D-M makes second series of flight operation changes
By 2nd Lt. Mary J. Pekas, 355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 26, 2007
Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. --
The 355th Fighter Wing is making a second series of flight operation adjustments over Tucson this month as part of a major effort to reduce aircraft noise over the city.
The Military-Community Compatibility Committee released its report in September 2006, making several recommendations to the Tucson community and D-M to reduce aircraft noise, improve communications, and assist with land use. To date, D-M has implemented nine of the thirteen Military-Community Compatibility Committee recommendations under the base's purview. In March, the base raised the altitude of fixed-wing aircraft over parts of the city. Also in March D-M raised the altitude for eastbound helicopters and altered the flight path for westbound helicopters.
"We had real success in our previous series of actions to reduce noise over Tucson," said Col. Kent Laughbaum, 355th Fighter Wing commander. "The additional measures we are taking now build upon that success in a significant way."
The typical pattern altitude for Air Force fixed-wing aircraft is 1,500 feet above the ground. Davis-Monthan has now raised portions of the fixed-wing aircraft pattern altitude over Speedway to 2,800 feet above the ground. As aircraft in the pattern begin their turn toward Davis-Monthan, they will commence a "stair step" descent to arrive over the airfield at 1,500 feet above the ground. This new procedure represents an 86% increase in altitude from the original 1,500-foot pattern.
In addition, aircraft flying southeast of the base, near the neighborhood of Rita Ranch, will maintain an altitude of 2,300 feet above the ground until within three miles of the D-M runway, where they will descend to 1,500 feet above the ground.
"My priorities for flying operations at D-M are to ensure that America's Airmen are prepared to conduct our mission to defend the country while maintaining a safe flying environment. Although we have taken aggressive action on the MC3 recommendations for noise reduction and better communications, we have absolutely protected my priorities of mission and safety," said Col. Laughbaum.