Naval Outlying Field Coupeville

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NOLF Coupeville
OLF view from US Navy helicopter cropped and retouched 2.jpg
Aerial view - NOLF Coupeville as seen from US Navy helicopter
Airport type Military
Operator US Navy
Location Island County, near Coupeville, Washington
Elevation AMSL 199 ft / 61 m
Coordinates 48°11′00″N 122°38′00″W / 48.18333°N 122.63333°W / 48.18333; -122.63333Coordinates: 48°11′00″N 122°38′00″W / 48.18333°N 122.63333°W / 48.18333; -122.63333
Direction Length Surface
ft m
14/32 5,400 1,646 Concrete

Naval Outlying Field Coupeville (ICAO: KNRA, FAA LID: NRA) is a military airport located two miles (3 km) southeast of Coupeville, Washington, in Island County. It is owned by the United States Navy.[1] NOLF Coupeville nearly touches State Route 20 and is about 10 miles south of NAS Whidbey Island.

WWII-era aerial view of NOLF Coupeville - 1943

History and usage[edit]

Boeing EA-18G Growler on approach at Naval Outlying Field Coupeville during FCLP touch-and-go carrier landing practice

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.[2]

FCLP 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 altitudes and speeds in addition to flying at or near sea level.[3] 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.[4]

Environmental concerns[edit]

Map showing dB levels to areas surrounding NOLF Coupeville[5]

While jet noise had been an on and off concern to residents living near the NOLF, a local citizen's group filed a lawsuit in July 2013 demanding an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) examining EA-18G Growler flight operations at NOLF Coupeville and NAS Whidbey Island.[6] The Navy 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." [7] The citizen's group has placed the litigation on hold until the study is completed.[8]


  1. ^ FAA Airport Master Record for NRA (Form 5010 PDF)
  2. ^ MARCOA (2017-03-03). "My Base Guide - NAS Whidbey Island History". (registered DOD contractor). Retrieved 2018-06-23. 
  3. ^ Walker, Naval Air Systems Command, Operational Environmental Planning Public Affairs, Rebecca (2002-06-17). "Field Carrier Landing Practices -- The Foundation of Carrier Aviation". Retrieved 2018-06-23. 
  4. ^ Public Affairs, NAS Whidbey Island (2015-05-01). "Whidbey Island Growler Public Outreach Brochure" (PDF). Retrieved 2018-06-23. 
  5. ^ 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. Retrieved 30 October 2015. 
  6. ^ Burnett, Justin (21 July 2013). "Federal Suit Filed; OLF Practices Suspended". Whidbey News-Times. Whidbey Newsgroup. Retrieved 19 July 2014. 
  7. ^ "Environmental Impact Statement for the EA-18G Growler Airfield Operations". US Navy. n.d. Retrieved 19 July 2014. 
  8. ^ Reid, Janis (19 September 2013). "Anti-OLF group putting federal suit on hold". Whidbey News-Times. Whidbey Newsgroup. Retrieved 19 July 2014. 

External links[edit]