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Realistic Bomber Training Initiative Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement

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This Draft Supplemental EIS has been prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act and addresses the opinion filed October 12, 2004 by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Nos. 02-60288, 03-10506, and 03-10528 which directed the Air Force and FAA to prepare a supplemental EIS that adequately addresses both impacts of wake vortices on surface structures and FAA comments. Therefore, this Draft Supplemental EIS analyzes these two topics wake vortex effects and response to FAA comments. Although the RBTI Final EIS is incorporated by reference, some portions of that Final EIS are reevaluated in this Supplemental EIS to ensure the analysis of environmental effects are considered in the proper context. In compliance with the order of the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, in this Supplemental EIS, the Air Force reevaluates and analyzes the potential impacts to structures, vehicles, persons, wildlife, and livestock from aircraft wake vortices. In this evaluation and analysis, the Air Force demonstrates that wake vortices, except under rare atmospheric and wind conditions from standard B-52 and B-1B low-altitude training flights fail to generate sufficient wind velocities to damage ground structures and vehicles, or pose a hazard to people or animals on the surface. During training operations associated with RBTI, the probability of a vortex reaching the ground and affecting a structure would be minimal. In addition, naturally-occurring wind gusts in the affected areas consistently exceed velocities potentially generated by vortices. While certain infrequent climbing maneuvers by B-1Bs could produce higher vortex velocities, the analysis indicates that the probability of such events occurring over ground structures such as windmills would be extremely low e.g., 1 in 100 million or greater. Also, under rare atmospheric and wind conditions, vortex velocities could be higher than predicted.

Subject Categories:

  • Bombers
  • Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies
  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Environmental Health and Safety

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