GOVERNMENT & LEGISLATIVE REPORT
1. Airport Facilities Closures: The Military made a decision to close down their facilities at Barter Island and Galena. Consequently, the NBD and runway lights at Barter Island will go out of operation. The FAA is declining to take over the responsibility for their operations so Barter Island will become VFR only. This at an airport where the majority of operations is IFR, due to weather conditions, will mean cutting off the village of Kaktovik. We feel the FAA needs to reconsider its support for this village in Alaska. The ILS and weather reporting at Galena are similarly in jeopardy. The Air Force is working with the FAA concerning Galena and an announcement should be forthcoming within the next week. Again we encourage the FAA to support the Alaskan communities in the Galena area.
2. ACMAC: The ACMAC meeting was held on Tuesday, 27 March 2007, and video-conferenced between Eielson and Elmendorf. There was an u0pdate on the arrival of the Raptors, F.22As. The first two, mainly for maintenance training will arrive in April and the full squadron will be here by August next year. The C-17s will be arriving soon and the full squadron will be here by the end of the year. The C-17 low level routes will be similar to the C-130 routes flown in the past. In general there will be a maximum of two aircraft in formation with an occasional 4 ship, to the drop zone at Malamute DZ on Fort Richardson. The route from Willow to the north shore line will be flown at 1,500 ft and over the water between 600 and 2,000 ft from the IP to the DZ.
We asked for a more accurate designation of wake turbulence as the C-17 will have a greater wake than the C-130. This information is being sought from Boeing. NOTAMS will be issued when the routes are being flown.
3. Delta Temporary MOA: Discussions continue on the temporary MOA and its exclusion of IFR traffic between Northway and Fairbanks. In 2007, the proposal is for use during the last three of the four Red Flag exercises and for specific times on five or six days only. With the addition of two radars and better communications in the Delta Area, it should not interfere greatly with IFR traffic. VFR traffic will have a corridor 3,500 and below through the area. In order for the Air Force to get maximum realistic training, they need the airspace to finish the simulated attacks. The problems that have occurred over the past thirty years are due to the position of the Range. As the Air Force has transitioned to different aircraft, modifications were required to the airspace around Delta and Fairbanks. It has been modified so many times that perhaps it is time to take a fresh look at the source of the problems. We suggest a long term solution of seeking a better location for the Air Force Range. A sub-committee of the ACMAC should look at locations and funding possibilities. A better location could free all the airspace between Delta and Fairbanks.
See Airmen's position Letter on the DELTA TMOA.
4. There was a farewell for the venerable C-130 Squadron, the 517th formerly the 17th, last Thursday and Friday. Some 260 people attended the farewell. The Squadron families put on a great selection of food for the visitors. Many of the old Firebird member showed up, some from the 1960s and 1970s. Two C-130s took many on the final flights before they leave for Yakota and Dyess AFB. The Air Force C-130s have served in Alaska for 43 years and will be replaced by the C-17s. It was a sad day yet a good time was had by all.
5. Runway Incursions: The FAA Administrator, Marion Blakey, was quoted in last weeks paper as looking for the development of an electronic system to help with runway incursions. A demonstration of the Capstone capabilities was given to her in Bethel and in Juneau showing how Capstone would provide such a solution. The FAA needs to learn from the research and development that occurred under Capstone in Alaska so not to spend more money duplicating the successful research already accomplished in Alaska. The management of the new Capstone Office is under the FAA Headquarters Surveillance and Broadcast Services Office in the Air Traffic Organization, which is focused on ADS-B for surveillance and not what Capstone really provides as a system.
6. Capstone: The rumors of the demise of Capstone are greatly exaggerated. Though many think that Capstone was de-railed by the FAA, it is still very much alive. Your Association is seeing to that. The safety benefits, 49% in Bethel, are too great to be ignored. Recent interviews in Aviation Magazines by FAA officials refer to ADS-B and classify Capstone as a test in Alaska, when it actually was sanctioned as an operational system with Alaskan Pilots operating in IFR conditions. The Alaskan NAS is still below par with the lower 48, and it is a matter of justice and safety, that the system be upgraded. Capstone provides the quickest and most economical hope to give the Alaskan flying public equal rights with the rest of the country. Your Association has been working daily with the FAA and other federal agencies to implement Capstone statewide. Please get involved, look up our web page, give some input and help us bring this incredibly successful system to all of Alaska.
7. The Airmen are monitering the proposed Legislation that incures User Fee's. See attached letter addressed to our Congressional Delegation submitted on behalf of our members. User Fee Opposition Letter