FAA Is Taking Public Input On Altered Flight Paths

By Casey Kuhn
Published: Thursday, February 8, 2018 - 2:51pm
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The Federal Aviation Administration changed flight paths out of Phoenix Sky Harbor in 2014 to, as they said, make the planes more efficient when they leave the airport going West.

Well that ended up sending a lot of airplanes over historic neighborhoods in the city at low altitudes – and sending a lot of noise, too.

Now they’re changing them, again, and KJZZ’s Casey Kuhn is with me to talk about that.

HOST: So the FAA is holding meetings about this – what have those meetings been focused on?

CASEY KUHN: The FAA is holding three meetings this week in the evenings to kind of help inform people who live in the areas that will be affected how they’ll be affected.

The last two were in Maryvale and Laveen, which will now have more planes flying overhead, according to the maps they had on display.

The final one is Thursday starting at 5 p.m., at Horizon High School Cafeteria in Scottsdale.

Those meetings had maps, video presentations and forms to submit public comment and feedback on what this new plan is all about.

And essentially what they’re explaining is where the new flight paths are going to be and what that will look like in the near future.

HOST: This all comes from a federal ruling after those historic neighborhoods and the city sued the FAA. How is changing the flight paths going to adhere to that ruling?

KUHN: The ruling said basically the FAA didn’t get enough community input before they changed the flight paths.

The neighborhoods that sued and were most affected were the F.Q. Story, Willo, Encanto-Palmcroft and Roosevelt neighborhoods. The courts ruled in their favor and so those neighborhoods, along with the city and the FAA, came up with an agreement to essentially switch back to the same flight paths from before 2014

That means more planes are going to go kind of in a parallel to Interstate 10, flying farther west and then up and down 59th Avenue, rather than in this concentrated diagonal above those neighborhoods.

Cynthia Archuleta was one of the dozens who came to the Maryvale meeting Tuesday and she said the changes came out of nowhere and she didn’t know if it would ever be fixed.

"I just had issues with, all of a sudden one day, I thought I was at the freakin' airport and it wasn’t getting better and nobody had answers," Archuleta said.

And she’s very glad these changes are happening. There were certainly a lot of people there to answer any questions she might have had.

HOST: The community came out to ask those important questions. What has the FAA had to say about all of these changes?

KUHN: The FAA spokesman I spoke to definitely focused a lot on how the plan was made together between the neighborhoods and the city and the agency – nothing was done in a silo – and these meetings are also proof that they’re trying to make community input a priority this time around.

Of course the planes still have to go somewhere – and people living in neighborhoods around 51st and 59th Avenues and Baseline Road will hear more plane noise.

FAA spokesman Ian Gregor was at the meetings too and said they’re taking all public comment during this switch so they can tweak the flight paths even more if they have to.

And there will be another step once the flight paths are changed to see how they might be changed a little more.

HOST: And when is that going to happen?

KUHN: Soon, the plan is to switch the paths around March 29 and then go from there based on public feedback.

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