We need everyone impacted to go to the link below and participate in the survey that pops up about Growler noise “mitigation” ideas for the Coupeville OLF and Ault Field.
At the end of August the Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation (OLDCC) published a notice for Community Input on Noise Mitigation. This was in response to Congress directing the Dept. of Defense to look into potential noise mitigation programs. The community survey was set up online asking the public for ideas on how to mitigate military (especially jet) noise. The OLF and Ault Field were specifically designated in this survey, and they are seeking input from anyone who is within one mile of those facilities or (and this really expands the area in our case) who has a day-night average sound level of 65 decibels or greater (although we believe the day-night average should be 45 decibels). File a survey response even if you aren’t certain that you fall into either of these categories.
The survey can be accessed and filled out here:
COER has studied the various ideas for Growler noise in great detail, everything from chevrons to hush houses, and the bottom line is that there is no technologically feasible way to mitigate the harms from jet noise available today. The only realistic means of mitigation is by removing the source of the noise. In other words the only way to mitigate is to move the Growlers to a non-populated area and to close down the OLF. And this is what our elected officials and the military need to understand!
For those needing assistance doing the survey, we have put together sample responses for you to use. Below you will find both short-form and more comprehensive responses.
It is crucial that everyone answers this survey. Our goal is for there to be over a thousand responses from Whidbey.
Note that Survey Question Three asks you to identify the installation for which you filling out the survey. Do not make comments on Ault Field when filling out a survey for the OLF, and vice versa. If you want to comment on both, you should fill out separate surveys for each field.
All adult members of a family should do a separate survey.
Whether you choose to use our sample answers or not, please remember that our basic response is that the only way to mitigate the harms from Growler noise is to move the Growlers to a non-populated area and to close down the OLF.
Most of the numbered questions just ask for personal information and should be answered. The following numbered questions (in blue text) are the ones which we provide sample answers for:
Question 4. Are you aware of noise problems within your jurisdiction as a result of military fixed wing aviation activities?
Question 5. If yes, please elaborate:
Short Sample Response: Absolutely! Unlivable noise around OLF Coupeville, all due to Growler low-level flying at the OLF. Technically, it is “unfit for human occupation.”
Comprehensive Sample Response: The EA18-G “Growler” basing and training in and around Whidbey Island, and in particular FCLPs at the Coupeville Outlying Field and at Ault create noise impacts over homes, schools, the hospital and businesses that regularly exceed 100 dBL and can be as high as 130 dBL outdoors. This Growler jet noise makes normal life impossible anywhere near where the Growlers are flying. I live in proximity to the OLF and Pilots routinely fly directly over my home at 200 feet altitude and sometimes less. My house is soundproofed and yet the noise inside during Growler training is unbearable. During training you cannot safely be outside of your home.
Question 6. What type of sound attenuation activities are you either presently undertaking or believe is necessary to address the jet (fixed wing aircraft) noise issues in your jurisdiction – please provide as much detail as possible?
Short Sample Response: Chevrons don’t work. The only way to attenuate the OLF Coupeviile noise is to move the source—the Growlers—to an unpopulated area. Period!
Comprehensive Sample Response: The reality is that the only way to address the problem of Growler jet noise is to move the Growlers to a non-populated area and to decommission the OLF. If our government and the military is honest about this, there is no technology available to the military or the public which can mitigate the harm from military jet noise. Soundproofing homes only reduces noise levels from extremely dangerous levels to dangerous, and doing so only turns our homes into prisons! Hush houses do nothing at all to reduce noise during flyovers. Chevrons only reduce noise by approximately 3 dBL. High performance, low level tactical aircraft, like the Growler do not belong anywhere near civilian populations. Congress has provided the Navy with millions of acres of military reserve where the Growlers could train with no harm to or impact upon civilian populations. It is time to move the Growlers and close the OLF!
Question 7. Are there disadvantaged or underserved populations in your jurisdiction that may be unaware of this jet noise and the possibility of federal assistance to attenuate some portion of it?
Question 8. If yes, are there recommendations for reaching them directly?
