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Aircraft issues group member recaps workshop

March 28, 2012
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

To the editor:

"Islanders Concerned about Aircraft Issues" would like to thank everyone who attended the aircraft noise workshop. If you were unable to attend, got caught in traffic or did not fill out a comment sheet, comments should be sent to Written documentation is very important.

The recommendations made by the consultants will result in improvements for the Town of Fort Myers Beach, as well as other communities, if the FAA implements them. The next step is to hold a hearing with the Board of Port Commissioners. You will have an opportunity at that hearing to verbally comment on aircraft issues impacting you and requesting their support for proposed improvements. These comments at that hearing will be included in the document that will go to the FAA for approval and implementation. We will inform you of the date of the hearing. It should be early fall.

For those who may not have attended the workshop, the following recommendations impacting FMB were made:

1. Keep aircraft at 3,000 feet over Fort Myers Beach.

n Comment: This is less than the 4,000 feet requested, but an improvement. Assuming that 3,000 feet is all that can be achieved at this time, we would like to see the wording of this recommendation changed to read: Keep aircraft at or above 3,000 feet until east of Estero Island. The pilots may not know Fort Myers Beach, but the island is obvious.

2. Promote use of RNAV Visual Optimized Profile Descent (OPD) to Runway 06.

n Comment: This is consistent with our requests. If implemented, it should decrease the number of direct over-flights, be quieter because aircraft will be in a glide and there should be significant fuel use reduction. The one airline that is currently using this procedure estimates a yearly savings of at least $12M. Two more airlines are being added and others will want to follow because of the savings.

3. Initiate RNAV OPD arrival procedure further from the airport.

n Comment: This extends the benefits for the airlines and to other communities surrounding the airport.

4. Publish Charted Visual Approach to Runway 6 from the North and South.

n Comment: This will provide aircraft arriving from the north or the south under visual flight rules procedures for avoiding overflying Fort Myers Beach.

5. Increase altitude of early morning flights.

n Comment: This recommendation intends to have the FAA work with box carriers such as FedEx and UPS to increase their altitude over FMB. This recommendation must include training of controllers in Miami who are on duty from midnight to 6 a.m. It should also combine the above recommendations that assure the box carriers are at or above 3,000 feet and over the Back Bay rather than over Estero Island.

6. Change Runway 24 to preferred Runway after 10 p.m.

n Comment: The preferred arrival direction during the night time hours would be to the southwest rather than northeast. Aircraft would not fly over FMB at night. This would be dependent on weather conditions. This recommendation should be modified to state the hours of 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. If implemented, it could be an improvement for highly populated FMB and the Estero Community. Support for this change will be important.

You will be kept informed of any changes that may take place in these recommendations resulting from the on-going workshops for other communities and before they go to the Board of Port Commissioners for approval in the Fall. It would then be transmitted to the FAA.

As much as we are encouraged by the consultants recommendations, do not stop registering your concerns with the noise hotline - 590-4466 or Late night or early morning noise issues can be reported the next day. Even if the recommendations are approved by the Board of Port Commissioners, the FAA must be convinced to implement them.

Islanders Concerned about Aircraft Issues appreciate your continued support. Some people have been working on aircraft improvements for more than 15 years. Our patience and perseverance is having an impact. Thank you.

Tom Babcock

Representative of Islanders Concerned about Aircraft Issues

Fort Myers Beach



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