WOOSE, Riverlea Meet with University to Discuss Noise Complaints
Posted Wed Jun 15, 2005 1:20 pm EDT
On June 14th, 2005 representatives from WOOSE and the Village of Riverlea met with Ohio State
University and airport staff to discuss how best to handle complaints about the airport. Below are
the highlights and full minutes of the meeting.
HIGHLIGHTS OF MEETING
All parities agreed the airport has been unresponsive to citizen complaints.
WOOSE will soon begin releasing all complaints it receives to the airport. It was agreed that the
confirmed complaint system, originally meant as a convenience to the airport, was too confusing and
did not provide a complete picture of the complaints.
It was agreed by all parties that the best way to move forward would be a three phase plan for
implementing a working noise complaint system.
1. The University should begin responding to all the complaints it has received.
2. The University should begin collecting their own data. Currently, they must rely on the FAA to
release data to them. This process is slow and sometimes does not contain the data they need to
adequately respond to complaints. We were told the University has already begun to investigate
systems that will allow them to collect the necessary data and plan to put such a system in place in
3. Finally, the University should begin to investigate methods to reduce noise based on the
complaints it receives. This includes identifying the types of aircraft or organizations that cause
the most problems and seeking solutions to reduce noise. The University states they have already
been in discussions with the FAA concerning restrictions on noisy stage-2 aircraft and implementing
night time curfews.
FOLLOW UP TO MEETING
Several comments made during the discussion caused the non-airport affiliated participants to
believe that the agreements reached would be implemented by the University. WOOSE had prepared an
announcement on changes to the noise complaint system and related policies at the Ohio State
University as discussed in the minutes below. We sent this announcement to the participants for
review as to the announcement's accuracy. Below is an excerpt received in reply from Dawn
"Our conversation this morning was informal. We did talk about next steps that we could
possibly pursue, but neither Doug, Dr. Taneja or myself are in a position to make formal agreements
on behalf of the University.
"I respectfully request that you refrain from distributing your announcement until we have
had an opportunity to discuss it further."
If the parties involved in discussions with WOOSE and local governments are unable to set policy, we
find these talks much less useful than we had hoped. At some point in the future we hope that the
policy makers -- OSU administration and the Board of Trustees -- will be willing to sit down and
talk with us since it seems we are still speaking with individuals unable to take definitive action
to solve the problems.
If meetings such as this do not result in definitive policy changes, even though they do help us
understand each other's position, at the end of the day they are just a waste of time.
June 14th, 2005 9AM meeting at OSU Airport Administrative Building
Doug Hammon, Airport Director
Dr. Nawal Taneja, Department Chair and Professor, OSU Aviation Dept
Dawn Tyler-Lee, OSU Government Relations
Mary Jo Cusack, Mayor, Village of Riverlea
Dennis Hennen, President, WOOSE
Jane Weislogel, Vice President, WOOSE
Weislogel asked if Hammon had a chance to speak with a local company that had been identified as
making noisy night-time flights during an April meeting. He said that they and he were busy and no
they hadn't gotten together.
Weislogel replied that the day Hammon had given her the name of the person at the company, that she
called and was able to talk with him almost immediately delay. She was referred to the Chief Pilot
in South Carolina and also talked to him almost immediately. The result of the conversation was a
memo to pilots in the company asking them to try to take off on the same runway on which they land
and to keep up elevation both directions -- both efforts to reduce noise. Weislogel reported that
she found that the runway direction is observed at least 75% of the time.
She also reported that, despite Hammon's earlier statements, that the company had no plans to
replace their noisy planes with quieter models and in fact this hadn't even been discussed.
Taneja ask if Lab Corp aircraft are so noisy, why doesn't the airport just kick them out?
Hennen asked Taneja if the current jet operations are necessary for flight management training. He
answered that all academic departments in the University have three missions: research, teaching,
and service. Part of the airport's mission is to serve the business community.
Hennen questioned whether an academic University should be serving businesses, especially with all
the other airports in the area that could serve those needs. Cusack stated that the noise generated
by aircraft is not a public service.
Taneja stated that the choice to serve the business community is something for central
administration to decide, not for a teacher such as him.
