Opponents of Navy practice-landing strip gear up

Posted by Colby Rogers - email

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - Residents of rural communities in southeast Virginia are building their case against the Navy's plan to construct a jet landing strip in their backyard.

The proposed $200 million outlying landing field primarily would serve as a practice area for fighter pilots based at Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach.

Opponents say the landing field would disrupt their communities. They also question whether it could soon become obsolete if Oceana's limitations mean it won't be able to host the next-generation fighter jet.

Rear Admiral David Anderson heads the Navy's effort to have a landing field operational by 2013. He says the Navy is out of capacity to train pilots on the East Coast.

The Navy is considering three Virginia sites, in Surry, Southampton and Sussex counties.

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