Letter: Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve gets OLF facts all wrong

Editor,

Again, we need to clear up some typical Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve (COER) and Coupeville Community Allies (CCA) talking points that are completely false. Their lies are going to be targeted by a naval aviation expert rather than anecdotal and falsely extrapolated claims.

COER does not speak for the pilots, nor do they have any knowledge of aviation safety. They do not decide what is safe and what is not. Professional pilots will make that decision.

First, both groups have repeatedly stated that OLF Coupeville is too short for pilot safety. This is completely false.

Fact is, OLF Coupeville is 5,400 feet long and has an operational waiver. The reason is, there are no full-stop landings at OLF Coupeville.

The landing area of an aircraft carrier is approximately 900 feet. We can and routinely perform touch-and-go landings in about 300 feet. One might hypothetically ask, “What if a jet needed to full stop at OLF Coupeville?”

OLF Coupeville has bi-directional arresting gear located at the mid-field point so, in the event of emergency, an aircraft could easily land at OLF Coupeville with its hook down and use the arresting gear to stop in about 900 feet. Otherwise, it’s much easier to simply return to NAS Whidbey to full stop. There is no risk to pilot safety. Aviators use arresting gear all the time, which is why it’s installed on every runway at NAS Whidbey, OLF Coupeville, most military airfields, and many civilian airfields like Portland International.

The pattern for runway 14 is too tight for the ground speed of the EA-18G aircraft. As part of the EIS process, the Navy will simply redraw the pattern to be wider to accommodate the EA-18Gs higher ground speed. It’s a very simple solution. As a result, flight patterns will be distributed between runways 32 and 14 based on wind direction. The pattern can and will be redrawn very easily.

In summary, every time a claim get published, it’s going to be countered by experts and professional aviators. Point for point, these myths will be dispelled publicly.

I have flown professionally as a military pilot in the F/A-18C, E, F, EA-18G, and F-16. I have been a civilian aviator for more than 25 years. I am an expert. My friends at NAS Whidbey are experts. COER and CCA are not. They have no credibility in this field, and we will fight them at every turn.

You don’t speak for us, so stop claiming you’re concerned for our safety. You will not be allowed to speak for the pilots. You speak for yourselves only.

Roger Dietrich

Oak Harbor

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