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Longboat Key Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012 5 years ago

Town urges FAA to quiet plane noise

by: Kurt Schultheis Senior Editor

The town of Longboat Key plans to make the airplane noise issue on the north end of the Key a federal one.
Town Manager Dave Bullock informed the Longboat Key Town Commission Oct. 25, in an email, that Mayor Jim Brown has drafted a letter urging the Federal Aviation Administration to follow procedures that keep planes from turning too soon over Longboat Key and creating noise problems.

At the October regular workshop, Emerald Harbor resident and Planning and Zoning Board member Andrew Aitken told the commission and Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport CEO Fred Piccolo that aircraft are still turning improperly over the Key.

Aitken, a retired Navy pilot, brought it to the commission and Piccolo’s attention in March 2011 that pilots are not following procedures, particularly near the north end of the Key.

Pilots cleared for takeoff on Runway 32, the airport’s most western runway, Aitken said, must fly west for a minimum of seven miles before beginning a turn toward their destinations.

But Aitken has noticed that aircraft with a northern destination to places such as Atlanta are beginning their turns at between three and four miles. The move means that planes are gaining altitude over the Key when most of the plane-ascension noise is emitted.

Piccolo told commissioners the airport has tried to comply with the law but doesn’t control the air traffic control operators who direct pilots when to turn the planes.

“We’ve done all we can to help and have made ourselves accessible to Mr. Aitken’s problem,” Piccolo said.

The town’s letter to the FAA is the latest step in trying to get air-traffic control to comply.

“Discussions with airport management … have been cordial and constructive, but the noise issue remains unresolved,” wrote Brown. “The solution to this problem would seem to be very simple … departure controllers could be instructed to follow the noise abatement procedures when operating conditions are normal.”

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