The smoke that blanketed Western Washington from devastating fires here, in California and Oregon forced residents to remain indoors with widows closed. For those of us who live in proximity to these fires, and grapple with their long-term health impacts it is hell on earth. This past week our air was simply not safe to breathe.
This new emergency has been added to the Covid threat. People are stressed and depressed. That’s why when the jets were flying over our region as the smoke was engulfing us, we asked the Navy to stop flying until the skies cleared.
Amazingly, the Navy refused to change its flight schedule as the smoke thickened!
The governor’s staff contacted the Navy on our behalf and here’s what they related to me: “I was able to get through to Captain Matt Arny this evening. He indicated that at this time he is not considering adjustments to the Growler flight schedule.”
One Growler burns an average of 1,315 gallons of fuel per hour in the Field Carrier Landing Practice configuration of landing gear down, flaps down, low altitude and slow speed. This configuration requires high thrust to stay airborne, so jets must engage afterburners, quadrupling fuel consumption. Another way to state this is that Growlers use 22 gallons of fuel per minute, or the equivalent of one 55-gallon drum every 2 1/2 minutes.
Now multiply that fuel use by four jets in a single training session and then by four to six sessions in a day, and you can understand why this should alarm all of us; as these jets add massive amounts of major pollutants into our air.
The Navy MUST stop injuring people of our state by acting like their mission is more important than our health.