A new high-tech, high-priced fighter jet may soon be taking to the skies at MCAS Miramar, and not everyone is happy about it.
The news comes nearly two months after an FA/18 Hornet jet crashed into University City, killing four people. Residents who live in the flight path have serious concerns already, and the military tried to address those concerns at a meeting Tuesday night.
Noise and safety were among those concerns of residents who came to the open house-style meeting at the Mira Mesa Library to ask questions and learn more about the F-35. The jet is also known at the Joint Strike Fighter. In several years, the jet could take the place of the FA/18 Hornet squadrons at Miramar.
It could be several years before San Diegans see the new jets in the skies over area, according to a Marine Corps spokesman, who added that the military wants to hear from residents now.
Del Mar resident Faye Detsky-Weil came to the meeting ready to get some answers.
"Are they the same flight patterns?" Detsky-Weil asked at the gathering. "What's the difference in noise and emissions?"
The fighter jet crash on Dec. 8 occurred down the street from David Skillin’s home. Skillin said the accident has put local neighborhoods on edge.
“All of those communities realize that a plane could go down in their community at any time because they are flying overhead at all points throughout the day," Skillin said.
At the meeting, residents submitted written comments to the military. Officials with MCAS Miramar said they would listen to those concerns. Skillin said one of his greatest concerns is, unlike the FA/18, the new F-35 jet has only one engine.
“That means the possibility exists if one of their engines goes down the plane is coming down," Skillin said.
Officials with MCAS Miramar said the FA/18s are getting old, and their replacements are equipped with cutting-edge technology.
"It goes beyond what we have today," MCAS Miramar spokesman Major Jay De La Rosa said. "With the modern technology or updated technology going into it, it is, from what I understand, a safer aircraft."