Early on May 31 we had a preview of what is in store for South Burlington when the F-35s will be permanently based at our airport. Our home is not in the most sensitive area. Although we are near University Mall, the noise level was intolerable. The F-35s are much louder than the F-16s and pose a great threat to all our citizens’ health and safety. Here are some new facts I have just learned from Naval Air Systems Command, that our military has not shared with us.

In all the sound studies of decibel levels, they have never taken into account the added noise of almost 3 decibel units (dBs) when two planes are flying in formation. They always fly in tandem, and it nearly doubles the sound levels. 

The Naval Air Systems Command study differs from the Air Force study in another very important matrix. The noise measured is not just in dBs but also in watts-per-square-meter. 

“The F-35A watts-per-square-meter is two times greater than those generated by the F/A-18 E/F (Super Hornet).

When the F35s took off from our airport, in addition to increased dB levels, there was a much louder low-frequency rumbling. The noise level has expanded from the normal jet frequencies of the F-16 to much lower cycles-per-second that will penetrate even a closed environment such as the inside of our homes. New windows or doors will not protect us from these frequencies.

Again, according to the Naval Air Systems Command study, “Noise levels below 500 Hz (Hertz is a unit of frequency) are normally not recorded by either dosimeters or medical audiograms. Those who have stood near an F-22 or F-35 at high power levels report uncomfortable sensations and believe their internal organs are moving… Critical organs of the body have harmonic resonances ranging from a few Hz to 400Hz.” 

According to the map just released, 2,640 homes in the airport vicinity will be potentially unlivable, nearly triple the number of units affected by the F-16. Why doesn’t our congressional delegation step in to protect the people? 

The F-35 will do more than destroy the peace and quiet of three entire communities. They now pose a direct threat to the health and safety of our citizens. Our children will not be able to attend school without having their hearing damaged. We love our community, but are now faced with the difficult decision of whether we wish to remain here and live with the noise of a combat zone.

Joe Randazzo is a 38-year resident of South Burlington, a former member of the Development Review Board and A U.S. Navy vet who served aboard the U.S.S. Essex aircraft carrier. 

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