Two F-35 fighter jets were in the air Tuesday for their first Vermont Air National Guard training mission since arriving in the Green Mountain State in September.
While a few people might have caught a glimpse of the aircraft as they took off from Burlington International Airport, those who heard them say they’re louder than the F-16s they replaced. Much louder.
“You hear just screeching,” said Omar Mitchell, a Burlington resident. “I just wanted to get underneath the bed or something — it was that loud, like something was coming in. I’m from New York so once 9/11 hit, you feel all of that.”
Ann Marie Michalski said the sound of the new fighter aircraft made her regret moving to Winooski.
“It’s been a horror, you can be on the phone and you couldn’t even hear anything,” Michalski said. “You have to tell everyone to wait.”
Increased noise from the F-35 has been a major concern for residents in nearby towns and neighborhoods. Earlier this year, Burlington airport officials released maps that showed the number of households that will be subjected to noise levels at or above 65 decibels will grow by a factor of four.
But not everyone in the Onion City sees that as a problem.
“I could tell it was the F-35,” said Marie Fontaine, a longtime Winooski resident. “They were a little louder than the F-16 but it doesn’t bother me.”
With 18 more F-35s expected to arrive by June 2020, opponents have said they won’t stop fighting to have the aircraft based someplace else.
“I don’t think they should be here,” Michalski said. “Not in a place where there’s buildings and people. It should be somewhere else, far away from people who have to live here.”