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Hush house to quiet ‘sound of freedom’

By Pfc. Monique L. Wallace | | June 2, 2006

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Construction work has resumed on a facility designed to reduce aircraft noise and speed engine maintenance time aboard the Air Station here.

The construction project is for a $14 million aircraft acoustical enclosure, most commonly known as a hush house.

The hush house is an acoustical barrier that will give Marine Aircraft Group 31 and Navy Strike Fighter Squadron 86 the ability to test engines in the jets at full strength, without removing the engines from the plane. Having a facility large enough to fit an entire aircraft will speed maintenance procedures and reduce noise from testing.

“It is a 12,000 square foot building that will be able to accommodate any plane,” said Ensign Jason Lloyd, the assistant resident officer in charge of construction.

“The hush house will allow for testing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including during inclement weather,” said Jim Roberts, the mechanical engineer for Public Works. “It makes testing easier just being indoors.”

The current testing process involves the removal of the engines from the jets. They are then placed on a cart and tested inside the T-10 jet engine test cell, Roberts said. 

When the hush house is completed, the planes would be backed in and tied down to test the engines, Roberts said.

“It is designed to accommodate everything up to the Super Hornet at full power,” said Roy Moore, the project quality control manager.

“The hush house will be able to withstand the tremendous heat, vibrations and velocity of the planes,” Roberts said.

Construction for the hush house began in March 2003, but stopped last October when the original contractor filed for bankruptcy. The project was 70 percent complete, when they filed and resulted in an untouched project for seven months.

The Perini Corporation took over the site two months ago, repairing some of the badly constructed pieces.

“If you look at it now, it appears to be far from done, but most of the work is done at a facility in Oklahoma. A lot of what needs to be done involves installation,” Lloyd said.

The building has very specific requirements, Lloyd said. It wasn’t built correctly so now they [Perini] are having to very carefully demolish what was wrong without destroying the metal framing.

With the hush house, you could stand just outside the building and carry on a normal conversation, Moore said.

It is designed to be an acoustic barrier so that it absorbs the sound, Lloyd.

Soon the hush house may minimize ‘the noise you hear is the sound of freedom.’ Neighbors living out side of the Air Station should notice a little less engine testing with state of the art soundproofing.

The project is still scheduled to be completed August 2007.
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