2017 2nd Quarter General Meeting

Tuesday, April 11th, 11:30am to 1pm

The Chincoteague Center

6155 Community Center Dr., Chincoteague

$5 admission for members, $15 admission for non-members.
Bag lunch available.


  1. WELCOME & INTRODUCTIONS – Chairman, Peter Bale

Captain John P. Robinson III – Welcome home and welcome to the WIRA Board.

  1. Introduction of new Town Managers – Chairman, Peter Bale
    1. Chincoteague: Jim West
    2. Onancock: Bill Kerbin
  1. UPDATES from 2017 Virginia Legislative Session
    1. Senator Lynwood Lewis
    2. Delegate Rob Bloxom
    1. NASA Wallops – Bill Wrobel
    2. Virginia Space / MARS – Dale Nash
    3. NAVY Surface Combat Systems – Commander Jeffrey Lock
    4. Orbital ATK – Dan Givens

Curtis Smith, Accomack Northampton Planning District Commission

    Old Business / New Business


Wallops to Host Public Information Session Nov. 16

In order to facilitate discussion and information sharing on activities at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, a public information session is being held on Wallops’ current programs and events from 5 to 7 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 16, at the Visitors Center.

 Wallops is hosting quarterly information sessions at the Visitor Center to facilitate continued dialogue between NASA and the local community.

 During the Nov. 16 session, NASA personnel will be on hand to highlight topics such as Antares return to flight, Wallops’ expanded controlled airspace initiative, ongoing construction, coastal resilience efforts, and the Navy’s Field Carrier Landing Practice program.

The NASA Visitor Center is located on Va. Route 175 about five miles from U.S. Route 13 and five miles from Chincoteague.


The Navy Triton: You can help bring it to the Eastern Shore

Please show your support by Oct. 1.

Two weeks ago the Navy Released it’s Draft Environmental Assessment for the home basing and maintenance of the MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System at one of three locations: Naval Air Station Key West in Florida; Naval Station Mayport in Florida; and National Aeronautics and Space Administration Wallops Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. The assessment indicates that all 3 locations can receive equal consideration, and invites public commentary until Oct.1st.

Now is the time to show our support.
The selected East Coast home base location would be a permanent duty station for a $14-Billion-dollar program bringing the possibility of equipment and opportunities to our DELMARVA region. Triton is the Navy’s latest unmanned system program of record with a projected life cycle continuing over the next two decades. Our location provides abundantly for this program which would bring mutual benefits to the Eastern Shore.

Here’s how you can make a difference:
I urge you to submit your comments or a Letter of Support before the deadline on October 1st. Below you’ll find links to make the effort as simple as possible.

Thank you in advance for your participation.

Here’s to our Region’s future!
Peter J. Bale
Wallops Island Regional Alliance

Click here to access the full Environmental Assessment.

Submit online comments here.

Click here to download a draft Letter of Support.

Letters of Support may be submitted in writing to:
Navy MQ-4C Triton UAS Home Basing Project Manager
Naval Facilities Engineering Command Atlantic
Attn: Code EV21JB
6506 Hampton Boulevard
Norfolk, VA 23508

Press Release: Navy Releases Draft EA for the MQ-4C Triton

usffcLOGOPublic Affairs Office
Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command
1562 Mitscher Avenue,
Suite 250
Norfolk, Va. 23551-2487
(757) 836-4427
Fax: (757) 836-3601


Press Release – 20-16
August 29, 2016

Navy Releases Draft Environmental Assessment for East Coast Home Basing
of MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System

This week the Navy will release a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for the establishment of facilities and functions to support the East Coast home basing and maintenance of the MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System (Triton UAS) at one of three locations: Naval Air Station Key West in Florida; Naval Station Mayport in Florida; and National Aeronautics and Space Administration Wallops Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

The Draft EA will be released on Thursday, September 1, and it will be available for public review and comment from September 1, 2016 through October 1, 2016. Comments may be submitted in writing to: Navy MQ-4C Triton UAS Home Basing Project Manager, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Atlantic, Attn: Code EV21JB, 6506 Hampton Boulevard, Norfolk, VA 23508. Comments must be postmarked by October 1, 2016. Comments will also be accepted electronically beginning September 1 at the following link: http://www.public.navy.mil/usff/environmental/Pages/public-comments.aspx.
Comments received from the public and federal, state and local agencies will be considered in the Final EA, which will be released to the public sometime this fall.

