A Bitter Pill To Boost GA

  • E-Mail this Article
  • View Printable Article
  • Text size:

    • A
    • A
    • A

“I hope they shut down the airport and turn it into a toxic waste dump. That’ll really piss off the liberals.” -- Overheard at my local airport diner

This will come as a surprise if you’ve read AOPA’s lobbying materials, but maybe we’re not such awesome neighbors. I teach at San Carlos and Palo Alto, in the heart of Silicon Valley. These airports are not significant contributors to the local economy, and they would be totally superfluous for disaster relief. Silicon Valley has plenty of children’s science museums that don’t spew leaded exhaust. The non-flying community would not miss these airports if they were gone. Sorry, but it’s true.

The flying community would miss them very much. Between their two 2500-foot runways, they move over 300,000 operations per year. If you put them together, they’d be the 30th busiest airport in the United States. Busier than Chicago-Midway or BWI. If you think combining them makes for a silly comparison, consider that the distance from Palo Alto to San Carlos is the same as the distance from one side of Denver International to the other.

Let’s talk noise—if you can hear me over the sound of this Cessna taking off. A 1960s-era 737-200 produced about 97 dBA on takeoff. The new, much larger 737-700 makes 80 dBA on takeoff. Remember, decibel is a logarithmic scale, so that’s 100 times quieter. How does GA compare? Your 1970s Cessna 172N had a takeoff noise rating of 75 dBA. Today’s Cessna 172SP produces 78 dBA. A new Cessna is about twice as loud as an old Cessna. I wonder why our neighbors don’t like us.

San Carlos is facing a proposed curfew on “noisy aircraft,” which the county supervisors have defined to mean louder than 74.5 dBA. They’re trying to kill Surf Air, so they picked a noise threshold 0.1 dBA quieter than the quietest PC-12 variant (and please do give them a golf clap for the subtlety of that move). Unfortunately, our flying clubs are caught in the crosshairs, because nothing I fly, except the Citabria, is quieter than 74.5 dBA.

The FAA does regulate light aircraft noise, but the takeoff noise limit has been 85 dBA for more than a decade. If we could get the FAA to require all piston singles aircraft certified after 2020 be quieter than 70 dBA and also get the FAA to preempt noise ordinances affecting these “quiet” aircraft, that would be a good trade for everyone involved. If pilots were leading the push for new regulations, we’d get to set timelines and targets that are reasonable. New regulation won’t be costless, but it’ll be better than waiting for our angry neighbors to force immediate changes or shut down our most popular airports.

Best of all, by being better neighbors, more people might decide they want to be like us. Remember those liberals my fellow diner wanted to piss off? In Northern California, if you piss off all the liberals, your list of potential friends has become mighty short. There are people in my community who could afford to fly, but are turned off by the emissions of noise, carbon and lead. That sounds crazy to most pilots, but pilots are a self-selected group. Pilots fly because they’ve decided they’re OK with our current emissions levels. If GA is going to survive, it’s going to need to accommodate both conservative and liberal value systems. You may not like it, but if we don’t lead the way to the future, I’m not sure there are going to be a lot of general aviation pilots around to see it.

Comments (40)

I don't know that official rules are really necessary. We could do an awful lot as pilots by just flying friendly. There's a local Bonanza pilot who flies his 10 mile final, over an 80,000 person dense suburb, at full fine on his prop the whole way down. Nobody within a mile of the extended centerline can hold a conversation outdoors or with an open window when he is shooting practice approaches.

We could do a ton for our own image by being good neighbors, so strict enforcement of rules weren't so necessary.

Posted by: Joshua Levinson | April 19, 2017 2:38 PM    Report this comment

10 dB is 10 times the sound pressure - not 100 times. The old rhumb rule about every 3 dB being roughly a 2x increase (in pressure) is true. This means that at 3 dB up, you'd get roughly double; at another 3 dB (6 dB total) you'd get to about 4x; ad another 3 dB and you're at 8x (9 dB total); by the time you get to a full 10 dB delta, you've got 10x the original pressure value. BUT....

