Air Force denies request for F-35 demonstration

In a letter to U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, the Air Force has denied a request for a noise demonstration involving the proposed basing of F-35 jets at Truax Field.

Following a public hearing on the forthcoming basing decision, Pocan asked the military for a takeoff and landing demonstration that would illustrate the noise difference between the louder F-35s and the F-16 jets already based at Truax Field, but Acting Air Force Secretary Matthew Donovan says such a demonstration would serve no evaluative purpose.

According to an article in the Wisconsin State Journal, Donovan also asserts the requested demonstration would “only present a momentary experience of that aircraft’s noise” and would inject subjectivity that would undermine “the deliberative environmental analysis.”

Donovan added that the sound impact of a jet is measured as an average of all airplane noise in an area over a 24-hour period, not with a single flight. “We will not be able to support your request to fly an F-35 at Truax Field,” Donovan wrote. “Scientifically, it would not represent the actual cumulative experience over an extended period of time, nor would it be repeatable at other bases.”

The Air Force has identified Madison and Montgomery, Alabama as the two preferred sites for the new $90 million jets, but Madison residents have raised questions about noise impacts after a preliminary environmental impact statement indicated the jets would be incompatible for thousands of homeowners living near Truax, which is based at Dane County Regional Airport.

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