It appears that the Navy is now caught between a rock and a hard place.
The Navy has not flown at Outlying Field Coupeville more than a couple of times since May 2013, lending very strong credence to the observation that they do not really need to use the outdated, encroached upon, World War II emergency landing strip.
If the strip were of as great of an “importance to our national security” as the Navy claims it is, why aren’t they practicing there?
Week after week, the press release goes out, “Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash. – No Field Carrier Landing Practice (FLCP) operations for aircraft stationed at NAS Whidbey Island are scheduled to occur at the Outlying Field (OLF) in Coupeville, Wash., the week of …”
While this is great news for the residents of Central Whidbey, it means the Growlers are flying over the outlying areas of San Juan Island, Orcas, Lopez, La Conner and other now heavily affected places such as Skagit County.
On the COER complaint line, a great number of the calls are now from off Whidbey or North Whidbey.
Also, are the Growlers traveling to El Centro, China Lake, or San Diego, Calif., where they really belong? We have proof of them practicing there.
On the other hand, if the Navy were to resume using Outlying Field, they are very aware that Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve is monitoring the Growler activity as to which flight pattern is used, sound levels of the jets, time of day flown and number of flights.
So, if they don’t fly, they don’t need the field.
If they do fly, they can’t live up their own statements in the 2005 environmental assessment.
Why doesn’t the Navy just admit the Growlers have no place on Whidbey Island and move them?
Like I said, between a rock and a hard place.