, and Santa Rosa in New Mexico. Expensive, noisy, polluting, and dangerous – LATA was initiatied to give Cannon Air Force Base, Clovis, NM – slated for closure – a “mission” to justify its continued existence. Imagine if the many millions these flights would consume were spent instead on jobs, health care, education and other crying human needs.(It cost $11,000 per hour to fly an Osprey)
Here are selected excerpts from the Draft Environmental Assessment that was withdrawn.
- 3 missions per flying day(688 missions per year). Each lasting 5 hours, traversing 863 miles at 253 mph.
- Any given location would be overflown within 1,000 ft, on average, approx. 3 times per month.
- Aircrews would simulate dropping and retrieving personnel or supplies and participate in low altitude refueling.
- If an emergency requiring a fuel dump were to occur, the aircraft would climb to greater than 2,000 ft.
- The following activities would be avoided when the AF is notified:
- Native American cultural and ceremonial sites.
- Ranching operations such as calving, weaning, and branding.
- Mining operations.
The No Action Alternative
The AF would have to coordinate to use other available airspace. Routes would have to be mapped in advance. The AF sees this as bad.