Borrego Sun - Since 1949

Point of View: Is Airport Noise From Military Aircraft Really A Problem?


Last updated 4/3/2019 at 11:09am

In my seven years living in Borrego Springs, including going on five years writing for the Borrego Sun, I have met and talked to a lot of people, from Rams Hill to Coyote Creek, and from the State Park to beyond the airport. This includes permanent residents, snowbirds, and visitors alike. So I tend hear stuff, both good and bad, about life in Borrego.

On the “good” side, as a few examples, I hear frequently about a community that sticks together and rises up in support of worthy causes, both with voluntarism and money. Or a golf course with greens in top shape. Or a an eating establishment having a great menu. Or I attend and report on the spectacular aerobatic contests held a couple of times a year.

On the “bad” side, I hear about such issues as our aquifer depletion situation, stagnant real estate prices, and spiked electricity costs during the hottest days of the year.

But until reading Linda Haddock’s very well written and sourced front-page article in the March 7 issue of the Borrego Sun, “Millions of Dollars Could Fly Away,” complaints of excessive noise emanating from airport-based military operations never passed through my ears. I have never heard, in thousands upon thousands of conversations, a single complaint on this supposed “issue” from anyone in Borrego.

Because I live at the RoadRunner Club, I’m as close to the source of airport-based noise as most Borregans get. For me, with very good hearing, it’s not in any way annoying, but rather a normal but infrequent part of Borrego life.

There are, apparently, a few folks in the community who have raised concerns over military airplane noise, although if pressed for the event’s duration, they would have to honestly admit it lasts but a few seconds.

I know this to be true because I have seen the aircraft and heard the engines of a C-130 paratrooper transport flying overhead, and landing and taking off less than a mile from my home, and for me it’s all about brief visual pleasure rather than protracted audible irritation.

When paratroopers at altitude are approaching the ground in formation, there is no sound whatsoever. It is, however, as with hundreds of Swainson’s Hawks kettling in the Borrego skies, quite a unique and beautiful sight to behold. While Borrego Sun policy dictates that we do not write about military operations, we have reported, and very critically, on a single improper grading incident related to training exercises, but that involved possible violation of County grading ordinances, not noise complaints.

So who are these complainers? Do you live here full time, or only part of the year when military operations are coincidentally more frequent? Do you plan to stay here, or perhaps sell your home due to all the airplane noise and skedaddle to a location even more remote than Borrego, free of any and all irritating noises?

If you’re out there, Noise Abater, please come forward and state your case. I’d love to hear your evidence of a whole lot of folks in our community who are irked by excessive military aircraft noise, with enough evidence at least to justify a change in the status quo that would result in a substantial diminution of community-wide economic activity should the military take up its parachutes and go home.

But I, for one, really don’t attach any importance at all to noise complaints from few select people, given the many thousands of Borregans who are obviously fine with it, and neither should military leadership. Instead, a nice warm smile and “Thank you for your input” should be their mantra.

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