Have you ever been sitting waiting for the ferry in Anacortes and a Growler fighter jet flies overhead? It is hard to believe how loud they are.
Now imagine living in Anacortes, Skagit and Island Counties where that noise is a daily occurrence.
Whidbey Island is home-base to these Growlers, and they are practicing for carrier landings. This involves full flaps, wheels down, nose up and full thrust power. A gas lawn mower is about 60 decibels. These jets registers at over 130 decibels. What is worse is that the Navy is moving another 39 planes to the base, which has 40. The end goal for the Navy is to have 160 planes based there. This would mean considerably more flights and more noise.
San Juan County is the only county tracking jet noise, mostly affecting southern Lopez residents. I am currently working with the GIS department here to expand the map to include Island and Skagit Counties. The hope is we can get noise data collection on one page and then go talk to the Navy about trying to practice somewhere else. A Growler has a top speed of 1,200 knots, so they could fly to the middle of Washington in less than 10 minutes, practice there and then return to base.
Not only is the military training over Anacortes but in our national parks as well.
For more information on the problem, go to quietskies.info.
Paul Le Baron
San Juan Island