May 21, 2013 in Letters, Opinion

Encroachment matters


Unless the Bureau of Indian Affairs can alter the existing prevailing wind, the approach for the contemplated new heavy aircraft will take it directly over the proposed casino real estate. If the proposal to build succeeds, the U.S. Air Force can lose the new tankers and a better solution might be to relocate Fairchild AFB to Moses Lake or close it. Commercial heavies have trained there for years and the danger to the underlying population is lessened.

As a member of the investigating team from Naval Air Station North Island, I remember what happened to NAS Miramar. In 1970, a flameout on approach initiated a devastating uncontrolled landing accident. Although it only involved the air station, the impact on the locale and civilian population was significant, and Miramar is no more.

Airport designers try to take in as many of the variables as possible, but prevailing wind patterns usually win out. Keep on locating civilian populations under flight patterns, and the airport eventually is forced to dangerously alter approach and departure routes, or even close.

Keep your eye on Naval Air Station Oceana in Norfolk, Va. Another casino, or a candidate for closure? Your pick, Airway Heights.

Robert Costigan

Spirit Lake

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