Hennen clarified to that WOOSE does not oppose the airport and its recreational and humanitarian
uses, but rather its unnecessary and noisy corporate use.
Taneja stated they are looking for a win-win situation -- an airport that serves the needs of the
community but gets rid of noisy aircraft. They need to identify the "culprits," starting
with the worst. "We want to get rid of those as much as you do."
Hammon stated that he is meeting on Monday with government relations concerning "Sound
Initiatives." His description makes this sound as an effort by airports to force congress to
pass laws allowing the airport
to enforce restrictions on noisy flights.
Cusack and Weislogel brought up a recent appeals court decision involving the Naples Municipal
Airport. Hammon said he spoke with the Naples airport. They said the FAA approved Naples' Part 161
study that allowed for noise mitigation efforts, but were told if they implemented it the FAA would
pull funding. Naples did implemented it and the FAA pulled the funding. Hammon stated after 7
years and approximately $3 million in costs they won the case. Hammon said the ruling told the FAA
that in this case they had to continue funding the airport, but the FAA could still pull funding for
The question of Hammon's unresponsiveness to complaints came up. Weislogel relayed how it took 8
days before Hammon would talk to her.
Weislogel also mentioned that in October 2004 the OSU Board of Trustees was provided with a copy of
the complaints the city of Worthington had collected. Hammon stated he had still not received
those. Hennen told how he simply had to ask the city of Worthington and was provided a copy of the
complaints on CD very quickly, and also related how he told Hammon during an April meeting that he
could ask the city for a copy himself and they should easily be able to provide him the data.
Hammon discussed how they must go through Port Columbus for data. Sometimes they can talk them
through an event, but sometimes they have to receive FAA approval for data.
Hammon stated how difficult it is to get FAA data sometimes, and that it can take up to a month. He
related that how the FAA would not approve a request for data to perform the FAA funded noise
analysis. He had to contact their Detroit Rep "Mary" to get the process moving.
Taneja stated that it takes cooperation, but CMH has no legal responsibilities to help.
Hammon stated that Dave Clawson of CMH has told him they will not provide him any more data until
the time that has been promised to Kim Nixon-Bell of WOOSE is used. CMH has told him "we don't
have the time."
Hammon related that their tower sends data back to CMH, but they don't keep it and don't know what
Hammon stated how anyone who breaks an FAA regulation should be reported to FSDO. When asked if he
has ever reported anyone, he said no, and that was not his job.
Cusack stated that Hammon is shifting responsibility in blaming the FAA for all their problems
instead of taking action and responsibility.
Hennen pointed out a statement from the FAA website that says " For airports with frequent
requests for operational data, the FAA Air Traffic Division may develop an agreement with an airport
for sharing data, so that the airport can connect noise events with noise concerns of the
public." Hammon pointed out that the FAA may say that, but it is not his experience with
When questioned about the fact that no confirmed complaints have been responded to yet, Hammon
stated that "Campus" directed him to study the first month of complaints submitted to him
first. Weislogel, Cusack and Hennen pressed him at some length and several times on who on Campus
instructed him to do so. He would not give names, stated he was not going to go into details, and
would only says "his supervisors."
Taneja stated the airport needs to look at "best practices." Hammon discussed how they
have been looking at their peers for guidance on what to do. He has spoken with Cuyahoga County,
Lunkin, Auburn, Perdue, Naples, and Port Columbus for guidance. He stated Cuyahoga County does not
respond to noise complaints because they don't have the data. Lunkins is moving data collection
in-house so they can begin to respond.
Hammon stated their noise complaint system is "hovering in the middle" -- it is not the
worst, but it is not the best. Cusack pointed out that at this point there is no noise complaint
Taneja relayed that Dean Baeslack has said there will be information coming out soon on a new noise
solution. They are looking at ways to move the data collection in house.
Weislogel questioned the 50 degree turn that was instituted for take-offs to the east. She pointed
out that this turn would cause a greater impact to those under it. Also due to the nature of the
turn it should have triggered an Environmental Assessment (EA) for study. She questioned if an EA
was ever done.
