Eglin AFB received the first U.S. military F35s. Residents of Valparaiso, a city located at the end of a runway, were dismayed by the excruciating noise. Most of the residents work at Eglin and are used to the “Sound of Freedom” of F16s, but the decibel levels of the F35s were painful and damaging to hearing. A 2009 independent study measured F16 landings at 90 dB and F35 landings at 105 dB. (Hearing damage begins at 85dB and perceived loudness doubles with every 10db increase.) Valparaiso sued. The Air Force settled, agreeing to use runways away from Valparaiso and covering the town’s legal costs.
The jets are now flying at several bases away from population centers. At Edwards AFB the military tested noise at takeoff to be 112 dB, twice as loud as the F16 at 103dB. At Nellis AFB the ground noise from an F35 at 500 mph measured 121 dB, more than four times the 97dB of the F16. People living under the flight path 2 miles from Hill AFB complain that the F35 noise grates on their nerves and stops conversations. Think of how many people live within 2 miles of the runways in Boise.
Sonja Ward, Boise