Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Proposed LATN update: New maps to come out of proposed flyovers

Here are the links:

Sept 7 2011 press release  

LATN web page with most documents released by Air Force:

report (large file) released 9/8/11:



New maps to come out of proposed flyovers

Southwest Colo. to see Air Force traffic

By Matthew Beaudin
Editor, Telluride Daily Planet (
September 5, 2011 6:11 AM CDT
The U.S. Air Force has agreed to leave the Eastern Plains of Colorado off its proposed low-altitude training flights, but plans to use the airspace over southwestern Colorado are still intact.

Congressman Scott Tipton said the Air Force has redrawn its maps for proposed low-altitude training flights over Colorado and that those new routes will be published sometime this week.

Tipton said the maps confirm what the military told him earlier this summer — that the flights would occur over western Colorado, not the Eastern Plains, where ranchers had voiced concerns over the Army’s proposed expansion of its Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site in southeastern Colorado.

The Air Force has proposed low-flying training flights from Grand Junction and Aspen in western Colorado to Albuquerque. It says the terrain is similar to what pilots encounter in Afghanistan. The concern, though, has come from far — Washington — and near, in Telluride.
Tipton’s office did not return a call for comment late last week. The flights have spawned concerns across the region, with opponents claiming the flights would be upsetting to the natural environment. In one case, the Town of Telluride sent a letter that said the operations “in our mountain setting may be potentially unsettling to our visitors and residents who come here to enjoy our tranquil mountain environment.”

Former Colorado Congressman John Salazar and others sent letters to the USAF asking for more meetings.

The idea is that the Low Altitude Tactical Navigation training could better prepare Air Force pilots for combat. It isn’t clear how close the planes would fly to Telluride, though the plan was enough to draw the concern of environmental groups in the Southwest, notably Sheep Mountain Alliance and Durango’s San Juan Citizen Alliance.

The Air Force has said the terrain was selected due to the varied topography and weather, proximity to Cannon [Air Force Base] and lack of large civilian populations.”

The planes the Air Force would fly in the area are large aircraft. The CV-22 Osprey (a vertical takeoff plane designed for exfiltration and special-forces supply) and the C-130 Hercules (an enormous aircraft used to air-drop troops and equipment into hostile areas) were named in the press release from the Air Force as those the service would fly.

FAA and Air Force regulations require aircraft utilizing the LATN area to avoid airfields, towns, noise-sensitive areas and wilderness areas by prescribed vertical and/or horizontal distances.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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