Forget the Military; Tucsonans Need to Preserve Tourism

Things I wish had been in "Noise vs. Jobs" (Currents, June 30):

• Noise "attenuation" may help those who live right next to the airport, but how about the tens of thousands of us who live in the basin and who are exposed to the sound of a "large truck at 50 feet" many times a day? This flight frequency will go up considerably if the F-35s come here.

• Operation Snowbird is the Air Force renting our city to foreigners so they don't need to have the pollution and noise of these jets over their cities. Jets of this type burn about 2,000 pounds of fuel per hour. We breathe that exhaust so the Dutch, etc., don't have to. The Air Force gets the money; we get the noise, risk (they are practicing, after all) and dirt.

• Where do you get the "thousands of jobs" data? I have never seen an unbiased, objective study on the economic impact of Davis-Monthan Air Fore Base.

More interesting is the risk of "thousands of jobs" in the tourism industry, including the real estate and other business generated by snowbirds who are a huge but un-commented-on part of the economy. The flight paths of all northbound aircraft already take them near most of the high-end resorts and snowbird condos in the foothills. Who will want to pay $500-plus a day to bask under 130 decibels of noise every few minutes? There are already rumors that jet noise has been a problem for some of the high-end hotels in the central area.

• In theory, a twin-engine A-10 can get home on one engine. An F-35 only has one engine; when it fails, the plane crashes. The risk of accidents goes up greatly with these planes, and they fly over the university, many schools and hospitals, as well as our homes. What parent would not obsess over the possibility of one of these jets plunging into the dorms at UA?

The Tucson basin is one of the most beautiful areas of desert in the Southwest. The tourism industry here, both present and future, is worth billions. Politicians and businessmen are willing to throw that away so they can stroke their pro-military constituents.

Shame on us if we let them get away with it.

James Collins

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