Letters to the Editor

Feedback: True history of jets

The historical facts of Whidbey Island Naval Air Station as presented by Diana Nicholai (Letters, July 9) seem to be more of a work of fiction than anything else.

There are a few of her historical errors.

"Fighter”: The A-3 Skywarrior is not, never has been and never will be a "fighter" aircraft. It was designed as a carrier-based nuclear attack aircraft from the start.

"A3D”: In 1962 Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara ordered that the Air Force and Navy immediately adopt common designation schemes for their aircraft. The A3D became the A-3B. There were no A3D's in 1963.

"No jet squadrons at NAS Whidbey in 1963": The following squadrons operated the A-3 Skywarrior from the late 50's to the late 60's/early 70's at NAS Whidbey Island.

VAH-2 "ROYAL RAMPANTS"

VAH-4 " FOURRUNNERS"

VAH-6 "FLEURS"

VAH-8 "FIREBALLERS"

VAH-10 "VIKINGS"

VAH-13"BATS"

HATUPAC (Heavy Attack Training Unit, Pacific)

VAH-123 " PROS"

"Noise”: The A-3 Skywarrior engine, the J-57 is almost as loud as the J-52's of the Prowlers.

I lived on base at NAS Point Mugu in the ‘80s and I have about 1,000 flight hours in the A-3. As far as noise they compare quite nicely to the EA-6B's on take-off, approach and landing. A-3 Skywarriors are still being operated by Raytheon in Van Nuys, Calif. You might ask the residents of Van Nuys how "quite" the A-3 is.

"Obsolete": While the A-3 Skywarrior was obsolete as far as its original mission of a carrier-based nuclear attack aircraft they were not obsolete in the fleet by the ‘70s. The A-3 Skywarrior continued on as tanker, reconnaissance, electronic warfare training and research and development aircraft until 1991.They are still in use today with Raytheon.

The P-2H Neptune also had a pair of Westinghouse J-34-WE-36 turbo jet engines. I'll bet they were not too "quiet."

"Quiet": While both the A-3 and the P-2's might have left NAS Whidbey Island they were replaced by the A-6 and EA-6B aircraft. Remember the A-6? If these people are complaining about the noise of the EA-6B's now you have to wonder how much they would be complaining about the noise if another couple of hundred A-6's and another training command flying twice as much as the current EA-6B's do were still at NAS Whidbey Island.

"Established flight patterns’: There have been established flight patterns at both the Seaplane Base and Ault Field since day one of operations.

Of course the flight patterns are going to change over a 40 year period.

Look at what else has changed in that time. Different aircraft, different flight rules, more development, more population over land that has been developed and the big one, people who accept no personal responsibility for moving near an ACTIVE RUNWAY or moving into an area UNDER AN ACTIVE FLIGHT PATH.

"First 20 years": The first 20 years was in 1962. Things have changed a little bit since then.

I submit that Diana Nicholai is the one who needs to get to know her history a little better

Joe Hawkins

Oak Harbor

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