Saturday, January 16, 2010

Bingaman, Raptors & Wilderness

Oops. We should have told you. That was the admission Friday of Holloman Air Force Base officials following Thursday's night window-rattling, wall-shaking sonic booms in the Las Cruces area. The aerial exercise involved "a number of" F-22 Raptors, according to Holloman officials. "We had hoped to provide everyone with as much advanced notice as possible," Holloman spokesman Arlen Ponder said. "However, we realize our information didn't make it as far as we had hoped." In the future "... as much advanced notice as possible" will be given. That would be a good idea, Las Cruces police said. "Central Dispatch said they easily received more than 200 calls," Thursday night, police spokesman Dan Trujillo said...According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a sonic boom "is a sound resembling an explosion produced when a shock wave formed at the nose of an aircraft traveling at supersonic speed reaches the ground -- called also sonic bang." Bang, indeed. "I almost jumped out of my chair when I heard the first one," said Julie Delgado, a Las Cruces homemaker. "I didn't know what it was, and it sounded so close. I went outside to see if I could find out what was happening and all of my neighbors were out there, too, asking the same thing. It scared us pretty good." Trujillo said reports of as many as three sonic booms came from all areas of the city and as far away as Radium Springs, about 20 miles north of Las Cruces...The aircraft will conduct air-to-air and air-to-ground training in airspace designated by the more

So now you know why Jeff Bingaman has the following language in his wilderness bill:

(e) Military Overflights- Nothing in this section restricts or precludes--
(1) low-level overflights of military aircraft over the wilderness areas designated by subsection (a), including military overflights that can be seen or heard within the wilderness areas;
(2) flight testing and evaluation; or
(3) the designation or creation of new units of special use airspace, or the establishment of military flight training routes, over the wilderness areas.

In other words, according to Senator Bingaman, it's ok to have low-flying military aircraft and sonic booms in wilderness areas that cause people to "jump out of their chair" and results in "more than 200 calls" to the police.

But campers, don't you dare drive your vehicle or camper into the wilderness. And hunters, don't you dare drive your vehicle in to scout for or remove game. Border patrol, forget about using vehicles or mechanical equipment to track or intercept illegal immigrants or drug traffickers. After all, those things would ruin someone's wilderness experience.

Low-flying military aircraft and "sound resembling an explosion" are ok, everyone else either walk in or stay out.

That's a Bingaman wilderness area.

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