Trona Gap Airspace Grab Proposed

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Victor Bravo

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That's just wrong ! That gap has been there a long time, and the AF/Navy has somehow managed to do all sorts of flight test around there for many years while peacefully co-existing with the GA traffic through the gap.

6,000 MSL is nowhere near sufficient of a ceiling for local GA. There's a 4,000 and 5,000 foot peak sandwiching the "exit path" from the Trona Gap, so low-altitude turbulence and potential terrain impact risk is high. There's also high mountains just to the north of there. Anybody going through there and trying to get to Furnace Creek (a popular fly-in restaurant destination in the Death Valley area) will have to gain several thousand feet in just a few miles to get over the Panamint Range, which has an 11,000 foot peak.

On a regular "mild" day between May and October, the thermal heating creates rising and sinking air that often exceeds the climb rate of half the GA fleet. Toobuilder's Rocket won't be hampered much, but the rest of us unwashed lepers who suffer from "normal" rates of climb would immediately be right through the top of the CHT and Oil Temp gauge to climb out of 6,000 to get over when it's warm.

In March and April when that nice gentle breeze starts peacefully wafting through the Sierra Nevada (50+ knots surface, more than that up in the air) the wave rotors and sink get to be fairly vicious. Even the Rocket can have it's rate of climb cancelled as quickly as a politically incorrect TV show.

Those of you not familiar with this area... have a look at the sectional chart, have a look at a few aerial photos and pictures taken from airplanes flying around those parts. Then imagine hot and cold winds blasting through there. Then imagine you are told you need to be down below 6,000 while doing it.

I have no idea (and no "need to know") about what they are testing out there and why they want that airspace. But the reason for that gap is still valid. Anything they are testing out there can pretty easily climb up to the Flight Levels and just go over everyone else. Anything out there that really needs to stay down low to the ground can either use the existing large blocks of R airspace, or fly over to the Nevada Test Range where they have even more R airspace.
 

Marc Zeitlin

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I have no idea (and no "need to know") about what they are testing out there and why they want that airspace.
If you read the link in the first post, you would know, because it's described there and has a link to the NPRM. The Navy wants the airspace because they occasionally perform live fire testing across the airspace, from one Restricted area to the other. Currently, if any civilian aircraft are in the airspace (or will be soon), they shut down the live fire until the aircraft are clear. Apparently, they have some new system they want to test that doesn't have the capability for immediate cessation of operation (and I'm pretty sure I DON'T want to know about any weapons system that can't be shut off by pushing a button - sounds like a really freaking bad idea to me, but what do I know) and because of that, they want to be able to schedule testing and ensure that no aircraft will be in the airspace during that time period.

The website's author's proposal is to use TFR's instead, as the times they want to own the airspace for live fire testing are few and far between.

But the reason for that gap is still valid. Anything they are testing out there can pretty easily climb up to the Flight Levels and just go over everyone else. Anything out there that really needs to stay down low to the ground can either use the existing large blocks of R airspace, or fly over to the Nevada Test Range where they have even more R airspace.
See, you're fighting a straw man here, because it's not airplanes that they want to test...
 
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