By PAT MURPHY
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
- 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
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
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
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
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.