Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

In September of 2014 the FAA unilaterally changed Sky Harbor flight paths over the Metro Phoenix area. It was dubbed the NextGen Program and was implemented across the country at 13 major metropolitan airports. The most important element of this program was the decision that the program could not follow pre-existing routes. The Phoenix Metro’s pre-existing route was to the east over Tempe Town Lake and the Salt River bed in Tempe and Phoenix. Instead the routes would now be west of the airport with flight paths over countless residential areas in Phoenix and Glendale. Thousands and thousands of complaints were made to the City of Phoenix, Sky Harbor and the FAA.

There were no public meetings and certainly no opportunity for public comment. The new routes were developed and implemented without any warning in utter secrecy.

One of my intrepid constituents, Mitch Bodrie, resides at the 7000 block of W. Medlock Drive in Glendale. When the flight path change occurred suddenly the Bodries were inundated with noise (many flights at excessive and unapproved sound levels) from over flights. That’s when Mitch decided to get involved. He attended every FAA and flight path meeting and asked the tough questions of officials. It was not easy but he managed to be selected as the site of one of the FAA’s monitoring sites for a noise measurement report. Mitch graciously shared all of the information he has amassed with me. Here are the numbers of over flights of his home recorded over a short window of time by the FAA’s monitoring equipment:

  • 2/7/15 80 flights (monitoring begun at 9 AM)
  • 2/8/15 124 flights (monitoring from 12 AM to 11 PM)
  • 2/9/15 194 flights (monitoring from 12 AM to 11 PM)
  • 2/10/15 126 flights (monitoring from 12 AM to 11 PM)
  • 2/11/15 88 flights (monitoring from 12 AM to 11 AM)

Take a look at this graphic depiction of radar arrival and departure flight tracks over the same 5 days. I don’t know if you can make it out but Mr. Bodrie’s home is site C:

If you would like to check out Sky Harbor’s arrival and departure activity there is a neat site, flightradar24@comlive, where you can check for yourselves. Or check out skyharbor.com/flightpaths. What makes these over flights even worse is that many of them exceed accepted noise levels:

  • 2/7/15 12 flights exceeded noise level
  • 2/8/15 16 flights exceeded noise level
  • 2/9/15 18 flights exceeded noise level
  • 2/10/15 19 flights exceeded noise level
  • 2/11/15 9 flights exceeded noise level

Arizona’s Congressional Representative Ruben Gallego in his Summer of 2016 legislative update said the following, “I remain as committed as ever to ensuring the FAA reconsiders flight paths that expose residents to unacceptably (sic) high levels of aviation noise. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) recently introduced the Senate version of my bill, the FAA Community Accountability Act.” Since then…crickets.

So, what’s next? After 3 years of complaints, the FAA has bent…slightly. They have indicated that they will change the routes but just as before, no one knows what the new routes will be or when they will be implemented. There will be no public notification and certainly no opportunity for public comment.

Is this any way to run a government that we, as taxpayers, fund? I think not.

© Joyce Clark, 2017                 

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