Airport still looking for input on flight tracking | SierraSun.com
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Airport still looking for input on flight tracking

Greyson Howard
Sierra Sun
Greyson Howard/Sierra Sun
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TRUCKEE “-The Truckee Tahoe Airport Board wants to know ” is flight tracking worth about $1 million to the community?

The airport district is considering a flight tracking system that could help inform decisions from noise abatement procedures to land acquisition.

“We really want to try and solicit comments from the community,” said Airport Manager Dave Gotschall. “Is this something that could benefit the community or are we just spending money we don’t need to spend? I think it is a good thing.”

Kevin Bumen, head of noise and business operations, said the flight tracking system will help the airport understand flight patterns and noise, give the district ideas of where purchasing open space could help, or inform the town about flights over a proposed development.

“We found in a case study airport similar to us in doing this flight tracking, having this information for the public, noise annoyance was reduced,” Bumen said.

Denny Dickinson, a Truckee resident who lives near the airport, said he had mixed feelings about the proposed flight tracking system.

“Part of me says yes we should do this, but part of me says if pilots just followed procedures there would be no reason,” Dickinson said. “And it’s a million dollars ” that’s a lot of money.”

And the airport can’t actually enforce any rules once the airplane is in the sky, Dickinson said.

Rick Tavan, a local pilot, disagreed about pilot’s compliance, but agreed that $1 million is a lot of money for the airport to spend.

“I probably know 100 pilots who use Truckee, and 80 to 90 percent of the pilots I know follow the procedures,” Tavan said. “I continue to believe this is a terrible waste of money.”

Gotschall said the airport won’t have to go to the taxpayers to pay for the flight tracking system, which between the purchase price and operational costs will come out to about $200,000 a year for the next ten years.

“We can actually afford this on our own nickel, we aren’t asking the public for anything more,” Gotschall said.

While some opponents argue that a small airport like Truckee Tahoe doesn’t need a system some larger airports don’t even have, Gotschall said those airports can generally use radar or other tracking systems from nearby large airports ” something the mountains surrounding Truckee prevent.

“We don’ have an alternative,” Gotschall said. “If we don’t do this what are we going to do?”

The tracking system would open the door for future noise reduction efforts ” allowing noise monitors to differentiate between the noise generated by an airplane from that of a truck or lawnmower, Gotschall said.

The Truckee Tahoe Airport District workshop on flight tracking will be held Thursday, Feb. 12, starting at 7 p.m. at the Hampton Inn and Suite on Highway 267.

To see the agenda for the meeting, go to http://www.truckeetahoeairport.com, click airport, then airport board ” agendas.


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