Larsen now admits to never having heard “touch and go” Growler noise

imageCongressman Criticized over Proposals to Reduce Navy ‘Growler’ Jet Noise. Larsen’s Proposals Criticized as“ Non-Solutions”

Coupeville, WA – Congressman Rick Larsen, who boasts of his role in bringing controversial ‘Growler’ Navy Jets to Washington’s Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, is being criticized for the noise reduction plans he announced at his March 30 standing-room only Coupeville ‘Town Hall Meeting.’ Larsen revealed his plans after listening as tearful and angry residents complained about noise-related health and property damages.

The Navy’s EA18-G Growlers are home-based at Whidbey Island’s Naval Air Station and are the loudest jets ever to fly. They have become a source of noise complaints in seven counties from throughout the Puget Sound region.

At his previous Town Hall Meeting in Coupeville, Larsen refused even to discuss Growler issues, prompting most of those in attendance to walk out. Larsen since acknowledged receiving a large number of complaints from his constituents. “We are glad our Congressman came back to hear our concerns, but very disappointed in his failure to propose meaningful solutions”, said Ken Pickard, of the Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve (COER).

Larsen listened as citizens pleaded for help, but reiterated his unwavering support for keeping Growlers at Whidbey and for their low-flying training exercises. Growler training that he supports includes ‘Electromagnetic Warfare Training over the Olympic National Forest and Park. There are now 82 Growlers on Whidbey, with 26 more expected and a stationary emitter at OLF, Coupeville.

Larsen offered three proposals to reduce jet noise, all of which COER labeled as “non- solutions” designed more to give people false hope and allow the continuation of harmful operations. For instance, a proposed Hush House for Growler maintenance will have minimal noise reduction and ignores the problem of noise from jets in flight. Larsen’s  proposal to have Growlers fly with landing gear raised won’t change noisy “touch-and-go” operations that require landing gear be down. Retrofitting Growlers with “Chevrons,” which Larsen says is in the discussion phase, was once considered and rejected by the Navy. It would take years to accomplish and fails to significantly reduce noise. (see attached for detailed COER response)

When asked at the meeting, Congressman Larsen admitted that he had never heard the low- level touch-and-go noise, yet refused to say if he would change his position if he were given clear evidence on Growler related health harms. COER continues to provide him and other elected officials with related health studies and information.

“It is telling that Larsen voiced support for all things Growler even before a required Environmental Impact Study is completed – and in the face of overwhelming evidence of the harms being caused,” said Greenbank resident and noise victim, Rick Abraham. “Congressman Larsen appears to be in the Navy’s and Boeing’s pocket,” he said. Boeing sells the $87 million dollar jets to the Navy and contributed to Larson’s campaign.

Members of Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve (COER) will continue to educate the public and our all of elected officials about the impacts of Growler operations said, Maryon Attwood of Coupeville. We are hopeful that the Navy and Congressman Larsen will eventually take steps to protect the people they are supposed to defend and serve.



Larsen Proposal: Hush Houses

According to Navy personnel, in 2013 only 120 operations out of 76,000 at NASWI could have used a Hush house to contain noise during Growler
maintenance and testing of engines.

Hush houses offer no solution to hazardous noise from flying jets. According to Navy personnel, only 120 operations out of 76,000 at NASWI. As a result, the San Juan’s get blasted with Growler noise, day & night.

Larsen Proposal: Growlers fly with landing gear raised to reduce noise.

Growler “touch-and-go” exercises, which Larson acknowledged are the loudest, require that landing gear be down. High flying Growlers with landing gear up, generate noise complaints throughout the Puget Sound region.

Larsen Proposal: Retrofit Growlers with “chevrons” to help reduce noise. Chevrons cut Growlers noise ONLY by about 2.5 to 3dB and the financial cost is HIGH!

The Navy’s JSF Joint Program Office initiated a study to investigate reducing the F- 35 near-field personnel noise and far-field community noise. It was the conclusion of the study that … at best they only offer a few decibels (dB) of reduction and even less for the peak noise at a distance of 1,000ft from the aircraft.


No Comments

  1. Aviation Photographer Named Joe

    The headline complaint is going to require specific YouTube proof to the exact moment the Congressman said it. It’s serious.

    But I’ve heard EA-18G noise lots. I love it, it’s A sound of freedom.

    If you choose to remain under EA-18G flight patterns, no pity. If you’re kept there against your will, make that your next blog post how. Quit stirring the pot, start seasoning the soup.

    1. citizensofthereserve

      Watch the video on the home page of our web site. Larsen does admit to never coming here to witness the tragedy he is responsible for. Many homes are for sale, with no takers, so the people ARE held captive.

  2. jim

    The Navy is a juggernaut, which is a disturbing word defined as “a huge, powerful, and overwhelming force or institution.” I think Larson was naive about the attention Navy officials gave him. He formed a relationship that gave him new power and beltway creds, which eventually brought the Growlers to Whidbey. In stereotypical governmental fashion, he has learned well how to speak disingenuously with citizens who have organized to protest after effects.

    Bringing Growlers to Whidbey is a done deal. Navy officials have moved on to other, more pressing issues. That includes figuring out to beat the courts who have recently denied them war games that will harm a significant percentage of west coast marine mammals. I imagine Navy officials wondering among themselves, “what is it about the west coast, that they prefer trees and whales over a strong secure nation?”

    Try to imagine what a fly must hear, on the wall in the room where Larson sits with these military guys. Perhaps he pleads with them to undue some small but meaningful part of what, together, they have brought to all of us who live here. If so, the juggernaut guys probably start looking at their watches. Knowing that he must face his constituents, he then asks them for crumbs that sound meaningful even if they are not. Together they all dream up hush houses, landing gear, and chevrons.

  3. Ed B.

    We’ve been a long time getting to this state of affairs. I remember how we were told that the North Vietnamese were going to steal the Chevrolets out of our garages (w help from the Chinese Communists, of course)–and that didn’t materialize, even though we were soundly defeated by barefoot, ill equipped Cong soldiers.

    Since then, we have been on an upward trajectory toward more “defense” spending, more use of military to intervene and subvert governments and peoples–a pretty shameless record. And what Eisenhower warned us about: the Military Industrial Complex taking over our thinking and economy…well, that has all come true. Our DOD has become a Department of Perpetual War.

    Trillions spent for defense, but we don’t feel secure. More weapons. More weapons. More expenditures. Now we are planning to “pivot to the east”–which means we need more enemies in order to terrorize our citizens through the media, as well as keep the defense industries (located in almost EVERY state right now) humming.

    So we lose control of our budget; have already lost control of our democracy; have certainly become the most war-like nation on earth: a superpower that lives in fright, that seeks another enemy as a fix for its spending addiction, and on and on.

    The last time we won a war was WWII. Since then, we have destroyed people, cultures and leaders, but have not secured a lasting peace anywhere we have been involved in. And what we learn is that the military is our least effective weapon when it comes to managing affairs. The least effective.

    We do face an “existential” threat: but the threat comes from ourselves, from our foolish belief that the noise we hear from the Growlers is the “sound of freedom.”

    It’s not.

    1. citizensofthereserve

      Well put, Ed B, thank you for your comment!

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