Navy flyovers shake new Coupeville residents

Residents in some recently built homes in Coupeville have been jarred by flyovers by jets from Whidbey Island Naval Air Station.

The town has been fielding complaints from residents around Parker Road on the northwest side of town about low-flying jets in the area.

Mayor Nancy Conard said during last Tuesday’s Town Council meeting that the number of flyovers over the town seems to have been compressed.

Navy pilots generally fly near Coupeville on their way south to Outlying Field where they conduct touch-and-go landings in preparation for deployments on carriers.

Kim Martin, spokeswoman for Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, said the flight operations in and around NAS Whidbey Island and Outlying Field are conducted to ensure squadrons meet training and fleet requirements.

“We understand that local residents living in the area are affected by jets flying in the authorized flight pattern as well as transiting into and out of those patterns,” Martin said in an email. “Every noise complaint call is tracked, mapped and  discussed with command leadership to ensure flights have been conducted in accordance with the local air operations guidelines and FAA guidelines.”

Martin added in an interview that flight patterns around the training field haven’t changed.

Conard noted during the meeting that the complaints are coming from families who moved to Coupeville within the last four to eight years. They  signed a disclosure statement about the flyovers when they purchased their homes, but apparently hearing the planes was a different matter.

“They didn’t realize it was as bad as it was,” Conard said during the meeting. She said the town is loaning several families decibel meters to help them document noise levels.

Martin said operations at Outlying Field, just a few miles from Coupeville, are extremely important as pilots transition from the EA-6B Prowler to the EA-18G Growler.

“The volume of training at Outlying Field is based on current operations requirement and is necessary for aircrews to attain and maintain proficiency to ensure safe operations for upcoming shipboard deployments,” Martin said in the email.

She added Navy officials talk to local officials regularly about aircraft noise and talk to residents at public events about the issue.

Residents concerned about Navy jets flying over their homes can call the base’s Operations Duty Office at 360-257-2681. That’s where their complaint will be documented along with a time and location, Martin said.

Martin noted that flight operations at Outlying Field will be reduced for a couple of weeks next month when the runway will undergo routine maintenance and repair.


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