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"Councilman urges pilots to respect those below"



Tuesday, August 5, 2003

Councilman urges pilots to respect those below
By Thomas Ropp
The Arizona Republic


SCOTTSDALE - A Scottsdale councilman told area pilots that they're "cutting
their own throats" if they don't know the difference between flying legally
and flying neighborly. 

Councilman Bob Littlefield recently addressed about two dozen pilots at
Scottsdale Municipal Airport at a Federal Aviation Administration-sponsored
safety seminar on aircraft noise and low-flying aircraft.

Littlefield, a flight instructor and member of the city's Subcommittee on
Aviation Issues, told pilots Saturday that it's not in the best interest of
general aviation for pilots to "go out and make new enemies" by flying over
houses and being a nuisance, even if they're within the law.

The FAA says pilots can fly as low as 500 feet over less densely populated
areas and 1,000 over urban areas. Most of the northeast Valley is considered
less densely populated. The airport has been inundated with noise complaints
from residents in the past year. Some residents want the airport closed.

Littlefield, who fields many of those complaints, said pilots are making a
big mistake if they think political pressures can't rock their world. He
said even if the airport isn't closed, anti-aviation sentiment could boost
user fees and restrictions.

Littlefield also urged pilots to get involved in the process.

"Do not let people who hate airplanes dominate the debate," Littlefield
said.

Scott Gray, director of Scottsdale Airport, also spoke at the seminar and
said the airport will launch a third noise abatement study within the month.
Scottsdale Airport was one of the first to focus on this 20 years ago and
consequently designated noise sensitive areas nearby. 

Gray said the airport has a voluntary curfew from 10 p.m. till 6 a.m. Pilots
who use the airport during that period are sent letters asking them to
respect the curfew. Gray said the airport can't legally enforce a curfew. 

Also, the airport does not allow touch-and-go maneuvers from 9:30 p.m. to 6
a.m. Gray said violators could soon be fined $250.


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