Opposition attacks new Air Force flights over Maine

STRONG — When he was 10 years old, Tom Mauzaka loved jet noise.

That's what prompted his 30-year, 4,000-flight-hour career as a C-130 cargo jet navigator with the U.S. Air Force.

However, now that the colonel is retired and living in Strong, he is opposed to the Air Force's proposals to lower the flight ceiling in Western Maine for F-15 and F-16 fighters and to allow F-35 stealth fighters to train here.

The Air Force filed a draft environmental impact statement April 13 to base its new F-35A Lightning II fighters at the Burlington Air Guard Station in Burlington, Vt.

If that base is chosen instead of a base in Florida or South Carolina, air combat training flights would be conducted over Western Maine in the Condor airspace, which stretches from Coos County, N.H., across Oxford and Franklin counties in Western Maine and into Somerset County.

Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said last Friday that if the F-35s are based in Burlington, 95 percent of the flights would occur above 5,000 feet elevation. The other 5 percent would be below 5,000 feet.

A previous plan proposed lowering the flight ceiling over Maine from 7,000 feet above mean sea level to 500 feet above ground level.

“What I'm objecting to is that for the past five years, we were told that the F-35 wouldn't fly in Maine, and now by way of Burlington you might get it 5 percent of the time,” Mauzaka said.

He said the 5 percent would be "just a way for the camel to get its nose in the tent. This is a multiuse fighter and if Western Maine becomes open to that, there's no checks and balances on this 5 percent.”

Another issue is noise.

“The F-35 is extremely loud,” Mauzaka said. “I mean, you won't be able to hear yourself think. This would be in excess of 100 decibels.”

He added, “In Western Maine, one of the valuable things that we have is the quality of life, and to have these guys running around at 500 feet at over 100 decibels, it's not right and they don't paint that clear a picture.”

Toni Seger of Lovell accused the Air Force of providing inaccurate information about jet-noise levels in its proposals.

“I've experienced the sound of these flights and it makes me feel like I'm living in a rice paddy in Vietnam and the bombs are going to drop next,” Seger said Thursday by email.

“It's terrifying. You can't hear them on approach because the jets are in the rear. That's what's so scary. They're on top of you before you realize it,” Seger said.

Mauzaka said the Condor proposal is for fighter pilots to do intercepts in which they fly and chase each other.

“So there's going to be power on, power off where they're going to accelerate and decelerate, and it's going to be louder than that,” he said.

Mauzaka likened the noise to standing at the end of the runway at the Portland Jetport.

Last summer, he and others fighting the Air Force proposals testified with Air Force officials before Gov. Paul LePage and gained LePage's support against lowering the flight ceiling.

When he learned Monday of the F-35 draft environmental impact statement for Burlington, Mauzaka sought help from U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe.

He got it Thursday when they issued a joint statement to Air Force Secretary Michael Donley.

They requested that a public hearing be held in Maine due to the potential introduction of a much louder type of aircraft than currently flies here. The closest scheduled public hearing is on May 15 in Littleton, N.H.

The senators also asked the Air Force to revise its Condor environmental impact statement, because it "does not mention, consider, or sufficiently evaluate the impact on the environment or ambient noise level of the F-35."

It's not about patriotism or national security, Mauzaka said. "It is about the Air Force trying to find a place for its noisy jet in a time of military-force reduction."

He added, "If the people of Burlington want the jets, the jobs and the noise that goes with them, fine. There's 70,000 people that live in Western Maine and they don't need a daily air show."

tkarkos@sunjournal.com

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Comments

 's picture

Oops

Sorry for the double post.

 's picture

fly overs

I live in the area and frankly, enjoy watching the training flights. Sure it's noisy, but that's the sound of freedom. And no, there aren't any "just over tree top level" flights, well unless you're on top of Pleasant Mountain. And yes, when I was in the Marines, I did get to hear all sorts of aircraft.

 's picture

fly overs

I live in the area and frankly, enjoy watching the training flights. Sure it's noisy, but that's the sound of freedom. And no, there aren't any "just over tree top level" flights, well unless you're on top of Pleasant Mountain. And yes, when I was in the Marines, I did get to hear all sorts of aircraft.

Richard Begin's picture

bad spelling, bad grammar

In regards to the Negative attack from Steve Bell.

Steve you Certainly must be in desperate need of Attention. Yes it is Clear you need to Demonize me and say such Mean Spirited Remarks intended to Upset me.

You know Steve I thought after all this Time you would have Graduated to a new Level where when you are Finished you would have written something of Substance ?

Not to worry Steve I have gotten Used to attacks from Bullies like you. Oh Yeah it does disappoint me Steve but knowing you as Well and as Long as I Have I just Consider the Source.

You Steve I have a daily Forum where Folks Just Like You respond and we have open Fun filled Discussions and would you Believe it Steve these Folks Love to see what I write.

Steve Take Care

Steve Bell's picture

For or Against?

