Mountain View residents meet with Air Force officials over F-22 noise
People living in the Mountain View neighborhood in Anchorage say they're used to loud fighter jet noises coming from JBER and they don't want their area to get noisier.
"The runway noise is just unbelievable sometimes, and I really am concerned about our children," Claudia Fielding told Air Force officials Wednesday night.
Air Force officials held a public open house at Clark Middle School to present half a dozen proposals to improve F-22 take offs and landings on JBER's runways. The proposed changes are being evaluated to achieve mission requirements efficiently, address restrictions on flight operations resulting from regulations passed in 2011, address FAA directives on the use of one runway for opposite direction flight operations and noting public concerns regarding safety in the airspace around Anchorage.
Don Renkel says he doesn't mind hearing the noise, citing the sounds as a point of pride for the country.
"I'm glad that they're there," he said. "They don't bother me at all."
Maj. Lance Ander, assistant director of operations, said the ideas Air Force officials are working on are still in draft form.
"This is pre-decision all for us to take in as much input as we can from the public and allow the decision makers to move forward," Ander said.
The different alternatives laid out look at how to best get F-22 pilots to take off and return from their training areas in a safe and efficient manner, Ander said.
"We would like to maximize operational efficiency," Ander said. "Which means, how do we save time, how do we save money, how do we save fuel -- all while doing it safely for our Anchorage Bowl airspace."
What's called "Alternative A" would allow F-22 operations to depart directly toward the most commonly used training air spaces.
"With taking off to the north, we can save five, 10 or 15 minutes of training, which is more training for the pilots," Ander said. "What that turns into is seven to 10 percent more fuel savings in the course of time, which turns into millions of dollars."
With nothing decided yet, people at the public meeting said they hope officials take into account what the noise will mean for students during the school year. "Alternative A" could lead to more noise by Mountain View Elementary School, according to the 38-page Environmental Impact Statement draft.
"It's very disruptive for the students," Rep. Geran Tarr, the state lawmaker who represents this part of Anchorage, said. "They have to stop classes for the entire time for when the flights are happening overhead."
Tarr said neighborhood officials have been trying to work on this issue for years and suggested getting the local community council involved in this discussion as well.
Some suggested focusing on the alternatives that would require runway extensions instead.
"All of them also improve our operations for air operations," Rex Plunkett said.
People unable to attend the meeting can still submit public comments. Comments can be submitted on the proposal website, by email or by mail to JBER Public Affairs, Bldg. 10480, Sijan Ave. Suite 123, JBER AK 99506.