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Are the F-35s really louder than the F-16s?

(WCAX)
Published: Oct. 2, 2019 at 3:46 PM EDT
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Vermont's first F-35s have begun roaring into the skies and these first training missions are giving communities near the Burlington airport an indication of just how loud the planes are.

Our Dom Amato was in Winooski Wednesday morning when a jet took off and he spoke to people there about the noise.

We know there are many supporters and opponents on each side of this noise level debate. Although they may not be able to agree on much, those we spoke with do agree on at least one thing-- that the F-35s are no doubt louder.

An F-35 fighter jet passed by the Winooski traffic circle just before 9 a.m.

"To me, it wasn't that noisy," Gregory Curtis said.

Curtis, a strong supporter of the F-35s, lives in Burlington right over the bridge from Winooski, which is on the edge of the 65-decibel day-night average sound level, a level considered unsuitable for living.

Curtis told WCAX News what he heard during the first training exercise of the F-35s on Tuesday.

"I have to admit it was a little noisier than I expected," Curtis said.

His home is one of more than 2,600 houses in communities surrounding the airport that the government says will be adversely affected by F-35 flights.

"They were louder than the 16s, but nothing you can't handle," said Paula Beach of Winooski.

Beach also supports the F-35s and says the louder jets won't impact her life.

"When the 16s came, you could still hear your TV. When the 35 came, for 30 seconds you can't hear the TV. Big deal," Beach said.

"It's going to make this area unlivable," said Josee Compton of Winooski.

Compton, who also lives in the flight path in Winooski, does not support the new planes.

"It's a piercing noise; it goes right through you," Compton said. "So I can't imagine more flights."

Right now, the Vermont Guard has only two of the jets and only one was flying Wednesday. But the unit will eventually have 20 F-35s flying regular missions.

The federal government does plan to fund the soundproofing of homes in the affected area, a process that will be rolled out over several years. But Compton says that won't help people who are outside when the jets go by.

"What are we going to walk around with ear muffs?" she asked.

We know the F-35s will continue their training for the rest of the week. Once the full fleet arrives next June, they will follow a similar flight schedule to the F-16s with two takeoffs a day, four times a week.