Am I in favor of low level flyovers? Undecided.
Has Mr. Begin destroyed his credibility with his spam posts, histrionics, bad grammar, and poison pen methods? Absolutely

Richard Begin's picture

to fly over or not Fly Over

This is intended for Ms malcom

What World are you currently taking up Space in?
Does it really matter if some one is fishing and a Jet Fly's Over. Please Pat Where is the Cost of Freedom in your way of Thinking.?

I find it very Funny to imagine as you wrote having the 'BeeJeebers 'Scared out of You.

Think about it Pat if you want the Beejeebers to frighten you consider the Idea that Barak Obama may get Reelected as President.

Now that is Certainly something to Lose the' Bee Jeeber' effect.

Oh Well I guess to me it's a Pretty Academic decision. The Fly Overs make Sense and what you have suggessted does not make any sense to me.

But Ms Malcom that is what living in a Free Society is all about.

In this case there are folks like me who understand that some Concessions are Required to contineau to ensure that Freedom exists and there are some like you who just don't get it

You Sometimes Ms Malcom 'You Gotta Know the Other Side Can Bite'

 's picture

Experience

I believe 24 years of living on Air Force bases allows me to comment on the benefits.

Rose Monez's picture

Suggestion....

I would recommend those in favor of the reduction of the flight ceiling experience just one fly over and imagine that you live in the area before you so quickly comment on the benefits.

Richard Begin's picture

Now that the Ol' Colonel is

Now that the Ol' Colonel is recieving his Lifetime COLA pension on our Dime.It appears that hen does not have the slightest interest in heeding the wishes of 'We the Taxpayers'

Well Sorry to inform you Herr Colonel that is not how things turn out.We Contineau to Pay you, even though you no longer do anything for Us the Taxpayer.We contineau to need the Benefet of Trained Military Pilots and If that means a Little Jet Noise for all of us Once in a While.

Then that is the Name of That Tune Reality comes in Many Sizes, Colors but it is still in the End Reality. Just like we all bear the Burden of Your Monthly Pension Check

. Sadly the Sun Journal Deems it necessary to To Award The Colonel extra Credability Simply Because he Flew older Lumbering Cargo Planes instead of f-35 Jets.

What a Dismal and yet predictable sign of our Declining years that some of those who live up here in' God's Country have no clue.

That at times we all have to Pony up to the Bar of Life and allow for the occaisional interruption of our Less than Ideal existence.This Issue is really about are you 'With Us or Agin Us' ? and there is no in between Thanks you Mr Burl Ives

Richard Begin's picture

Now that the Ol' Colonel is

Now that the Ol' Colonel is recieving his Lifetime COLA pension on our Dime.It appears that hen does not have the slightest interest in heeding the wishes of 'We the Taxpayers'

Well Sorry to inform you Herr Colonel that is not how things turn out.We Contineau to Pay you, even though you no longer do anything for Us the Taxpayer.We contineau to need the Benefet of Trained Military Pilots and If that means a Little Jet Noise for all of us Once in a While.

Then that is the Name of That Tune Reality comes in Many Sizes, Colors but it is still in the End Reality. Just like we all bear the Burden of Your Monthly Pension Check

. Sadly the Sun Journal Deems it necessary to To Award The Colonel extra Credability Simply Because he Flew older Lumbering Cargo Planes instead of f-35 Jets.

What a Dismal and yet predictable sign of our Declining years that some of those who live up here in' God's Country have no clue.

That at times we all have to Pony up to the Bar of Life and allow for the occaisional interruption of our Les than Ideal existence.This Issue is really about are you 'With Us or Agin Us' ? and there is no in between Thanks you Mr Burl Ives

 's picture

Flyovers

While what you describe is not so pleasant, it beats the heck out of submitting to the ChiComs or the Muslim Brotherhood. Also, I'm sure it won't be constant, just occasional.

Pat Malcolm's picture

Flyovers will shatter quality of life

My brother lives in a current flyover area, and I've experienced them. If this is approved you can count on big, black jets appearing without notice at little more than treetop level, and if that isn't enough to scare the bejeebers out of you, then the noise will certainly ruin your day. You will be left with a fight-or-flight response in high gear... which, by the way, is bad for your physical health (just type "stress" in your search bar to get the facts). When the sonic booms come, and they will, local authorities will complain to the military and will receive denials, no satisfaction, no information, no cessation to them, either. Occasionally there may be a "training mishap" and a deadly crash. Once they have a foot in the door they will do as they please and there will be no way to stop them. If this is what you want when you're sitting on the lake fishing, or enjoying your camp this summer, or cooking out in your yard, you really don't know what's in store. Support our Senators and stop the flyovers now, while you can.

 's picture

Flights over Western Maine

Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country. Small price to pay for doing our part to ensure national security.

PAUL MATTSON's picture

Ah the sound of Freedom~~~

Ah the sound of Freedom~~~

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