Though the noise of fighter jets is sometimes called “the sound of freedom,” not everyone wants to hear it.
The 18th Component Maintenance Squadron at Kadena Air Base, Japan, limits the noise impact on the local community by using the engine test facility on base rather than testing the machines on the flightline.
“This facility is important because we have to test engines that have gone through tear-down at the back shop to make sure that they are operationally ready for installment into aircraft,” said TSgt. William Noble, an aerospace propulsion craftsman with the 18th CMS. “We’re able to operate here at a reduced noise level for the community.”
Operating inside the test facility enables the technicians to check for leaks and other malfunctions while repeatedly operating the engine at full power. This testing would normally create about 140 decibels of sound – without any aircraft even leaving the ground. Kadena AB’s testing facility reduces the noise level to about 40 decibels, effectively reducing the noise of a jet engine to the level of a quiet conversation. Outside the soundproof structure, the decibels from roaring engines are hardly detectable.
Making sure the engines are functionally safe and ready for flight, before installment into the aircraft, limits noise experienced around the flightline to that of actual take-offs and landings, offering the people of Kadena AB a good night’s sleep.