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Vice Mayor reports on overhead aircraft issues

--Guest commentary--

December 5, 2012
By Vice Mayor Alan Mandel , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

At the November meeting of the Lee County Port Authority, which followed 11 public workshops that involved 326 attendees and 130 public comments as well as five individual community meetings, their officials made several recommendations which should:

- Not simply move noise from one community over another

- Reduce the number of flights over Fort Myers Beach, and Estero as well as The Forest

- Increase the altitude of flights over Fort Myers Beach, and Estero, as well as The Forest

The recommendations, which are supported by the FAA and Southwest Airlines, include:

1. A new optimized descent that will:

- Reduce potential annoyance along portions of the Estero Corridor

- Reduce over flights of Fort Myers Beach

- Maximize use of Back Bay

- Set up the potential for the procedure to be extended to a higher altitude at some point in the future

2. Using chartered visual procedures from the north and south to:

- Limit aircraft noise over sensitive areas

- Result in 3,000 feet until passing Fort Myers Beach

3. Raise altitude to 3,000 feet over Beaches to:

- Provide about 6 dB noise reduction at the Beach and some reduced noise benefit along the extended flight path

- Be more fuel efficient

4. Initiate an earlier OPD RNAV Arrival Procedure that will:

- These visual optimized profile descent procedures being evaluated by the FAA may reduce potential annoyance in communities receiving arrival over flights

- Reduce flight distance and fuel use

5. Change RW 24 to Preferred Runway after 10 p.m. that will:

- Reduce night time arrival over flights of Estero corridor by 55 percent

- Have few or no departures during time period (most airport activity after 10 p.m. consists of arriving flights)

6. Modify departures that will:

- Reduce overflights of The Forest

- Maintain use of the Alico industrial corridor during aircraft climb out

The Town Council following a detailed presentation by John Pohlen, Tom Merrill and others approved a resolution supporting many of these concepts.

At the Dec. 3 Council Meeting, I asked Council to prepare a resolution or letter to be signed by Mayor Bob Raymond to Larry Kiker, our County Commissioner, with copies to the other County Commissioners urging approval and transmittal to the FAA.



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