Navy should look elsewhere

Published 8:01 am Wednesday, February 2, 2011

To the Editor:

There have been many letters to the editor about the Navy’s intention to practice carrier landing at the Franklin Municipal Airport. We support our troops and their efforts to protect and preserve our freedom, however, we also have concerns.

Our first concern is safety. Takeoffs and landings are the most critical times during a flight. There are more systems on an aircraft being used at that time than any other. Even with the Navy agreeing to limit the number of practice planes to three, the planes will be flying at a low altitude over Southampton Memorial Hospital, The Village at Woods Edge, Franklin High School, the YMCA, a daycare center and several heavily populated residential areas.

During the three-hour practice session, each plane will change pilots two times while in the air, which in our opinion increases the chance for something to go wrong. With the number of planes being limited to three, the practice sessions could last up to nine hours a day for more than 200 days a year.

If one of the planes were to have an accident, the potential for loss of lives and destruction to property is extremely high.

Secondly, the quality of life for residents in the area of the practice sessions will diminish considerably, with planes flying over at low altitude for three, six or more hours a day, 200 days a year.

This will reduce property values in these areas and increase the tax burden on the rest of Franklin. The practice sessions will, in all likelihood, have a negative impact on all of Franklin and the surrounding area because it will be a less desirable place to live.

The advantage of having a regional airport, which might not be attractive any longer to prospective industries, will disappear because anyone who wants to use the airport will have to work around the Navy’s practice schedule.

It is our belief that any City Council member who supports this effort does not have the best interest of the city or its citizens in mind. A practice that negatively impacts part of our city affects all of us.

Any benefits that the City of Franklin might receive as a result of an agreement with the Navy will be far outweighed by the damages incurred by Isle of Wight, Southampton, and Franklin communities. We encourage the Navy to seek an alternative site for its carrier landing practice.

Jim Evans
John Walter