Humans perceive sound rather differently; it seems that our ears are logarithmic, too. Consequently, we perceive each 10 dB as roughly a 2x change in "loudness." Thus an 80 dB jet noise seems to be only half as loud as a 90 dB roar - NOT 1/100th as loud, as the author mistakenly asserts. That new Cessna is NOT "twice as loud as an old Cessna."

"If GA is going to survive, it's going to need to accommodate both conservative and liberal value systems." You mean the liberal value systems that consider private jets to be an unjustified privilege of evil "fat cats?" Or maybe the liberal value systems that consider personal ownership of handguns to be an unconstitutional abomination?

The outcome of our first Civil War was that states are not allowed to secede. Fine. I say let's give California back to Mexico; the Leftists will be thrilled. By all means, buy yourself a Prius. Just don't ask me to subsidize your purchase, or compel me to buy one for myself.

I'm all for quiet airplanes, but don't kid yourself - noise is a leading excuse for those who want to close airports. But most of those folk would want the airports gone, even if its aircraft were absolutely silent. Remember - they're morally and intellectually superior to the rest of us inconsiderate rednecks who should be peddling our bicycles (in a snowstorm) to the train station to take one of those non-existent high-speed PAX trains from NYC to The Valley.

Posted by: Tom Yarsley | April 19, 2017 3:45 PM    Report this comment

Everybody, both pilots and non-pilots, knows that people flying themselves around in their own little airplanes is a luxury and not a necessity. Regardless, most people will say they "like airplanes", and are willing to live and let live, so long as they are not personally out anything. But people are not going to go out of their way to be "good neighbors" when there is no financial penalty for not doing so, especially in these "it's all about me" times when civility and mutual respect are at an all-time low. So, where are our super-quiet electric airplanes? We need this technology advanced sooner rather than later.

Posted by: Ken Keen | April 19, 2017 4:25 PM    Report this comment

I was at a glider competition and someone had a 4 blade Piper Pawnee. Compared to the 2 blade ones I usually tow in (and tow behind) it was surprisingly quiet. I know there is an efficiency loss, but with how much airplane noise hurts my ears, I'm anxiously waiting for GA planes to get quieter! I would love to see the FAA regulate this and would submit a positive comment on the NPRM. Just because aviation has been noisy, polluting, dangerous, etc., doesn't mean it needs to continue to be so!

Posted by: JEFFREY SMITH | April 19, 2017 7:13 PM    Report this comment

Get real. As soon as we make planes a bit quieter, they will be upset with their safety. As soon as you prove they are safe, then it will be emissions. If you show that emissions are not a concern, then they will complain that it costs the community. If you show that it's a financial wash, then they will lower the noise levels even further to 72.5 dBA...

At this point in history, there is no pleasing these people.
It reminds me of trying to appease ISIS by following their ever changing demands.
No wonder pilots are fed up and just want to go "scorched earth" and make it useless when they finally have to succumb to these wingnuts.

Posted by: Mark Fraser | April 19, 2017 7:32 PM    Report this comment

It's not about the loud noise.

I remember attending a public "noise study" meeting for Westchester Airport (HPN) about a dozen years ago. As I recall, it was a government-sponsored group tasked with studying the noise levels around HPN to see if there are ways to mitigate it (you have to define the problem before you can solve it). Part of this study involved placing microphones in the surrounding neighborhood.

The microphones recorded lots of loud noises - from garbage trucks, lawnmowers, leaf-blowers, motorcycles, etc. Airplanes flying overhead, however, were usually much lower on the sound level, yet they generated the most complaints. As the study representative tactfully put it, there was something about the 'noise signature' of airplanes that really bothered people.

It's a psychological, not physical, complaint. Whether it's class-envy, a fight against "conspicuous consumption", a feeling that those above are 'looking down' (literally and figuratively) on the 'little people', or something else - I don't believe there is any technological or operational solution. The hate against airplane noise is not the sound; the sound is the reminder that there is an airplane overhead, with all of the negative feelings it engenders in those that take offense at airplanes.

