Low-Level Military Aircraft Flights

Adirondack Park Region

While visiting the Adirondack Park or North Country region of New York State, it is not uncommon to see military aircraft traveling to or from training areas, or conducting training in and around the park. If you have a question or concern about Military flights in the Adirondacks, contact the Military Operations Range at

The Adirodack Park

Click the image to the right for a detailed map of the Adirondack Park.

Having the following information on hand before you call will help the Operations Range to address your issue:

  • A description of the aircraft
  • Where you were when the aircraft flew over
  • The time the aircraft flew over the area

The following information may help you to better understand military flight operations in the Adirondack Park:

Why We Fly

Air defense missions include air-to-air combat to defend against attacking enemy aircraft and close air support which involves air-to-ground training for delivery of airborne weapons on targets on the surface of the land or sea. To perform these missions, aircraft are flown at a wide range of speeds and varying altitudes, with low-altitude missions being the most operationally demanding. Military aircrews are required to develop and maintain proficiency in low-altitude air-to-ground tactics, low-altitude air-to-air tactics and low-altitude threat awareness for three primary reasons. First, modern air defense systems use radar to detect aircraft. Operating at low-altitude allows aircraft to hide behind terrain and delay detection by surveillance radars and surface to air missile systems radars. Second, operations at low-altitude make it more difficult for airborne defensive systems to detect and engage offensive forces. Third, adversaries can likewise be expected to fly at low altitudes, requiring airborne defenses to be able to detect and engage low-flying aircraft. To prepare for operational missions, aircrews must regularly fly at low altitudes.

Why We Train

Low-altitude training develops aircrews skills needed to reduce the probability of detection, decrease detection range, enhance survivability and maximize mission success. Operating at low altitudes requires constant vigilance by aircrews, who must monitor various sensor systems, navigate, respond to external cues such as ground or airborne control systems and maintain aircraft control. This combination of skills requires frequent and regular training to maintain proficiency and ensure safe operations.

Where We Train

The majority of this training is conducted in military operating areas in the Adirondack Park area surrounding the Ft. Drum complex near Watertown, NY. Currently, these training areas are used by Air Force and Air National Guard F-16 and A-10 aircraft from New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and the District of Columbia units.

For more information about the Adirondack Park, visit the Adirondack Park Agency's website.

© NYS DMNA: Low-Level Military Aircraft Flights - Adirondack Park Region
Page Last Modified: 15 Nov 10