LA-Area Military Exercises

July 27, 2017

Operators that frequent Southern California airspace, particularly east of Los Angeles, are being asked to carefully review NOTAMs from Aug. 7-26 to ensure they are aware of temporary Special Use Airspace (SUA) and related restrictions that the FAA has established to support a U.S. Marine Corps training exercise.

The FAA granted the temporary SUA to support military exercises taking place at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC) in Twentynine Palms, CA. Activities will include live fire from weapons, as well as unmanned aircraft systems, fixed-wing and rotary-wing training activities.

The SUA consists of three temporary restricted areas, and six temporary Military Operations Areas. The restrictions will affect altitudes up to 40,000 feet at select times during the exercise.

“Coordination for the temporary SUA to support live fire and maneuver training…will occur daily between LA Center and MCAGCC,” according to a notice issued by the Marines. “Any changes to the planned temporary SUA would be published in an updated NOTAM.”

NBAA and other aviation stakeholders objected to the temporary SUA, citing challenges to conveying the information to pilots as one of several reasons that it should not be granted.

“One of the key challenges with the implementation of temporary SUAs is that SUA areas are not in cockpit databases and are not charted,” explained Heidi Williams, NBAA’s director of air traffic services and infrastructure. “All updates will be done via NOTAMs, so we urge our members to keep close tabs on the NOTAM system during the event’s published dates.”

Once these military exercises end, the temporary restrictions will be removed. The Marines are seeking a permanent SUA to support the annual large-scale exercises.

“Throughout the process, the Marine Corps will continue to manage established MCAGCC SUA, only activating the airspace when required for training and returning it to the NAS for joint use at all other times,” according to the Marine notice.