What do Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and the San Jose SaberCats have in common? They are combatants in the ongoing battle against San Jose's airport curfew. Ellison won his battle, but Horta LLC, which owns the Boeing 727 used to shuttle the arena football team, is just starting its fight. It has filed a lawsuit against the city of San Jose to allow the use of the jet during the restricted hours of 11:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. City Attorney Rick Doyle claims the plane is louder than any aircraft allowed to use the airport during the curfew but Horta's attorneys dispute that and want permission to use the jet during the season, which runs from February to June.
James Chadwick, attorney for the company, said the 727 meets the criteria for an exemption under San Jose's law. According to him, the requirements include that an aircraft be used in general aviation operations and that it be designated as Stage 3 compliant. Chadwick said the aircraft meets these qualifications and cites previous exemptions offered to jets, namely the Gulfstream used by Larry Ellison. The city fired back by citing its requirements that aircraft weighing 75,000 pounds and above need an exemption to take off and land late at night. So, is it a question of weight or noise? The court should straighten that out in a case that is already underway. Stay tuned.