Friday, August 21, 2009

FAA dictates to communities

I have read with interest over the years the many issues regarding Friedman Airport and its possible alternatives. I am also one of the many who have flown over Friedman when it's fogged in, unable to land, and flown back to Salt Lake City. Was it a hassle? Yes. Would I rather see another so-called "regional" airport out somewhere near Shoshone? No! I can only imagine the cascading sprawl factors associated with this plan five to 15 years from now.

About three to five years ago, the FAA made a similar decree upon Salt Lake City, i.e. we must for "safety" reasons open up flight paths directly over the Wasatch and east side of the city for approach landings. Currently this is an excluded area for flight paths for a variety of reasons. However, it was decided by the FAA that this policy will change, therefore it must be so. To hell with Salt Lake City and its appeal to aesthetics was the FAA's position; it had decided what was best for us.

Well not so fast was the city's response. We had a mayor, a governor's office and a few congressman that basically let the FAA know that they don't dictate to us how we choose to live. The impact of big jets' buzzing the Wasatch and east side of the city would have been enormous. Imagine being at the top of Park City or Alta and getting repeatedly buzzed by a big, incoming commercial airliner.

Yet the FAA persisted that it had to have more approach routes for "safety" reasons. So I am curious about those 20 or 30 private jet owners who park those planes at Friedman—what do they think of closing Friedman? The Wood River Valley may not be able to have the clout of Salt Lake City taking on the FAA, yet I'd guess more than a couple of those private jet owners have more clout than you think regarding members of Congress. In fact, some of them are members of Congress.

The Friedman issue is very different from Salt Lake City's, yet how policy is being dictated is the same. It looks like the Wood River Valley is getting rolled. It seems because SkyWest no longer wants to fly turbo props into Friedman!

The FAA has decided what is best, that life will change in the Wood River Valley, and not for the better. Yet I'm sure it will all be in the name of "progress."

David Knoop

Park City, Utah

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