Solutions to aircraft noise discussed at forum
A noisy jet flying over a quiet neighborhood early in the morning is enough to make anybody frustrated.
In an attempt to gather citizen input on noise from operations at and above the Truckee Tahoe Airport, about 15 residents joined together Tuesday night to discuss possible solutions to aircraft noise.
According to airport estimates, out of 3,500 recent aircraft “movements” – on their way in or out of the Truckee Tahoe Airport – 29 noise calls were generated.
“I would characterize it as one percent of the movements caused somebody to call in for some reason,” said Mike Scott, airport manager of operations.
Airport officials noted that it’s hard to tell what sort of aircraft makes the most noise since some of the larger jets emit less noise.
Amidst suggestions that the airport tell pilots where to fly their planes, General Manager Dave Gotschall reminded attendees that the Federal Aviation Administration regulates airspace.
“We make suggestions, we don’t regulate the airspace above your neighborhood,” he said.
But the airport has been working on new suggestions to visiting and local pilots. At the meeting, Scott and Gotschall talked about asking pilots to time their turn, once they are at a certain elevation, so they fly above the Truckee Bypass, between Olympic Heights and Ponderosa Palisades, hoping to reduce noise to those neighborhoods.
The airport hopes to encourage pilots to “increase distance to reduce sound levels at a place on the ground,” Scott explained.
“Again, it goes back to what can be done given the space and the terrain,” Scott said, describing the conditions in which pilots coming in and out of Truckee have to fly.
Other policies already in place at the airport include suggesting that aircraft take off and land during daylight hours to reduce nighttime noise.
Truckee resident Karen Sessler asked if the airport could make a plea to airport users to regulate the hours at which they operate.
“Can they be persuaded for the good of the community to leave at 7 [a.m.] instead of 5?” she asked. “Our real opportunity comes in educating folks.”
Increasing noise from aircraft is not only due to flight patterns, but to an increase in air traffic.
“It’s not that the jets are getting louder, it’s that the number of operations is increasing dramatically,” Gotschall said.
“We’re not going out to market this airport … but this is such a paradise that people want to come here.”
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