Low-Altitude Political Turbulence

The Air Force’s proposed low-altitude tactical navigation range through mountainous parts of Colorado and northern New Mexico came under fire in the Colorado State House. State Rep. Wes McKinley (D-Dist. 64) and Rep. Edward Vigil (D-Dist. 62) introduced a bill, HB 11-1066, seeking to define airspace below 500 feet above-ground-level as private property. The draft bill, initiated last month, expands “property owner’s right to procedural due process” in eminent domain cases to include airspace, barring military aircraft from uncompensated use. Residents near Telluride worry that aircraft may disturb “visitors and residents who come here to enjoy our tranquil mountain environment,” reports Telluride’s Daily Planet. Under USAF flight regulations, aircraft are already required to avoid protected wilderness areas, population centers, and civil air traffic during low-altitude training. The planned LATN area would primarily serve special operations C-130s and CV-22 crews.