FAA withdraws proposed rule on airspace restriction over AAFB
The Federal Aviation Administration has withdrawn its earlier proposal for the creation of a restricted airspace over the future site of live-fire training complex in northern part of Guam.
“The FAA does not issue restricted areas for small arms gun ranges within the United States,” FAA said in withdrawing its proposed rule requested by the Department of Defense and published in the Federal Register in March.
“Issuing a restricted area for small arm gun ranges in Guam would set a precedent nationwide at military and countless civilian gun clubs.”
The proposed R-7202, with an altitude of 4,900 feet from the surface, was to be established on the northwest of Anderson Air Force Base, the site of the U.S. Marines’ live-fire training range complex.
In its March notice, FAA earlier said, creating a restricted area would provide the protection required to contain these hazardous activities and the weapons safety footprints for the ordnance to be used within the proposed airspace.
However, in withdrawing its earlier proposal, FAA said the proliferation of restricted areas would result in inefficient management of the National Airspace System.
“The USMC purpose and need for the airspace is to provide a safe and effective area for live-fire training. The FAA allows for live-fire training at small arm gun ranges in within the United Sates without a restricted area,” FAA said. “The USMC has numerous live fire ranges without the segregation that a restricted area provides and can complete their mission safely and effectively in Guam without one.”
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Sen. Clynt Ridgell responded to FAA’s notice of proposed rulemaking published on March 5.
The senator’s chief concern was the necessity to restrict airspace at 4,900 feet mean sea level (MSL) for live-fire from small arms weapons training activities proposed within the established R-7202, located at the northern portion of Guam as part of the USMC’s Live Fire Training Range Complex.
“I didn’t understand the need to restrict this much airspace over a small-arms firing range and, in fact, it turns out that this airspace restriction is completely unnecessary,” Ridgell said.
Ridgell said, “This, to me, is an example of how the Department of Defense asks to restrict more space than it needs. In fact, the FAA notes that the USMC has numerous firing ranges that it currently uses without this type of restricted air space. Why, then, are they asking for this type of restriction on Guam? Why is Guam different? This is a prime example of why we all must remain vigilant and keep a watchful eye over DOD and its plans for the military buildup. Who knows what other spaces they will unnecessarily restrict if left unchecked?”