By Molly Walsh for Seven Days, June 5, 2019
Long-awaited sound maps released last Tuesday contained bad news for Winooski: Half the city now lies within the expanded area that will experience high noise levels from the F-35 jets to be based at Burlington International Airport starting in September.
The following day, four Utah-based F-35s coincidentally made an unscheduled stop at BTV, and city residents got a preview of what’s to come. Shortly after 8 a.m. on Friday, the military fighter planes left — the first time the next-gen jets have roared off from the airport.
Community reaction was as swift as the planes.
“I was pretty astounded by the sound level at my house,” said Carl Severance, who lives on Thornton Street, just outside the high-noise zone — defined as the area that will be subjected to sound in excess of 65 decibels.
On nearby West Canal Street, inside the zone, retiree Marguerite Adelman found the jets to be much louder than the F-16s that they are replacing at the Vermont Air National Guard.
“Let’s just say I’m partially deaf, and I’ve been partially deaf from birth,” she said, “and I wasn’t wearing hearing aids. And for me, they were deafening.”
Matthew Ennis was waking up in his apartment at Hood and Lafountain streets when the jets took off, and he covered his ears. “I don’t know if I can hack staying in Winooski,” said Ennis, who has protested the F-35 basing.