Area Residents Call Airport Noise Intrusive
The FAA told Hilton Head
Island, SC residents Monday that taking pilots or the airport to
task over noise won't help solve anything -- no matter how much
noise the residents themselves might make.
"[The pilots] are not breaking any rules right now," said Steve
Kelley, manager for the FAA's airspace redesign project.
"Challenging pilots legally is not something that's going to have
any merit with us."
Instead of calling and complaining -- to the airport, or to
a lawyer -- the three FAA representatives told residents to be
patient, and await the findings of the Part 150 noise study
currently being conducted at the airport, according to The Island
The study, which is expected to be completed by next summer,
might lead to changes in flight paths -- or even to buildings
themselves, with the addition of new soundproofing being one of the
suggested methods to combat airport-related noise.
The FAA reps were invited to speak to the group of about 50
residents, pilots and local officials by the airport's Community
Relations Committee, which was formed last year specifically to
address noise complaints.
Several residents and pilots in attendance exchanged heated
words over the airport's importance to the area, according to the
newspaper. One critic, Perry White, openly questioned the sincerity
of the FAA's answers, saying the agency promotes pilots' concerns,
and not necessarily those of residents.
That drew a response from 35-year pilot Ross Russo, who compared
the call for restrictions on the airport to concerns he had when he
bought his house next to a busy local street.
"[The road] makes
noise and I didn't know," Russo said sarcastically. "And I want to
know, can we get it moved?"
The FAA representatives agreed noise-reduction measures need to
be taken, including promoting those already in place -- such as
Hilton Head's existing noise abatement procedure.
"I had no idea there was a voluntary noise abatement procedure,"
said Ward, who flew to the meeting. "And I'm in the FAA, for crying
One potential issue, however, may be the fact that, according to
the FAA, there isn't enough air traffic at Hilton Head Island to
warrant tighter controls -- despite calls by residents to limit the
number of airplanes allowed to use the airport to help reduce
In any case, it all comes back to the noise study.
"That 150 study is your way of getting some changes made," said
Mark D. Ward, an air traffic manager in the FAA's Atlanta office.
"That really becomes the way you do things."