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New Report Shows Increased Noise Impact With Arrival Of F-35s At Burlington Airport

Two F-35A jets flying over California.
Ben Margot
Associated Press File
F-35 A fighter jets fly over Santa Clara, Calif., before an NFL game between the Raiders and 49ers on Nov. 1, 2018. A new noise exposure report from Burlington International Airport takes into account the arrival of F-35s at the airport later this year.

By 2023 the number of residents exposed to high levels of noise from Burlington International Airport will increase significantly, according to a new report published by the airport this week.

The study takes into account the arrival of new F-35 fighter jets, which are slated to be based at the airport starting later this year.

Find the full report, with noise exposure map, here.

Nic Longo, deputy director of aviation at Burlington International Airport, said the airport will seek federal funding to mitigate the noise for nearby residents.

Longo said the airport will likely seek between $2.5 million and $7 million each year to mitigate noise impacts in about 50 to 100 homes per year.

"Our intention is to move forward every year with grant funding and implementation for the homeowner — and of course this is all voluntary, so if you want to be part of the program, there's an option for you. If not, that's OK too,” Longo said.

Mitigation measures could include upgrading windows, doors and insulation in impacted homes, as well as home buyouts.

However, it could be several years before federal dollars to mitigate noise make their way to the region. Longo said the airport and surrounding communities will likely apply for Federal Aviation Administration funding next year, with the hope that dollars begin to flow to the area by 2021.

"We are hopeful that our [congressional] delegation, which has supported the F-35s coming to Burlington, will help advocate for sound mitigation dollars coming from the FAA." — Winooski City Manager Jessie Baker

The lag time between the arrival of F-35 planes and the availability of noise mitigation funds is concerning to Winooski City Manager Jessie Baker, whose community will see a significant impact from plane noise according to the latest report.

“We are hopeful that our [congressional] delegation, which has supported the F-35s coming to Burlington, will help advocate for sound mitigation dollars coming from the FAA,” Baker said.

Baker said about 40% of Winooski residents will be impacted by higher levels of airport noise. She noted Winooski has seen significant commercial and residential development in recent years.

“Our hope is that with new development and new businesses and new vibrancy in Winooski over the last five years, that we’ve created a community that can withstand this challenge,” Baker said.

In addition to Winooski, portions of Williston, Burlington, South Burlington, Essex and Colchester also fall under the heightened airport noise level outlined in the newly released map.

Burlington Airport officials will hold a community meeting to discuss the new noise map Thursday, May 30 at 5 p.m. at the O’Brien Community Center, in Winooski.

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