Noise Level Comparisons: F-35 and other Aircraft

Representative Chris Taylor on hearing the jets: “On the way to meet a Sun Valley resident who is going to share with me how the F-35s have ruined his neighborhood. BTW, since hearing multiple F-35s take off and land, my ears are clogged and my head is splitting.”

The Air Force & Arizona Star Got It Right the First Time: 

The F-35 is much louder than the F-16 and A-10.

The Arizona Star reported that the F-35 fighter projects 121 decibels (db) of noise to the ground, 25 decibels more than the F-16, at the same speed and altitude. Later, the Star corrected the estimate of the F-35 noise to 98 db, based on numbers provided by Davis-Monthan. But D-M’s numbers are contradicted by 6 years of consistent Air Force reports.

Five independently prepared Air Force documents show that at most altitudes and speeds, the noise on the ground below the F-35 will be an average of 16 decibels louder than the loudest F-16 currently flying from D-M/TIA (a difference of roughly 60 times the physical energy & more than three times as loud perceptually).

  • The Elgin AFB Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) reports the F-35 at 500 mph was 121 db, & the F-16 was 97 db (a 24 db difference).
  • A joint empirical test by the AF & Lockheed reported the F-35 at 121 db at 1,000 ft, and 500 mph. While the F-16 at the same speed and height, was 114 db (a 7 db difference).
  • The Nellis EIS, reported the F-35 at minimum (cruising) power at 1,000 feet was 103 db, and the F16 at 89 db (a 14 db difference).
  • The Luke Air Force Base EIS, report landing estimates for the F-35, at normal military power (full throttle without afterburner) was 79 db, compared to the 66 db of the F-16 (a 13 db difference).
  • The Burlington Vermont EIS, reports that the F-35 produces 115 db at ground level, on take-off, while the F-16 produces 94 db (a 21 db difference).

These five Air Force reports show that D-M’s claim is completely wrong. And, Regardless of the real difference between the F-35 and the F-16, it will be at least 25 db louder than D-M’s A10s, which are the most frequent Air Force plane over Tucson – a difference of about 400 times the physical energy, which will sound about 6 times as loud.

Typical data from Air Force Environmental Impact Statements report that the F-35 is much louder than all other fighters. Note that the A-10 is at least 15 db quieter than the quietest F-16, and at least 25 db quieter than the F-35). 

Tucson Forward, original article


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