Les indigènes de la 709

Collective defense action against air base 709 nuisances


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Natives from Charente Limousine 

"I am 81 years old, retired, born in Charentes. I came back to live in Charentes in 1999. I am a former sales engineer of a global corporation engaged in petrochemistry.

In July 2020 already and after an article published in La Charente Libre, I exposed the noise pollutions in this area of Charente Limousine which are still occurring every week day from Monday thru Friday, from 8.45 AM to 5.30 PM, including lunch hours from noon to 2 PM. Tanks filling up are only moments of relief. It was impossible to have lunch outdoors in July and August 2020 on account of the unbearable noise from the planes. My wife who is using a white cane has developed other senses amongst which a very acute hearing -plain as a nose on one's face ..

Planes are flying far too low and they are much noisier than the old ones. Ice on the cake: in La Charente Libre -page 13: A flight from congresswoman of the second district (Sandra Marsaud) who supports doggedly the air base without any knowledge about it: she must not be at home, or her home has been spared. I think she might have forgotten that the first duty of a congresswoman is to sten to her constituents who enabled her election and not seek some kind of publicity against those who suffer and who will remember her stand when casting their ballot at the next house election.

Given the size of the drill zone, why are the PC21s always operate in the same area for hours? Why was the thorough handling made in December never enforced? Why don't they fly over the ocean: plenty of space there!"
(April 21)

Our answer to Mrs Sandra Marsaud's speech for defense to be found here.

"We live near lake xxx. We can't take the never-ending and more frequent noise pollution from those planes' aerobatics anymore." (April 21)

"Should we keep on investing in Charente Limousine ? Should we try to sell our houses and gites when it is still possible ?

These questions turn over in our minds since last summer. Indeed, Charente Limousine was elected a training zone for the planes from Cognac. Day long, and recently at the beginning of night, we are at a front seat to attend aerian fights in our sky.

The first question that arises is: how could the french army opt for a plane with such a noisy engine ? Was an impact study made to evaluate the consequences on the territories ?

Owner since 2019 of a gite, we invested a major part of our savings to reach a 3 stars category. Today, despite the sanitary crisis, we still invest to reach the 4 stars level. How shall we able to sell our future clients a stay here, advertising "quietness and relief at the xxx gite", if we are to suffer this continuous acoustic pollution ?

We do understand the need to train our pilots, but it is necessary - I think - to find some happy medium for the use of a training area, which, as far as I know, goes from La Rochelle to Limoges, and why not over atlantic ocean where the nuisance would be less ?" (April 21)

" It is with sadness that I write to you to share our worries due to the Pilatus PC21 training planes, from base 709 in Cognac. Quietness, beauty and above all the quality of the silence in this region seduced us now 32 years ago. Now, repeated flights, sometimes daily and nightly, troubles and threatens our lives. This is a deep sadness. We experience times where the need for silence and peace is every day more essential. Moreover, our beautiful planet is at risk due to the pollution that we enforce to it, the one of planes in particular. I hope that our voices about these nuisances from Cognac will be heard." (june 2021)


"My son and I live in the charente village XXX for now one year. For several onths now, we suffer from the traffic again and again of the BA 709 planes hours long ! This is hell, we cannot anymore enjoy the garder, nor doing anything in the house which requires quietness and concentration. My son, who suffers from tinnitus and hyperaccusis, reacts with strong anxiety crisis as he suffers so much." (january 2022)


Natives from Lavalette Tude Dronne 


The wife of an American military member wrote to me that the sound of planes was also that "of freedom" that we would not know without them and that we should not object to it.

I can't help myself to answer that the sound of planes is not and has never been, solely the sound of freedom's, as that, as a descendant of a jewish family, well-meaning people from the Sarthe county were mainly those to thank for.

Sound is also that of bombing and fear, quite real if we consider Yemen ; that is also the defense of tangible material interests of industries and corrupting states, quite real such as Saudi Arabia or India ; that is also the sound of the support of questionable governments such as France-Africa.

In the past for her own nation, it was the sound of planes pouring orange agent in Vietnam, that of the destruction of the Iraqi country, that of the Libya chaos.

I can't refrain from telling her that nor the army-which has to obey- or the national representatives -who are never consulted on that topic- know very much about the military operation goals.

When a plane flies, provided we open our ears, we unfortunately hear other sounds than that of freedom.

"If two men always have the same opinion, one of them is too much." W. Churchill (April 21)

Advert: on Defense.gouv, the 17 Pilatus 21 are playng music
In this video from the ministry of defense, you not hear any engine noise...


Question to Mrs Darrieussecq, delegate minister by the defense minister of E. Macron:

"Dear Mrs Darrieussecq, we would like to know, as you visited base 709 in Cognac, and proudly posed by Pilatus 21 planes in october 20, your opinion as the doctor you are about the sonic harassing experienced by the population due to military exercices ? For your information, our web site for a collective action http://ba709.fr. We would be glad to have a discussion with you about this." (13/04/20, on Twitter)

"I have read the interview in the Sud-Ouest journal of the base commander in april 2020. Comparing his sayings (manoeuvres less than 40 minutes, not daily) to the field reality (9h-12h, 13h30-17h every day some weeks), I wonder if this person really knows what is done in his base, or if it was just fake assurances." (April 21)

"We recently moved in this beautiful region. Now, my sister, who will soon be retired, would like to find some house close to us. I wonder if I will advise her to do so, considering the situation we faced this spring: loops and nose dives from morning to evening (with a pause at noon), deafenening noise, howling dog..." (april 2021)


Natives from Ouest Limousin 

A testimonial from an inhabitant, originating from the Netherlands

"This year, we fell harassed by the noise from the military airport in Cognac.

