U.S. Navy jets are creating problems on Whidbey Island and are at the center of a controversy. Residents share the noise bothers them immensely, but the Navy plans to resume the test flights despite their concerns. Residents feel ignored by the Navy and are angry their problems are not getting any attention.
The Navy uses the Outlying Landing Field (OLF) near Coupeville to test its EA-18G Growler jets, according to the Seattle Times. The residents argue that this landing strip was never meant for the noisy jets since it was built decades before they were invented, but the Navy sees it as the perfect area to test the jets.
Noise complaints are the most common issue associated with the jets. However, residents have also seen thousands of dollars in damage caused by vibrations from the jets destroying their glass. Their windows, pictures and other items are getting destroyed by the vibrations every day, yet the Navy plans to resume test flights again.
The jets are coming from the Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, and tests have been going on for several years. Residents did not mind the Navy using the landing strip for smaller, quieter jets, but the EA-18G Growler jets are a huge problems for them because of the noise.
Citizens of the Ebey’s Reserve for a Healthy, Safe & Peaceful Environment, a local group started by the residents, has been fighting the Navy over the jets. However, the group’s efforts have not been working since the Navy has plans to bring in more than a dozen extra jets in the next few years. This will create even more air traffic for the residents to handle.
Residents have a reason to be angry on Whidbey Island considering the difficult schedule they endure. The Navy begins doing test flights at 10 a.m., and it continues them through 1 a.m. at night. This means that residents can be bombarded with the noise and vibrations at any time without warning. They describe using ear plugs to protect their ears, cleaning up broken glass and worrying about their health.
Locals feel the Navy needs to listen to their concerns instead of bringing in more jets. Their daily lives are constantly being interrupted by the jets that block them from talking on the phone or hearing their televisions. They have spent a tremendous amount of money replacing broken windows, broken glass and other items.