Letter: Flight practices should be halted during pandemic

Editor,

News that the Navy had cancelled its training flights for the Passover and Easter weekend during the Covid-19 Stay Home order was indeed welcome and appreciated. Base commander Capt. Matt Arny did the right thing, and our community thanks him for his reconsideration.

The combination of the jets flying, the Stay Home mandate and the disruption of whatever Passover and Easter weekend family time and traditional commemorations that were possible would have indeed been disturbing and daunting.

Thanks to all who joined in the effort to request the Navy cancel the flights at the end of last week.

But the Whidbey Times-News again reports that the jets will resume their flights this coming week during this difficult Stay Home mandate. This means that families and community elders, some living alone, are dealing with this additional stress of noise.

This is especially hard on families with children, people recovering from COVID-19 at home, and patients and the beleaguered medical personnel in the hospital, at Careage of Whidbey and other nursing homes and medical facilities. The lockdown is stressful enough without the jets.

The Stay Home mandate requires everyone to stay put. Even if community residents were able to leave their homes, where would they go, especially at night? People living under the jets cannot simply go to a friend’s house or public sites like the movies or a restaurant or any place at all where they would be congregating.

In short, the good people of Central and North Whidbey, and across our region, who are subjected to both the jets and the lockdown are trapped by the Navy’s decision to conduct night flights at this time.

Add to this stress the impact of unemployment, financial hardship, and the uncertain future of small businesses and the anxiety and fear that people are experiencing is extreme.

So, we speak for many in the wider community when we request that the Navy discontinue the practice flights at the OLF Coupeville and Ault Field during the Covid-19 virus lockdown out of respect for the serious harm imposed on people who are already so stressed and not able to leave their homes.

Anne Harvey and Jan Pickard

Coupeville

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