Questions on the August 2005 NWCA Public Forum on the OSU Airport

On August 17, 2005 the Northwest Civic Association (NWCA) hosted a Public Meeting on the OSU Airport. Many questions were submitted in writing, but because of time constraints they were unable to be asked.

We were recently provided a list of those questions. We have posted the questions directed to WOOSE below, and look forward to the public response from OSU concerning their questions.

Questions for Dennis Hennen
President of WOOSE

WOOSE published a report alleging problems with OSU administration and control of Don Scott field. What are the major problems? What is the current status of that report?

I assume the question refers to the February 2005 WOOSE report available at http://woose.org/report/.

Among the many things considered in the report, we looked at the financial and management practices of the University. We found:

Since the February report: The WOOSE Report was provided to members of the Ohio State University Board of Trustees, as well as to many other community and governmental organizations. The cities of Worthington and Riverlea, as well as the Old Worthington Association and the Worthington Historical Society have all passed motions or resolutions asking for the University Board of Trustees to consider the recommendations in the WOOSE report. To our knowledge, the University has yet to respond to the report or any other request made by local governments and civic organizations.

How concerned is WOOSE (We Oppose Ohio State Airport Expansion) about single-event noise impacts that disrupt residents?

Single-event noises are among our chief concerns. While average noise metrics have their place (see below), they do not measure the true impacts. Just one or two loud events can disrupt our sleep and our lives, yet this can easily be masked over. A single jet that wakes you up is too much, yet over a 24-hour average the "impact" is low.

OSU has done one "single-event" impact survey, but this study was performed with failing equipment during a quiet time of year and with questionable methodologies.

OSU will have to provide noise mitigation out to the 65dB (decibel) DNL. (DNL is an metric measuring average noise levels). This is the legal minimum they must consider. There is nothing wrong with using the DNL metric, however the threshold the FAA and OSU have selected to use is inadequate. Nearly every international and national body recognizes 55dB DNL or less as the threshold where noise becomes disruptive. (65dB is more than twice as loud as 55dB.) Recent news reports have a Minneapolis airport voluntarily providing noise insulation to the 60dB level.

OSU has promised to do more than the FAA minimums. The research shows 55dB DNL or less is the proper metric to consider. We are hopeful OSU will choose to voluntarily mitigate homes at least within the 55dB DNL contour. We are also hopeful the new noise-complaint system OSU is installing will help identify the causes of the most disruptive events so that action can be taken to reduce or eliminate those events.

When did WOOSE begin giving OSU noise complaints? What has OSU done about these complaints? Has OSU indicated how it will address noise complaints in the future?

WOOSE began providing complaint data to OSU in April 2003. This consisted of "confirmed complaints," that is collections of complaints where three or more individuals submitted a complaint within 5 minutes, likely meaning the complaints represented one event.

They did not respond to any of these complaints, but rather "studied" them. In a June presentation, the University tried to use the data to discredit the complaints. In private meetings they have also inappropriately used the data to single out individuals reporters.

On June 15, 2005 WOOSE began forwarding an anonymized version of every single complaint we receive to the University. At that time Doug Hammon, airport director, is reported in the media as having "pledged" to respond to every complaint. To date, 129 responses have been received, or about 3% of the 4,000+ complaints since June 15. Of those, 124 of the responses were form letters. Only 5 reports contained substantive investigation.

Complete, up-to-the-minute statistics concerning the WOOSE complaints are available at http://woose.org/acs/stats.html.

Questions for Dean Beaslack
Dean of OSU College of Engineering

Worthington has many historic buildings. Aircraft noise and vibrations impair the ability of Worthington residents to enjoy this historic atmosphere. What is OSU doing to stop this situation?

Worthington has many historic buildings. Aircraft noise and vibrations impair the ability of Worthington residents to enjoy this historic atmosphere. What is OSU doing to stop this situation?

The DNL system (noise averaging) is an obsolete and ineffective way to measure community impacts from aircraft noise. Many organizations recommend using a single-event noise measurement system or, at least a 55 DNL standard. Why won't OSU do this?

Airport noise data from OSU, which was collected February 15-25, 2005, was refuted by Mr. Zoll's representative at an advisory meeting. Also, the noise collection equipment did not work properly during part of that time period and the number of aircraft operations was atypically low. Why do you continue to rely on those data? Please give me written information on comments about Worthington 1 & 2 & 3.

What is being done to address concerns about terrorists targeting general aviation airports like Don Scott field

Does the Environmental Assessment of the proposed expansion at OSU airport take into account development and expansion at other similar airfields?

When will you replace the old noisy "trainer" planes that circle residential neighborhoods? Was an environmental study done before the "50 degree turn" was instituted? If so, how can the public obtain a copy of the study? If not, wasn't it illegal to make the change without a study? Why can't Worthington have a "scatter" plan (varying aircraft vectors) like Dublin?

With OSU airport potentially able to overcome noise and historic objections, when will you perform and make public an economic analysis on OSU airport as it currently operates and as a "corporate gateway"? A "gateway" to where? If overseas: what about customs, immigration and security, and how will that be paid for? How will a runway expansion affect usage of adjacent land? In the post-9/11 world, what is OSU airport doing about security

Can an individual resident request an aircraft noise monitor? What does DNL mean and/or Bolton Field (rather than operate Don Scott)? The OSU College of Agriculture meets its research and teaching needs without adversely affecting neighbors members of the public obtain FAA data on flights that cause noise problems?

Jets revving up for takeoff are disturbing, particularly early in the morning. They continue for several minutes and then intermittently. What can be done to mitigate this noise, such as erecting noise barriers?

Why does the Environmental Assessment use average altitudes when low-flying aircraft create most of the noise problems?

How does the airport expansion meet the mission statement for student academics at OSU? How many OSU students are taking flight instruction? Has OSU considered how the airport expansion will affect student and routine pilots with private planes at Don Scott field?

Why is it important for the OSU Board of Trustees to approve the airport master plan now?

Why is OSU airport not part of the Columbus Regional Airport Authority? FAA funds (taxpayer dollars) support four airports in Franklin County, so how can expansion of OSU airport be justified when it would compete with other local airports?

When will there be even more OSU airport traffic, since the number of flights is down from past years? Why are aircraft from OSU airport flying over our homes more than they did before?

What will OSU do to stop or mitigate impacts on local neighborhoods from noise and low-flying aircraft?

How will the proposed runway expansion affect the 100 year-old woods at west of OSU airport and the chimp lab east of the airport?

When will the "new" master plan for OSU airport be available to the public? Will it be available in libraries and other locations that are accessible to the public? Will the public be allowed to speak out about the master plan before it is approved?

Is there a plan for the farmland around OSU airport. If so, what is it and what is the timeframe?

Do air taxi services currently use OSU airport? How frequent are such flights? How will expansion at OSU airport affect this? Isn't air taxi service a commercial function that doesn't belong at OSU airport?

With Homeland Security a continuing concern, what security measures exist and are planned at OSU airport to prevent misuse of the airport minimal? How are you protecting the community from security risks (security fences and other measures)?

Many residents in communities near OSU airport have asked that loud single-event noise events be considered "critical" disturbances because they destroy quality of life. What is OSU's response to these requests?

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