Hammon stated that an EA was not done. He said the FAA imposed the turn several years ago. He said
two years ago he asked the FAA to change it back, but that the FAA told him the change has always
been in place.
The question again came up of the suitability of an academic airport soliciting corporate business.
Hammon pointed out that the City of Worthington has proximity to the airport on one of its fliers to
attract businesses. Hennen pointed out that WOOSE is not Worthington, and both Hennen and Cusack
have requested copies of this flier.
Hammon again stated that he cannot restrict flights. However, Cusack pointed out that there is a
significant difference between allowing flights and actively soliciting corporate business. She
cited the numerous advertisements posted by the airport in local magazines advertising the airport
as "Central Ohio's Corporate Jet Gateway."
Hammon discussed that there are problems with the data that is received, and he is unsure how to
respond to the data.
Hennen agreed that the confirmed complaint system, originally designed to make things easier for the
airport, has only led to confusion. Instead, WOOSE will begin submitting all complaints received to
the airport for response.
Hennen suggested that rather than not providing a response for years on end, the University could
use the opportunity to educate the public. Rather than Hammon tell WOOSE with the difficulties they
are having, Hennen suggested he relay that information to the public. If the data is unavailable
for a particular event, he suggested that Hammon inform the public as to why this is the case, and
provide copies of letters to the FAA or other documents that prove the University is working to try
and solve these problems.
Taneja and Tyler-Lee suggested that Hammon draft "form letters" to respond to different
types of complaints. The purpose of the letters would be to inform the public of what the
University can or can not do for a particular type of event, and if the complaint should have been
made elsewhere, for example with the FAA, direct the person to the appropriate location.
Hennen suggested that the types and number of complaints might reduce if the University took the
time to educate the public in their response. He also suggested the high number could be attributed
to frustration from complaints "falling on deaf ears" for many years.
Taneja suggested that this should become a three part process.
Part 1: The airport should immediately respond to complaints. Part 2: They airport should create a
new system to gather radar and other data so they do not have to rely on third parties for data to
respond to complaints. Part 3: The University should begin to take action to reduce the number of
complaints or go after the worst offenders. Hennen agreed that this is what needs to be done.
Hammon said that when he spoke with other airports about chronic complainers, he was told such
people are ignored. Cusack suggested that the number of complaints from an individual should not
invalidate their complaints. Hennen pointed out that to each individual -- when their conversation
is interrupted or they are woken from sleep -- that is a valid complaint to them regardless of how
many there are.
Hammon brought up the fact that an Instrument Landing System (ILS) would help alleviate noise over
Riverlea. Hennen pointed out that according to the ILS maps, all aircraft west of High Street would
be coming in at the same altitude whether an ILS system was used or not. Hammon pointed out that
during low cloud ceiling aircraft will fly under the clouds and thus fly lower than if an ILS system
is in use. Hennen pointed out that such weather conditions occur less than 17% of the time, and this
does not help noise the remaining 80%+ of the time, and thus is not a true solution to all of the
Hennen questioned Hammon's claim that the airport can not restrict the types or times of flights at
the airport. He pointed out that under the Part 150 FAA regulations, there are numerous
restrictions that can be put in place including restricting the type of aircraft or size of flights,
night time curfews, landing fees, and modification of take-off and landing procedures.
Hennen also questioned when a Part 150 noise study would be done. He pointed to the 1992 document
from the FAA that stated the University would update the study within five years (by 1997). Hammon
stated they are not doing a new Part 150 noise study, but that the noise component of the
Environmental Assessment they are completing now will bring the Part 150 noise study up to date.
Hennen requested that as part of updated Part 150 that the University revisit the above mentioned
noise mitigation procedures that could be implemented. Hammon stated that he has already been in
discussions with the FAA for some time on curfews or restrictions on Stage 2 aircraft.
Hennen voiced his concerns to Tyler-Lee on the fact that Dean Baeslack has told him he wishes a late
June meeting of the facilities planning committee meeting. Hennen pointed out that time is running
out for adequate notice as the University has promised for such meetings in the past. However,
Tyler-Lee clarified that it is not the University administration that sets the time for Board
meetings, but rather the Board themselves, and as such the exact timing and notice for the meeting
is out of the Dean's control.
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