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Enforcement Oppertunities for Hawaiians

Started by Richard E.T. Sadowski Jan 28, 2009.

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Comment by 9thiland Promotion on April 20, 2008 at 9:44am
There is a meeting on monday the 21st in Kona, details below. The planes will go as low as 300 ft. they will fly over the big island from north to south. The first attachment is about their new proposal, the second article is about what is already happening. B-2 bombers doing practice bomb runs over hawaii, dropping two thousand pound duds, on the middle of the big island, in the military training grounds. Please alert anybody you think should know.

Residents oppose C-17 training over Big Island
Noise, risk of accidents top concerns
by Carolyn Lucas
West Hawaii Today
Sunday, April 13, 2008 7:15 AM HST
A proposed military training route, being formalized by the U.S. Air Force, is running into opposition from residents worried about noisy cargo jets flying low over areas unaccustomed to such traffic and the risk involved.

The $200 million C-17 cargo jets and the process for the draft environmental assessment dominated the hour-long community meeting inside the Honokaa High School cafeteria. More than 100 people attended and embraced the opportunity to speak one-on-one with 12 state legislators. Besides the suggested flights, participants discussed the Kawaihae Bypass, farm preservation, land use laws, lacking enforcement of current laws, funding for community health centers and repairing of the Kohala Ditch.

A petition opposing a military training route over the Big Island because of safety, health, environmental and financial reasons was circulated. Hamakua Councilman Dominic Yagong mentioned the Air Force is scheduled to present its proposal before the Committee on Public Works and Intergovernmental Relations on April 21 at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort and Spa. Rep. Cindy Evans, D-North Kona, South Kohala, who chairs the Public Safety and Military Affairs Committee, announced a rally at 2 p.m. Saturday in Honokaa.

Many are fighting the flights and encouraging others to mobilize. They say the loud, low-flying planes disrupt communities and are simply out of place. They also claim the plan adversely affects residents, local aircraft, livestock and endangered species, such as the io.

Places on the mainland, including Nevada, were repeatedly deemed more appropriate for such exercises. Several despised military officials calling their hometowns "sparsely populated areas." A few expressed concern about having to disclose the presence of a military training route on land deeds and property values.

"Using our island for a training ground for war is not needed," said Honokaa resident Barbara Franklin. "There are other places they can go. This is the ultimate brazen disregard for the public."

Franklin said the route, if allowed, would be permanent and the planes would not be restricted to just the C-17. She also worries about the validity of the studies conducted for the EA, when the flight operations occur, the byproduct of the planes, as well as the imperilment of conducting potentially dangerous exercises over populated areas.

According to Bill George, Ahualoa resident and retired airline pilot, the pilots would most likely fly outside the route on their turns. Besides noise, he said C-17s would produce a shockwave, invasive enough to shake houses, before and after passage. He also was concerned about particulate matter from the exhaust contaminating crops.

Honokaa resident Reynolds Kamakawiwoole said it is "improper, unnecessary and unsafe" for C-17s to come to "this sacred island." He claimed the plane's movement, noise, pollution and vibrations would desecrate cultural resources, as well as interfere with the island's natural balance.

According to published reports in March by West Hawaii Today, the $200 million C-17 cargo jets were going to fly over Honokaa to a point about five miles southeast of Waikoloa, then on the Hilo side of Hualalai and south where they would pass five miles mauka of Captain Cook and continue south, flying over Ocean View before returning to the Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu. While the route avoided most populated areas, a proposed 10-mile-wide corridor could take flights over Captain Cook and the entire South Kona coastline from Honaunau to Milolii. Other populated areas within the proposed flight corridor were Honokaa, Ahualoa, Waikii and Ocean View.

Earlier this month, Col. John Torres, commander of the 15th Airlift Wing, stated the C-17s, 20 percent smaller than a Boeing 747, would be flying no lower than 300 feet over unpopulated areas and no lower than 2,000 feet over populated areas, as well as avoid Captain Cook, Ocean View and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The military training route is supposed to reduce the area where C-17s now operate from 14,400 square miles to less than 500 square miles. The corridor would range from four to seven miles wide and be about 70 miles long.

