Welcome to the 162nd Fighter Wing Mid-Air Collision Avoidance page. The purpose of this site is to further enhance flight safety by increasing general aviation awareness of military jet training areas and missions throughout Southern Arizona.
The 162nd Fighter Wing, Arizona Air National Guard, operates the Lockheed Martin F-16 "Fighting Falcon" from a facility located at Tucson International Airport, Arizona. We fly approximately 50 sorties daily to various southern Arizona military operating areas (MOA) as well as the Barry M. Goldwater Range Complex (R-2301E, R-2304, R-2305). Additionally, we utilize numerous low-level training routes (VR routes). All MOAs, restricted areas, and VR routes are easily located on the Phoenix Sectional
Military Operating Areas (MOA)
The majority of general aviation users avoid MOAs. However, this is VFR airspace (below FL180) and occasionally general aviation aircraft will transition MOAs. While doing so is "legal," it is highly inadvisable. Military jet aircraft training typically encompasses large altitude blocks (500 feet AGL to FL510) and operations at very high airspeed. This highly dynamic environment virtually eliminates any chance to "see-and-avoid" a collision when unexpected aircraft enter the MOA.
The 162nd Fighter Wing operates daily in areas such as Ruby/Fuzzy MOA; Sells MOA, Tombstone MOA, Outlaw/Jackal MOA, and Reserve/Morenci MOA. Please keep in mind that MOAs are not active 24 hours a day. They are activated and deactivated by Albuquerque Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) as required. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you contact Albuquerque ARTCC prior to entering any MOA to verify the MOA's status.
VR Routes (low-level training routes)
Again, this is VFR airspace, but we highly recommend remaining well clear of VR routes depicted on the Phoenix Sectional. Typical flight parameters for VR routes would be five miles either side of route centerline, 500 feet AGL to 3,000 feet AGL, with airspeeds from 450 to 500 knots. Standard formation consists of up to four F-16s separated by anywhere from one to three nautical miles.
The 162nd Fighter Wing frequently operates on the following VR routes: VR-239, 244, 259, 260, 263, 267, 268, and 269. Contact Prescott Flight Service Station (FSS) for information regarding VR route activity.
While Tucson International is the home of the 162nd Fighter Wing, we utilize peripheral airfields for the purpose of approach and landing training, as well as practice emergency approaches
. Libby Army Airfield
(Sierra Vista) is our primary airfield for this purpose. Williams Gateway (Chandler) is our secondary airfield but is rarely utilized.
Tucson International Airport Operations
162nd Fighter Wing aircraft commonly utilize runway 11L/29R
at Tucson. Departures
are IFR with radar vectors under Tucson TRACON control and are typically flown at 350 knots while climbing to altitudes of 8,000 feet to 17,000 feet. Departure formations range from single ship to four ship trail with approximately 6 nautical miles between the first and last aircraft. Arrivals
are also under the control of Tucson TRACON and are flown at 300 knots at altitudes from 7,500 feet to 14,000 feet. Arrivals culminate in one of three options: 1) visual approach to the overhead pattern (4,000' MSL); 2) instrument approach; or 3) simulated flameout overhead pattern
Profile of a Mid-Air
Historically, the following are typical conditions that lead to mid-air collisions:
· Pleasure Flight - NO FLIGHT PLAN
· VFR Conditions, Daylight
· Faster Aircraft Overtaking Slower
· Pilot Experience - Initial Solo to 15,000 hour veteran
· Uncontrolled Airports below 3000 feet AGL
· Enroute mid-airs - Below 8000 feet MSL within 25 miles of airfield
· 37% of mid-airs involved Instructors
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