Sound Initiative Wants National Ban On Stage I and II Jets
If you can't beat 'em... join 'em. That seems to be the message
behind a truce, of sorts, between officials at Witham Field in
Stuart, FL and that airport's most vocal opponent -- the
neighborhood watchdog group Witham Airport Action Majority. The
airport decided last week to join the Sound Initiative lobbying
effort, a group bent on phasing out all Stage I and Stage II
aircraft within the next three years.
Airport manager Mike Moon told the Treasure Coast Palm that
Stuart Field will kick in half the requested $10,000 fee to join
the lobbying group, with the county funding the rest with hoped-for
contributions from the city of Stuart, the county, homesowners
associations and groups like WAAM... among others.
"We want to go out into the county, to the homeowners
association impacted by jets," Moon said.
The county decided to join Sound Initiative after reviewing its
proposal. The municipal governments of nearby Boca Raton and Delray
Beach are already members of the group, Moon added.
Martin County's move to support the Sound Initiative is also
likely intended to ease tensions between the airport, and the neighborhood
that sprung up around it... but the decision has been
met with muted support at best.
David Shore, the president of the neighborhood association, said
the group would contribute a nominal amount towards the membership,
at best. He added the group has been a nonpaying member of Sound
Initiative for several years, so the group could keep abreast of
developments in anti-noise measures.
Bill Frondorf with the Noise Advisory Committee said Martin
county should raise the tax on jet fuel to meet its requested share
of $10,000 -- which would mean that operators of noncompliant
aircraft under the proposed ban would be paying to support the
obsolescence of the aircraft they're fueling.
Stage I and II jets,
the loudest aircraft allowed to fly from GA airports, make up
approximately eight percent of the general aviation fleet. Early
Falcons, Gulfstreams, Hawkers, and LearJets (right) make up the
bulk of remaining aircraft out there that aren't at least Stage III
In 1990, the federal government began to phase out non-Stage III
aircraft weighing more than 75,000 lbs gross weight from operating
at GA airports. A ban enacted by Naples, FL officials on Stage II
aircraft in 2002 -- which was upheld by an appeals court in
2005 after a protracted legal battle with the FAA --
resulted in the federal agency pulling that airport's funding.
The proposed ban is not without its benefits -- Boca Raton
officials estimated that by eliminating the loudest jets, the
number of people living within areas subjected to jet engine noise
averaging 65 decibels or higher would drop from 2,180 to 125.
The proposed legislation would also allow local agencies to
advise the government they would not prohibit the loud jets. Noise
allowances and procedures are determined by the FAA through Part
161 of the FARs, accessible at the first FMI link below.
Sound Initiative was started by government, environmental, and
anti-noise proponents at Morristown Municipal Airport in New
Jersey, Ohio State University Airport in Columbus, OH, and the Port
Authority of New York and New Jersey.