Black Hills Knowledge Netowork

B-1 bomber pilots would train in an expanded Powder River airspace if the FAA OKs it.
B-1 bomber pilots would train in an expanded Powder River airspace if the FAA OKs it.
Black Hills Knowledge Network photo
January 20, 2015

Air Force OKs Expansion of Powder River Training Airspace

Marking the largest exapnsion of "special use airspace" in the nation's history, the U.S. Air Force has approved expansion of the Powder River Traning Complex for use by airmen at Ellsworth Air Force Base near Box Elder and Rapid City, the Black Hills Pioneer reports

The training complex will now encompass 20.3 million acres over Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. If the FAA also signs off on the expansion, it will quadruple the training space for Ellsworth personnel. 

Opponents and critics have warned the training missions, some as low as 500 feet above ground, would disrupt the rural and agricultural lifestyles and interfere with civilian airspace use. Military officials have vowed to limit the training to certain hours and to keep disruptive air maneuvers to a handful of days per year. 

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., has advocated for the expansion, saying it will better prepare pilots to engage in missions over Afghanistan and that the move would save the military $23 million annually in fuel costs, since planes would not have to fly greater distances to train. Read Sen. Thune's full press release online. 


Related items

  • Rural Residents Receive Broadband Access Via Connect SD Initiative

    The Connect South Dakota initiative, a $5 million state-funded grant program proposed by Governor Kristi Noem in her State of the State and budget address…
  • Rapid City Organization Celebrates Women’s Equality Day

    In 1920, Congress certified the 19th Amendment, giving women in the United States the right to vote – in 1971, Congress declared that August 26th…
  • Hunter Roberts Named SD DENR Secretary

    Republican Governor Kristi Noem announced Tuesday that Hunter Roberts, former policy adviser and current Department of Labor deputy secretary, has been named Secretary of South…

Get Involved!

  • Need more information? Rapid City Public Library associates are standing by to answer your questions! Ask away in the box below during business hours for live feedback.

    For more on this feature, click here.

  • bhkn donate

    Enjoy our work? Donate today to ensure that community members will have access to our wealth of news, history, and data for years to come.

  • 211 logoDid this post inspire you to get involved? Visit our partner 211's Volunteer Database to find volunteer opportunities in your community.

525 University Loop, Suite 202
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 716-0058   [email protected]