Some folks are still not convinced that the Air National Guard has made its case for extending low-level fighter training routes in the Condor military operating area over western Maine. On March 16, the Maine Congressional delegation sent a letter to the FAA, urging that agency to hold a hearing in Maine over the issue. The Air Guard wants the additional low-level routes to train fighter units from Massachusetts and Vermont. After the Air Guard held its final public meeting last fall, Maine Gov. John Baldacci said he didn’t believe ANG had answered all relevant questions. In a joint statement March 16, Sen. Olympia Snow(R), Sen. Susan Collins (R), Rep. Mike Michaud (D), and Rep. Chellie Pingree (D), said, “Holding a hearing in Maine would help ensure that local residents and other stakeholders have the opportunity to voice their concerns directly to aviation officials.”
Changes are coming this year for Airmen taking professional military education (PME) distance learning courses. Closer interactions with facilitators, a revised capstone course, and more feedback on test performance are meant to improve the overall experience for distance learning students, who often include members of the Air National Guard.