2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 10 Apr 2003 15:30:59 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] LV growth pinches Nellis
LV growth pinches Nellis
April 09, 2003

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Las Vegas growth boom has forced the military to
curb training at Nellis Air Force Base as commanders have rerouted
flights and canceled missions to avoid nearby neighborhoods, fed-eral
investigators said in a report last week.

Once safely isolated on the outskirts of the city, Nellis is
increasingly being encroached upon by homes and businesses sprouting
near base boundaries, the General Accounting Office concluded after a
site visit.

The Air Force told GAO investigators that safety concerns related to
urban growth have "restricted flight patterns of armed aircraft, causing
mission delays and cancellations" at Nellis, a premier training base for
combat pilots.

Nellis spokesman Michael Estrada said the Air Force since the mid-1980s
has increasingly rerouted planes carrying live weaponry to the north to
avoid flying over homes south of the base.

The shift has forced pilots on training missions to abandon the base's
preferred runway in favor of a northern route that is more prone to high
winds, Estrada said.

The base also has spent $30 million to purchase private land to the
north to maintain buffers for flight paths.

Nellis officials could not say how many missions have been canceled or
altered because of encroachment, or how it has affected quality of

At a Senate hearing, GAO officials said their report criticizes the
Pentagon for not being able to measure the impact of urban encroachment.

Besides Nellis, the GAO said encroachment is a problem at the Barry
Goldwater Range in Arizona, Fort Benning in Georgia, Fort Lewis in
Washington and Elgin Air Force Base in Florida.

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