U.S. military nighttime takeoffs/landings violate noise-prevention agreement, citizens complain

U.S. military nighttime takeoffs/landings violate noise-prevention agreement, citizens complain

Photograph taken on August 19 at 11:50 p.m. at MCAS Futenma in Ginowan City, after which the CH-53E helicopter landed at midnight, violating the noise-prevention agreement.

August 21, 2019 Ryukyu Shimpo

On August 19 at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Futenma in Ginowan City, Okinawa, U.S. military aircraft were repeatedly taking off and landing outside of the timeframe allowed by aircraft noise regulatory measures (the noise-prevention agreement), past 10:00 p.m. up until midnight.

Local residents called the police phone number 110 and made complaints regarding damage from the base such as, “It’s noisy and I can’t sleep,” and “It is very bothersome, I want it to stop.”

A U.S. military notice to airmen (NOTAM) warned that between August 19 and 22 the air station would be open until midnight, which sparked worry that nighttime flights would take place day after day.

On August 19 after 10:00 p.m. a CH-53E transport helicopter, a MV-22 transport Osprey, and an AH-1Z attack helicopter performed takeoffs and landings. Also, until about 10:00 p.m. one Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker aerial refuelling aircraft was repeating touch-and-go exercises.

Local citizens’ complaints included the following: “Even though it is usually a burden, for foreign aircraft to be performing dangerous training late at night is highly offensive”, “It is a tempestuous roar”, and “It woke me up”.

A F-35B stealth fighter from MCAS Iwakuni (Yamaguchi Prefecture) flew in to MCAS Futenma on August 11 and remained until August 17.

At 12:21 a.m. on August 17 this aircraft took off toward MCAS Iwakuni and a noise measurement was taken from Ueojana Community Hall, which is located in-line of the runway, recording a maximum of 116.9 decibels for the prefectural and city noise measurement investigation.

A noise level of 110 decibels occurred on unke (the welcoming day) and nakanuhi (the middle day) of Obon, and there was a flood of complaints from local citizens. Aircraft also flew past 10:00 p.m. on August 20.

(English translation by T&CT and Erin Jones)

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