The draft EA for the military training route hasn't been released. However, the Air Force has said the public will have the opportunity to review and comment on the plan, which will eventually be available at local libraries and posted on the Hickam AFB Web site,

By AUDREY McAVOY, Associated Press Writer
Thu Nov 22, 7:09 AM ET

HONOLULU - More than 18,000 feet above the mountains on Hawaii's biggest island, two B-2 stealth bombers drop six 2,000-pound inert bombs on a training range below.

It's a scene being repeated monthly as the Air Force's sleek, boomerang-shaped planes use Hawaii for target practice. The aim is to make sure pilots are trained and ready to act if needed. The bombers have been assigned to Guam to deter North Korea and to fill gaps in the regional U.S. military presence created by deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

"There are very few potential adversaries in the world that don't understand and respect what this bomber capability can bring," said Col. Timothy Saffold, deputy commander of the 613th Air and Space Operations Center in Hawaii.

The B-2 bomber, which costs about $1.2 billion, is designed so that it doesn't show up on radar, giving it a unique ability to penetrate an enemy's defenses and go after heavily defended targets. It became available for military operations in 1997.

The planes have been flying test runs over Hawaii and Alaska since the Pentagon began rotating bombers through Guam in 2004. But they only started dropping inert bombs on the Big Island's Pohakuloa Training Area last month.

In the past, pilots only simulated dropping weapons over the islands. Now, they can see whether the bombs they release land where they are supposed to.

The planes are equipped to drop "smart" bombs, or weapons guided to their targets by GPS technology. But they don't use it in the Hawaii drills.

Instead, the airmen rely on gravity — and extensive data on wind speed and elevation — to deliver their unarmed bombs to the right spot.

Maj. Brian Bogue, deputy chief of strategy plans at the 613th Air and Space Operations Center, said such methods are extremely accurate and that there is little chance any bombs would stray off the Pohakuloa range.

Planners intentionally pick targets in the center of the range, Bogue said, adding that two miles is the closest any of the bombs has come to the range boundary.

Furthermore, because none of the bombs contains explosives, there's no danger of one going off.

During a training mission to Hawaii this month, the bombers flew about 18 hours roundtrip. Ohio Air National Guard tankers refueled the planes in midair twice along the way.

During the last refueling session before the bombers headed back to Guam, a B-2 traveling about 400 mph gently eased up to a KC-135 tanker 26,500 feet above the Pacific Ocean.

When the bomber was just 20 feet away, the tanker attached its boom to the B-2 and sent 35,000 gallons of gas into the bomber's tank.

On the way back from Pohakuloa, the bombers launched a simulated attack on Pearl Harbor to practice targeting naval assets. Part of their mission was to use their stealth capabilities to sneak past their make-believe adversary's radar and take out its defenses.

"This particular mission covers the full spectrum of what we can do," said Maj. Tim Hale, one of the pilots in the exercise.

The B-2 bombers assigned to Guam also fly to Alaska for similar training exercises at the Yukon range. Their permanent home is Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, where all 21 of the Air Force's B-2 bombers are based.

The U.S. military started rotating bombers — including B-1 and B-52 planes as well as the stealth variety — to Guam in March 2004.

The move compensated for U.S. forces diverted to fight in the Middle East. And it came as North Korea increasingly upped the ante in the standoff over its development of nuclear weapons.

In April 2003, North Korea told the U.S. it had nuclear weapons and might test them, export them or use them. Several months later it declared it reprocessed 8,000 spent fuel rods from a nuclear reactor. Such a move, if true, would yield enough plutonium for at least one nuclear bomb, experts say.

Bruce Bechtol, a professor at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College in Quantico, Va., said North Korea refers to the Guam bomber deployments in its propaganda, indicating it felt their presence.

Pyongyang realizes the U.S. would use the planes to respond if the North attacked South Korea, said Bechtol, an expert on air power on the Korean peninsula. It is also well aware of planes and forces the U.S. has amassed in Japan that could be used against it, he said.

"This all affects how North Korea looks at their foreign policy, how they look at the type of behavior they may engage in with their neighbor," Bechtol said

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