Accomack Residents Speak Out About Navy Flight Test Plans
WALLOPS ISLAND, Va.- People who live near the Wallops Flight Facility went to an open discussion meeting at the Wallops Visitor Center on Thursday to speak with Navy officials. The U.S. Fleet Forces Command picked the area as one of two options for touch and go flight training.
Vicki Stevens of Horntown said she is worried about the noise.
"I'm very concerned about the noise level... just really the enjoyment of where we live, the peace," she said. "I think the quality of life will go away."
Other Horntown residents like Candy Delaney said they have other issues.
"Every time a plane flies over our house, we lose our reception," she said. "Everything pixilates and disappears and you could be right in the middle of a story on the news and all of a sudden you lose it."
Fred Pierson of the U.S. Navy said there have been some misconceptions that they were able to explain to some of the people who showed up. Pierson is in charge of sound testing for the project.
"The aircraft we're looking at are going to be 15 to 20 decibels quieter, in most cases, than the aircraft that are currently here," he said. "There are more operations, but at the same time there are very minor increases in the noise contours because these are not the louder aircraft here."
Another topic that had residents concerned was the frequency of the testing. U.S. Fleet Forces Command officials say the flight will not be year-round. They will take place four to six times a year for period of 10 to 14 days, depending on the weather.
Ted Brown, a spokesman for the U.S. Fleet Forces Command, said they looking to issue a final environmental assessment by January. A decision will be made shortly after and if Wallops is selected for the flight training construction will be completed by the summer of 2013 and that is also when the training would begin.
Wallops was one of two choices by the U.S. Naval Station in Norfolk. The other possible option is in the Emporia-Greensville Regional Airport in Emporia.
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