Military aircraft, including Navy fighter jets, frequently fly over the mountains of Pocahontas County on training missions. They also pass over highways, homes and communities, sometimes startling residents with their sudden, loud noise.
A Hillsboro resident wrote to The Pocahontas Times:
“Just now the Navy jets went over my house so low I jumped sitting inside house with windows and doors shut (of course it’s winter). I jump, dog jumps, look outside and horses were disturbed. It startles me, which scares me, which makes me angry.
“These jets fly so low that the sound alone feels as an assault and invasion of space. I’ve been driving on 219 and had them fly over from behind, startling me, thinking I was being passed by a Harley or big truck and causing me to be distracted and think I needed to get out of the way (not a good thing on the roads narrow lanes and limited shoulder). I would not buy a house to commit to living full time in this flight corridor because of their impact to me; even though it’s not daily, the days they do fly are very disturbing due to the low level and loud noise.”
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulates civilian flights in the U.S., but has no authority to regulate the operations of military aircraft. However, the FAA provides guidance on where to direct complaints about military aircraft noise. Persons near a military installation are advised to contact the public relations office of that installation.
People not living near a military installation, like the residents of Pocahontas County, are advised to contact the Department of Defense Noise Working Group (DODNWG). According to the DODNWG website:
“We are currently working to obtain a list of POCs [points of contact] for military installations that will soon be available on this site. There are no Defense Noise Working Group members available to directly address noise concerns, however we will do our best to help forward any concerns to the appropriate POCs until a contact list is available. To better address your concerns, please include your location and who you have already contacted regarding your concerns in your message when you contact the DOD Noise Working Group.”
The DODNWG website can be found at www.denix.osd.mil/dnwg/NoiseComplaints.cfm. An online contact form is provided at the site.
According to FAA regulations, no civilian aircraft is allowed to fly lower than 1,000 feet over “a city, town or settlement.”
To report low-flying civilian aircraft, residents can contact the Charleston Flight Standards District Office, 301 Eagle Mountain Road, Charleston, WV 25311.