F-35A testing and evaluation at Mountain Home Air Force Base
The Federal Aviation Administration will cover 93.75 percent of the $300,000 cost to design, acquire and install a noise-monitoring system at the Boise Airport.
The airport, which the city of Boise owns, will cover the remaining $18,750.
The monitoring system will allow the airport to compare the amount of noise planes produce when they take off and land on its runways to models that predict the impact and reach of that noise.
Some of the noise at the airport comes from military planes, including a squadron of 18 active A-10s that the Idaho Air National Guard operates. The U.S. Air Force plans to decommission all A-10s in the next five years or so, leaving the question of what aircraft, if any, will replace the A-10s at Gowen Field, the Guard’s base.
One possibility is the F-35, a noisier jet than the A-10. While economic and political leaders extol the stability and economic benefits of bringing an F-35 squadron to Gowen Field, people who live near the airport worry that noise from the F-35s would make their homes unlivable. The Air Force is considering Gowen among five other U.S. communities for a future F-35 squadron, and a decision is due this fall.
The noise-monitoring system would include four stations in “noise-sensitive areas adjacent to the Boise Airport,” according to a city of Boise memo. The stations would be inside the perimeter of an area the airport’s most recent noise exposure maps predicted would be exposed to a day-night weighted average noise level of 65 decibels if Gowen’s A-10s were replaced with F-15s, another Air Force fighter that’s significantly louder than the A-10.
The city hopes to have the system working by early next year, airport spokesman Sean Briggs said.