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NAS Whidbey Island Menu


AICUZ Program

Community Planning

The Community Planning and Liaison Officer (CPLO) supports NAS Whidbey Island’s ability to provide the highest quality facilities and services to the naval aviation community by implementing compatible land use strategies through effective community outreach and education.

The CPLO serves explicitly as a bridge between the installation and the community, local governments, and private stakeholders with regards to compatibility of development projects.  The CPLO spends much of their time representing the installation commanding officer by meeting with elected officials, regional and community planners, zoning and code enforcement staffs, school board members, utility district managers, local Chamber of Commerce directors and staff, and non-profits groups including environmental, conservation, and natural resources organizations.

The CPLO manages the Encroachment Management Program which includes the Air Installations Compatible Use Zones (AICUZ) and the Range Air Installations Compatible Use Zones (RAICUZ) programs.  These programs exist to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the local community while protecting the mission of NAS Whidbey Island, OLF Coupeville, and the Northwest Training Range Complex.

For more information, contact the NAS Whidbey Island CPLO at 360-930-4052 or the Northwest Training Range Complex CPLO at 360-930-4085.

Air Installations Compatible Use Zones (AICUZ) Program 

The Noise Control Act of 1972 required Federal agencies and State and local governments to develop measures to control the harmful effects of noise on people. The Department of Defense (DoD) initiated the AICUZ program to protect the public's health, safety, and welfare and to prevent encroachment from degrading the operational capability of military air installations in meeting national security.


The foundation of the AICUZ program is an active local command effort to work with local, State, regional, other Federal agencies, and community leaders to encourage compatible development of land adjacent to military airfields through recommended land uses compatible with noise levels, accident potential and obstruction clearance criteria associated with military airfield operations.

A guide to the DoD AICUZ Program can be found Here.

AICUZ Frequently Asked Questions

For noise concerns relating to NAS Whidbey Island, call 360-257-6665, or email


To go directly to the 2021 AICUZ Study document click Here.

To go directly to the 2021 AICUZ Study posters click AICUZ Program, Installation Mission and HistoryFlight OperationsNoise and Accident Potential ZonesLand Use Compatability.

To go directly to the 2021 AICUZ Study brochure click Here.

To go directly to the 2021 AICUZ Footprint Map for Ault Field click Here

To go directly to the 2021 AICUZ Footprint Map for OLF Coupeville click Here

(The documents are large pdf files, so the download will take a few minutes.)

Additional information regarding aircraft operations and noise can be found under Environmental Support & Compliance. 


1. What is an Air Installations Compatible Use Zone (AICUZ) Study?

A. The Department of Defense (DOD) established the Air Installations Compatible Use Zones (AICUZ) Program to balance the needs of aircraft operations with community concerns regarding aircraft noise and accident potential. The Navy provides land use compatibility recommendations within an AICUZ Study to inform local governments as they consider zoning and development choices for areas within the AICUZ footprint. The program was initiated locally at NAS Whidbey Island (NASWI) with the adoption of a study in 1977. This study was updated and approved in 1986, and again in 2005. The 2021 AICUZ Study for NASWI is a formal update to the installation’s 2005 AICUZ.


2. Why did NASWI’s AICUZ study change?

A. The AICUZ study is reviewed periodically and the 2021 AICUZ Study for NASWI is a formal update to the installation’s 2005 AICUZ. Reasons for this update include:

·         The age of the 2005 AICUZ Study

·         Recent updates to AICUZ Program guidance and instructions

·         Advancements in the DOD NOISEMAP suite of computer-based noise modeling tools used to generate the AICUZ noise contours

·         Changes in aircraft types operating at the installation, including replacement of the P-3C with the P-8A and homebasing additional EA-18G at the installation as evaluated in the 2018 Final Environmental Impact Statement for EA-18G Growler Airfield Operations at NASWI Complex.

·         Changes in the number and types of annual aircraft operations

·         Changes in local land use and development patterns


3. Who is responsible for the current AICUZ study?

A. The NASWI Commanding Officer is responsible for preparing an AICUZ study. The current study was prepared by the Naval Facilities Engineering and Systems Command Atlantic. The study received final approval on 8 July, 2021.


