Colorado

Nov 9, 2010 12:05 AM by Matt Stafford

Aviation brigade closer to reality, group picks up protests

Helicopters definitely aren't quiet.

"There's no way to make a helicopter a silent bird," says Bill Sulzman. "They have huge engines and they make a lot of noise."

Sulzman has a protest group named just for that noise called the "Stop the Whop Whop Campaign." He says his group of several dozen is concerned about the noise and other issues' impact on the neighboring community if Fort Carson adds a new aviation brigade.

That process of waiting on the Army's decision just passed another step; environmental impact. Fort Carson was listed as one of two posts meeting all of the Army's stationing requirements for an aviation brigade; the other being Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state.

The only issues having to do with soil at the Mountain Post, and the Pinon Canyon Maneuvering Site. The Army says the issues could be significant, but are fixable.

The noises, and other issues Sulzman is concerned with, were listed as having less than significant impacts; but Fort Carson brass are still showing them attention.

"We have to work on what out our flight patterns and what the impacts will be in the community," explains Col. Robert McLaughlin, garrison commander for the Mountain Post.

But, no matter how much work they do, they know they won't make everyone happy.

"Some people call it the sounds of freedom, others call it an annoyance," says Col. McLaughlin.

"If you don't need this, it's not the sound of freedom; it's the sound of excess," Sulzman counters, questioning the need for the brigade at Fort Carson. However Col. McLaughlin says it's critical to the training of their troops.

Sulzman says his group plan will be picking up protest efforts, as Fort Carson is waiting on orders. No word yet on when a decision could come from the Army.

To see the Army's draft Programmatic Environental Impact Statement, click here.

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