Test flights F-35 over Peel; task force warns of huge noise production fighter jets

The complaints about noise pollution as a result of flying with the F-35 fighter jets in Leeuwarden are obvious. The working group Stop the Peel air base warns that the arrival of the F-35 in our region will have the same consequences. The Ministry of Defense will conduct a series of test flights with these aircraft over Peel in October.

An analysis of the complaints made by the Leeuwarden branch of the Milieudefensie shows that the flights at the Frisian air base lead to frightened animals, services, children crying, unable to sleep after night shifts, car alarms going off, chest pains and ear problems. A new common complaint is also not being able to work from home, while many companies continue to do this even after corona time. Online meetings and phone calls are sometimes impossible because of the noise from the planes, according to the Frisian research.

Test flights
Therefore, Boudewijn Sterk from the Werkgroep Stop airbase de Peel thinks it is good that the Defense Organization organizes two information meetings at the beginning of October. According to the working group, it is important that the municipalities in the region prepare well for the test flights and that they do not allow themselves to be guided by the Ministry of Defense alone.

Real numbers
“When the actual flights were started, there was a sudden sharp increase in complaints, and among the local residents, the municipalities involved were concerned about the enormous noise production from the F-35. The peak noise load is extremely high with the F-35. There is currently a discussion on converting Ke to Lden on the basis of measured noise values. The permanent noise monitoring network around the air base in Leeuwarden gives us actual measured figures instead of thinking in models,” says Werkgroep Stop de Peel air station.

The working group advised Venray municipality to participate in this process. “Unfortunately, air traffic is now only measured as an annual average, and the noise standards are calculated by the defense based on theoretical models. It is not possible to take off and land at De Peel Air Base without a good runway and airport clearance. A surveillance network with microphones around the airbase has not yet been installed,’ the working group emphasizes.

Measuring equipment
Nevertheless, according to the Stop de Peel airbase, the municipality of Venray indicates that actual measurements will be possible for the first time during the test flights: “The defense organization will most likely place vehicles with measuring equipment on the ground. The result is actually already known, an increase of about 3 decibels, which means a doubling of the noise.”

Independent reporting
According to the working group, it will turn out to be very different with real landings and take-offs: “In practice, the increase in decibels in Leeuwarden turned out to be significantly higher, 20 decibels or more.” According to the working group, it is therefore of great importance that Venray and Gemert-Bakel municipalities hire experts and also start measuring with measuring equipment themselves. “Only then will there be an independent report”, states the working group. Because it is not yet possible to land at De Peel Air Base, there will be a restart during the test flights. According to the Stop de Peel air base, this is not the same as landing and taking off again, which in practice in Leeuwarden has not resulted in an increase of 3, but 20 decibels or more.

No clean data
According to Werkgroep Stop airbase de Peel, questioning local residents about complaints also does not provide clear data at the moment: “What it now appears is that complaints from residents are not always reported to the Ministry of Defence. People think it’s pointless, the Ministry of Defense doesn’t do anything about it, or they don’t know how and where to report complaints.”

“However, there has been a sharp increase in the number of noise complaints around Volkel since the F-35 has been flown there. It would help if the Ministry of Defense takes the complaints seriously and takes targeted action against them. There is therefore also an important task for the municipalities involved”, reports the working group.

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