Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Ranchers voice concern over bombing range expansion

Ray Jilek said he worries his Spearfish business will be crippled if the Air Force goes ahead with plans to dramatically increase its training airspace across South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming and Montana. The chief pilot at Eagle Aviation joined about 100 other people Tuesday at the first of several listening sessions over the proposed expansion of the Powder River Training Complex, where B-1B Lancer and B-52 Stratofortress bomber pilots train. Jilek expressed concern over an Air Force plan that would at times redirect his flights to and from Billings, Mont. “This effectively will cripple aviation in our area,” Jilek said after the hearing at the Rushmore Plaza Holiday Inn. “I’m concerned that they haven’t even considered the business traveler who will wait an extra four hours.” Ranchers said the area will be ruined by the noise of the bombers flying at only 500 feet and upward of 500 mph. “We treasure our peace and quiet,” said rancher Marvin Kammerer, who ranches near Ellsworth Air Force Base. “If it’s so safe, then why don’t they just fly over Rapid City at midnight and let them hear the sound of freedom?”...more

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