local weather Click for Sun Valley, Idaho Forecast
 front page
 last week
 express jobs
 about us
 advertising info

 sun valley guide
 real estate guide
 sv catalogs



Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
208.726.8060 Voice
208.726.2329 Fax

Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of April 2 - 8, 2003


Airport opens
three-front battle
against noise

Express Staff Writer

The ongoing battle to reduce complaints about jet noise at Friedman Memorial Airport will be fought on three fronts, all of them under the single theme of "Quiet Flying Is Good Business."

The airport’s noise abatement committee, composed of pilots and representatives from Wood River Valley communities, agreed during its meeting Tuesday, March 25, that airport manager Rick Baird should:

  • Work with Idaho’s U.S. Sen. Larry Craig and Rep. Mike Simpson to persuade Congress to enact legislation allowing airports to ban noisier jets.

  • Conduct a community orientation program with demonstration aircraft to show nearby communities, especially Bellevue, the reasons for noise and why some of it cannot be absolutely abolished.

  • Distribute throughout the country a new video about the airport’s noise abatement procedures to jet aircraft operators and pilots who use Friedman Memorial Airport.

Baird said that most complaints occur after an older first-generation jet with noisier Stage 2 engines lands or takes off. Airlines have retrofitted older jets with quieter engines, but in the absence of any law prohibiting them, Stage 2 engines continue in use on early models of corporate and private jets.

He said that some of these jets could be heard as far away as Shoshone when wind conditions are favorable.

One reason the Federal Aviation Administration has declined to implement a ban affecting this class of jets, Baird said, is because of severe pressure and objections from aviation lobbyists.

Some airport studies around the nation find that although jets with Stage 2 engines are a small percentage of flight operations, they represent the source of more than 90 percent of noise complaints.

Some approaches and takeoffs that disturb Bellevue residents can’t be avoided, Baird and several pilots on the committee pointed out, when unusual weather conditions require special safety procedures.

Bellevue’s representative on the noise abatement committee, Eric Allen, one of the airport’s most persistent critics, accepted an offer from Baird and pilots on the committee to ride in the cockpit of aircraft on demonstration landings and takeoffs to see problems pilots encounter when operating in and out of the Hailey airfield.

Baird said he also would attempt to arrange demonstration flights so community groups on the ground could witness how aircraft land and takeoff in relation to their homes.

The committee scrapped for now a proposal to hire an $85-an-hour noise consultant to record sounds of aircraft takeoffs and landings from various vantages.

The airport’s noise abatement program is voluntary. But Baird said when a jet regularly abuses the abatement program, he writes increasingly stiff letters--including letters that are even "rude"--to the operator.

Baird also has completed production of a video CD and VHS for pilots showing elements of the airport’s noise abatement procedures. The video will be distributed to jet operators throughout the nation as well as shown constantly in the pilot ready room at Sun Valley Aviation, he said.

Perhaps by next summer, Baird said, the airport will have installed either an Automatic Terminal Information System (ATIS) or Automated Weather Observing System (AWOS) that would automatically broadcast landing and takeoff noise abatement procedures for pilots, along with weather conditions and other flight data.

Landing procedures to minimize noise now involve aircraft passing over Bellevue at 7,000 feet above sea level--about 1,700 feet above the runway’s 5,300 foot sea level altitude--and east of the town and close to the high ridges that some pilots using Hailey for the first time like to give a wide berth. FAA regulations actually allow aircraft to operate over populated areas at a lower altitude of 1,000 feet.

Descent to the airport by jets must begin soon thereafter to conform to a 3.5-degree approach to reach the runway threshold at the proper speed and angle for a safe touchdown and stop. Takeoff departures are to the west of Bellevue so aircraft will avoid any possible landing aircraft to the single runway.

Other noise heard by nearby residents also involves some jet aircraft using engine reversers to slow their runway roll, plus jet aircraft using auxiliary power units to maintain power for electric systems and air conditioning while parked.

Pete Kramer, Friedman’s emergency services operations chief, said that the FAA routinely refers other airport operators to study the Hailey noise abatement program as a model.


Ski Reports


City of Ketchum

Formula Sports

Idaho Conservation League



Edmark GM Superstore : Nampa, Idaho

Premier Resorts Sun Valley

High Country Property Rentals

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.