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General Dubie addresses the press
General Dubie addresses the press

Vermont Air National Guard defends F-35s

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The plan to base a new fleet of F-35 fighter jets at Burlington International Airport has generated hot debate in surrounding communities. If the new jets do bed down at the airport, they will run training flights over the Adirondacks and Watertown. The F-35 is louder than the F-16s that currently fly in and out of Burlington.

The public comment period about the proposed plan has just ended. Now, the Vermont Air National Guard is weighing in. Sarah Harris has more.

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General Michael Dubie is head of the Vermont Air National Guard. He called a press conference at Camp Johnson in Colchester, Vermont, to address what he called inaccuracies and hyperbole in the public’s response to the potential arrival of F-35s in Burlington.

"It has now become apparent that some members of our community have been making statements that are just not accurate," Dubie said. He looked to quell concerns about noise from the planes, as well as home buyback and property values around the airport. He said the Environmental Impact Statement released by the Air Force doesn’t take into account the Vermont Air National Guard’s own rules.

"What these documents do not take into account is our local procedures that we fly by to specifically mitigate noise," Dubie said. He also explained how the Air Force chose Burlington as a potential location for the new aircraft and said, "They looked at our runway length, they looked at our hangar space, they looked at the air space that we fly on, that looked at a whole slew of factors and they evaluated them with 205 other bases."

In Late May, the South Burlington City Council voted against allowing the F-35 to bed down at the airport. A decision from the Air Force is expected this fall.

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