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Zoll: Airport study flawed
Worthington News (SNP), October 20, 2004

Reprinted courtesy of The Worthington News/SNP (c) 2004.

by Scott Takac


David Zoll, the attorney hired by the city of Worthington to address
the north runway expansion at Ohio State University Airport, told city
officials the university's draft environmental assessment is flawed.

Zoll, speaking before Worthington City Council last week, said OSU's
assessment does not account for all aircraft at the airport and the
reported growth rate of aircraft takeoffs and landings is inaccurate.

He recommended city officials push for a new environmental assessment
before considering approval of an expansion at Don Scott, nothing
[sic] that he was confident the Federal Aviation Administration and
courts of law would reject the university's preliminary findings.

"It's our preliminary conclusion that the EA's (environmental
assessment's) inadequate," Zoll said to council members in front of a
packed crowd.

Several university officials attended the meeting.

Zoll said the assessment did not include some of the noisier jet
aircraft based at Don Scott Field. The University used a faulty
assumption on when specific noisier aircraft would be phased out, he
said.

"We believe that this assumption is the primary driver of the
shrinking of the noise contour and we feel this assumption is in
error," Zoll said.

The university's study predicted that, based on the retirement of
certain jet aircraft, noise would decrease over time with the runway
expansion.

Zoll also questioned the growth numbers the university used in
estimating a 2.2 percent compound annual growth rate in aircraft
takeoffs and landings at Don Scott. "In the last seven years the
annual growth rate at OSU has varied from minus 7 percent to 19
percent," Zoll said, noting that he calculates the rate to be about 10
percent.

"It's volatile, kind of like the stock market the last few years."

Zoll said the university's predicted growth rate of 450 takeoffs and
landings over the next five years was too low to justify the expense
of extending the north runway.

Zoll said the integrated noise model used by the university also did
not accurately represent takeoff profiles because it did not consider
that Port Columbus air traffic controllers instruct Don Scott traffic
to hold at 3,000 feet for a period of time.

He said smart pilots don't use full power settings to climb when they
know they're going to be held at a low altitude, adding that being
held to a lower altitude adds to the overall noise.

Zoll said any one of the university's assumptions on fleet mix,
retirement of aircraft and at the airport growth rate give credence to a
new environmental impact study.

"What this shows is the computer predictions are inconsistent with
what is happening," Zoll said.


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