NASWI Addresses Community Concerns By Making Growler Flight Change to Lessen Sound Over Lopez Island

Mar 10, 2015 Issues: Supporting our Naval Bases

WASHINGTON—Naval Air Station Whidbey Island is directing EA-18G Growler pilots to keep their landing gear up until they are over water as they fly routes over Lopez Island to lessen jet noise impacts, Rep. Rick Larsen, WA-02, announced today.

Officials from NAS Whidbey Island recently performed informal sound tests in areas on Lopez Island. One of the tests involved flying two jets overhead, one with landing gear up and one with landing gear down. Officials discovered a significant noise difference between the two jets.

As a result the base is now directing pilots to keep their wheels up until they are over water when they are flying approaches that go over Lopez Island.

“Residents in the San Juan Islands have shared their concerns with me regarding jet noise from EA-18G Growler operations at NAS Whidbey Island, including at a community meeting I attended last fall on Lopez Island. I have asked the Navy to consider how Growler operations affect local communities, and I appreciate the Navy’s ongoing work to address these concerns. The Navy expects this operational change to lessen the sound of flights over sections of Lopez Island, while ensuring pilots can maintain the training they need.

“I have been working with local officials and the Navy to find ways to protect the health of the base and ensure servicemembers get the training they need, while addressing the effects of the noise on communities across the north Puget Sound region. This operational change is a strong example of how ongoing communication between local communities and the base can help address these concerns. I am hopeful we can continue to find solutions, such as a hush house at the base to muffle on-ground engine testing and new technology to reduce engine noise. I remain committed to ensuring that NASWI remains a premier Navy asset, and I will continue working to address the impact of noise on local communities,” Larsen said.