A quieter airplane may make them less noticeable, but they will still be a target. Alas, I don't have a solution.

Posted by: Kirk Wennerstrom | April 19, 2017 9:12 PM    Report this comment

I would like to point out that it is NOT the FAA that establishes and requires the noise criteria for airplanes. It is the EPA. The FAA conducts the tests because otherwise it would be done by the EPA at their convenience and thus would interfere with the engineering certification of Standard and Transport category aircraft. FAA Engineers generally hate to encumber themselves with the additional work because it is not safety related.

Posted by: Roger Chudy | April 19, 2017 10:13 PM    Report this comment

Geoff Rapaport is writing about the viewpoint of the non-aviation public. Pilots love the sight and sound of airplanes - any airplanes - but I really don't think the general public shares the fascination. To an outsider, an airport like KSQL or KPAO is probably something like a trucking freight terminal with semi-trailers pulling in and out at the rate of 300 or 500 per day. (I'd roughly equate the noise and overhead presence of an airplane with the noise and street presence of a semi.)

Locating concentrated GA operations away from densely-populated areas would make sense. Some people really don't like having airplanes flying low over their houses. And everyone would welcome quiet airplane ops, except the guys who love the roar of big engines that sound like powerfulness.

It's too bad that some people are so hung up on those "wingnuts" who, rumor has it, feel so "morally and intellectually superior to the rest of us ... ". The "inconsiderate rednecks" certainly return the favor with their own sense of Real American moral superiority and their obsessive hostility to a wide variety of people who don't see an AR-15 as a status symbol.

GA pilots can act like crotchety old troglodytes, clinging to our air and noise pollution, and gradually lose out to the general public's interest. Or we can work with the other 99% of the population to protect our core interest - flying

Posted by: Rollin Olson | April 19, 2017 10:22 PM    Report this comment

"Or we can work with the other 99% of the population to protect our core interest - flying"

Rollin, you assume that the folks who oppose aviation can be worked with to mitigate their concerns and get them to back off. This is simply not so. Mark Fraser is right: they'll always have some reason to shut down the rich guys with expensive toys. With every accommodation, the camel's nose gets farther and farther into the tent.

Those of us who have been fighting on the side of the Second Amendment have been dealing with this same thing for years - and there's a Constitutional right behind that fight. There's no Constitutional right to fly.

Posted by: Jay Maynard | April 20, 2017 12:36 AM    Report this comment

"I hope they shut down the airport and turn it into a toxic waste dump. That'll really piss off the liberals."

And it wouldn't do the same for conservatives??

Well, now that we settled that 'morally and intellectually superior' question, hope he at least got one of them fine, redneck trucker hats from the campaign...

Posted by: Dave Miller | April 20, 2017 1:04 AM    Report this comment

"Locating concentrated GA operations away from densely-populated areas would make sense."

I don't understand why Geoff is singling out GA from ALL airport ops in the bay area or why Rollin thinks that working with "those people" will save GA? I 'get' that Geoff is talking about SQL and PAO but ... what about SFO and SJC and OAK? So it's OK for the jets to make noise there but the bug smashing C172's and turboprops just gotta go at SQL and PAO? And expanding a bit ... what about SMO and the former Meigs Field? How'd that work out for us? The whole premise here doesn't make sense. Once again, WE are our own worst enemy!

As far as moving air ops away from population centers, the fiasco that was going to be the replacement for LAX is a PERFECT example. LA County purchased or took by eminent domain 25,000 acres east of USAF Plant 42 in Palmdale, CA (in the relatively sparsely populated Mojave desert) starting in the late 60's. It was going to ultimately replace LAX. Well ... no one in LA wanted to travel that far away to get to commercial air service so the idea ultimately died. Now, 50 years later, they're still flapping their jaws about it. No one wants jet noise but they also don't want to travel too far to get to it when THEY want it. SMO will ultimately become some real estate developers dream ... just like the former Hughes airport in nearby Culver City.

