Naval Outlying Field Coupeville
Aerial view - NOLF Coupeville as seen from US Navy helicopter
|Location||Island County, near Coupeville, Washington|
|Elevation AMSL||199 ft / 61 m|
Naval Outlying Field Coupeville—or NOLF Coupeville—(ICAO: KNRA, FAA LID: NRA) is a military airport located two miles (3 km) southeast of Coupeville, Washington, in Island County. The airfield is owned and operated by the United States Navy. NOLF Coupeville nearly touches State Route 20 and is about 10 miles south of the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station.
History and usage
NOLF Coupeville, also known as OLF Coupeville, was commissioned for use by the US Navy in 1943. It currently supports day and night Field Carrier Landing Practice (FCLP) operations by the US Navy's EA-18G Growler. Prior to the EA-18G being the only tailhook aircraft stationed at NAS Whidbey, the EA-6B Prowler, A-6 Intruder and the A-3 Skywarrior were also supported for carrier landing practice out of the OLF.
Landing practice flight operations allow Naval Aviators and on-board crew to fly in patterns as well as practice touch-and-go landings, simulating carrier landings and take offs. During these practice runs, jet aircraft approach the runway and touch down where a simulated tailhook is painted on the deck. The jet then immediately takes off again and loops around the field to prepare for another landing and take off. Each aircraft makes multiple touch-and-go landings during these training events. While performing the touch and go maneuvers, the practicing aircraft fly at appropriate[according to whom?] altitudes and speeds in addition to flying at or near sea level. OLF Coupeville is seen by the Navy as an ideal airfield for this type of carrier training due to its remote location and low ambient lighting, allowing pilots and crew to have the optimum experience for replication of landing aboard an aircraft carrier.
Jet noise has been an on and off concern to residents living near the Navy jet training field. In July 2013, a local citizens' group filed a lawsuit asking for an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) examining EA-18G Growler flight operations at NOLF Coupeville and NAS Whidbey Island. By 2014, the Navy had initiated an ongoing EIS to, "Evaluate the potential environmental effects associated with ongoing and future Growler operations at NAS Whidbey Island’s Ault Field and Outlying Landing Field (OLF) Coupeville." In September 2013, the citizens' group placed the litigation on hold until the study was completed..
The study was completed in March of 2019 and approved an increase in OLF Coupeville use to 12,000 Touch-and-go landings per year at OLF Coupeville from the previous 3,000+ and "an increase from approximately 90 hours (1 percent of total hours per year) to 360 hours (4 percent of total hours per year) in aircraft activity at OLF Coupeville." The decision received mixed community reviews. At least one citizens' group opposed to the flight operations has publicly pledged to keep protesting the OLF's use. The protests have grown to a point where one group - Citizens of Ebey's Reserve - initiated litigation in US Federal District Court, as did the Washington State Attorney General's Office separately concerned about National Historic Preservation Act, National Environmental Policy Act and Endangered Species Act compliance..
- FAA Airport Master Record for NRA ( PDF)
- MARCOA (2017-03-03). "My Base Guide - NAS Whidbey Island History". mybaseguide.com (registered DOD contractor). Archived from the original on 2018-06-23. Retrieved 2018-06-23.
- Walker, Naval Air Systems Command, Operational Environmental Planning Public Affairs, Rebecca (2002-06-17). "Field Carrier Landing Practices -- The Foundation of Carrier Aviation". navy.mil. Archived from the original on 2018-06-23. Retrieved 2018-06-23.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- The Onyx Group (March 2005). "Aircraft Installations Compatible Use Zones (AICUZ) Study Update for Naval Air Station Whidbey Island's Ault Field and Outlying landing Field Coupeville" (PDF). Government Publication. Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Southwest, San Diego, California. pp. Figure 4–4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 September 2015. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
- Burnett, Justin (21 July 2013). "Federal Suit Filed; OLF Practices Suspended". Whidbey News-Times. Whidbey Newsgroup. Archived from the original on 28 July 2014. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
- "Environmental Impact Statement for the EA-18G Growler Airfield Operations". US Navy. n.d. Archived from the original on 27 July 2014. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
- Reid, Janis (19 September 2013). "Anti-OLF group putting federal suit on hold". Whidbey News-Times. Whidbey Newsgroup. Archived from the original on 28 July 2014. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
- "Final Environmental Impact Statement for the EA-18G Growler Airfield Operations". US Navy. 12 March 2019. Archived from the original on 13 April 2019. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
- Stensland, Jessie (14 March 2019). "Navy announces decision on Growlers". Whidbey News-Times. Whidbey Newsgroup. Archived from the original on 13 April 2019. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
- Boxleitner, Kirk (20 March 2019). "Navy green-lights additional Growler flights for region". Port Townsend Leader. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
- Stensland, Jessie (9 April 2019). "Sound Defense plans to continue Growler protests". Whidbey News-Times. Whidbey Newsgroup. Archived from the original on 12 April 2019. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
- Stensland, Jessie (16 July 2019). "State files suit against Navy over Growler noise increase on Whidbey". Journal of the San Juan Islands. Sound Publishing. Archived from the original on 26 August 2019. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- Media related to Naval Outlying Field Coupeville at Wikimedia Commons
- NAS Whidbey Island history
- NOLF Coupeville at GlobalSecurity.org
- 2013-2019 US Navy Environmental Impact Study into EA-18G Growler Flight Operations at NAS Whidbey Island, includes OLF Coupeville
- E/A-18G Growlers flying touch-and-go landings at Coupeville on Whidbey Island, July 2016.
- Resources for this airport: