Boise officials to investigate F-35s on Utah trip, hope to hear the jets

F-35s lined up on the tarmac at Hill AFB near Ogden, Utah. USAF photo.

F-35s lined up on the tarmac at Hill AFB near Ogden, Utah. USAF photo.

Several officials with the City of Boise will travel to Utah next week - and some of them will take a sideline to Hill Air Force Base.

Mayor Dave Bieter, City Councilors Elanie Clegg and Lauren McLean will all be in town for an undisclosed economic development project. They will be joined by Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Amber Pence on a sidetrip to Hill.

"Since they will be in town, the mayor and two council members wanted to visit with officials at Hill AFB about their F-35 mission and possibly hear an F-35," City of Boise Communications Director Mike Journee said via e-mail.

The City of Boise has said it is not advocating for or against the F-35, only for a continued flying mission at Gowen Field.  The Air Force is currently evaluating retiring the A-10 mission - a portion of which is hosted at Gowen. The USAF is also evaluating Gowen as a potential site to host the F-35.  City officials note the large economic impact the base generates for the Boise economy.

 The moves have some neighbors on alert - as the F-35 jets have the potential to be significantly louder than the current A-10s.  An A-10 produces 99.9 decibels, while the F-35 can top out at 125 decibels.  More than 1,500 residents signed a recent petition encouraging the City of Boise to reconsider its action on the F-35.

For comparison, 100 decibels is about the sound level from a motorcyle in riding mode - while 125 decibels compares to that of a balloon popping (over a more sustained period).

Journee notes the economic development trip isn't related to the Hill activities.

For those travelling to Hill and the economic development meeting - taxpyayers will shell out about $2,460.  Three more official will attend just the economic meeting but not make the journey to Hill AFB.