Suggests JBLM as site for Navy landing practices

Editor,

Recently, we requested the Navy consider a viable alternative to using Outlying Field Coupeville, particularly during the summer.

On many nights during summer months, which are again rapidly approaching, Growler aircraft thunder over local homes from 10 p.m. to midnight, seriously disturbing the sleep of many people in the greater Coupeville/OLF area.

The Navy owns a bit more than one square mile of property at the OLF. From a noise standpoint, however, the training activity impacts an area of around 40 square miles, almost all of which is privately owned property. This increasing training activity noise poses a serious problem for homeowners.

We submitted to the Navy an alternative which offers great promise: Use Joint Base Lewis McChord near Tacoma for its touch-and-go operations, at least during summer.

JBLM owns a vast amount of property, about 138 square miles, much of which is under-populated vacant land. JBLM also has two airports, both having runways longer than the OLF Coupeville runway.

The McChord runway is more than 10,000 feet long, and the Gray Army Airfield is 6,125 feet long.

We have an exhibit showing a traffic pattern for each airport, for training flights in summertime, when winds typically prevail northwest to north.

The traffic patterns shown will easily accommodate five Growlers at a time. All training flights would be over JBLM property and the training pattern at both airports would be over many miles of under-populated land.

This is in sharp contrast to the current situation at OLF Coupeville, where the majority of the traffic pattern is over private property with many occupied homes and businesses.

In addition to the major benefit of flying over unoccupied government-owned property, there are other added benefits. These benefits include the safety factor of longer runways, on-site control towers, crash/fire/rescue facilities and aircraft refueling capabilities.

The recommended area also provides a much darker final approach, as opposed to the many lights in the current pattern over the Admiral’s Cove development. Coordination with other branches of the military is an added training benefit.

With JBLM only 90 miles from Coupeville OLF, it could be reached in 9 to 15 minutes at typical cruising speed for the Growlers, assuming the aircraft are not housed there.

We asked the Navy to seriously explore and consider what appears to offer a mutual significant benefit to Navy training operations and to the quality of life for thousands of people living and working in the Central Whidbey Island area. It is a win-win solution for both sides.

Robert O. Brown, retired FAA airports manager; Walt Sutton, retired business-owner; and Bill Lane, retired school superintendent

More in Letters to the Editor

Letter: Grocery store workers should all be commended

Editor, I just returned from grocery shopping at Payless in Freeland. I… Continue reading

Letter: Maybe you feel great, but you can still be contagious

Editor, I’m glad to see more and more people following the 6-foot… Continue reading

Letter: Let store, postal workers know they’re appreciated

Editor, In these strange times where you are urged to self isolate… Continue reading

Letter: S. Whidbey community steps up to donate blood

Editor, I’ve always been proud of being from South Whidbey. The way… Continue reading

Letter: Hoarding supplies during this crisis not a good thing

Editor, Why are people hoarding toilet paper? Several stores have empty shelves.… Continue reading

Letter: Many came together to make memorial service memorable

Editor, It is with gratitude for Wallin Funeral Home that I am… Continue reading

Skinner
Letter: Grateful for the legacy of two Island County judges

Editor, Judge Alan Hancock’s decision to retire at the end of this… Continue reading

Letter: Foundation thankful for local chefs time, talent

Editor, The South Whidbey School’s Foundation’s sincere appreciation goes out to the… Continue reading

Letter: Cliff experienced, successful and committed candidate

Editor, I read with interest the recent article “3 candidates vie for… Continue reading

Letter: State ferry workers need to reflect to be visible

Editor, Having just boarded the ferry 5:30 am when it is still… Continue reading

Letter: Continuing to hold annual Musselfest ‘irresponsible’

Editor, I just want to go on record that I feel that… Continue reading

Letter: Go further in reducing your carbon footprint

Editor, Annie, Maggie, and Greta – Thank you! Here’s a huge thanks… Continue reading