We have owned a five-acre property several miles west of Outlying Field Coupeville since 1977. The land was originally part of Fort Casey.
At the time of purchase, I was the head of FAA’s airport program for the northwestern part of the United States.
This work involved, among other things, providing funds for the development of publicly owned airports and assurance of compatible land use in the areas surrounding those airports.
As we had the noise contours for Coupeville OLF in my office, I reviewed them and determined that the property would not be significantly impacted by Navy operations at OLF.
This proved to be the case at our home for many years.
The Prowler aircraft flew the prescribed traffic patterns and all was well.
Unfortunately, these aircraft were replaced by the Growler aircraft, which generate significantly more noise.
The pilots seem unable to fly the old traffic pattern. Thus, they generate much greater noise of a far larger area.
Now, the Navy proposed to increase operations at the Coupeville OLF by 400 percent. This will destroy a way of life for thousands of people in the area.
The National Historical Reserve, the first of its kind in the nation, will also be destroyed. It should be understood by all that the northern half of Whidbey Island and nearby San Juan Islands, are a true national treasure and are worth preserving.
This may be the most beautiful natural area in the U.S., and the Navy should not be allowed to destroy it. Additionally, the service that Navy provides with the Growler aircraft is now provided to all other elements of the military. It does not seem to make sense to put it all in one place.
By doing this, a future enemy could take out this national defense with one well-placed nuclear missile.
There is a simple solution to this issue. The Navy could place about 20 Growlers at their naval air station in Fallon, Nev., which is located in the “middle of nowhere.” About 80 percent of flight training activity could be located there and OLF Coupeville would not be needed at all.
If they felt a separate bounce field was needed, one could be be built in a nearby unpopulated valley for a fraction of the cost of one Growler aircraft.
The other benefit of locating touch-and-go traffic there would be that about 20 aircraft would survive a nuclear missile on Whidbey Island Naval Air Station.
In conclusion, it is clear that someone with some authority, such as yourself, has got to start some intelligent discussion of this issue. Many thanks for your help.
Robert O. Brown