The noise is unbearable. The noise increased due to the use of new planes.

My friends, who usually rent a gite here to spend their holidays do not want to come anymore. They cannot stay by the swimming pool, as the noise is too annoying. And for the ones like us who live here, it is not possible to enjoy being outside anymore.

Would you please incitate the authorities to level these nuisances ?." (April 21)


Natives from Aunis Sud  

"We have warned by the Charente Libre journal of the creation of the collective defense action to fight against accoustic nuisances from base 709. Concerning us, we suffer these pollutions, although we are living close to Rochefort (17), in a village which used to be quiet before.

We have always heard the planes, but since the arrival of the Pilatus PC-21 (which replaced the Alphajet of the 705 base inTours, which has been closed) this is hell here, and it is likely to become even worse.

We called the base, and they asked us to send a letter of complain, which we did. The answer that we got a few weeks later was a standard letter, adapted to our location (we were informed that the mayor office in a neighboring city had also sent a letter to them, and received the same answer - they had just modified the addressee and the zone).

I think we can summarize the administration attitude in the following way: "move along now, there's nothing to see". We also contacted our deputy, Mr. Didier Quentin., who answered that he also interceded for the mayor of a close city. And concerning the mayor office in Cognac, our letter got no answer... (April 21)

A collective action was created, thanks to two inhabitants from Genouillé, Dominique and Valérie. Valérie : tél. 06 69 48 76 63 Dominique : tél. 06 37 83 15 10 Mail : domvalge.709@orange.fr.
They record the annoyances and propose to synchronise the local actions.

"In my village, this is Pearl Harbor every day during 4 hours." (November 2021)

Indigènes de la Communauté d'agglomération du Grand Angoulême 


"Living in one the towns of the Communauté, I again point out that planes have been flying over our homes for more than a year and nothing is being done about it.

They have stopped for the past week; we have to cope with them every day at any time. I work on the Isle d'Espagnac and I hear them roaming the sky and then heading farther probably; therefore, a big share of the potential airspace is seemingly busy in Angoulême surroundings.

We were told that since "it was military drills for our defense" thus we could not complain. But I ask the question again: why would not those drills take place near the 709th air base? We already had to cope with the school of aviation, which would not discuss the topic either on account this time that its creation "favored the economic development of the area".

We settled in this town 14 years ago because it was quiet at that time, and we intend it remains that way. As much as we understand the necessity of drills both the 709th air base and the school of aviation, we are eager that they take place in some uninhabited area because we would not like to shift the problem to another town.

There is a new development in our town, where families and toddlers will settle and might not necessarily like to put up with the noise pollution which was not "foreseen" at first." (April 21)

"I live in the town of xxx and we are disturbed almost every day by the noise pollution from the planes' drills. I have working remotely for a year and that situation existed since the first lockdown. Noise pollution last sometimes all afternoon and start at lunch time.

The repeated drills are genuinely painful on various accounts: when one works from home, it is very unpleasant to hear the noise for hours and hours, when you go for a stroll, you would think you are attending an air show..

We do understand the pilots have to train but why in the same area for months? Could the flights be broken down on a larger area?" (April 21)

"I live in xxx, where I intended to spend a quiet retirement. Unfortunately, for some time now, we just experience hell here. Daily, planes make a hellish noise, for hours long, their motor regime changing at all times, which makes it even worse. This year also, we won't be able to open our doors and windows, the noise being so irritating. These exercices might be necessary, but I think it must be possible to rotate spots, so that not we share thannoyances." (april 2021)


Natives from La Rochefoucauld-Porte du Périgord 

"Thanks for creating the website. We are also concerned by the noise pollution which often last beyond the cut-off time of noon in our town and that passes through the double glazing (usually very efficient in urban environment -memories from a previous home). We have called the air base several times already to complain. Hence we are joining your site." (April 21)


Natives from Grand Cognac 


"I know I only represent a little voice against these numerous planes that now fly daily over my house. I appreciate your engagement to minimize this. Yesterday was a well occupied day, with about 30 planes before 3 pm, when we finally went out. In the evening, there were 5 others. We did not go to bed, as they were too noisy, and I knew it would be too much stress to try to sleep. Finally, we had to go to bed, and the planes went over until midnight. We run an holidays enterprise, offering our client a nice and quiet environment. I fear that, besides my mental health, this may also be a prejudice to our incomes." (may 2021)


Natives from the agglomération de Saintes 

"I am writing to you as, being not a local, I am about to sign a compromise for a sale located Xxx in Charente Maritime, between xxx and xxx. Would you know if this place is located in an over-flight or training area for the planes from the 709 base ?... " (august 2021). Notice: BA709.FR does not provide any local statistics, which could stigmatize some peculiar territory.