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Colonel Jeff Wiegand: F-35s will likely be quieter than F-16s at Truax

Dear Editor: As the former wing commander for the 115th Fighter Wing and someone who has been personally involved in the F-35 basing process for the last five years, I would like to clear up some misinformation that has been shared regarding noise and the F-35s.

Dane County Regional Airport (DCRA) manages a very comprehensive noise abatement program to minimize noise to surrounding areas and ensure a high level of safety. The overwhelming majority of noise complaints filed with DCRA are toward commercial aircraft. Very few noise complaints are filed against military aircraft, but each one is investigated to ensure pilots were compliant with noise abatement procedures.

The Air Force is currently conducting a very detailed environmental impact analysis prior to finalizing the F-35 mission at Truax. Among other topics, it will scientifically assess the difference between the noise of the current F-16s and the future F-35s. Despite wild claims by opponents, there will be very little difference between the F-16 and F-35 with regard to noise signature. I submit that the overall noise impact on the surrounding communities will actually decrease with the F-35.

It is important to understand the two different power settings in modern fighter aircraft: “military power,” which is the maximum power setting of a military jet aircraft without the use of afterburners and “afterburners,” which provide an increase in power, usually for takeoff and for combat situations requiring increased thrust. Air Force regulations direct when afterburners are used — for safety reasons, takeoff distance and weather conditions. The F-16s currently at Truax use afterburner for takeoff approximately 50 percent of the time. The F-35 will rarely need to take off in afterburner. An F-35 in military power will be significantly quieter than an F-16 in afterburner, which means that in most situations it is expected that the F-35 noise to the surrounding communities will be less than the F-16.

I encourage you to stay engaged in the EIS process at Truax Field has been a part of our community with an Air Force mission for the last 70 years, and with the F-35 mission it will remain and contribute for decades to come.

Colonel (retired) Jeff Wiegand, U.S. Air Force

Full Article can be found here.

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