Supervisors concerned about Navy’s plans

Published 9:35 am Wednesday, September 26, 2012


COURTLAND—The Southampton County supervisors on Monday voted unanimously to write a letter of concern over the proposed use of the Emporia-Greensville Regional Airport for touch-and-go practice landings by the Navy.

This was after supervisors learned from Drewryville resident Joan Harrell that a portion of the airport lies in Southampton County.

“The thing that I don’t think most people realize, as I did not before skimming the proposal, is that 30 acres of this field are in Southampton County,” Harrell said. “And the proposal describes the holding pattern as well as the approach over Southampton County.”

The Emporia-Greensville Regional Airport in June 2011 submitted a proposal to the Navy.

The Franklin City Council voted twice in early 2011 not to allow the Navy the use of the Franklin Municipal Airport for the same purpose of touch-and-go practice landings.

The Navy hopes to use the Emporia airfield for practice landings of turboprops stationed at Naval Station Norfolk.

The Navy seeks to utilize an airfield within 90 miles of its base.

The Emporia airfield is within 65 miles and the second potential site at Wallops Island is about 70 miles away.

Under the proposal, these twin-engine turboprops would conduct up to 45,000 passes annually, with the field being used 20 out of 30 days a month. Navy operations will facilitate aircraft carrier approach and touch and go landings.

“This will be in my back yard,” said Supervisor Chairman Dallas Jones, who represents the Drewryville District. “If they use the airport, we will get nothing but noise, nothing else.”

“Every time these planes would practice, the decibels would be equal to a vacuum cleaner running constantly less than three feet from you,” Harrell added.