New Miramar fighter jet poses safety concerns for University City residents

UNIVERSITY CITY, Calif. (KGTV)--Residents of University City are concerned about Marine Corps Air Station Miramar's plans to introduce a new jet to its fleet of aircraft. 

The stealth jet F-35C is noisier than most, some say, and brings with it safety issues. 

There have been complaints of rough takeoffs that could risk pilot health. In January, the Pentagon formed a team to investigate carrier takeoffs. Video shared by Business Insider shows two examples of extreme movements in the cockpit. 

The safety issues are a concern for the University City neighborhood, which experienced a deadly crash in 2008.

Four people lost their lives when an F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet crashed into a house, killing Youngmi Yoon, 36; Yoon's daughters Grace, 15 months, and Rachel, two months; and Yoon's mother Suk Im Kim, 60.  

Eight doors down from the home that the Hornet crashed into lives Ron Belanger. He's concerned that the new jets, which are scheduled to arrive here in 2020, will be noisier and will continue to follow what he calls an incorrect flight path right over the home he's lived in for 35 years.  

Belanger said he's worried the single-engine F-35C brings with it an increased risk of a deadly crash.

MCAS Miramar officials responded to 10News with details about the F-35's safety and noise records.  The F-35 has an exceptional safety track record, according to Major Kurt Stahl of the 3d Marine Aircraft Wing at MCAS Miramar.  As of March 2017, the F-35B had surpassed 25,500 flight hours.

Stahl said MCAS Miramar staff members meet every month with the University City planning group, and the base invites the community to send representatives to its monthly community leaders forum.  The dialogue has been open for years, said Stahl, who added that the tragedy in 2008 was a very different circumstance than routine flight operations that include aircraft taking off from MCAS Miramar.

WATCH: First F-35C carrier variant flight at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. 

The first four F-35C Lightning II aircraft arrived at Naval Air Station Lemoore in California's Central Valley in January. 

"The arrival of the F-35C at NAS Lemoore marks the beginning of what will be a critical element of our future carrier air wings and the future of naval aviation," Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker wrote. "To keep pace with global threats, we need to integrate a carrier-based 5th generation aircraft - the F-35C is that aircraft."

Sandy Coronilla is a KGTV digital producer. Follow her @10NewsSandy 

Print this article Back to Top