Letters to the Editor

Time for moderate discussion on Outlying Field | Letter


I applaud the editorial calling for a toning-down of the rhetoric around the Outylying Field issue. Threats of violence, boycotts and an “us vs. them” mentality all cloud the issue and are examples of bullying that have earned the United States a reputation in some parts of the world that is less than favorable.

Those voices do not represent the best that our country has to offer. I am a military veteran and I live near the OLF, and often have to deal with the noise generated by the planes.

I appreciate the fact that the aviators have to train, and I don’t believe it is practical or wise to spend money to build a new practice facility on the other side of the Cascades, nor do I want to pay for the fuel required for the planes to reach such a facility.

On the other hand, I also recognize that the newer planes are louder, the tempo of operations at the OLF seems to have increased, and these factors have combined to change the situation from one of annoyance to one of potential health hazard and certainly affects the lifestyle of those of us living under the planes.

Selling T-shirts and bumper stickers with slogans does nothing to resolve the issue on either side — it simply serves to fan the flames of divisiveness and hostility. We are all neighbors — not enemies. It seems it is time for more moderate voices to work together to attempt to resolve the issue at hand. To that end, I suggest the following two proposals for consideration.

Park a retired aircraft carrier in Admiralty Inlet or some other nearby location, and use that instead of the OLF. This allows a more realistic simulation for Naval aircrews in training, and moves the primary traffic out over the water — the Navy’s natural environment.

Consider limiting use of the OLF to the winter months only. There are longer periods of darkness then, allowing more time for night carrier landing practice without extending into the wee hours of the morning.

The absence of planes in the summer would allow residents to cool their homes with open windows and doors, and encourage all, residents and visitors alike, to be outdoors enjoying all that Central Whidbey has to offer.

David Sharpe


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