Letters to the Editor

Hydroplane noise is home-grown | Letter to the Editor

Rumor has it that the reason Vashon was, many years ago, spared from the low-flying jets passing into and out of SeaTac was that an influential member of our community had a seat on the board overseeing airport operations and was able to exempt us from the flight paths.

Seattle grew, the airport expanded, and we lost our clout. The jets that then populated our airspace were extremely loud and annoying, and we endured a pretty obnoxious 10 or 20 years. Since then the new generation of aircraft is considerably quieter, and it’s only the occasional plane that has to pass pretty low that probably violates the noise ordinance — along with occasional military helicopters from McChord and smaller but also loud med-evac choppers.

These intrusive sounds aren’t what you’d choose when you’re trying to believe you live in a relatively rural place. But since they happen often enough, you get somewhat accustomed to them and, if you’re able to, learn not to focus on them along with the raft of other things that bother in life.

The good thing about the once-a-year hydroplane noise is that, unlike these airborne irritants, it’s home-grown. Perhaps we could embrace it, along with the beans at Saturday market. “Wince local” could be the motto.

The bad thing about the brief but noisy race is that it only happens on July 4th. We don’t have the chance, as we do with recurring aircraft noises and neighbors’ barking dogs, to acclimatize. It stands out. Seems like the best solution would be to get the racers to go out and practice every week or two. Makes sense, doesn’t it? A side benefit would be the engines would help cover up the growing sound of folks pounding their keyboards to register their opinions on the art hangar.


— Richard Bard


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