Why are F-35 fighter jets flying over Madison, and why are they so loud?

Jan 10, 2024 | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Claire Reid
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Noisy and distracting. The source of valuable economic and job opportunities. An environmental threat. “The most advanced fighter weapons system that the Air Force has ever fielded.”

All this and more has been used by citizens, politicians and experts to describe the new F-35A fighter jets that regularly fly over Madison’s north and east sides. However they feel about the jets, plenty of Madisonians are well aware of them thanks to the F-35’s loud single engine.

“F-35s disrupt my work whenever they fly over …,” Finn Enke of Madison wrote in an email shared with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “The volume, duration and closeness of the planes overhead take over the whole environment, even inside with windows closed.”

The F-35s have been flying out of Madison’s Truax Field Air National Guard Base, at the Dane County Regional Airport, since late April of last year. However, the process of bringing the jets to Madison took about seven years. Many citizens, activists and organizations protested the jets from the time the possibility of their arrival was announced and have continued to oppose them for a variety of reasons.

Here’s a short overview of the new fighter jets and a look into the controversy they’ve caused in Wisconsin’s capital city.

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