Eielson Pilots To Prepare Other Airmen For Combat
The Alaskan Interior will be the site of some major aerial
training sessions by the Air Force in 2008... and that concerns the
general aviation community in Alaska.
The Air Force will conduct Red Flag training in which Eielson
Air Force Base pilots will prepare squadrons from bases all over
the nation for combat, according to Brig. Gen. Mark W. Graper,
commander of the 354th Fighter Wing at Eielson.
The exercise uses the Delta Temporary Military Operations Area,
that is also a corridor used by general aviation aircraft offering
the only IFR route, Victor 444, to and from Alaska and Canada.
The Alaska Airmen's Association and the AOPA, as well as the Air
Force, have asked pilots to comment on a proposal to make this a
temporary Military Operations Area (TMOA) four-times a year, for
fighter, bomber, and cargo aircraft operations affecting transit
along this flight path.
Officials at the Alaska Airmen’s Association say, "While
this is still a TMOA, the Airmen and others on the statewide
aviation council believe that alternatives need to be discussed in
order to keep access for IFR general aviation along this
The training will be conducted as Red Flag-Alaska and Northern
Edge training exercises to be held next year, Graper explained to
the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce on December 11, according
to the Associated Press.
"It doesn’t have a catchy slogan like ‘deploy
overseas and kill bad guys,’ but it’s still important,"
Graper said. The "Red Flag" aerial training will be held in April,
May and October, and the Northern Edge training will be held in
The training events will involve over a thousand Eielson
personnel and 600 to 1,100 temporary duty personnel and will use
the Pacific Alaska Range Complex, which according to Graper is the
largest air-to-ground military training area in the US.
Most pilots get shot down within the first 10 "missions," Graper
added. As part of those missions Eielson airmen play the "enemy bad
guys," simulating enemy fighters with specially painted F-16s.
A comment deadline of December 31, 2007 has been set by the
Federal Aviation Administration about pilot usage of Victor 444.
They are asking that comments be sent to:Alaska Flight Service
Information Area Group, AAL-530, 222 West 7th Avenue, Anchorage,