I wonder what all the complainers will do when there aren't any airports left OR the remaining facilities are SO overwhelmed that air travel becomes a horrendous experience?

Around my small Midwest airport located away from a small town of 2,000, the noisiest machines are actually powered parachutes. Local farmers moan about it. As several have said, there's no satiating the natives who want to complain or curtail all air ops. It's time to tell them all to STFU!

And California is an especially concentrated area of left-wing coo-coo birds, IMHO. I lived there for 30 years and now wouldn't give 30 cents for the whole State. It's not just about airports. They don't want nuclear power facilities, wind generating fields, dams that kill tiny fish, and on and on. Nothing makes them happy. CA is where they think 100LL is killing children. I'm with Yars on that one. Good neighbors ... my buttski !! Give the whole place back to Mexico. Or, maybe the San Andreas will take care of it all ... hopefully sooner than later?

WAIT! I have the answer. Let's call GA airports "Green renewable energy aeronautical facilities." We can repaint our airplanes pink and add a picture of a tree on the cowl they'll all love us again. 'Green' anything goes good in CA.

Posted by: Larry Stencel | April 20, 2017 3:13 AM    Report this comment

"Locating concentrated GA operations away from densely-populated areas would make sense."

You're right - and that's why many airports were located far away from population centers.

And then, over the years, people moved in around the airport and started complaining about the noise. SMO was surrounded by nothing, and now looks like an aircraft carrier in a sea of rooftops.

Sikorsky Memorial Airport (KBDR) was located in marshland before WWII. A lot of the local neighborhoods were built for use by the workers at the Sikorsky factory next to the airport (hence the name "Russian Beach" in Lordship, CT).

The workers moved on... others move in for the beachfront views... and start vociferously complaining about the airport. One of the chief complainers is a corporate jet pilot who did all his training at BDR!

Posted by: Kirk Wennerstrom | April 20, 2017 5:42 AM    Report this comment

As the first comment mentions, the majority (or so it seems) of the pilots in my area are completely inconsiderate of their neighbors.

I am a forty year plus pilot/mechanic. Pilots are their own worst enemies.

If given the chance to vote on closing or keeping the local airport open, I would vote for closure.

Posted by: Jeff Land | April 20, 2017 9:05 AM    Report this comment

The solution is easy....just mandate that all aircraft be powered by 65hp Continentals with wood props. Who doesn't love the sound of those puttering overhead?

Posted by: A Richie | April 20, 2017 11:24 AM    Report this comment

There's really nothing we as individual pilots can do about the basic noise level generated by our planes, but we certainly can be aware of of the huge difference how we USE our planes makes in generating annoyance among the public.

Josh Levinson in the first posted comment pinpoints the worst offense, and unfortunately all of us repeatedly observe similar behavior. Nothing annoys people on the ground more than high RPM low altitude flight, and much of it is unnecessary. Do you really need to do the long, low, power-on approach, or blast along the downwind in flat pitch? And most especially, resist those "look at me" beat-ups that extend out over our neighborhood housing areas!

Posted by: John Wilson | April 20, 2017 11:37 AM    Report this comment

At Sanford Airport in southern Maine they are getting ready to install more than 100 acres of solar panels. Preemptive genius, if you ask me!

Posted by: Jerry Fraser | April 20, 2017 12:20 PM    Report this comment

"Remember - they're morally and intellectually superior to the rest of us inconsiderate rednecks who should be peddling our bicycles (in a snowstorm) to the train station to take one of those non-existent high-speed PAX trains from NYC to The Valley."

That--and other similar comments--seem to assume that everyone who opposes airports (and GA airports in particular) are liberal wingnuts. This simply isn't true, as there are many conservative wingnuts who oppose airports too. I have also found it to be the case that there are liberal pilots and conservative pilots.

My point is, the animosity toward GA is not a liberal or conservative issue, it's an image issue. As the first comment points out, WE are our own worst enemies. WE are the ones who simply don't care about the people below us an operate our aircraft as though we're the only ones around for miles (or at least that all the GA haters are far away).

