To the Burlington City Council:
I’m writing as a resident of Burlington and as someone who’ll be directly affected by a F-35A beddown. I live west of the departure corridor for aircraft departing Runway 33 and am regularly barraged by the sound of air traffic. By far the
worst of this traffic is the Air Guard’s F-16’s.· According to the Air Force the F-35A is more than four times louder than the F-16. This admission does not address the additional noise produced when the F-35A utilizes afterburners, reliance on which some are arguing will likely become standard operating procedure as a result of ongoing aircraft modifications. So, purely on a noise basis, the F-35A will dramatically increase the sound I hear at my home. And it’s important to note that I share my immediate neighborhood with -50,000 other people so I will not be alone in this experience. Moreover, my heart goes out to those thousands of folks in particular who live in the 65dB zone and whose homes will become even more difficult to inhabit and to selI as a result of the FAA designating their properties as “not suitable for residential use”
I’m also a former airline captain with thousands of hours in jet aircraft. I understand the tendency amongst pilots and others in the aviation industry (and/or those who benefit from its continued existence) to dismiss the concerns of those people who live near airports. I once scoffed at those who called my profession into question or who sought to curtail my actions. However, dispassionate as I once may have been, I eventually came to realize the very real damage I was dispensing on the human communities over which I flew. Similarly, the more I learned about the very real damage that aviation is producing on the natural environment the Jess able I was to play an active role in this destruction. I ultimately quit the profession after ten years when I was no longer able to resolve my actions with my beliefs. I no longer fly as a pilot or as a passenger and I avoid airmail – instead I dedicate myself to helping my community achieve a more sustainable model.
The F-35A aircraft and indeed the entire JSF (Joint St1ike Fighter) Program represent the worst of our national priorities. Our country doesn’t need this weapon or the massive expenditure it represents. We don’t need to risk our
children’s health, the safety of our community or the sanctity of our environment for an airplane. What we need instead is a radical rethink of our entire society to bring our actions in line with our beliefs in order to address the realities we face, realities like peak oil (“our low energy future”) and climate change.
I urge each of you to identify the most important priorities in your life – be they family and friends, the environment or something equally vital – and then determine where exactly this warplane fits into your list, if at all. This is not about our safety or security – it’s about money, pure and simple. Certainly we can do better here in Vermont then sell our souls and further squander our environment in exchange for such an undesirable and unsustainable technology.
Kai Mikkel Forlie, Burlington, Vermont