...As Pilots Search For Long-Term Solutions
This latest conflict at Hanscom, pilot Peter Schmidt told AVweb yesterday, "has been a real wake-up call that it's time for the aviation community to do something proactive." Schmidt, who flies a Pitts, has formed the American Free Skies Association to seek long-term solutions to such conflicts by building bridges between pilots and the people affected by the airport. Education can make a difference, he says. "Some of the people who are bothered find the noise irritating because it scares them," he said. "They hear changes in the engine noise and think the plane is going to crash. Once they learn that what they are hearing is normal flight training procedures, some of that can be allayed." Pilots need to be educated as well, he said. "Pilots need to understand that sometimes these concerns are legitimate," he said. "And they need to understand the potential consequences if they are not addressed." The problem is not restricted to crowded New England, he said. A pilot in North Carolina was hit with a similar lawsuit just last week. "This is not a democratic way to resolve these disputes," he said. "We want to support pilots so that this kind of intimidation becomes ineffective."