Airspace Use:

Status of Proposals To Expand Special Use Airspace in North Carolina

RCED-88-133FS: Published: Apr 29, 1988. Publicly Released: May 9, 1988.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO evaluated the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) management of airspace set aside for military training, focusing on the proposed additional use of airspace in North Carolina.

GAO found that: (1) the Navy proposed using the additional airspace to ensure proper training and flight safety when using its new missile system; (2) the Marine Corps required the additional space to train pilots for low-level, high-speed, overland tactical maneuvers because its existing special-use airspace was too small to allow such training; (3) the Air Force proposed using the airspace for low-level training; and (4) although FAA had not approved any of the proposals, it was evaluating the Navy's proposal. GAO also found that: (1) the aviation community, tourist industry, environmentalists, and state and local governments opposed the proposal for additional military airspace; (2) groups had concerns about the adequacy of the military's environmental assessments and impact statements dealing with safety, economic, and legal issues; and (3) FAA did not evaluate any of the environmental studies relating to the proposals because it believed it had no legal responsibility to do so, and its role was limited to aeronautical concerns.

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