4. Where can I get a copy of the 2021 AICUZ for NASWI?

A. For the latest AICUZ update click Here. This pdf file is large and will take a few minutes to download.


5. Was there an Environmental Impact Statement done with the new AICUZ?

A. Yes. NASWI completed an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in September 2018 for EA-18G Growler Airfield Operations and the Record of Decision was signed in March 2019. This EIS was completed in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and information from it was incorporated into the 2021 AICUZ Study.  A copy of the EIS is available online at:


6. What is FCLP?

A. FCLP refers to "Field Carrier Landing Practice." These exercises train pilots for landing on aircraft carriers and are conducted on a runway that simulates an aircraft carrier deck. FCLPs are performed as closely as possible to the true manner at sea and are critical to safely deploying our men and women at sea in support of our national defense. 


7. Where can I find a schedule for FCLP?

A. Information on the upcoming weekly schedule for FCLP can be found at:

Or through the NAS Whidbey Island Facebook page at:

Or by requesting to be added to a press release email distribution list at:


8. Why do aviators have to train at night?

A. Aviators must train the way they will be required to fight. Over the modern battlefield, an increasing percentage of operations are conducted at night. Night flying is an integral part of an aviator’s training program. In particular, night FCLP is crucial training for maintaining the proficiency of aircrews. To be effective, night flight training must occur in sufficient conditions of darkness, which necessitates later hours of operations during summer months, when sunset occurs after 10:00 p.m. Night training tempo may increase prior to carrier deployment, resulting in a higher number of scheduled night operations.


9. What is the likelihood of an aircraft mishap?

A. The likelihood of an aircraft mishap is remote. Worldwide, only a small number of mishaps occur in hundreds of thousands of military aircraft operations each year. An examination of military aircraft mishaps over the last 30 years indicates that a majority of the mishaps occurring within 5 miles of an airfield occur on the airfield itself or in the extended arrival and departure corridors close to the airfield. Accident Potential Zones (APZs) were developed for land use planning purposes. These zones represent areas where a mishap is likely to occur if one occurs. They are not predictors of whether a mishap is likely to occur.


10. What is the Navy doing to reduce the noise levels in the community?

A. Aircraft noise is a constant challenge and one that we will never eliminate. NASWI minimizes aircraft noise in the community by implementing noise abatement or avoidance procedures with which all aviators are required to comply. Airfield procedures used to minimize or abate noise for operations conducted at Ault Field and Outlying Landing Field (OLF) Coupeville include optimizing flight tracks and runway usage, restricting maintenance run-up hours, and other procedures as documented in the Air Operations Manual. Additionally, air crews are directed, to the maximum extent practicable, to employ airmanship techniques to reduce aircraft noise effects on the community and to avoid sensitive areas except when safety dictates otherwise. Detailed information on noise abatement procedures implemented at NASWI are included in Appendix H to the 2018 Growler EIS, which is available online at:


11. I'm looking to buy or rent a house near NASWI. Why is the AICUZ important to me?

A. People use many variables to choose where they live. The AICUZ study provides homeowners important information regarding how much noise may be experienced by living near an airfield. An AICUZ study also provides information regarding aircraft accident potential zones. Noise and safety should be part of the housing decision process.


12. What is the purpose of the noise complaint line?

A. The intent of the NAS Whidbey Island noise complaint system is to maintain compliance with FAA flight regulations and air station standard operating procedures. To this end, NAS Whidbey Island focuses its investigation of complaints in determining their validity to current regulations and procedures in relation to air operations. These investigations ensure that both Navy and public interests are protected and provide communication between the base and the local communities. Noise complaints are received by NASWI personnel and coordinated with the Commanding Officer, Executive Officer, Operations Officer, Air Traffic Control Officer, PAO, CPLO, and others. Noise complaints are recorded according to date, time, and location of the event and the general nature of the complaint. When additional study is indicated, the complaint is mapped and Air Operations consults on what event occurred during the time and place of the complaint. If necessary, a follow-up call to the individual who initiated the complaint is made, and an explanation of the noise event is provided.  It is not the purpose of the NAS Whidbey Island noise complaint system to be an avenue for individuals to comment on their general dislike of aircraft noise or the Navy. While those comments are received and recorded through the noise complaint system they are not investigated.  

For additional information on the noise complaint process click Here


13. Does NASWI alter flight paths as a result of noise complaints?

A. Noise will be ever present when aircraft are flying and the Navy cannot alter critical portions of flight patterns to accommodate noise complaints without increasing the risk to pilots. However, there are procedures in place to reduce noise exposure and NASWI constantly reviews field rules to minimize noise in the community. NASWI faces many constraints with regards to flight paths outside our control so alterations to flight tracks and field rules are extremely limited without impacting other neighborhoods or safety.


