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Approved Jan 21, 2015 - Aviation Advisory Minutes


  Aviation Advisory Committee (AAC)

January 21, 2015

Milton, Florida


The Aviation Advisory Committee met on the above date with the following members present: Ted Rhodes (District 1), Brian Watkins (District 3), Michael Wooley (District 4), and Whiting Field representative Randy Roy. County staff present: County Administrator (Hunter Walker), County Engineer (Roger Blaylock), County Assistant Engineer (Michael Schmidt), and Administrative Services Manager (Tammy Simmons).


Rhodes called the meeting to order at 5:00 p.m. The minutes of the September 17, 2014, meeting was approved unanimously.


Military Updates

Roy provided a PowerPoint presentation on Naval Air Station Whiting Field.


Naval Air Station Whiting Field


To produce the military’s best trained “Aviation Warfighter”.


NAS Whiting Field Complex

  • Three (3) separate and fully operational airfields
    • NAS Whiting Field North & South – TW-5(Training Air Wing 5) (141- T-6’s (Texan II) and 124-TH-57’s (helicopter)
      • Two (2) lighted 6,000’ x 200’ runways each with control towers
    • NOLF Choctaw – TW-5, JSF, and UAS (Unmanned aerial systems)
      • One (1) lighted 8,000’ x 150’ runway with a control tower
  • Main complex encompasses
    • 3,913 acres
  • 13 Outlying Landing Fields
    • Fixed Wing OLF – T-6
      • Evergreen, AL
      • Brewton, AL
      • Silverhill, AL
      • Barin, AL
      • Summerdale, AL
      • Wolf, AL
      • Choctaw, FL
      • Holley, FL
    • Rotary Wing OLF – TH-57
      • Site 8, FL
      • Spencer, FL
      • Pace, FL
      • Santa Rosa, FL
      • Harold, FL
    • 9,122 acres
    • 4,500 NM2 of airspace
  • Other Missions Supported
    • CNATT - Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training
    • EOD School - Explosive Ordnance Disposal
    • Special Ops Command

Whiting Field manufactures the ability to train a naval aviator. Whiting Field was built in the 40’s and their traffic control is very dynamic. Whiting Field has two runway scenarios, one (1) mile apart. The South field is mainly used for TH-57’s and the North field for T-6’s.


Outlying Landing Fields

The Air Operations Department operates thirteen (13) Navy Outlying Helicopter and Fixed Wing Fields in Florida and Alabama within five counties. The Joint Strike Fighters (JSF) only does touch and go and leave at Choctaw. There are no base operation fueling component or ground effort at Choctaw, it is utilized for touch and go operations and occasional simulated flame outs which simulates engine failure, to train the student how to recover. Choctaw is an important component for the T-6, TH-57, and JSF. The Navy component also trains EOD at Eglin Air Force Base.  


Air traffic controllers are only manned at Whiting Field North, Whiting Field South and Choctaw. All the other airfields are unmanned airfields with a runway duty officer managing the airfield for pattern discipline. The Navy partners with the City of Brewton and City of Evergreen in leasing their airfields; the Navy has extended some runways while in these partnerships in exchange for a long term lease.


The Navy has three major squadrons with an instructor squadron for each side. Not only is the Initial Flight Screening (IFS) done at Peter Prince Field; it is also done at Bay Minette and some of the other components in the Alabama area. NAS Whiting Field owns about 65% of Navy outlying landing fields.


Flight Operations/Flight Hours

  • Average over 1 M flight operations per year
    • (approx. 1.4 M last year)
  • Over 127,000 flight hours flown in 2014
    • Average 11% of USN/USMC flight hours
    • Average 14% of USN flight hours

Whiting’s busiest field is Spencerfield doing about 300,000 plus operations a year. An operation is a touch and go or crossing the threshold and departing. Helicopters are the biggest traffic count or flight operational because they can go up and down very rapidly in succession. Whiting Field North does between 75,000 and 100,000 operations while Barin Field does about 60,000 operations; however, the airframes are different, the speeds are different and the dynamics and how they fly the patterns are different.


What is Encroachment?

Chief of Naval Operations says…”Any non-Navy action planned or executed which inhibits, curtails, or possesses the potential to impede the performance of military activities.”


Compatible Land Use



Urban Development (Population Growth, transportation infrastructure)

Avoidance Areas Created/Complaints


Reduced Usage Days


Airborne Noise


Training/Testing Events Prohibited

Competition for air, land, sea space (airports, port facilities, airspace)


Competition for scarce resources (offshore drilling, minerals, energy corridors)

Reduced Range Access


Segmented Training/Testing

Threatened/Endangered Species (wildlife habitat)

Limits on Use of New Technology

Maritime Issues (Coastal Zones, Sanctuaries)

Restricted Altitudes/Speeds

Unexploded Ordnance

Inhibited Tactics Development

Explosives Safety Arcs


Frequency Spectrum Interference

Restricted Night Ops

Air Quality – Water Quality

Reduced Live Fire Proficiency

Environmental Regulations

Increased Costs or Risks

Interagency Coordination


Legislative Initiatives (Wilderness Designation, Sale of Public Lands)




Encroachment Partnering Objectives

Preservation and sustainment of conditions that are compatible with our mission and that maintain operational integrity …


The Aviation Advisory Board plays a unique role in protecting the Naval Aviation mission and the public aviation mission in Santa Rosa County.


Developing “Win-Win Strategies

There are three key elements to developing a “win-win” strategy in protecting the mission of the installation and meeting the desires of the community:

  • Outreach
  • Educate
  • Communicate

The Navy is reaching out to the community by educating and communicating the public, not only through this committee but through every military affairs committee meeting, the Florida Defense Alliance, Defense Support Initiative, Board of County Commission meetings, Navarre Military Affair Committees, we are there and we are communicating our message.


Encroachment Partnering

  • NAS Whiting Field enjoys a tremendous relationship with the State of Florida and Santa Rosa County … this partnership is the role model throughout the Department of Defense.
    • Through the use of Defense Readiness Environmental Protection Initiative (REPI) funds, the Florida Forever initiative, and the state’s Defense Infra-Structure Grant fund resources; we have been able to successfully buffer and conserve over 5,000 acres around the Navy’s busiest air station in the world.
    • This year, NAS Whiting, State of Florida, and Santa Rosa County are poised to secure another 3,000-acres with respect to base buffering/conservation initiatives:
      • Effort encompasses nearly 1,000 acres under the Navy-SRC agreement & 2,500 acres under the Navy-State agreement (Florida Forever and Wolfe Creek) project area footprints.
    • To date, total partner contributions have resulted in the execution of more than $13M in protecting what is truly the “Navy’s Crown Jewel” in producing warriors to facilitate our National Strategy.

The Navy is looking at the Runway Protection Zones (RPZ) or the Accident Zones (APZ) and how to protect them because the end of the runways is the most critical phase of flight.


Land Acquisition and Other Planning Efforts around NAS Whiting Field

The Navy has not bought a piece of property; all we have done is bought the development rights on the property. If the County or the State chooses to buy it outright, the Navy will buy the easement portion so they can control the development.


Night aerials of Whiting

Roy provided two aerials in the presentation: one showing what the Navy uses for training on land and one showing what an actual carrier box on a carrier looks like.


The Joint Strike Fighter mission and GRASI are also quite impressive.


Discussion took place on a request concerning right hand pattern 36. Roy stated it is his understand from the last round of noise concerns, that the helicopter component was going to work a right hand or eastern pattern off to the Industrial Park side; but, the fixed wing portion is still flying as directed.


Walker requested Roy to continue to work the scheduling