Unfortunately, it seems that the more GA declines, the more exclusive we become. And the more exclusive we become, the more the general population feel this is a rich-person-only hobby. True, it's not a cheap hobby, but if one is determined to join the hobby, even someone on a modest income can afford it at some level. But who would want to join a hobby where they aren't welcomed? I have seen more than one rich GA pilot look down at other pilots who obviously have less financial resources.

Posted by: Gary Baluha | April 20, 2017 2:22 PM    Report this comment

Rolin:

I appreciate that not everyone considers an AR-15 to be a status symbol. The vital difference between this inconsiderate, ignorant redneck and anti-gun zealots is this:

I'don't and never will compel any of them to own a gun.
They want to prevent me from owning one.

Vital. Difference.
And one that I have absolutely no interest in "accommodating."

Airplanes are not guns, and to non-participants, aviation noise can be tantamount to my firing of my AR-15 in my backyard - something that I never would do; it would be discourteous and it's unnecessary.

My next comments are not directed at you, dear Rolin.

I teach and recommend high, zero-thrust arrivals using course pitch; tight ttaffic patterns that compress the local noise footprint; avoidance of lengthy 5 am runups aimed at the airport fence. I lead an FAR-150 noise study program and carried the political water to support its adoption. I regret that anyone buys a house a quarter of a mile from the threshhold. But I reject their subsequent insistance that the airport needs to shut down to protect their ears.

Yeah - I'm a redneck.

One of the most fascinating developments during our noise study was that the airport opponents had a conniption fit when we proposed that their deeds be amended to provide simple notification to subsequent buyers: "this property is located near an airport. Airports sometimes make noise." Couldn't have any of THAT "disclosure and transparency" in place!!!

Hypocracy is not an attribute exclusive to the morally superior. They just seem to exhibit a remarkably ample supply of it.

Posted by: Tom Yarsley | April 20, 2017 2:53 PM    Report this comment

Gary:

My cited comment was inspired by the guest blog author, who invoked a warning that "if GA is going to survive, it's going to need to accommodate both conservative and liberal value systems." If there is any assertion of equivalency in play, it was posited by Geoff Rapoport.

But let's face it: the bizjet-hating Occupy-Wallstreeters ain't John Birch Society members.

Posted by: Tom Yarsley | April 20, 2017 3:03 PM    Report this comment

Yars -

Good to hear that you've worked with pilots and the local community - including airport opponents - on noise abatement at your airport. I think Mr. Rappaport would approve. People working on an issue don't have to agree or even like each other in order to deal with each others' interests. They don't even have to be thrilled with the final results, but they'll generally like the results better than if they refused to get involved at all.

And as others here have noted, anti-airplane and anti-airport people come in all shapes and sizes. The current president fought for years to prevent air traffic from PBI airport from flying over Mar-A-Lago.

Posted by: Rollin Olson | April 20, 2017 8:56 PM    Report this comment

To Larry Stencel:

"And California is an especially concentrated area of left-wing coo-coo birds, IMHO"
"Or, maybe the San Andreas will take care of it all ... hopefully sooner than later?"

You ought to be ashamed of yourself.

Posted by: Harry Saddler | April 20, 2017 9:26 PM    Report this comment

The County of San Mateo did a noise study regarding the complaints from Surfair flights to San Carlos Airport, which you mention in your article. Can we get some information on that? What was the actual measured noise at the locations of complaints such as North Fair Oaks? I've heard it was quite low to insignificant. How did this compare to other sources of noise at those locations? How many actual noise complainers or unique households were there versus numbers of complaints? Word has it that there are only a handful of people or households lodging thousands of complaints based on watching Flightaware for anything that goes overhead.

My understanding is this info is out there but not easy to get. Maybe you as a journalist can find it and illuminate the noise issue beyond the figures you mention in the article, which are not too meaningful since nobody (except one homeless guy who died in the bushes a year or so ago) lives next to a runway and would be exposed to those levels.

