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New Air Traffic Control Base in Dakota

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Officials from the Ellsworth Air Force Base and Minot AFB, N.D., Radar Approach Control Facilities are preparing to open the Dakota Air Traffic Control Facility this summer here. The facility will be a noncontiguous, co-located RAPCON and will service both bases and the region. "The current Ellsworth RAPCON provides radar-based traffic service to all aircraft within 40 miles of Ellsworth, both military and civilian, up to and including 16,000 feet above sea level," said 1st Lt. Nathan Willis, 28th Operations Support Squadron Airlift Operations flight commander. Members of the Ellsworth AFB RAPCON have the responsibility to sequence arrivals and departures from the base and Rapid City Regional Airport, along with Spearfish, Sturgis, Custer, Wall and Custer State Park airports, the lieutenant said. "Our mission will be to provide air traffic services to the military and civilian airports from one co-located facility," said Chief Master Sgt. Brian Lavoie, the 28th OSS RAPCON chief controller. "Our new location is unique to the Air Force because of the great distance between Minot and Ellsworth Air Force bases." Ellsworth AFB airspace and Minot AFB airspace are separated by 265 nautical miles.

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