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    Did You Hear Them? Take-Offs & Intervening Landing By F-18's As Part of Toyota Grand Prix "Fly-By"

    (April 13, 2003, updated April 14) -- Did you hear them? Several F-18s made two take-offs and an intervening landing in connection with the April 13 Toyota Grand Prix of LB.

    F18 Grand Prix April 13The F-18s, which arrived late Friday afternoon (April 11), took off from LB Airport at about noon April 13, flew over the LB Grand Prix, then returned to LB Airport (one over ELB, right) about an hour later.

    [update] One (perhaps two, hard to get precise info) departed at about 7:40 p.m. on April 13. Two took off on Monday morning April 14 between 10:25 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. [end update]

    Further details, including noise levels, were not immediately available. It is standard procedure for F-18's to use afterburners on take offs, producing noise levels expected for military purposes significantly louder than commercial aircraft.

    An March 30 F18 fly by following a CA Angels game produced noise measured at or slightly below 111 dB. The highest level allowed for LB commercial departures is 102.5 db single event noise level and many are in the 90 dB range.

    Sound decibels (powers of 10) reflect logarithmic increases...and a 10 dB increase is roughly (very roughly) perceived as double the noise level. (Time of day is also a factor; a noise perceived as moderate at 2 p.m. may be perceived as very loud at 2 a.m.) A memo several years ago by LB Airport's acoustical consultant [attached to an airport staff report opposing new residential development proposed at the Boeing site] described noise levels as follows:

    "Each 10 dB increase is doubling of perceived loudness...At the 85 SENEL the maximum noise level is twice as loud as normal speech and would require raised voice level to communicate. At 95 SENEL the loudness would be perceived as twice as loud again and would be comparable to shouting voice level."

    Military flights are categorically exempt from LB's Airport noise ordinance limits. City Hall treats the F-18 flights for the CA Angels game and LB Grand Prix as exempt, meaning their noise did not violate LB's noise limits.

    [ comment: In our opinion, these F18 flights were for corporate promotional purposes and in our view, the corporate interests that arranged them do not deserve the exemption.]

    The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is owned and operated by Grand Prix Association of Long beach, Inc., a subsidiary of Dover Motorsports, Inc.

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