Air Force seeks input on training area

Jared Tucker

The Air Force is seeking input from Portales and other local communities about a proposed training area that will be used for low-altitude training flights.

Officials say communities shouldn’t be dramatically affected.

The training is vital for the Air Force, especially in mountainous terrain because it supports the development of special operations mobility skills, according to Cannon Air Force Base spokesman Capt. Larry Van der Oord.

The proposed training areas, which stretch from southern Colorado and cover most of New Mexico, were selected because of their close range to Cannon.

Low Altitude Tactical Navigation requires aircraft training in different mountainous terrain and desert-like environments, according to a press release from Cannon. Air Force regulations prevent the aircraft from flying over the same point more than once in a day.

Air Force officials say the areas are not heavily populated and offer a wide variety of weather conditions.

“The proposed (training) area is extensive, which allows us to spread flights out over a large geographic area, thus decreasing the impact on any particular region,” Van der Oord said.

“Realistic training in the LATN area is critical to the 27 Special Operations Wing’s ability to sustain combat-ready crews for worldwide deployment,” Van der Oord said, in an e-mail.

C-130 and CV-22 Osprey aircraft will be the aircraft used in the LATN training.

Van der Oord said populated areas will not be dramatically affected because the Federal Aviation Administration requires aircraft to avoid airfields, towns and sensitive areas by certain distances. He said the majority of the training flights will take place after dark, and on weekdays only.

For more information on the LATN proposal, to see the proposed training areas and to submit comments and concerns, contact Cannon AFB Public Affairs office at 575-784-4131 or e-mail 27SOWpublicaffairs@afsoc.af.mil.