Letter to South Burlington City Council regarding dangers of advanced composite materials
By Colonel Rosanne Greco, USAF (retired)
June 15, 2015
Once again, I urge all of you to support joining the NEPA lawsuit, which is simply to get the Air Force to comply with federal law and provide the necessary information on the basing impacts of the F-35. Many people tried – unsuccessfully for years — to get the Air Force to provide this vital information. Legal action was the last recourse.
What we are seeking is not “nice-to-know” information. Literally, this could be life-saving data when we consider the very real possibility of an F-35 crash in our community. The noise of the F-35 will assuredly alter the lives of thousands of people in South Burlington, Burlington, Winooski, Williston and Colchester. But the consequences of an F-35 crash in any of these cities is unimaginable. As horrendous a thought as that may be, given the crash statistics for new military aircraft, the likelihood of that happening is quite real.
Last Monday, you heard from a gentlemen who told you there was no difference in crash consequences between the F-16 and the F-35…or commercial airliners…or even household items. He was wrong. Numerous scientific reports produced by the Air Force contradict his statements.
You may decide to trust him, and disregard the data produced by the Air Force which refutes his opinion. However, if you decide to go with one man’s opinion over the Air Force, then at least, do some research and verify what he said. The arms control admonition is appropriate here: “trust, but verify.”
Through Internet searches, we discovered three Air Force reports from experts in the field of composite materials. All three reports, despite the dates (1995, 2001, and 2015), come to the same conclusion on the dangers of advanced composites and advanced aerospace materials. Because many people are unlikely to actually read the reports, I’ve summarized them using direct quotes, with page references. I will gladly send this to you, if you wish.
And, keep in mind that the Air Force did not disclose these reports or their findings in the EIS or during the comment period! We found these reports on our own. Perhaps there is more information that we have not found.
This is the reason for legal action. The Air Force didn’t inform us of these impacts (and other impacts including noise mitigation measures). The Air Force did give us detailed information in the EIS about the F-35 impacts on migratory waterfowl, and what would happen if an F-35 flare ignited vegetation; but they never told us ANYTHING about what we could expect should an F-35 crash!
Military first responders on an Air Force Base in Guam were unprepared when an Air Force bomber with advanced aerospace composite materials (similar to the F-35) crashed in 2008. This mishap report (along with a link to a video of the crash) appears in the 2015 document. You may choose to believe that our first responders will be better prepared to handle the catastrophe associated with a F-35 crash than the military first responders. Perhaps you will be right. But, what if you are wrong?
Please make your decision based on the truth, the facts, and science; and not on speculation, personal opinions, or emotion. And please, don’t let politics guide your decision. Lives could be at risk. Think of the people. Thank you.
All three Air Force composite hazard reports are attached.