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Watch: Locals react to news of pilot training center in Fort Smith

Some locals who have lived in Fort Smith for decades say they miss the sound of the planes flying over their homes

FORT SMITH, Ark. — Some Fort Smith residents are excited for fighter jets to return to the Ebbing Air National Guard Base in 2023.  

Some locals who have lived in Fort Smith for decades say they miss the sound of the planes flying over their homes. They say the noise is not a great disturbance. Christina Operhall says the sound of the jet is over as soon as it begins, and it’s an incredible sight to watch them fly.  

“We love it. My dad, when the pilot program left last time, he was kind of sad about it,” says Operhall.  

Fort Smith Mayor George McGill says the 188th Wing has facilities that are readily equipped to handle the fighter jets, and from experience, McGill says the city knows what to expect from the planes.  

“We used to have A-10 Warthogs. Fighter aircraft are nothing new, we’ve housed fighter aircraft before, and they’ve never been an issue,” says McGill.

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