Most opponents of the proposed changes to flights over Western Maine ignore the effects of the changes. These changes will raise the minimum altitude of military flights, and reduce the frequency of military flights.

Why? There are two low-level military training routes in this area, which are one-way corridors where pilots must stay within five miles of the center; some aircraft are permitted to fly as low as 200 feet above ground level along these routes. The proposed change would eliminate these two low-level routes, because certain aircraft are being transferred elsewhere under the Base Re-alignment and Closure Commission (BRAC).

This will leave two military fighter units, in Cape Cod and Vermont, within range of Maine, resulting in about 300 single flights per year. Since fighters fly in groups, the number of missions will be about 50 per year – less than one per week.

Because the training area is near the maximum unrefueled range of aircraft expected to use it, training will last about about 15 to 20 minutes before having to head home.

Recreational flyers can rest assured military pilots are concerned about mid-air collisions. They will avoid you if they know you are there.

It is unlikely any one spot on the ground will be disturbed by low altitude aircraft for more than a few seconds, every several weeks. We can sacrifice that much of our “solitude” in the interest of national security.

Richard Grover, Mason Township

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