CORONADO, Calif. – U.S. Navy officials held an open house in Coronado Wednesday night to address residents' concerns about the impact of a new fleet of V-22 Osprey aircraft coming to Naval Air Station North Island.
The more versatile tilt-rotor aircraft will eventually replace the aging C-2 Greyhound cargo planes on the base.
“The V-22 is a quantum leap forward that it brings to the strike group,” said Lt. Ross Nix. “With the V-22 a long runway is not required. We can take off and land in an area that is smaller than a football field.”
At an open house held by Navy officials to educate the public on the change, some residents said they are worried about noise from the aircraft.
“It’s extremely bad and the biggest thing is, it’s unnecessary,” said Reg Finch, a Coronado resident.
Finch went to the meeting to express his concerns about current helicopter noise from the base.
“That's the big concern. The people in the Cays are also very angry about this noise,” said Finch.
Plans are to begin construction on a new facility at NAS North Island next year, with the first of the Osprey aircraft arriving in 2020. The goal is to have the entire fleet in place by 2028.
Navy officials said preliminary studies show the Osprey will have little to no impact on the environment or the local community.
“We looked at traffic, we looked at socioeconomics, we looked at air quality, cultural resources, biological resources, all of those things,” said Lisa Padgett, an environmental engineer.
Richard Keys, who studied noise impact, told residents there will be little change between the two aircraft.
“Its propellers have a little more vibration but the overall noise levels are very similar,” said Keys.
Keys also said at NAS North Island, the Osprey will function more like a plane than a helicopter -- a plan Finch is on board with.
“If they don’t change their tactics eventually to the helicopter procedures then it’s fine, we’ll all be thrilled to death with that,” said Finch.
The former Navy pilot said if anyone understands about noise, he does.
“If anybody is going to put up with this kind of stuff it’s us,” said Finch.
Navy officials said the deadline for public comment has been extended until February 26.