For more information, please contact the NAS Key West Public Affairs Office at 305-293-2027 or the NAS Community Planning and Liaison Officer at 305-293-2633.
For noise concerns relating to NAS Key West, call 305-293-2166.
Air Installations Compatible Use Zones (AICUZ) Frequently Asked Questions
To go directly to the 2018 AICUZ document click here.
(It is a large pdf file, so the download will take a few minutes.)
1. What is an Air Installations Compatible Use Zone (AICUZ) Study?
A. The purpose of the AICUZ is to ensure compatible development in high noise exposure areas, to minimize public exposure to potential safety hazards associated with aircraft operations and to protect the operational capability of NAS Key West. The program was initiated locally with the adoption of a study in 1977. This study was updated and approved in 2007, and again in 2018. The 2018 AICUZ Study utilizes the 2013 Airfield Operations EIS data, which projected operations over a 10-year period, by assessing changes in mission, aircraft, and projected operational levels.
2. What is the Navy doing to reduce the noise levels in the community?
A. Jet noise is a constant challenge and one that we will never eliminate. Here at NAS Key West, the station continually reviews air traffic control procedures for limiting noise around Boca Chica Field and surrounding neighborhoods. Procedures used to reduce noise upon takeoff include judicious use of afterburner and climbing rapidly on departure, taking the noise away from the community. Aviators are briefed on the existing patterns and the need to maintain the published patterns. Night operations are limited to those that are necessary and essential.
3. What is FCLP?
A. FCLP refers to "Field Carrier Landing Practice." These exercises train pilots for landing on aircraft carriers and are conducted on a runway that simulates an aircraft carrier deck.
4. Why do aviators have to train at night?
A. Aviators must train the way they will be required to fight. Over the modern battlefield, an increasing percentage of operations are conducted at night. Night flying is an integral part of an aviator’s training program. In particular, night Field Carrier Landing Practice (FCLP) - the simulated carrier landing practice conducted at NAS Key West - is crucial training for maintaining the proficiency of aircrews. To be effective, night flight training must occur in sufficient conditions of darkness, which necessitates later hours of operations during summer months, when sunset occurs after 8:30 p.m. Night training tempo may increase prior to carrier deployment, resulting in a higher number of scheduled night operations. Night Vision Goggle training requires moonlight, necessitating later night operations as pilots “chase the moon” between moonrise and moonset.
5. What is the likelihood of an aircraft mishap?
A. The likelihood of an aircraft mishap is remote. Worldwide, only a small number of mishaps occur in hundreds of thousands of military aircraft operations each year. An examination of military aircraft mishaps over the last 30 years indicates that a majority of the mishaps occurring within 5 miles of an airfield occur on the airfield itself or in the extended arrival and departure corridors close to the airfield. Accident potential zones (APZs) were developed for land use planning purposes. These zones represent areas where a mishap is likely to occur if one occurs. APZs indicate only where a mishap is likely to occur. They are not predictors of whether a mishap is likely to occur.
6. How can I reduce noise in my house?
A. Standard construction provides 15 to 25 dB of sound attenuation from outdoor noise levels, depending on whether the windows are open or closed. Greater noise attenuation may be achieved by caulking and filling exterior openings, installing sound-insulating windows and doors, and adding thermal insulation to outer walls.
7. Why did NAS Key West's AICUZ change?
A. NAS Key West's Air Installation Compatible Use Zone (AICUZ) is reviewed periodically. New recommendations are provided to local governments when operations alter previous safety recommendations. Increased operations, introduction of new aircraft and requested air traffic control procedures by local governments can result in changes as they have in the past.
8. Who is responsible for the current AICUZ study?
A. NAS Key West Commanding Officer is responsible for preparing an Air Installation Compatible Use Zone study. The current study was prepared by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southeast. The study received final approval on June 18, 2018, by the Director, Shore Readiness Division.
9. Who do we send questions or comments to regarding the AICUZ?
A. NAS Key West Public Affairs
P.O. Box 9001
Key West, Fl 33040
10. Was there an Environmental Impact Study done with the new AICUZ?
A. Yes. NAS Key West completed an Environmental Impact Statement in October 2013 for Airfield Operations. This environmental impact statement was completed in accordance with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
11. Where can I get a copy of the 2018 AICUZ for NAS Key West?
A. For the latest AICUZ update click Here. This pdf file is large and will take a few minutes to download.
12. I'm looking to buy or rent a house near NAS Key West. Why is the AICUZ important to me?
A. People use many variables to choose where they live. The AICUZ study provides homeowners important information regarding how much noise may be experienced by living near an air field. An AICUZ study also provides information regarding aircraft accident potential zones. Noise and safety should be part of the housing decision process.
13. Does NAS Key West alter flight paths as a result of requests?
A. No. NAS Key West constantly reviews field rules to minimize noise in the community. Noise will be ever present when aircraft are flying. NAS Key West faces many constraints with regards to flight paths outside our control (commercial air traffic routes, Sugarloaf Loaf Key Airport operations, and the Department of Homeland Security aerostat operating area over Cudjoe Key) so alterations to flight tracks and field rules are extremely limited without impacting other neighborhoods or safety.
14. Why do planes fly over my house when the flight paths shown in the AICUZ study show them crossing other parts of the community nearby?
A. The depicted flight tracks are statistical representations of how planes fly around Boca Chica Field. The depicted flight paths can be thought as the centerline of an imaginary road in which the majority of the aircraft will fly on either side. The ability of a pilot to fly an intended path depends on many variables such as wind, weather, how much fuel is aboard, the training scenario, and number of aircraft in the landing/take off pattern. Because of these many variables, a jet may fly over a home in close proximity to one of the depicted flight paths.
15. Why it is necessary for jets to make their landing maneuvers over the gulf side rather than over the ocean side?
A. Due to prevailing winds, the vast majority of our operations are flown using Runway 08. Aircraft at NAS Key West fly a standardized pattern flown by military aircraft. Safety is very important to the Navy and consistent training is an important aspect of our Safety Program at NAS Key West.
16. Where do the jets train once they take off?
A. The image below shows both the old range system (in blue) and the current range system (heavy black areas.)