This really isn't a liberal versus pilot issue. It's a NIMBY versus pilot issue and noise is just the sore spot of the day. If it's not noise, it will be privacy, safety, aesthetics (your airplane spoils my view), or just plain envy.

There was a day when Americans looked skyward and saw progress as airplanes departed for war or brought families across vast distances. Today it seems the argument is all about who wants to shut down whom simply because they don't like what you're doing. It could be political speech or aviation. It matters not if it's NYC, East Hampton, Santa Maria, Megis Field, or as it may be soon, San Carlos. All of these conflicts are NOT about noise or anything else pragmatic; they're about emotions, ego, and political conflict for no better reason than "because they can."

Posted by: FILL CEE | April 20, 2017 9:47 PM    Report this comment

Population Density of San Mateo County, CA: 1,693/sq mi
Population Density of my airport's county: 108/sq mi

It's good to talk about this as a bellwether for what-may-come but your situation Geoff is bordering on unique.

Posted by: Peter Kuhns | April 21, 2017 7:28 AM    Report this comment

Good comments, FILL SEE. I believe that you are correct - this is more of a NIMBY issue than a Conservative/Liberal issue. From what I have read on the Surf Air issue, it definitely seems like somebody is trying to steal their lunch money, so to speak, and are doing it in the name of Noise Abatement. Seeing some specific data from the San Mateo noise study would be interesting. Not that the data will reduce any of the noise complaints, but some data/facts would help put the issue in perspective.

I think that practically every pilot I know would be all for quieter airplanes - and an acceptable unleaded fuel replacement for 100LL, for that matter. And I think that both are coming (although not as quickly as some would like). Unleaded avgas formulations are currently under evaluation by the FAA, and as battery and electric motor technologies progress (driven largely by the automotive industry), electric-power aircraft will become more economically viable (not that electric airplanes are exactly silent, mind you).

Plus, I actually think that most pilots try to be good neighbors, within the limits of safe operations at least. Some of the "good neighbor" operations issue is likely training related. If we were taught (perhaps in 1963 or 1983) to do our Prop in our GUMPS checklist at the start of our 3 mile final, then that is how we still do it. It may take a little work, but old dogs CAN learn new tricks.

But, GEOFF, less than 70 dBA by 2020?!? Holy cow, you must think that certification costs for new light airplanes are too low! So I think your point probably is that self-imposed regulation would help mitigate the noise complaints, and not necessarily a specific decibel level or year of compliance. However, I suspect that if you propose 70 dBA, someone else will walk up behind you and demand 60 dBA for airplanes sold in the state of California - and in the case of your local airports, that someone will have a big money real estate developer standing right beside them.

Posted by: John Nevils | April 21, 2017 8:54 AM    Report this comment

Good comments, FILL SEE. I believe that you are correct - this is more of a NIMBY issue than a Conservative/Liberal issue. From what I have read on the Surf Air issue, it definitely seems like somebody is trying to steal their lunch money, so to speak, and are doing it in the name of Noise Abatement. Seeing some specific data from the San Mateo noise study would be interesting. Not that the data will reduce any of the noise complaints, but some data/facts would help put the issue in perspective.

I think that practically every pilot I know would be all for quieter airplanes - and an acceptable unleaded fuel replacement for 100LL, for that matter. And I think that both are coming (although not as quickly as some would like). Unleaded avgas formulations are currently under evaluation by the FAA, and as battery and electric motor technologies progress (driven largely by the automotive industry), electric-power aircraft will become more economically viable (not that electric airplanes are exactly silent, mind you).

Plus, I actually think that most pilots try to be good neighbors, within the limits of safe operations at least. Some of the "good neighbor" operations issue is likely training related. If we were taught (perhaps in 1963 or 1983) to do our Prop in our GUMPS checklist at the start of our 3 mile final, then that is how we still do it. It may take a little work, but old dogs CAN learn new tricks.

