FAA shows plans to shift planes|
Brandywine Hundred-area residents prodded the Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday night to reduce airplane noise as officials tinker with flight patterns at Philadelphia International Airport. Visitors to a meeting at Concord High School met a roomful of oversize maps on easels and an earful of avionics acronyms as the FAA showcased its Airspace Redesign for New York, New Jersey and metro Philadelphia. The planned redesign, to be finalized in the next year, aims to increase safety and reduce delays as the Philadelphia airport -- already the world's ninth-busiest, according to officials -- handles increasing air traffic in coming years. But chief among the concerns of the roughly two dozen attendees were the mighty roars of the airplanes that rattle their windows, deprive them of sleep and disturb their peace. "I have my windows shut, my TV on and the planes are rattling by," Gina Gucciardi, 50, said after the meeting. "You can hear them. They can wake me up in the middle of the night." The noise has gotten so troublesome in the past two years that Gucciardi, a horticulturist, doesn't even want to tend to her 1-acre garden in southern Delaware County, Pa. "It's just miserable to be out there" with a plane rumbling through every two or three minutes, she said. FAA officials presented three alternatives to shift air traffic at the Philadelphia airport, which they said would shift some noise from departing flights away from Brandywine Hundred and into Pennsylvania and New Jersey by 2011. But the airspace redesign project doesn't yet address how to reduce noise from flights arriving at the airport by way of Delaware. Some ideas offered in a question-and-answer session included changing the types of approaches by aircraft and redirecting flights over the Delaware River. Steve Kelley, the FAA official managing the airspace project, assured residents the FAA would consider the proposals but made no promises. He explained the FAA was trying to balance the airline industry's needs with safety and residents' quality of life. "That's the dance we're doing, and it's tough," he said. William McGlinchey, chair of Delaware Philadelphia Airport Air Traffic and Quality of Life Issues Action Group, called the noise situation "unacceptable." The task force will be suggesting noise-reduction strategies to the FAA in the next week, he said. "We are looking for action," he said. The FAA invites the public to comment on the proposals. More information, including spreadsheets showing how individual Census blocks would be affected by the different proposals -- can be found at www.faa.gov/nynjphl_airspace_redesign.