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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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Wednesday, July 7, 2004


Forecast: more airport noise

Summer aircraft operations expected to be 3 to 4 percent higher

Express Staff Writer

To tamper a bit with the U.S. Air Force’s "Sound of Freedom" slogan, Friedman Memorial Airport might well use the jingo, "Sound of Economic Freedom," this summer.

Airport manager Rick Baird said Tuesday that residents of the Hailey and Bellevue areas should be prepared for more noise this summer as aircraft head this way with more vacationers who’re discovering Central Idaho’s recreation features.

He said this summer’s aircraft operations will be 3 to 4 percent more than last summer, and probably double the number of operations in April, May and June.

"We’ve found that people are patient with operations all day until a Stage II jet takes off," Baird said.

Stage II jets are older aircraft with ear-shattering first generation engines. Those that use Friedman generally are Gulfstream IIs and Learjet 24s.

But as they age, fewer are in operations, Baird said.

Summer aircraft operation increases are across the board: Skywest and Horizon airlines add flights and more general aviation flights—including corporate jets and smaller private aircraft—use the Hailey field.

This week alone, the annual Allen & Co. gathering of international media tycoons will mean 50 or more jets operating out of the field.

Summer, Baird also pointed out, is when afternoon winds are more variable. He said more aircraft will be landing from the north because of strong winds from the south that make down-wind landings undesirable.

So more aircraft will be flying over Hailey.

But Friedman’s voluntary noise abatement program has become widely known among pilots and aircraft owners throughout the nation. Through brochures, airport Web site data, a widely distributed videotape and CD, pilots are provided with directions on the preferred approaches to and departures from Friedman as well as information on curfew hours when operations should not be conducted.

Baird said some of his staff would be working at night to stay in contact with pilots using the field. He also said that residents who want to register comments or noise reports should call the Airport Noise Abatement Center at 788-5138.


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