At the RLUAC quarterly meeting conducted on August 21st Mr. David Yow, Fort Bragg’s DPTMS Air Operations and Plans Officer, explained that the purpose of his presentation was to provide an overview of the National Airspace System to better equip the local decision makers regarding the impacts of their decisions on aviation in central North Carolina. Airfields are the portals to the nation’s airspace. The FAA is responsible for all the airspace in the US to improve the safety of flight, the users and the public in the air and on the ground. Basically, there are two types of airspace -- Controlled and Uncontrolled. These designations are further organized into classes:
- Class A – This designation applies to all airspace in CONUS from 18,000 feet t 60,000 feet. Instrument flight rules only (jet aircraft live here).
- Class B – This designation is the airspace around the nineteen busiest airports in the country (ie,. Los Angeles, New York, Charlotte, Atlanta).
- Class C – This designation applies to the airspace around congested air traffic airports. It requires radar control. It is limited to non-participating aircraft (ie, Raleigh/Durham, Pope AAF, Fayetteville, Greensboro).
- Class D – This designation applies to airspace within five statute miles around an airport with an operating control tower. Air traffic control provides visual separation of traffic (ie, Simmons AAF, Mackall AAF, New Bern).
- Class E – This designation includes controlled airspace where some type of protection is needed (Instrument approaches, airways, extension of surface areas).
- Class G – This designation applies to all uncontrolled airspace (meaning that it is not one of the above classifications).
Yow went on to explain that the FAA has also designated Special Use Airspace which is as follows:
- Prohibited Area – This designation involves “no-fly” airspace that is established for security
- reasons or national welfare (ie., Camp David, Mt.. Vernon, the Washington DC Mall area.
- Restricted Area – This is airspace where dangerous activities occur and where unauthorized aircraft may not enter (Fort Bragg Range area)
- Alert Area – This is airspace where unusual aircraft operations or dense pilot training occurs on a regular basis (Uwharrie Forest)
- Military Operation Area (MOA) – These identified areas of airspace serve to separate military aircraft operations from commercial aviation. These are cautionary areas – not prohibitive.
- Warning Area – This is airspace over international waters that FAA has no control over, but alerts pilots to the potential for hazardous activity. Examples of this type of airspace includes Naval gunfire, missile and rocket launch areas.
- Military Training Routs – These are one-way high speed routes for military traffic flights below 10,000 feet. They involve visual instrument control. In built up (urban areas) aircraft cannot fly at less than 1,000 feet. In rural areas aircraft can fly at 500 feet.
In conclusion Yow said that there are some restrictions as to how tall structures can be built near the Fort Bragg boundaries -- so that the structures do not interfere with air traffic involved in training on the post. For the integrity of the fort as a viable training facility, local governments (with jurisdiction surrounding the military complex) need to work with the military airspace managers to minimize potential future conflicts.