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SECURITY > Okinawa

Osprey night flights increase 1.5-fold

  • September 9, 2017
  • , Ryukyu Shimpo , p. 1
  • JMH Translation

The Okinawa Defense Bureau released on Sept. 8 the results of a survey of Osprey flight conducted at the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma airfield from April 2016 to March 2017 (fiscal 2016). There were 1,370 takeoffs and 1,345 landings for a total of 2,715, representing  a 14% increase from the previous fiscal year. The number of landings and takeoffs after 10:00 p.m. was 116 times, marking a 53% increase from the previous fiscal year even though such flights are restricted under the bilateral agreement on Aircraft Noise Abatement Countermeasures.

 

The bureau conducted the survey every day except for Saturdays, Sundays, and national holidays using flight path observation devices and aerial cameras, checking the flight paths of not only Ospreys but also other rotary-wing airplanes (helicopters).

 

The helicopter flight path record showed that some flights deviated from the paths bilaterally agreed upon in 2007. The bureau explained that in light of the fact that pilots changed their flight paths according to weather conditions such as wind direction and wind speed, the deviations do not necessarily mean that the U.S. military did not abide by the agreement.

 

On Sept. 8, the bureau explained the results of the survey to the Okinawa prefectural government and relevant municipalities, including Ginowan, Chatan, Kitanakagusuku, and Nakagusuku. An official of Ginowan said: “We have seen aircraft deviating from ordinary traffic patterns and flying over residential areas. The number of complaints received from residents is increasing and citizens do not feel as though the base-hosting burden has been reduced.”

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