14. Why do planes fly over my house when the flight paths shown in the AICUZ study show them crossing other parts of the community nearby?

A. The depicted flight tracks are nominal representations of an aircraft’s typical route and demonstrate how and where aircraft fly in relation to an airfield. They are graphically represented as single lines, but how closely an aircraft flies to the specified track can vary due to aircraft performance, pilot technique, weather conditions, number of aircraft in a pattern, and Air Traffic Control, such that the actual flight track could be considered a band or corridor varying from a few hundred feet to several miles wide. Because of these many variables, an aircraft may fly over a home in close proximity to one of the depicted flight tracks.


15. At OLF Coupeville why do some aircraft seem to fly shorter or longer than the tracks shown in the AICUZ?

A. The FCLP flight tracks shown in the AICUZ represent the average aircraft distribution tracks and were used in the noise modeling analysis. Depending on multiple factors (i.e. squadron deployments/detachments, training syllabus, aircraft maintenance cycles, etc…) the number of total aircraft in the FCLP pattern during a session can vary between 1 to 5 aircraft. The number of aircraft in the pattern during a session will cause the track to be shorter or longer so as to maintain safe aircraft separation distances throughout the session. Less aircraft in the pattern will mean a shorter track while more aircraft will require extending the track for proper separation. A three aircraft pattern was the average number of aircraft between the total range (1 to 5) and so was the reason it was used during the EIS to model aircraft noise.  The maps shown in the AICUZ reflect this average track.  However, from day to day, and session to session, the number of aircraft in the pattern will determine if they are flying shorter than the average or further south on the extended runway centerline before they turn.


16. When using OLF Coupeville runway 14 (east side of the OLF) why can’t aircraft fly over Saratoga’s Passage like they used to?

A. The previous aircraft, the EA-6B Prowler, used to fly FCLP tracks at a wider pattern that took them over the water more often.  However, the flight characteristics of the new aircraft, the EA-18G Growler, require FCLP tracks typically between 1.2 to 1.7 miles from the centerline of the OLF runway. That new pattern brings aircraft over land more than the previous pattern.  Also, fuel load on the aircraft can play a large part in why some aircraft are over water while others are over land. As the Growler aircraft uses fuel during flight the weight of the aircraft changes causing them to fly a tighter pattern as they progress through the FCLP session. This pattern change was analyzed under the EA-18G Growler Airfield Operations EIS and information can be found at:


17. I thought the Town of Coupeville is a no-fly zone, why do aircraft fly over the Town?

A. NAS Whidbey Island has a couple arrival and departure tracks for Ault Field that, depending on wind direction, will take aircraft over the Town.  Coupeville is under FAA Class C airspace that NAS Whidbey Island controls and so residents will experience overflights that air traffic control directs into, and out of, the air station for safety of flight. Typically these aircraft are between the altitudes of 1,300 and 4,000 feet.  While we don’t fly OLF FCLP patterns over the Town that doesn’t mean any military flights at Ault Field will not be over Coupeville.


18. How can I reduce noise in my house?

A. Sound can enter a structure through exterior elements, including walls, roofs, doors, windows, range exhaust ducts, and chimneys. Using proven construction techniques and materials in structures can reduce interior noise to levels that most people would find acceptable. Standard construction provides 15 to 25 dB of sound attenuation from outdoor noise levels. While sound insulation does not guarantee sound elimination, indoor noise levels can be reduced by using proper renovation and construction techniques. See the Sound Insulation and Sound Attenuation brochures in the Fact Sheets section for detailed information.

For additional information on sound insulation and sound attenuation click Here


19. What will local jurisdictions do with the study?

A. Ultimate control over land use and development surrounding NASWI is the responsibility of local governments and landowners. Through the provision of information in this AICUZ Study, the Navy encourages local governments to plan for compatible development. We cannot determine how local jurisdictions will use information in this AICUZ study.  Information on APZs in relation to current Island County codes and ordinances can be found at: (will include Island County APZ web link once developed)

Over the years both the state and local jurisdictions have provided policies and regulations supporting compatible development around the installation. For a list of state and local encroachment management regulations click Here

20. Who do we send questions to regarding the AICUZ?

A. Community Planning Liaison Officer
NAS Whidbey Island

1115 W. Lexington St. B103
Oak Harbor, WA 98278




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