Recent Military Activity at ILM

Wilmington, NC (March 30, 2021)— ILM respects and values all our stakeholder’s and their interests.  We understand there have been some recent concerns from the surrounding community regarding the level of military activity at ILM and the subsequent noise levels. 

Historically, after WWII, the federal government declared Bluethenthal Field surplus property and, under the Surplus Property Act of 1944, the facility was deeded to New Hanover County at no cost. As stated in the deed, aircraft owned by the Government, or operated by any of its employees or agents on Government business, shall at all times have the right to use the airport in common with others. The government use of the airport is without charge.  In addition to complying with language in the deed, ILM also has obligations as a federally funded facility.  These obligations include making available the use of our airport for government aircraft.

Today, military jets use the approach to ILM as training for approaching civilian fields as they would in forward deployed areas.  The military may also choose to refuel on airport grounds.  One of ILM’s tenants, Modern Aviation, is a fixed-base operator.  As stated in their lease, they offer a variety of services, including fuel sales. Modern Aviation has a military fuel contract and refuels their aircraft.  Modern Aviation has found this contract to be beneficial during these challenging economic times.

Military aircraft are exempt from FAA noise and 1000’ height regulations. As they train for the defense of our country, they do their best to minimize disruptions. Each military base has a dedicated office where members of the public may contact them with any concerns regarding noise, vibration, low-flying aircraft, etc.  The contact information for the military base’s respective noise abatement office is listed below. Members of the public may reach out to ILM’s public safety office at (910) 341-4336 to confirm which military base(s) is utilizing ILM.

ILM will continue to act in compliance with our grants, contracts, leases and agreements.  Further, we will communicate with our partners and stakeholders to support economic opportunities as well as foster positive community relations.

ILM Media Contact:
Julie Wilsey AAE, Airport Director
[email protected]
910-341-4333 x1001