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WSMR RANGE-WIDE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT

Airspace area from 3,000 to 9,000 m (10,000 to 30,000 ft) MSL (Figure 3-35). Military
aircraft involved in subsonic and supersonic training include most fighter and bomber aircraft
in the U.S. DoD inventory and similar aircraft from some foreigh countries. The highest
noise levels are generated by the F-16, F-15, and F-4. WSMR is capable of supporting up to
900 training sorties per month in these training areas, but a more realistic sustainable rate is
600 missions (including supersonic flights) (U.S. Air Force 1993b).

Test program support primarily involves missile/rocket launch, photo, and safety chase
aircraft. A representative air-launched missile test program using launch, photo, and chase
aircraft is the U.S. Air Force Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM).
Typically, support aircraft flying as low as 152 m (500 ft) AGL produce SELs as high as 115
dBA directly below the aircraft. A SEL of 115 dBA would attenuate to roughly 65 dBA at
6.4 km (4 rni) from the aircraft (U.S. Air Force 1993b). This represents a worst case, as
AMRAAM support aircraft flights are at the lowest operating altitudes for missile and rocket
launch test programs. There is an average of 70 aircraft test program missions flown on
range each month (Brennan, pers. com. 1993).

Supersonic aircraft test support operations are conducted in the 46th TG (46TG) Designated
Supersonic Airspace area from 91 m (300 ft) AGL to 10,000 m (30,000 ft) MSL (Figure
3-35). The aircraft involved in supersonic test program support in the 46th area are the F-4,
F-15, F-16, POM-100, PQM-106, and T-38 (U.S. Air Force 1993b). There is an average of
two supersonic flights each month in the 46TG supersonic area (Brennan, pers. com. 1993).

The 1988 to 1989 Wyle Laboratory study of aircraft sonic booms in WSMR airspace
considered supersonic flight in the range 49FW and 46TG Designated Supersonic Airspace
areas. This study established that WSMR supersonic aircraft operations could generate SELs
greater than 115 dBC. However, from a long-term noise exposure standpoint, it was
determined that Ldn (C-weighted) sonic boom noise levels varied from 54.2 dB at the center
to roughly below 40 dB at the edges of the range. The average boom overpressures were
under 48 Pa (1 psi) with the strongest measured at 320 Pa (6.67 psf) (Geo-Marine, Inc.
1993).

Aircraft subsonic noise on WSMR at times may cause environmental concern. A number of
independent studies have been conducted on aircraft noise levels during low-altitude flight.
Results are recorded for all altitudes, as single-event peak or maximum, and as 24-hour
average SELs. Military aircraft noise levels are generally listed in Lnm (dBAs for flight
noise or dBCs for sonic booms), in Ldn (dBAs or dBCs), and in special-use airspace
(restricted airspace) as Ldnm, (A-weighted, monthly onset to the adjusted day-night level).
Representative aircraft for tactical training in the WSMR airspace are the F-4, F-15, and F
16. Tactical training aircraft operate at or above 152 m (500 ft) AGL in the established
training areas except for Casa, where flight levels are permitted as low as 91 m (300 ft), and
Red Rio and Oscura where flight is at 77 m (250 ft) or lower. At 77 m (250 ft) AGL, the F-15
and F-l6 produce LTMm SELs of 99.9 and 123.0 dBA. At 1,000 m (3,281 ft), these attenuate to
78.9 and 102.2 dBA (Berry et al. 1991). The F-4 in the same altitude ranges produces an
Lmax SEL of 109.9 dBA, which attenuates to 81.9 dBA at 1,000 m (3,281 ft) (U.S. Air Force
1993b).

Sound intensity decreases with increasing distance from the source due to the dissipation of
the sound energy over an increasing area. The sound intensity varies inversely with the
square of the distance from the source. For each doubling of the distance from the source, the
sound pressure is reduced by a factor of two, and the sound level, which is proportional to the
square of the pressure, is reduced by a factor of four. This is equivalent to a decrease of
approximately 6 dB in the sound pressure level for each doubling of distance (U.S. Air Force

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