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Potential for disaster

ROBERT DAVEY

Lock Haven

Dear Clinton County Commissioner Jeff Snyder, this proposed low-level military flight regime is unsafe and not feasible for several reasons.

I was District Forester for the Sproul State Forest for 21 years, from 1982 until 2003. During parts of those years there were many low-level flights over the Sproul District.

There were two major incidents that had the potential of disaster.

The first occurred when a low-flying naval air jet was flying below radar beneath the mountain crests on the West Branch of the Susquehanna River.

The aircraft severed a major electric line crossing the West Branch in the vicinity of Keating. The hot severed line crossed state Route 120, leaving the road and landing in the forest.

The jet’s tail section was severely damaged but the pilot was able to fly the plane to Willow Grove air base. This incident had the threat of a disaster.

The second incident occurred near Hyner View. A train had started several wildfires along the tracks below Hyner View. We had an air tanker flying from Midstate Air Attack base.

Another fire manager and I were observing the air tanker arriving from the west. Suddenly, we observed naval air attack aircraft flying down river below the approaching fire. The naval aircraft was way too close to the air tanker. The naval aircraft should not have been there because during fire season this was protected air space.

Additionally, a Wart Hog aircraft flew low over the Forest countless times. More than once practiced strafing maneuvers near the tree planting machine and operators. These planes fly low and fast.

The State Forests-in northcentral Pa. are an integral part of the Pa. Wilds designation. Low flying military aircraft should not be a part of this nature destination.

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