AOPA Opposes Outer Banks MOAs

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The U.S. Marine Corps has filed paperwork for two proposed military operations areas (MOAs) that would force GA pilots flying near North Carolina's Outer Banks into an area that the military considers unsafe for its own pilots, AOPA said on Monday. "If the FAA permits these two MOAs, they will have an unavoidable adverse effect on civil aviation in the Outer Banks area," said Heidi Williams, AOPA's manager of air traffic. "Besides some obvious safety issues, MOAs that are in constant use, as the Marines envision these, become de facto airspace restrictions for many GA pilots."

The Marine Corps' own environmental assessment, according to AOPA, notes that bird strikes are most likely to occur below 3,000 feet -- precisely the area GA will be forced to fly in if the MOAs are established as proposed. The proposed Mattamuskeet MOA overlies several national wildlife areas, leaving just 1,000 feet between the floor of the MOA and the top of the 2,000-foot courtesy no-fly-zone above the refuges. AOPA strongly opposes establishment of the MOAs.