Proposed Action & Alternatives

The U.S. Air Force would like to optimize the special use airspace (SUA) available for current and predicted future pilot training at Holloman AFB. The U.S. Air Force needs properly sized and configured airspace for the base’s pilot training program. It seeks to reconfigure and expand existing airspace or establish new airspace to do so.

To ensure the SUA meets training requirements, the U.S. Air Force identified a set of needs to use as standards in screening options and selecting reasonable alternatives from the possible options. These included:

  • Need 1: Use U.S. Air Force Scheduled Airspace
  • Need 2: Maximize Training Time, Minimize Transit Time
  • Need 3: Support Required Airspace Size and Configuration
  • Need 4: Limit Impacts to Civil Aviation

The U.S. Air Force considered six existing Military Operations Areas (MOAs) for optimization of pilot training. It eliminated four because they did not meet all of the needs. Descriptions of the eliminated MOAs and the results of the screening analysis will be provided in the EIS. The MOAs that meet the needs as reasonable alternatives are described below and will be analyzed in the EIS.

Alternative 1: Reshape and Expand Talon MOA – The U.S. Air Force would reshape and expand the Talon MOA to the south and east (see figure to the right). The floor of the expanded MOA would be 500 feet above ground level (AGL) (The existing floor of the Talon MOA is 300 feet AGL). The ceiling of the expanded MOA would continue to be 18,000 feet mean sea level (MSL). The adjusted airspace would provide the needed training space to support up to 10,000 sorties annually (a sortie represents a single aircraft operation from takeoff to landing for one aircraft).

Alternative 2: Reshape and Expand Cato/Smitty MOA and Create a New MOA – The U.S. Air Force would reshape and expand the Cato/Smitty MOA to the southeast (see figure below). Also, a new MOA (Lobos MOA) would be made to the southeast adjacent to existing Reserve and Morenci MOAs. The exact boundaries of the epanded Cato/Smitty MOA and the new Lobos MOA have not been determined yet. The limits of these expansions will be developed during the scoping process in coordination with internal and external stakeholders. The floor of these MOAs would be 500 feet AGL, and the ceiling would be 18,000 feet MSL. These actions would give the modified airspace sufficient size and shape to support up to 10,000 sorties annually.

Alternative 2
Alternative 1

No-Action Alternative – The U.S. Air Force would not make changes to training airspace in the vicinity of Holloman AFB. Aircrews would keep using existing training airspace as much as possible. This alternative does not meet the purpose and need for the proposed action but is carried forward in accordance with NEPA regulation.

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