If you drove through the city, the first thing to catch your attention would be the ‘I hate Jet noise’ bumper stickers on most vehicles. Virginia Beach, Virginia is the home of Oceana Naval Air Station and if you are moving to the area for the first time, then you are in for a surprise. After settling in your new home you will begin to experience the constant roaring sounds of jet noise and start to complain as Kenan Soblotne had complained saying: “I am sick of the planes in this area and have planned to move our family as well, but I must say that I have dealt with this noise for WAY TOO LONG!
Unquestionably, Virginia Beach residents are suffering from the constant exposure to loud noise from the nearby naval aircraft at Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana. This is because the intense noises and the idea of aircraft flying overhead causes health problems, lack of rest, decrease in property value, and even the possibility of unemployment due to poor health. After my attentive assessment of these problems, I am now capable of supplying a few tenable suggestions, which will solve the issues between Virginia Beach, NAS Oceana, and the jet noise.
In order to assess this problem, let us first cover some basic features and hazards of the F-18 aircraft. The Boeing F-18 is a very heavy aircraft that needs large amounts of thrust; this exceptional amount of thrust also produces loud exhaust noises. Secondly, the thought of flying an aircraft as heavy as the F-18 over a community as heavily populated as Virginia Beach can cause severe problems. Frequent aircraft flights with jet noises as one above a residential area increase the chances of serious affects on health and psychological well-being of children and adults.
Excessive noise, such as jet aircraft flying overhead, impairs children’s reading ability, long-term memory, and this is mentioned by Cornell (environmental psychologist) and his European colleagues who conclude in a study of schoolchildren living near airports that “the good news, said Evans, is that some of the reading and memory problems caused by jet noise are reversible in a quieter environment— in the case of the study once the local airport has closed” (CUNS 2007).
The city of Virginia Beach is part of Hampton Roads metropolitan areas, which consist of seven major cites that are Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach. Moreover, these Hampton road metropolitan areas accommodate the largest concentration of Military installations. NAS Oceana is one of the largest Navy Jet base on the eastern shoreline of the U. S and this Navy facility was discovered in 1940, and during that era the agricultural surrounding of the base consisted of property with no sewers, electricity, paved streets, buildings, water service, or any other social amenities.
However 67 years later this Navy base has extended to nearly 6,000 acres, and during this rapid growth of its facilities, an airfield has been a part of the city growth even though Virginia Beach is only the 42nd largest city in the U. S (NAS Oceana & Others, 2007). Virginia Beach is an independent city, and is part of a commonwealth state that is governed by the people. It is a rather beautiful state that complements the nearby seven metropolitan areas. It has an approximate population of 435,619 people which includes more then 11,000 navy personnel and over 150 F/A-18 Hornet Super hornets.
All of this is located in the heart of this beautiful resort which is also composed of some of the finest beaches, restaurants, hotels, motels along miles of fine sand (Answer Corporation, 2007). During this report, Virginia Beach’s naval base NAS Oceana has already celebrated 700 aircrafts takeoffs and landings in the middle of this so-called resort although the base achievements over the years have been felt most by the community and has caused serious concerns over the past several years.
These concerns are from the communities, commercial industries, United Sates Navy, and many more (NASO, 2007). NAS Oceana official stated that as early as in the 1960s they have been discouraging incompatible development in and around its facilities and have consistently dissuaded the engagement of development around its air installation even before the acknowledgement of the noise control act of 1972. In December 19, 2002 the Chief of Naval Operations Instruction 11010. 36B was developed.
It is an Air Installations Compatible Use Zones (AICUZ) Program which was developed to influence the airfields operational position. It is basically a guideline that defines zones of high noise areas and accident potential areas. It is also a recommendation to the local [city] planning agencies to acknowledge or adopt their plans to those specified zones. During a joint meeting with NAS Oceana and the city of Virginia Beach, a few of those understandings were mentioned in their discussions.
The navy stated that its mission of readiness is vital to the nation. The NAS officials and city officials understood the value of the development process and they acknowledged this through their comments on the fact that the development process is not feasible without military operations. Furthermore, under Virginia law, property owners have the right to develop their land without approval by either the city of Virginia, or the Navy’s renowned zoning regulations.
However, they both initiated changes through Real Estate board for identifying areas that are not determined as zones under the regulation (Appendix 5 of Statement of Understanding, 2005. ) Virginia Beach and NAS officials have struggled with the issues of hazardous zones of aircrafts that encroach upon NAS Oceana mission readiness. However, the community of Virginia Beach is aching from the earsplitting noises of jet engines, in addition to the possibility of an aircraft mishap. The reason why it is a problem is that each day the noise is felt by these people and that also includes me.