Letters to the Editor

Leaders do not know the impact of F-35 noise

Your Oct. 21 editorial again endorsed what it calls an "increased 'sound of freedom'" -- the replacement of F-18 fighter jets at the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort with three active-duty squadrons and two training squadrons for F-35 jets.

Whether we residents should want to make the same sort of commitment is questionable.

As a former carrier pilot, I know the sound that planes make when flying field carrier landing practice. They fly low and slow in circle after circle around an outlying practice field.

But there are crucial differences. The F-35 engine is louder -- much louder -- than anything Beaufort has previously heard. Second, unlike the Marine Corps air station in North Carolina, the air station here has no outlying practice field. This means that the ear-shattering noise of the jets will be heard by all nearby.

Why are the training squadrons being deployed to South Carolina, which has no outlying practice field, but not to North Carolina, which does?

Two major financial interests in our area are in conflict: Support of our military and support for tourism. I believe the latter will be severely impacted by the training squadrons, but much less by active-duty squadrons.

I believe it is irresponsible for the training squadrons to be deployed here without Beaufort City Council and Beaufort County Council having heard the type of noise the planes will make during these landing practices. Then they can judge the impact the training squadrons will have on the area.

Charles N. Davis

Fripp Island

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