`Hush House' Quiets Navy Jet Tests

The Florida Times Union, September 14, 1996 | Go to article overview

`Hush House' Quiets Navy Jet Tests


Shhhhh. Be very, very quiet.

The Navy is testing a fighter jet's monstrously loud engines at

full power and, if the Jacksonville Naval Aviation Depot's new

"hush house" works as advertised, neighbors should hear barely a

thing.

The addition of the sound-muffling chamber will allow the depot,

an aircraft repair and rework facility, to test virtually all

Navy carrier-based aircraft and most Air Force tactical planes.

The addition of the hush house played a key role in allowing

the depot, which employs more than 4,200 people, to take over

F-14 Tomcat and EA-6B Prowler work.

"Had we not been able to figure out how to keep this aircraft

quiet at military [full] power, we would not have transferred

that aircraft to Jacksonville," said Capt. Don Rice, the depot

commander. The Navy said the hush house brings noise levels to

"within acceptable community noise standards."

Rice dedicated the new facility on Monday, making a speech in

front of the hush house as the engine of an F-14 whirred away

inside.

"This acoustically pure facility will allow us to do quiet

testing of the Navy's most powerful jet fighters at maximum

aircraft power," he said. "If you have not heard one of these

fighters at maximum power, it's an awesome experience."

And to prove it, Rice ordered the doors to the hush house

opened up so the crowd could hear unmuffled what a Tomcat sounds

like at just 80 percent of its peak power.

The Navy acquired the hush house, formally known as an aircraft

acoustical enclosure, from the Northrop-Grumman aircraft

manufacturing company, which was closing a facility in New York.

The building was taken apart, refurbished and then reassembled

at Jacksonville Naval Air Station. The Navy figures it saved $1

million by avoiding building a new hush house.

DON'T FORGET TO PACK YOUR TANK: Helicopters, tanks, Bradley

Fighting Vehicles and other military equipment were loaded onto

a ship in Georgia this week to test the Army's ability to move

out fast. …

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