Schools and museum in new crash zone for NAS Oceana

Schools and museum in new crash zone for NAS Oceana

Credit: Jonathan Harris, 13News

Redrawn crash zone map for F/A-18 hornets at NAS Oceana

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WVEC.com

Posted on August 16, 2002 at 11:18 AM

Updated Friday, Oct 30 at 3:03 PM

The Navy's environmental report on locating F/A-18 jets at NAS Oceana is stirring up a super hornet's nest.

Three facilities -- two schools and a museum -- are in the new, broader crash zone. Virginia Beach leaders say they didn't know about it.

The Virginia Marine Science Museum gets about a thousand visitors a day in peak tourist season and thousands of children go through its doors each school year.

The Navy's new map of Oceana's flight operations also puts two elementary schools-Plaza and Brookwood- and thousands of children in harm's way should a jet crash while operating near the base.

Mayor Meyera Oberndorf wants some answers. She says that's not the map the city's been using to make decisions about supporting the location of the Navy's newest fighter jets, the F/A-18 Super Hornets, at Virginia Beach.

"This was a surprise, there's no question about it. We had no warning. So we will follow procedure and ask the pertinent questions and hope we get the appropriate answers," Oberndorf said.

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City leaders are optimistic the Navy will make the appropriate adjustments when they hear the concerns. "We believe we can work with the navy, just as we did in 1998, and get the two schools out (of the zone) and very likely the Marine Science Museum," said city manager Robert Mathias. "They have been wonderful friends and neighbors (the navy). We will be looking to make sure that their information, after they have a chance to look at it an evaluate it, is not going to put anyone in jeopardy."

There's a public hearing set for September 4, beginning at 4:30 p.m. about the Navy's Super Hornet plan, which calls for basing most of the F/A-18's at Oceana. The rest would be put at MCAS Cherry Point in North Carolina.

The final decision on where to place the jets will be made by the Secretary of the Navy, Gordon England. That's not expected until the first of the year.

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