Truckee Tahoe Airport looking for community advisers |

Truckee Tahoe Airport looking for community advisers

The Truckee Tahoe Airport is seeking three new members to serve on an advisory panel that helps the airport stay in touch with the community.

Established in 2005, the six-member Airport Community Advisory Team tackles such sensitive issues as landing patterns and flight-related noise, providing feedback and potential solutions to the district’s board.

With the panel settling into a staggered rotation of two-year terms, the airport is looking for three applicants for the appointed positions, with applications due by the end of the month.

“We’re looking for somebody who has an interest in the community,” said Kevin Bumen, head of noise and business operations for the airport. “They don’t need to have an aviation background, but they need to be good at critical thinking and problem solving.”

Over the last year, the advisory team has worked on a number of public-outreach and noise-reduction programs, Bumen said.

Working with a flight school at the airport, the team helped replace one plane’s exhaust with a quiet version, Bumen said, similar to the propeller replacement on a tow-plane at the glider port the year before.

The group has also been involved in helping the airport revise its noise-abatement program, which maps out flight paths less likely to cause noise problems, he said.

“We’ve been looking at what aircraft on what runway under what conditions could reduce noise impacts without putting aircraft over new neighborhoods,” Bumen said. “It’s a delicate balance.”

The updated plan could come out by this spring, he said.

Chair Tom Van Berkem of the advisory team said possible changes include finding more uses for the shorter runway, which would aim flights away from town, and directing landing aircraft over Brockway Summit rather than Interstate 80.

Additionally, Van Berkem said the group has been learning about aircraft tracking systems, so the airport can one day monitor whether pilots are actually flying the suggested noise-abatement routes.

Members of the advisory panel also solicit feedback in the community, Bumen said, most recently visiting Prosser Lakeview, Ponderosa/ Sierra Meadows, Northstar and Olympic Heights.

“The idea was that issues are unique to different neighborhoods,” Bumen said. “In Prosser they are affected by jets, in Olympic Heights it’s jets and piston, and some neighbors closer in have safety concerns.”

The advisory panel’s work has already come up with some surprises, its chairman observed.

“We assumed the biggest issue would be noise, but it turned out equally important were safety and the time of day,” Van Berkem said.

The members whose terms have expired are Hardy Bullock, Gaylan Larson and George Moore, leaving Van Berkem, Wolfgang Dirks and Pat Northrop as the panel’s incumbents.

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