N O I S E P O L L U T I O N
Freye also believes that local complaints reflect “broader
anti-aviation sentiment, like that we’ve seen in communities
like Santa Monica and East Hampton”. (See box Santa
Monica fight not over).
Complaints are on the rise at Rocky Mountain
Metropolitan Airport (BJC) though they come from a “tiny
fraction” of the residents who are a “highly energized
group,” Freye says. “This is an unfortunate trend that is
becoming more common around the nation.” Rocky
Mountain Metropolitan Airport is half-way between
Denver and Boulder and about 13 miles away
from each city.
“The bill is bad for business and it isn’t safe.
Right now we have the safest airspace and
aviation system in the world and the reason
is we have federal control,” said Paul Anslow.
Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport’s manager.
Federal oversight has multiple checks and
balances while local control could be chaotic
and dangerous, he believes, but ultimately aviation
groups will be able to argue effectively against the
Meanwhile, a pilot shortage is pumping up flight school
enrollments by 15 to 20% a year. Student pilots spend a
Business aviation is booming
at the FBO ramp at Rocky
Mountain Metropolitan Airport
32 | BU S INE S S A I R P O RT INT E RNAT I ONA L A P R I L 2 0 2 0
lot of time in local patterns doing touch and go’s. Anslow
said the four flight schools based at Rocky Mountain Airport
draw most of the noise complaints. Nearby residents hate
the “constant droning” of these types of flight operations, he
says. A student pilot often makes a half dozen trips around
the pattern flying touch and go’s.
About 25 miles north of Rocky Mountain Airport is Vance
Brand Airport in Longmont, Colorado where there are
two flight schools. With about 85,000 operations
a year it is a busy non-towered airport. Airport
manager Dave Slayter said sky diving aircraft
create a constant drone in terms of noise as
they climb out several miles to the south up to
altitudes of 5,000 to 18,000ft. After sky divers
jump out, the pilots race back down to the
airport to pick up the next group. “Noise is a big
deal in this area of Colorado right now and not
just at general aviation and towered airports but
also at Denver,” says Brand.
The Colorado Aviation Business Association
opposes the bill. Chris Swathwood, chairman of the
board of trustees of the association, believes noise is
a very localized issue, but that the proposed legislation
would affect every general aviation airport in the USA,
even though it is being prompted by a small population of
unhappy residents near Colorado airports.
“The majority of
from a minority of
NATA’s vice president of government
and public affairs Jonathon Freye
(Photo: Steve Nelson)