Whidbey Examiner


Flight schedules are a step in the right direction

By MEGAN HANSEN Whidbey Examiner Co-Editor
January 10, 2013 · 3:31 PM

Just a little more than one month after an online petition was started to stop flight operations at Coupeville’s Outlying Field, residents are seeing response.

Naval Air Station Whidbey Island extended the olive branch this week, showing it wants to work with the community.

On Monday the air station released a general flight operations schedule for OLF Coupeville.

While it’s a far cry from the schedules it used to release, it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

I understand times have changed. Security is tighter than it was in the past.

I think that while residents understand schedules stopped being released for security reasons, they are frustrated.

More than 1,100 people signed the online petition.

In response to the public outcry, officials from all over the island met to come up with a solution.

Talking to the new public affairs officer, Mike Welding, this week, I get the impression the Navy is trying hard to institute new measures to work with the public.

“Our plan is to be consistent and get it out every week,” he told a reporter this week. “It’s an outreach program to let people know what’s going on with the training operations at OLF Coupeville.”

The release we received Monday gives the public a general idea of when to expect an active airstrip.

Flights are planned for the afternoon to early evening hours through Thursday and during the afternoon only on Friday.

The release advised that weather and operational or training requirements could result in unexpected changes to the announced schedule.

The Whidbey Examiner posted the schedule immediately online this week and almost instantaneously got positive response from the public.

People are happy communication is happening and they are being heard.

While some will continue to be upset about the continued noise, at least they know when to expect it.

In an effort to get information to the public as effectively as possible, the Whidbey Examiner is working with NAS Whidbey.

While there may be some kinks to work out in this plan, readers should expect to have access to the general flight operations schedule via www.whidbeyexaminer.com.

A button on the main webpage will take readers to the most current flight schedule for the following week.

Information should be updated on Thursday afternoons for the following week’s flight schedule.



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