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El Mirage F-35 noise concerns shared across the country

• Monica Alonzo-Dunsmoor Arizona Republic

It used to be that El Mirage was like Chicken Little when it came to warning the world that the F-35 might be much louder than the F-16 and could mean intolerable noise level for area communities. Namely their own.

They took a lot of heat from West Valley mayors, who warned that talk like that would ruin chances for Luke Air Force Base to land an F-35 training mission. They said that military officials would take those questions to mean a lack of support for the military installation.

It hasn't played out that way. At least not so far.

Funny thing is that Valparasio, a tiny community in Florida, filed not one, but two lawsuits against the Air Force because of the noise from the F-35's stationed at Eglin Air Force Base.

Guess what?

The Air Force came around, and is now working to mitigate those noise concerns. But did the lawsuits hurt the future of Eglin Air Force Base?


The Air Force put Elgin on the short list of bases expected to get more F-35's.

Noise concerns also surfaced in Tucson, Virginia Beach and Utah.

As far back as 2008, neighbors of Hill Air Force Base in Utah raised questions about noise levels. In November 2009, the base was on the short list of candidate bases to receive F-35's.

Perhaps their names on a list won't mean much in the end, but at least the Air Force is acknowledging that the "noise level associated with the Joint Strike Fighter, designated as the F-35 Lightning II, is significant." (Air Force press release, October 2008)

And Kathleen Ferguson, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, said the Air Force was "committed to being a good neighbor" and was "diligently exploring methods to mitigate the impact." (Air Force press release, November 2009)


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