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Air Force releases draft impact statement on proposed F-35 pilot training center

  • Published
  • By the Office of Public Affairs
  • 162nd Fighter Wing
In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, the U.S. Air Force has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed establishment of a Pilot Training Center and associated basing of F-35A training aircraft at one or more existing Air Force or Air National Guard installations within the continental United States. Potential locations include the Boise Air Terminal Airport Air Guard Station, also known as Gowen Field, Idaho; Holloman Air Force Base, N.M.; Luke Air Force Base, Ariz.; and Tucson International Airport Air Guard Station, Ariz.

The Air Force's Preferred Alternative is to base the Pilot Training Center with 72 F-35A training aircraft at Luke Air Force Base. However, no decisions regarding the proposal will be made until after the environmental impact analysis process is complete.

The purpose of the proposal is to train pilots and personnel to safely and effectively operate F-35A aircraft. The F-35A is absolutely essential to the nation's security strategy. It is the newest and most advanced fifth-generation fighter and needed to deter and defeat 21st century threats. The basing of the F-35A Pilot Training Center and training aircraft is needed to support formal training requirements associated with the F-35A, which would replace or supplement the existing F-16 aircraft at Tucson International Airport. Training would include the use of existing training airspace and ranges, which permit flare countermeasures, supersonic flight and the use of munitions.

Potential environmental impacts were analyzed in the Draft EIS, including impacts associated with changes in personnel, construction and renovation of facilities, and training activities in existing military airspace, auxiliary airfields and ranges to support the proposed basing of the Pilot Training Center and training aircraft.

Document Access and Commenting Information: To download a copy of the Draft EIS, please visit A paper copy of the document is also available at the following public libraries:

Copper Queen Library
6 Main St.
Bisbee, AZ 85603

Safford City-Graham
County Library
808 S. 7th Ave.
Safford, AZ 85546

San Carlos Public Library
89 San Carlos Ave.
San Carlos, AZ 85550

Sierra Vista Public Library
2600 E. Tacoma St.
Sierra Vista, AZ 85635

Valencia Branch Library
202 W. Valencia Road
Tucson, AZ 85706

All comments on the Draft EIS must be postmarked or received by March 14, 2012, for consideration in the Final EIS. Written comments on the Draft EIS may be submitted to:

David Martin, Air Force Contractor, and Kim Fornof
266 F Street West, Bldg. 901
Randolph AFB, TX 78150-4319
Fax: 210-652-5649

Written and oral comments may also be submitted in person at the public hearings. A stenographer will be available for those wanting to submit an oral comment.

Public Hearings: Three public hearings near Tucson International Airport Air Guard Station will be held to inform the public and receive public comments on the Draft EIS. All hearings include an open house information session from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., followed by a presentation and formal public comment session from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Representatives from the Air Force will be available during the open house session to provide information and to answer questions related to the Draft EIS.

Public hearings will be held:

Open House Information Session: 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Presentation/Formal Comment Session: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Date: Feb. 21, 2012
Location: Windemere Hotel & Conference Center
Grand Ballroom
2047 S. Highway 92
Sierra Vista, AZ 85635

Date: Feb. 22, 2012
Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Tucson Airport North Ballroom
4550 S. Palo Verde Road
Tucson, AZ 85714

Date: Feb. 23, 2012
Tucson Jewish Community Center Auditorium
3800 E. River Road
Tucson, AZ 85718

For More Information: Information related to the Draft EIS is available on the project website at For more information about the project, please contact David Martin, Air Force contractor, or Kim Fornof at 210-652-1961 or email

For media inquiries, please contact Maj. Gabe Johnson, 162nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs Officer, Tucson International Airport Air Guard Station at 520-295-6192.