By Jasper Craven
Mar 1 2018
In December 2012, Vermont’s then-Gov. Peter Shumlin squeezed into a nine-seat charter jet for a trip to Florida.
Those on board — including Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger and then-Winooski Mayor Michael O’Brien — were headed to Eglin Air Force Base. The mission: To hear the noise of the F-35 fighter jet firsthand, and report back to Vermonters.
The trip was paid for by the Greater Burlington Industrial Corp. (GBIC), a business group that has supported the basing of F-35 stealth fighter jets in the Burlington area. One of that group’s leaders, real estate magnate Ernie Pomerleau, also accompanied Shumlin on the trip.
Noticeably absent were officials from South Burlington, the city expected to shoulder the greatest burden when 18 of the jets are scheduled to arrive at Burlington International Airport next fall. They were not invited.
After touching down in sunny Florida, Democrat Shumlin and the rest of his delegation took a tour of an F-35. “It’s a pretty amazing machine,” Shumlin remarked to a Vermont Public Radio reporter who accompanied the officials.
After the tour, Shumlin listened to two idling jet models: one simulating an F-16, the military aircraft currently based in Burlington; the other mocking an F-35, the replacement. Shumlin and his colleagues also witnessed both planes taking off. “Volume, seems to me, is about the same,” Shumlin observed.
“Listening to this has been a real eye opener,” he said.[FULL ARTICLE]