|Story & photo by Rob Schuette, Public Affairs Staff
The Unmanned Aerial Site (UAS) landing and takeoff zone has been
relocated to a North Post site to help eliminate air corridor concerns
and to increase training opportunities.
A view of the new Unmanned Aerial Site at North Post. The new
site will relieve air space conflicts with the Young Air Assault
Strip and the Sparta-Fort McCoy Airport. Military units using
the site also will find it conveniently located for other
Terry Hoff, Fort McCoy Range officer, said the UAS previously was on
the Young Air Assault Strip, a semi-improved area that also handles the
take offs and landings of larger cargo aircraft, such as C-17s and
Whenever the UAS was in use, however, it basically grounded all the
other aircraft in the area, including at the Sparta-Fort McCoy Airport,
James Hubbard, Sparta-Fort McCoy Airport manager, said part of the
concern was that the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) can be as heavy as
300 pounds with a wingspan of up to approximately 14 feet.
“If the aircraft collided, the UAVs could cause significant damage to
the larger aircraft,” Hubbard said. “So it wasn’t conducive to having
the systems together.”
It was advantageous for everyone involved to move the site to North
Post, where it also would be closer to other training opportunities,
The UAS site now is located conveniently so it can be used in
conjunction with missions at Range 29, or is near other training areas,
such as the Warrens Drop Zone or the North Impact Area.
“The important thing is having the landing and takeoff site on North
Post,” Hoff said. “This gives us more flexibility in letting the UAV
flights land and take off without impacting air traffic.”
The UAS generally is used by National Guard units, and the Wisconsin
Guard units often train with the equipment at Fort McCoy, Hoff said.
Brent Friedl, the Integrated Training and Management (ITAM) coordinator,
said the installation Forestry Program conducted timber sales to open up
the site for construction. The ITAM program provided support to ensure
any remaining trees, shrubs, and woody debris after the sales were
removed within the flight line footprint.
Relocating the UAS also will allow better use of the equipment for
weekend training, when there is limited air traffic control support
available to control the air space near the Sparta-Fort McCoy Airport,
Hoff said.The new location also allows for better collective training
and the potential for live-fire training missions in the future, he