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Gene Kennedy reportingThe phones didn't stop ringing at the KSL newsroom last night. Callers had lots of complaints of planes flying over residential neighborhoods.
The noise was coming from F-16 fighter planes. The pilots are from the 388th Squadron out of Hill Air Force Base, and lately, they've been doing night flights. The big question so many had: what were they doing flying over the Wasatch Front so late at night?
Kathy Craig put on a movie last night. She thought her surround sound could shut out the world. "For me to hear a noise outside it had to be very loud," she said. But what she heard wasn't a scene from "Michael Clayton." "It was a total disruption of my privacy. It sounded like a World War II movie, ya' know like fighter planes."
Craig described it as "very unsettling, very unsettling. I mean, I was frightened."
The peace inside her Millcreek home was disturbed from 8 o'clock to midnight. "Just on and off, on and off, just continuously," she said.
Officials at Hill Air Force Base say pilots were not training over urban areas, but they had to change their landing path.
Lt. Col Jeremy Sloan, a commander with the 388th Squadron, said, "Typically we land from the north, and last night weather forced us to land from the south."
Davis and Weber County residents may be used to the sound, but several Salt Lake County residents fumed about the night flights.
KSL.com users had plenty to say about the situation. One commenter wrote, "I finally got to sleep after 11:30 and it was still going. This by no means is normal under ANY circumstance."
But the military says the night flights are crucial to polish up skills for the war on terror.
Lt. Col Sloan said, "Why it's so important is that we train with night vision goggles, and we train with precision-guided munitions and advanced targeting so we can provide support any time, anywhere."
Even so, Craig says, "I mean what's the west desert for? Isn't that what that's for, isn't that where they're supposed to be?"
The military says with winds shifting over the summer, pilots may have to use a southern approach for more landings.