The following story is by a longtime well known opponent of the Boise Airport plans to locate the F-35 combat fighter in the most densely populated city in Idaho. Other GUARDIAN readers attending the Wednesday meeting claim comments were 30 to 1 against the F-35 plan.
By MONTY MERICLE
The 2015 Boise Airport Noise Study, just completed and being readied for submission to the FAA for final approval, has been intentionally manipulated to mislead the public about the number of residents and homes to be reclassified as “Not Suitable for Residential Use” if 18 F-35s are brought to Boise.
After the final study public comment meeting Wednesday at the Boise airport, the Deputy Director of Airport Engineering confirmed the portion of the study modeling the location of 18 F-35 jet aircraft assumes no F-35 afterburner use.
This is simply not the case. According to the Air Force’s very own reports, F-35s employ afterburners 90 to 95% of the time. This is confirmed by the afterburner use patterns of the 18 F-35s now stationed and operating in Burlington, Vermont. A Navy Captain being interviewed by the Burlington Free Press stated, “ The reason, it gives us more options if something goes wrong.” He said using afterburners was a practice that pilots would follow once the planes go into full production. Asked if the Vermont Air Guard would routinely use afterburners, he replied, “I think that would be a fair statement.”
In addition, a recent F-35 redesign to allow external wing tanks will only increase the requirement to use afterburners due to increased rag and weight. This intentional understating of the F-35 intensity at the Boise airport results in shrinking the boundaries of the “Not Suitable for Use” zone by 75%.
The 2104 residents and 964 homes that were identified as “Not Suitable for Residential Use” in the 2012 Air Force Environmental Impact Study is therefore reduced to 577 residents and 217 homes. So 1,527 residents and 747 homes would exist in an unacknowledged “Not Suitable for Residential Use” limbo, suffering the effects of jet noise without any access to any recognition or mitigation options.
Why would anyone knowingly consign over 1,500 Boise citizens to this “Limbo Purgatory”? Our State Senators, Congressmen, Governor, and Mayor are desperate to attain the F-35 prize for our fair city. And they appear more than willing to do whatever they can to minimize or hide any negative information regarding the F-35 noise impact.
Two motives are driving the efforts to obscure the true impact of 18 F-35s at the Boise Airport. The first is to avoid the public outcry that will result if it becomes known before the jets arrive that most of the homes, schools, parks, day care centers, churches, etc, south of Overland will be subject to noise levels never before experienced in Boise. The political game plan is to acquire the jets first and address the collateral damage later.
The second motive is cost. Investigations done as part of the Airport study confirm that the only effective land use mitigation for homes in the “Not suitable For Residential Use” zone are purchase and removal. Estimates in the study for this are approximately $230,000 per residence. 217 residences would therefore cost around $50 million dollars. But 964 homes would cost over $220 million. This is a lot, even for our politicians to ante up.
The dirty little secret of the process the Airport is following is that once the study results are accepted by the FAA, there is never a requirement that the true noise levels be measured. The study becomes truth, even if it is based on lies and manipulation. It is therefore absolutely imperative that the Airport Part 150 study be exposed for the fraud that is and rejected by the FAA. Then the Airport can begin again and do so with honesty and integrity this time.
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