Aircraft circle private property in Ginoza despite local appeals against use of nearby helipad
March 3, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo
On March 2, aircraft from Futenma Air Station including MV-22 Osprey vertical takeoff and landing aircraft conducted low-altitude flight training at a helipad commonly called “Falcon” in the vicinity of Ginoza Village, Shirohara Ward. At its highest the sound from these aircraft was recorded at 97 decibels.
Although there were not many Osprey, the aircraft took off from and landed on Falcon fifteen times. Similarly, the small number of helicopters took off and landed using the helipad five times. These aircraft circled in the vicinity of the ward over and over, including above private property. In December last year aircraft repeatedly conducted exercises suspending objects from cables and engaged in nighttime flights over private property.
Shirohara Ward officials requested that the military suspend nighttime flights and cease use of the helipad Falcon, as there is private property nearby. They made objection to these flights many times through the Okinawa Defense Bureau to the U.S. military.
Eighty-six year-old Tadanobu Izumi, who lives about 300 meters from Falcon, said, “I thought it had been quieter recently, but then it got noisy again.”
Shirohara Ward Chief Hidemasa Sakihama shared his thoughts: “No matter how many times we protest the state of things doesn’t change. The Okinawa Defense Bureau does not listen to residents’ words, only to what the US says.”
(English translation by T&CT and Erin Jones)
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