NASA, Navy Sign Agreement on Carrier Landings at Wallops - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

NASA, Navy Sign Agreement on Carrier Landings at Wallops

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va.- NASA and the U.S. Navy have signed an agreement to conduct Field Carrier Landing Practice operations at the Wallops Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, it was announced Thursday.

According to NASA spokesman Keith A. Koehler, under the agreement the Navy will use the airfield at Wallops to conduct field carrier landing practice operations for E-2 Hawkeye and C-2 Greyhound aircrews. Koehler said the E-2 and C-2 are twin-engine, turboprop aircraft, and are much quieter than jet aircraft. He said flight activity may begin as early as this summer.

Bill Wrobel, director of Wallops, said the Navy aircraft activity "will help NASA maintain the airfield to support the agency's missions and also provide an economic benefit to the local area."

Joseph Murphy, deputy chief of staff for Fleet Installations and Environmental Readiness at the Navy's U.S. Fleet Forces Command, said the use of Wallops will provide relief for the Navy's capacity issues at Navy Auxiliary Landing Field Fentress, in Chesapeake, Va.

"Completion of this initiative provides us with the ability to relieve periodic FCLP capacity issues currently experienced at NALF Fentress without the costs and environmental impacts associated with runway construction or private property acquisition incurred with development of a new airfield, and without the requirement to conduct training at FCLP airfields outside of the Commonwealth," he said.  "The successful completion of this initiative also supports the continued viability of Naval Aviation in the region."

Koehler said that up to 20,000 aircraft passes would be conducted in one to two week training periods over the course of a year, for a maximum of 23 to 28 weeks of FCLP training. During approximately 10 to 15 of these weeks, nearly 120 Navy personnel could be residing in the local area to support the mission. 

Koehler said that due to its significant use of the NASA airfield, the Navy is contributing $1.9 million annually to assist with repair and upgrade of the airfield.  In addition, the Navy will reimburse NASA for support services used during training.  

To prepare for the aircraft operations, the Navy will begin making improvements to the NASA Wallops airfield in the next few weeks, Koehler said. He noted that these improvements include construction of concrete pads and required utilities to support a portable landing signal officer workstation and visual landing aids, and the installation of airfield lighting to simulate the deck configuration aboard a Navy aircraft carrier. 

In January, the Navy issued a Finding of No Significant Impact after evaluating the potential environmental effects that could result from the Navy's proposal to conduct FCLP and to make airfield improvements. 

More information on NASA's Wallops Flight Facility is available at: http://www.nasa.gov/wallops

 

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