Maine’s Governor sent a letter to the FAA strongly opposing Air National Guard plans to lower altitude limits from 7,000 feet to 500 feet over the Condor Military Operations Area. After reviewing the proposal, Gov. Paul LePage stated that expansion of the MOA “is a want, not a need.” Proposed as an alternative to expanding Adirondack MOA in New York, LePage argued that, unlike upstate New York, prolific air traffic in Western Maine means fighters maneuvering at low level would pose “a real threat to safety.” Six civil airports responsible for some 43,000 flights annually currently fall within the proposed airspace, reported Maine’s Sun Journal Aug. 22, as well as numerous private strips and lakes frequented by light aircraft. “Maine is the path of least-resistance compared to the Adirondack MOA,” asserted LePage in the letter dated Aug. 13. (Maine has been wrangling with the Air Guard over changes to training flights for several years; see our earlier The Condor Question.)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.