Area residents are being asked to weigh in on a plan to allow fighters out of Massachusetts to train over the area permanently.
Local residents have become accustomed to seeing the military aircraft at times during the year and fighters have been using the airspace, known as the Chugs Temporary Military Operations Area since 2016. Now, the U.S. Air Force has requested it be made permanent.
A temporary MOA has been created every year since to support the Air National Guard’s Eagle Claw exercises. The permanent MOA would continue to be used for Eagle Claw flights.
The Federal Aviation Administration is considering the request from the Air Force and is providing the public the chance to comment on the plan.
The MOA is approximately centered on the South Londonderry area.
The MOA is an area approximately 20 nautical miles wide from approximately Manchester to Graften, by 30 nautical miles tall, from around Wallingford down to between Arlington and Bennington at the southern end.
The requested permanent MOA has been shifted by about 5 nautical miles to the northwest of the temporary location that has been used to accommodate a request of air traffic control.
The Chugs MOA is used by the 104th Fighter Wing at Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield, Massachusetts.
The 104th is an operational flying unit assigned to the Air Combat Command. The base is home to combat-ready F-15C Eagle fighters and support elements.
The Chugs MOA is a 50 miles flight from the base. The next nearest MOA to Barns is the Yankee 1 MOA, which is about 100 nautical miles northeast of Barnes.
The Air Force said the near proximity of the Chugs MOA would save significant time in transit and maximize aircrew training time.
Also, establishing a permanent MOA allows the airspace to be charted, providing greater awareness of the space for general aviation pilots who fly through the area.
The proposed permanent MOA would accommodate approximately 340 sorties per year with the Air Traffic Control Assigned Airspace will be used 8 to 12 times per month for 30 minutes each during daylight hours.
When not activated, the airspace will be available.
Training flights will be conducted at elevations of 9,000 feet up to about 18,000 feet elevation. The airspace above 18,000 feet, up to 22,000 feet will be available for Air Traffic Control Assigned Airspace.
Comments or recommendations on the proposal must be received no later than Jan. 10 to be considered before the final action is taken.
Submit a comment to: FAA Eastern Service Center, Operations Support Group (AJV-E23), Military Liaison Officer, 1701 Columbia Avenue, College Park, GA, 30337.