San Diego

MCAS Miramar Hosts Community Forum After More Than a Year

Marine Corps Air Station Miramar invited community members from surrounding neighborhoods onto their base Thursday for a community forum, the first in more than a year.

Residents from the city of San Diego to Santee came to the base, hopeful to get a little more information on what they can expect ahead of the arrival of the new F-35B Lightning II aircraft.

Neighbors were mostly concerned about one thing: noise.

“Last night I was watching TV and the jets kept flying by and I’d have to pause the TV. It’s a minor inconvenience for the amount of security and the importance of the base,” said Tony Garcia, an attendee of the forum.

Capt. Matthew Gregory keeps a binder full of concerns sent to him over email. He says they're all from five or six residents in University City. He started the binder in September of last year, and now the binder has been filled.

"And this is a lot of incoming communications alleging noise complaints and safety concerns," said Gregory.

There is plenty of aircraft that fly through the region. A chart showed during the presentation depicts all the FAA registered fixed-wing flights between here and Los Angeles. All that you see on the chart are lines that are the routes the aircraft’s take that have blocked the map underneath, and this is just one day.

But significant changes are coming mainly to the new F-35B’s.

Col. Dockery told NBC 7 they'll be one to two decibels louder than the FA-18E Super Hornet at takeoff. They will also require the construction of new hangars.

Not exactly music to some ears but the Marines hope it gives some transparency.

“That's why we're here today to help everyone come to a mutual understanding about what operations on MCAS Miramar look like,” Gregory said.

Col. Dockery said he expects the first of about 60 F-35B’s jets to arrive the beginning of next year. But the total replacement of the F-18E’s will take approximately 10 years.

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