Noise is an integral part of military training. The F-16 can fly as fast as 1,550 miles per hour. At 1,000 feet above the ground, at 500 mph, the plane generates 114 decibels of sound pressure, roughly equivalent to someone shouting in your ear. Minimum cruising speed generates 89 decibels, above the level at which OSHA requires hearing protection.
The sheer volume of studies on the impacts of noise to our physical and psychological well being points to the magnitude of the problem. A May 2017 article in Science, titled “Noise Pollution is Invading Even the Most Protected Natural Areas,” states that, “[n]oise pollution from humans has doubled sound levels in more than half of all protected areas in the United States—from local nature reserves to national parks—and it has made some places ten times louder, according to a new study. And the cacophony isn’t just bad for animals using natural sounds to hunt and forage—it could also be detrimental to human health.”
The increased presence of aircraft and sudden, unexpected noise over the Gila National Forest poses risks to human safety. Loud, low-flying aircraft that appear to “come from out of nowhere” can easily spook horses and mules, who may throw their riders, causing injuries and even fatalities to equestrians, hunters, packers, and outfitters.
“Noise Pollution is Invading Even the Most Protected Natural Areas,” Science, May 2017
Community Aircraft Noise: A Public Health Issue – Literature Review
Aviation Noise Effects, Federal Aviation Administration, 1985