Michigan Air National Guard makes further alterations to airspace expansion proposal

110th Wing
Story by 1st Lt. Andrew Layton
Date: 07.22.2019

ALPENA, Mich. – The Michigan Air National Guard is making more alterations to its proposed action to modify and create new Military Operations Areas (MOA) at low and medium altitudes over parts of Alpena, Crawford, Huron, Montmorency, Otsego, Presque Isle, Tuscola, and Sanilac Counties.

An A-10 Thunderbolt II from the 127th Wing, Michigan Air National Guard, participates in operations at Grayling Air Gunnery Range during Northern Strike 16. Northern Strike 16 is a National Guard Bureau-sponsored exercise uniting approximately 5,000 Army, Air Force, Marine, and Special service members from 20 states and three coalition countries during the first three weeks of August 2016 at the Camp Grayling Joint Maneuver Training Center and the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, both located in northern Michigan. The exercise strives to provide accessible, readiness-building opportunities for military units from all service branches to achieve and sustain proficiency in conducting mission command, air, sea, and ground maneuver integration, and the synchronization of fires in a joint, multinational, decisive action environment. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Second Lieutenant Andrew Layton/released)

The changes come after Michigan ANG leaders solicited feedback from community leaders within the affected areas, including Huron and Otsego counties. The airspace proposal was initially announced in January.

“We are working with the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] to modify the activation and notification process for all existing and proposed MOAs,” said Mr. Matthew Trumble, director of exercises, Michigan Air National Guard. “With this change, all users of the airspace will be able to better predict when the MOAs are in operation.”

The Michigan ANG has three existing MOAs in the vicinity of Grayling Aerial Gunnery Range. Currently, these airspaces are charted with the FAA for use five to six days a week, generally 7 a.m.- 4 p.m.

“The military is interested in modifying the airspace to accommodate better training for modern fighter aircraft,” said Trumble. “The airspace was created during the Korean War and Vietnam War eras – around Grayling Range, the airspace is simply too small for twenty-first century tactics.”

Modifying the notification process for the existing and proposed MOAs means their new charting will be listed as, “Intermittent by NOTAM [Notice to Airmen], normally 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m, Monday to Friday.” This will cause a NOTAM to be published every time the MOA is activated. Previously, only activations outside charted times required a published NOTAM.

“This will make ANG usage of the MOAs more transparent to the public,” said Trumble.

Additionally, portions of the airspace known as “Grayling East” have been raised from minimum altitudes of 6,000 feet to 10,000 feet. The northern border of the “Grayling West” airspace has also been altered to delete some points of concern from the proposal.

These changes follow the announcement in April that two sections of the proposed airspace expansion over Northern Michigan (“Grayling East Low MOA” and “Pike Low MOA”) would be deleted from the Michigan ANG’s plan due to Federal Aviation Administration concerns with concurrent use, safety of flight, and airspace de-confliction issues.

“The military is receptive to public input on both the design and operation of this airspace proposal to avoid negative impacts,” said Col. John Miner, Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center Commander. “The Air National Guard and FAA are constantly working with the public to ensure continued public and commercial access to air routes and airports near these training areas.”

An upcoming environmental assessment will addresses potential impacts and after the initial assessment is drafted, there will be a 45-day public comment period when all affected stakeholders are encouraged to review and comment on the proposal. The public comment period is expected to open in late 2019. While public hearings will not be held, residents of affected areas will be encouraged to provide input from any location online.

Community leaders seeking to arrange a meeting with Michigan Air National Guard leaders regarding the airspace expansion proposal should contact the Michigan National Guard Public Affairs office at 517-481-7734/7731/7735/7733. Additional information regarding the proposal is available at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center website: https://www.alpenacrtc.ang.af.mil/Resources/Airspace/.

https://www.dvidshub.net/news/332520/michigan-air-national-guard-makes-further-alterations-airspace-expansion-proposal

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