The 20 page Draft EA will be available at the following link:

Draft Environmental Assessment / MQ-4C Triton.

A printed copy and an electronic copy of the Draft EA for public review have also been placed in the following libraries:
• Monroe County Public Library, 700 Fleming Street, Key West, FL 33040
• Florida Keys Community College Library, 5901 College Road, Key West, FL 33040
• Beaches Library, 600 3rd Street, Neptune Beach, FL 32266
• Main Library, 303 N. Laura Street, Jacksonville, FL 32202
• Public Library, 25 N. 4th Street, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
• Wallops Flight Facility Visitor’s Center, Building J20, VA-175, Wallops Island, VA 23337
• Eastern Shore Public Library, 23610 Front Street, Accomac, VA 23301
• Chincoteague Island Library, 4077 Main Street, Chincoteague Island, VA 23336
• Pocomoke Public Library, 301 Market Street, Pocomoke City, MD 21851

The Proposed Action would provide facilities and functions to operate and maintain the Triton UAS on the East Coast. The Triton UAS is an unmanned, unarmed, remotely controlled aircraft employed to enhance maritime intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities as part of the Navy’s Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force. Under the Proposed Action, the Navy plans to establish a launch and recovery site for four home based Triton UAS aircraft and support a consolidated maintenance hub for up to four additional aircraft undergoing maintenance actions (up to eight aircraft total). The East Coast home base location would be a permanent duty station for up to 400 personnel plus family members, and support rotational deployments of personnel and aircraft outside the continental United States. Military construction projects in support of the home basing would begin in fiscal year 2017.

The Triton UAS is a multiple-sensor unmanned aircraft that is about 48 feet long with a wingspan of about 131 feet. Triton UAS will conduct operations over water, with most operations occurring over international waters 12 miles or more offshore. The mission of the Triton UAS is to provide persistent maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data collection to the fleet, providing both tactical and strategic mission capabilities.


NASA Global Hawk alerts NOAA National Weather Service of Gaston’s Intensification

First time Global Hawk data used to upgrade a tropical storm to hurricane

Global Hawk

Thursday, August 25, 2016

For the first time, NOAA’s National Weather Service National Hurricane Center used real-time weather data from the NASA Global Hawk unmanned aircraft to upgrade a tropical storm to a hurricane in the early morning hours Thursday. While the Hurricane Center recently downgraded Gaston back to a tropical storm, the most recent forecast also notes it could intensify again on Saturday.

“The NASA Global Hawk can fly over a tropical cyclone at 60,000 feet and provide a full three-dimensional picture of storm structure,” said Gary Wick, Ph.D., NOAA project scientist for the Global Hawk experiment. “We are glad that our research mission can provide direct support to forecasters at the National Hurricane Center.”

Global Hawk View

Photo taken by a camera mounted on the nose of the Global Hawk unmanned aircraft as it takes off on Wednesday, Aug. 24, at NASA Wallops Flight Facility at dawn. (NASA Global Hawk)


The key data was collected by a dropsonde, a small instrument dropped from an aircraft that measures tropical storm conditions as it descends to the surface of the ocean. The dropsonde then transmits the data to a satellite which relays it in real time to the National Hurricane Center.

The Global Hawk took this important data from the 75th dropsonde out of 84 dropped from the plane during a 24-hour flight. The National Hurricane Center evaluated the data to upgrade Gaston to be the third hurricane of the season at 12:15 AM ET on Thursday. The data indicated that Gaston had strengthened to a hurricane with wind speeds estimated to be 75 miles per hour. In its latest report Thursday afternoon, the National Hurricane Center downgraded Gaston to a tropical storm, but noted the storm in the Central Atlantic 1160 miles east-northeast of the Leeward Islands could intensify on Saturday

Flying Into the Storm

Photo taken by Global Hawk as it flies into gathering clouds over the Atlantic Ocean. (NASA Global Hawk)




This is the second year of NOAA’s Sensing Hazards with Operational Unmanned Technology or SHOUT, a three-year research project with NASA to evaluate the benefits of using the unmanned aircraft in routine operations to improve severe storm forecasts. The research also looks at whether unmanned aircraft can fill data gaps if there are problems with weather satellites.

Get the latest on Tropical Storm Gaston by visiting the National Hurricane Center website at www.hurricanes.gov

For more information, please contact Monica Allen, director of public affairs for NOAA Research, at 301-734-1123 or by email at monica.allen@noaa.gov

Click here to see the original article.