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Friday, June 11, 2004


Psst! Airport device to nab noisemakers

New weapon added to noise reduction battle

Express Staff Writer

A new weapon is being added to Friedman Memorial Airport’s running battle to reduce noise and curfew violations.

During the monthly meeting of the airport authority on Tuesday, June 8, airport manager Rick Baird alluded to "new equipment" that will be used to catch violators.

But he did not say then or afterward what the equipment is.

He said various technologies are always being evaluated for use in the anti-noise campaign.

Friedman has a much-publicized voluntary noise abatement program. It includes a nighttime flight operations curfew between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., a nationally distributed video for pilots explaining approach and departure procedures to minimize aircraft noise, and a system of sending complaint letters to aircraft owners whose planes have been identified as violating curfew or being excessively noisy and asking for their cooperation.

Beyond that, the airport has few powers to police the noisemakers.

Baird told the board that Memorial Day weekend brought an unusual number of complaints by residents near the airport or under the flight path.

He also said the airport is anticipating several spikes in noise complaints in July, especially between July 6 and 11 when dozens of corporate jets will arrive and depart during the Allen & Co.’s annual conclave of international media tycoons at Sun Valley Resort.

Although jets bringing participants to the Allen & Co. parlays are newer and quieter and the pilots cooperative in observing noise abatement procedures, Baird said the sheer number of aircraft will make the airport seem noisier to nearby residents.

The authority and Baird make no secret of the desire to have more local power to crack down on noise. In particular, Baird has indicated a desire to ban so-called Stage II jets with early generation engines that are vastly noisier than Stage III jets.

The airport at Jackson, Wyo., was handed that authority in congressional special legislation, helped along by the fact the airport is within Grand Teton National Park.

Authority member Martha Burke, who also chairs the airport’s noise abatement committee, said that letters to Idaho's congressional delegation complaining about the noise actually helps the airport.

Letters, she said, would help shift more authority from the Federal Aviation Administration to local airport control.


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