Heads up – Need Sky Watchers Dec 2 – 3, 2015 SW North Dakota Military Training
Documentation – video and pictures of contrails at 12,ooo ft to 26,000 ft, yeah right.
BOWMAN, N.D. — For the first time, air space above southwestern North Dakota will be used for a large force military training exercise.
If it weren’t so high up starting at 12,000 feet and going to 26,000 feet, the bombers, refueling tankers and fighter jets zipping around up there might be quite a spectacle for folks living from Bowman to Amidon to Marmarth. As it is, the best clue in the sky will be the jet contrails.
“If they’re straight, those are from commercial jets. If it’s us, the contrails will be orbital,” said Ellsworth spokesman Master Sgt. John Barton.
The space will be used from 10 a.m. to noon Wednesday and Thursday, when Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota and Minot Air Force Base practice evasive maneuvers in the newly expanded Powder River Training Complex — essentially the airspace above the four-corners region of the Dakotas, Montana and Wyoming.
After a four-year environmental study, the FAA agreed to the expansion in September. It quadrupled the military’s available air space, spreading it for the first time into North Dakota from Montana to past Carson on the east. However, Bowman County is the furthest reach of the upcoming exercise.
Contact DAHBOO77 with video, pix and post in comments – Thank You!
Barton said the exercise will not involve supersonic speeds, so there’ll be much less volume than if it did. He also said it hasn’t been determined whether the crafts will deploy any flares or
chaff during the exercise. The fluttering chaff is used to foil radar interference. Ranchers used to complain about it because it littered grazing pastures, but Barton said the product used now disintegrates in the air.
The exercise will involve F-16 fighter jets, E3 AWACS surveillance and command jets, KC-135 refueling tankers, RC-135 intelligence-gathering craft, and B-1 and B-52 bombers.
Barton said the military doesn’t reveal how many craft will be involved in the exercise and is limited to using the space 10 times annually.
Regional airports have been alerted that the military will take control of the air space during those hours, but it may not affect local air traffic because of the short time span and the altitude of the exercise, Barton said.
Powder River Training Complex Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota Environmental Impact Statement
Page 4-78 – CHAFF AND FLARE RESIDUAL MATERIALS Pieces of plastic, Mylar, and/or paper fall to the earth with each bundle of chaff or flare deployed. The average deposition of chaff and flare residual materials would be approximately one piece per 149 acres annually. Residual materials are inert and are not likely to be seen by species as food. Some species of bird and rodents (e.g., pack rats) often select shiny material for their nests. Studies conducted at Nellis AFB in 1997 reported finding no difference in animal abundance and nesting activity in areas where chaff and flare residual materials were present. Flare residual materials were not found in rodent burrows, pack rat nests, or in nesting material of bird nests (Air Force 1997a). Behavioral responses from wildlife as a result of the presence of chaff and flares are also not expected to be significant. Flares would not be released below 2,000 feet AGL and would likely not be a visible intrusion, even at night, to nocturnal wildlife on the ground. While defensive flares released at night can be bright, the light usually lasts approximately 5 seconds.
Page 4-98 – NATIVE AMERICAN CONCERNS AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONSEQUENCES Portions of the Crow, Cheyenne River, and Standing Rock Reservations are under the Modified Alternative A airspace and the Northern Cheyenne Reservation is entirely under the proposed MOA airspace for Modified Alternative A. The potential for a change in setting created by increased noise due to low-altitude overflights was identified during Government-to-Government consultations as having a potentially significant impact to Native American Reservations. The Northern Cheyenne, Standing Rock, and Cheyenne River Reservations expressed concern over noise and startle effects to domestic stock animals during calving season. Potential financial loss is a concern to all the tribes. The Northern Cheyenne also expressed concern over the economic welfare of the tribe, which it said could be adversely impacted by increased noise. Through the consultation process, several tribes requested periods of avoidance for calving season as well as for tribal and individual ceremonies. Part of the consultation process included the 28 BW working with the tribes to identify periods and locations of avoidance to reduce noise and visual impacts on religious ceremonies for all tribes potentially affected by overflight of training aircraft. In addition to traditional cultural properties, cultural landscapes, archaeological sites, and natural sites (such as rivers) are all locations where religious ceremonies are held.
Page 4-113 – CHAFF, FLARES, AND LAND USE The proposed use of chaff and flares in PRTC represents a new activity. Modern chaff is comprised of silica and aluminum, the two most common elements in soil. Chaff is not toxic in the environment and would not harm crops or rangeland (Air Force 1997a). The effects of chaff on cattle and domestic livestock are addressed in Section 4.6. Domestic animals avoid ingesting chaff or clumps of chaff fibers (Air Force 1997a). Chaff fibers are very small, disperse and break down quickly, and do not affect ground activities or land uses. Chaff would not be deployed within 60 miles of ATC radars to reduce any possibility of chaff affecting ATC.
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