Let's say I have business on a US military base (e.g. JBLM), and I'd like to fly a privately owned aircraft there. What is the process I follow before the flight to get approval to land, and once I'm enroute to ensure everything goes smoothly?
Landing at a US military base isn't all that hard (I've landed at Ft. Drum before), you just have to get prior permission (PPR) (submitted at least 30 days in advance and confirmed within 24 hours according to 32 CFR 855.8), and need to have a "good reason" (as determined by them).
32 CFR 855, Table 1 (which is quite long) includes the purposes that are normally allowed.
You will be required to submit the following forms to the base commander (See the A/FD):
- DD Form 2400 - Civil Aircraft Certificate of Insurance
- DD Form 2401 - Civil Aircraft Landing Permit
- DD Form 2402 - Civil Aircraft Hold Harmless Agreement
32 CFR 855 contains the regulations pertaining to US Air Force airfields (and the rules are similar for each branch).
855.1 - Policy includes:
(1) Normally, landing permits will be issued only for civil aircraft operating in support of official Government business. Other types of use may be authorized if justified by exceptional circumstances. Access will be granted on an equitable basis.
(3) Any aircraft operator with an inflight emergency may land at any Air Force airfield without prior authorization. An inflight emergency is defined as a situation that makes continued flight hazardous.
855.5 - Responsibilities and authorities. includes:
(6) Will not authorize use of Air Force airfields:
(i) In competition with civil airports by providing services or facilities that are already available in the private sector.
Note: Use to conduct business with or for the US Government is not considered as competition with civil airports.
(ii) Solely for the convenience of passengers or aircraft operator.
(iii) Solely for transient aircraft servicing.
(iv) By civil aircraft that do not meet US Department of Transportation operating and airworthiness standards.
(v) That selectively promotes, benefits, or favors a specific commercial venture unless equitable consideration is available to all potential users in like circumstances.
(vi) For unsolicited proposals in procuring Government business or contracts.
(vii) Solely for customs-handling purposes.
(viii) When the air traffic control tower and base operations are closed or when a runway is restricted from use by all aircraft.
A "Joint Base" does not refer to joint military and civilian, it refers to Joint as in co-use by multiple branches of the services. If you show up unannounced as an emergency aircraft, they will not point guns at you or detain you, they will simply handle your situation, provide the help and resources you need to get the aircraft back in the air and send you in your way. There are only a couple bases that have "security at the ready" and will meet you with armed individuals. The military is not some war-crazed institution waiting to shoot people, the bases are staffed with civilian controllers as well as a military and they are there to help when and where they can in aviation. My experience flying both military and civilian aircraft for over 30 years has only produced professional accolades for the folks on the bases around the world. If you have official business, it should be easy to land there with prior permission, if not- don't go or ask. If you have an emergency, do not hesitate to use the installation, it is funded by your tax dollars and they will be happy to share.
I'd never heard of JBLM but I guess you're referring to Joint Base Lewis-McChord which has the identifier KTCM? Airnav says it's joint civilian and military use, AOPA says it's private military, but the AF/D says it's joint, which should be the definitive answer.
If so, as a joint field then civilian flights should be OK but I would carefully read the entire AF/D entry as well as any other information it references and if you have any doubts or concerns at all then you should contact them in advance. Even if you don't, I would still contact them anyway and in this case the AF/D tells you to do exactly that:
tran acft parking extremely ltd. 24 hr prior coordination rqr
Landing at a private military field on the other hand would require special permission from the military which I assume is very unlikely to be granted unless you have good connections on base.
Update from an anonymous user:
The reason that AirNav says 'joint military/civillian use' is that at one time KGRF (the airfield on the Army side of JBLM, then a separate installation - Fort Lewis) had an 'Aero Club' that operated a flight school & rented Cessnas for use by the base population. They also allowed troops who owned personal aircraft to base them on field at the Aero Club.
That Aero Club facility closed due to insufficient use during the height of Iraq/AFG deployments, and with it civil use of the JBLM runways ended. The ramp space is now used by military aviation units (an Army Combat Aviation Brigade) that moved to JBLM after the Aero Club closed.