But, GEOFF, less than 70 dBA by 2020?!? Holy cow, you must think that certification costs for new light airplanes are too low! So I think your point probably is that self-imposed regulation would help mitigate the noise complaints, and not necessarily a specific decibel level or year of compliance. However, I suspect that if you propose 70 dBA, someone else will walk up behind you and demand 60 dBA for airplanes sold in the state of California - and in the case of your local airports, that someone will have a big money real estate developer standing right beside them.

Posted by: John Nevils | April 21, 2017 8:55 AM    Report this comment

Did you ever have a language teacher who said, "no English in class"? (And no, I am not referring to the Portland, Maine, school system.)
Not long after I got my private certificate a recently retired AA DC-10 driver started instructing at SFM. One of his SOPs for students was, no adding power in the pattern. Students could reduce power at their discretion, but they could not then increase it. It's a nice discipline that tends to tighten the pattern and reduce noise, and it has the salutary effect of precluding pilots from dragging the airplane in from across town 150 feet over the heads of the locals.

Posted by: Jerry Fraser | April 21, 2017 9:09 AM    Report this comment

it seems to me that trying to outlaw someone's business by setting a noise limit just beneath their ability to comply is too clever by half. It's also basically unfair, and it's pretty much evil.

Courts might simply see through the ruse and void the ordinance.

What amazes me is the lack of any sort of foresight by these NIMBYs. I'm sure they have their own hobbies and interests which are also unnecessary and vulnerable to a mob run state. Actually, if you check Venezuela, eating is becoming optional and hard to do because of just this sort of nonsense gone wild.

Lastly, someone mentioned the civil war settling something. I'd remind them that anything settled by war is at best settled until the next war. I'd remind the hateful jerks in California that if you use the law like a sword you might find yourself with a sword in a gunfight. Pilots and legal gun owners are more civil and law abiding than the rest of society by far, but they're also the types that get things done when necessary. We will come down to city hall, show up at the ballot box, report for jury duty, and otherwise be present to get things done.

Posted by: Eric Warren | April 21, 2017 10:25 AM    Report this comment

I thought all pilots were liberal. The word comes from libre, which means free, and the freedom of flight is its attraction.
Mind you I have once or twice come across groups at airports with all the social skills and outlook of a KKK meeting.
As for the noise issue, it amuses me how many pilots live a long way from the airport prefer to drive for half an hour or more than move any closer.
Quieter props make a big difference and many of the innovative shaped carbon fibre ones now used on French microlights are incredibly quiet -- you hear the engine before the prop.
And for those engines, how many have effective mufflers. Or some of that sound absorbing foam/felt on the inside of the cowling like nearly every modern motor car has?
As others have said the noise issue is only going to grow, and anything pilots can do to lessen it will help.

Posted by: John Patson | April 21, 2017 10:29 AM    Report this comment

It is easy to see by the comments the mutual dislike by the comments for each other pro and con. That is why GA is finished. The USA is also in decline because we are divide 50/50 in hating each orher.
As far as the bay area, the sooner the big one hits and the whole shooterie sinks the better.

Posted by: Ronald Pogatchnik | April 21, 2017 11:03 AM    Report this comment

'As far as the bay area, the sooner the big one hits and the whole shooterie sinks the better.'

Well, why wait? You, Stencel, Yarsley and others could grab your guns and start the killing today!
Affirm your delusions exclusively to yourself. You've found the meaning of life!

Firstly, however, raise your glasses and celebrate my departure. A deluded and dangerous fool acting as POTUS is assuredly going to start a war for his ego, and I need to get back to work for the Vets.

Good riddance.

Posted by: Dave Miller | April 21, 2017 12:42 PM    Report this comment

38 years ago my home airport had nothing around it. Today it is surrounded by subdivisions. So initially it was located far away from anyone. Now the new neighbors find us irritating. It is a dilemma.

Posted by: Ric Lee | April 21, 2017 12:59 PM    Report this comment

"...why wait? You, Stencel, Yarsley and others could grab your guns and start the killing today! "

Dave:
1. Have you noticed that we haven't?
2. Have you wondered why that is?
Please give it some thought. You might surprise yourself.

