Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Must be summer ? airport noise picks up

Air traffic set to peak in July and August

Express Staff Writer

It's that time of the year when the Wood River Valley's idyllic weather and countless outdoor recreational features beckon thousands of more visitors, including those with their own airplanes that tend to make Friedman Memorial Airport busier and noisier.

Anticipating this, Friedman Manager Rick Baird has said that the airport staff as well as tenants and aircraft operators "are sensitive to our surrounding community and are already preparing for summer air traffic by going to great length promoting cooperative and considerate flight operations by airport users."

July and August will be the busiest months, Baird said. Aircraft traffic will double—from an average of 3,000 to 4,000 operations per month to 7,000 to 8,000.

July will be especially hectic. With July 4 falling midweek, Sun Valley Aviation General Manager Melidee Wright speculates that heavy traffic will occur before and after the Fourth.

Then, the following week, the annual onslaught of corporate attendees and their families for the Allen & Co. media conference will begin on July 10. Customarily, more than 50 corporate aircraft, mostly jets, flock to Friedman. When ramp parking space is all taken, late-arriving jets either return to their home bases or are diverted to Twin Falls.

Sun Valley Aviation, Friedman's only service and maintenance facility, is prepared for the annual traffic, Wright said,

Friedman has developed a unique volunteer noise abatement program that involves takeoff and landing curfews as well as approach and departure suggestions. The program is promoted and published widely in aviation publications and in a DVD distributed free to corporate flight departments and pilots.

When citizens complain of airport aircraft noise, Friedman Operations Manager Peter Kramer determines what aircraft was involved and sends a letter to the operator or pilots pointing out the noise abatement program.

Most pilots, Baird has reported in the past, welcome the gentle reminder and then adhere to the voluntary requirements.

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