Short Sample Response 1: Yes–itinerant farm laborers and yard care workers. Only if deaf are they unaware of and unharmed by Growler noise at OLF Coupeville. We cannot move their work—you can move the Growlers and close the OLF.
Short Sample Response 2: There is no federal assistance that can mitigate the harms and impacts from the Growler. It is time to move the Growler and close the OLF.
10. If you have already been responding to noise from military fixed wing aircraft, how much would you estimate you have expended and for what?
[It is up to you as to how much information you want to give them, but we would suggest ending your description by saying:]
Nothing I have done has significantly mitigated the harm from Growler noise. It is time to move the Growlers and close the OLF!
I have expended years of energy, time, and dollars, all of it knowing the Navy hears only what is convenient for them to hear. Give us a break! Move the Growlers and close the OLF
The OLF. Close it and Clean it up! Years off hazardous noise from above and leaking toxic PFAS chemicals to the aquifer below. No more excuses!
114 decibels on my deck when they are flying OLF west pattern.
Health Corner: Jet Noise and Infants
If you or someone you know lives under the Growler carrier landing practice area at OLF or Ault Field and is pregnant or has an infant or toddler, you need to know that the child is at risk. Please check out “Noise: A Hazard for the Fetus and Newborn” at:
Noise has an impact on fetal development including damage to important parts of the inner ear (the cochlea), as well as possible congenital abnormalities and lower birth weight. These conditions can lead to mental and emotional issues later at school age.
Birth weights were significantly lower for infants born in the hospital to women aged 20 to 34 years who were living in areas where the “Day Night Level” (DNL) of aircraft noise exceeded 60 to 65 decibels, such as at Ault Field and the OLF.
Hypoxemia (an abnormally low level of oxygen in the blood) occurred in newborn infants exposed to sudden loud noise (approximately 80 decibels).
Yet another study found that exposure to loud noise significantly altered infants’ behavioral and physiological responses. This is consistent with local anecdotal accounts from pregnant mothers living under the OLF racetrack, who noted heightened fetal activity when the jets were flying. Others reported hyperactivity of their toddlers (less than age 2), which returned to normal activity when the jets stopped. COER is aware of several mothers who moved to escape the impacts of Growler noise on their children and unborn.
The Navy misleadingly claims that none of these health impacts on fetuses and infants are “proven.” Yet in the field of biological science the body of evidence has been steadily developed to the point where these jet noise health impacts cannot be reasonably denied. When it comes to civilian exposure, the Navy has stuck its head where the “science doesn’t shine” and it is up to us to protect our children from their jet noise.
For their own personnel, their approach (and presumably the science) is dramatically different! The following is a Navy directive regarding noise exposure for pregnant service members:
NOISE (From Medical Support to Women in Military Environments)
Pregnant women must wear hearing protection when exposed to ambient noise levels above 84dBA, including infrequent impact noise.
Brief exposure (5 minutes per hour or less) of hearing-protected pregnant women to ambient noise above 84dBA in order to transit high noise areas is probably safe. Prolonged exposure to this level of noise is not recommended.
Pregnant women should avoid any exposure to noise greater than 104dBA (corresponding to the need for double hearing protection), unless absolutely essential for quickly moving through a high noise area. The abdominal wall muffles (attenuates) the noise only somewhat and these very noisy areas may pose significant problems for the developing fetus.
The double-standard is breathtaking: civilian beware!
And it’s not too late to take the Survey
Reminder: At the end of August the Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation (OLDCC) published a notice for Community Input on Noise Mitigation. This was in response to Congress directing the Dept. of Defense to look into potential noise mitigation programs. A community survey has been set up online asking the public for ideas on how to mitigate military (especially jet) noise. The OLF and Ault Field were specifically designated in this survey, and they are seeking input from anyone who is within one mile of those facilities or (and this really expands the area in our case) who has a day-night average sound level of 65 decibels or greater. COER has put together a sample survey response (with both short-form and more comprehensive answers) which we have emailed out to our base as an Immediate Call to Action. Our basic response is that there is no way to mitigate the harms from jet noise and that in the case of the OLF and Ault Field the only way to mitigate jet noise harms is to move the Growlers to a non-populated area and to close down the OLF.