Posted by: Tom Yarsley | April 21, 2017 1:15 PM    Report this comment

Tom:
1. Being morally and intellectually superior, you were probably waiting for my blessing.
2. See above.


Admittedly, I chose hesitantly your surname for the clown car. And for the record, you're not even close to being a redneck. But you did muddle the premise of the blog a bit with emotion. Maybe count to ten next time, eh? ;-)

When we were fighting to keep Falcon Field a few years ago from the latest NIMBY assault on the FBO and school there, being a red state, in Mesa yet, weren't nobody listed with a D by their name on the NIMBY register. Politics is indeed, local.

Posted by: Dave Miller | April 21, 2017 1:48 PM    Report this comment

OK guys, we've gone far enough with this. Everyone please chill it so I don't have to unhitch comments.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | April 21, 2017 2:58 PM    Report this comment

I am with the commentators that say you can never appease the airport and airplane haters. I think my airport is probably pretty typical. 90 % of the noise complaints come from 5 people. Nothing except closing the airport will make them happy, and they are the ones that get all the press and rile everyone up.

The day after 9/11 with every aircraft in the Nation grounded JFK got 77 complaints about aircraft noise....

That being said 10 % of the GA operations needlessly create excessive noise by exercising a total lack of airmanship. We can be more proactive in call out those pilots and increasing awareness.

Posted by: DAVID GAGLIARDI | April 21, 2017 7:15 PM    Report this comment

Paul: not your circus, not your monkeys.

David, true. The people who want the airports closed will NEVER be satisfied even if GA met the latest "demand". If we meet the demand this time then then they will increasing their demands. The end game for them is full closure. Thus it's actually reasonable for pilots, faced with inevitable closure, to go scorched earth. noli illegitimi carborundum.

Posted by: Mark Fraser | April 21, 2017 7:58 PM    Report this comment

Dave, Mark -

Or ... looking at it from another angle ...

Anyone who deals with the public knows that most people are OK, some are pains in the neck, and a few are irredeemable jerks. Retail establishments and similar organizations have learned how to deal with the troublemakers without everything blowing up (except in rare instances). You'll never satisfy everyone, but you can often placate or otherwise neutralize most of the rest.

My local model airplane flying club has a rural flying field that has several neighbors, who don't like model airplane noise, and don't like the planes flying over their property. One neighbor has been especially hostile over the years. Relations improved when one of the club officers began visiting each neighbor twice a year, bringing a bottle of wine as a gift, hearing out their complaints, and promising to fix them. It works pretty well in our small world.

A full-scale airport is whole 'nother world, but the same principles could apply. Maintain good relations with the majority of the neighbors and the larger community, placate the moderate complainers within reason, and isolate/neutralize/ignore/overcome the worst offenders. And see outliers as an unfortunate fact of life. Businesses and other organizations do it; airports could too.

Posted by: Rollin Olson | April 22, 2017 1:55 AM    Report this comment

I want to mention something else that I learned during our FAR 150 noise project:

Airport opponents expressed near-universal FEAR of "those little airplanes." While pilots can do little to mitigate good-old-fashioned resentment of fat cats, we CAN do lots of outreach to address those fears, regardless of how irrational we may consider them to be.

Posted by: Tom Yarsley | April 22, 2017 7:52 AM    Report this comment

"Liberalism is the thing we whistle while we assert our domination over people."
-Cody Wilson

Posted by: Robert Ore | April 22, 2017 8:37 AM    Report this comment

A stupid article, probably by a liberal do gooder who knows nothing about the real world. GA contributes so little in the way of pollution, noise or otherwise that it's ridiculous to say otherwise.
Joe B.

Posted by: Joseph Blakaitis | April 23, 2017 6:22 PM    Report this comment

Add your comments

Log In

You must be logged in to comment

Forgot password?

Register

Enter your information below to begin your FREE registration