New device might quiet debate over jet noise

January 30, 2008 5:39:41 PM PST
On a clear day, chances are you will not see a single commercial plane over Northern Delaware. But then the clouds roll in and so do the jets, according to some Delawareans such as State Representative Bryon Short.

"When we have inclement weather," Short said."We really get pounded. We get very intense low flying aircraft."

Short has heard plenty of complaints from constituents who've heard plenty of planes rerouted and hovering over their homes during bad weather. It is a common diversion practice used by the Philadelphia International Airport when the runways get backed up.

Short says windows rattle and conversations get interrupted by the noise overhead.

Bill McGlinchey of Wilmington, agrees.

"I'd say it would be plane about every 45 seconds. We're literally talking about a virtual highway in the sky," McGlinchey said. "One plane lined up one after the other coming into their final approach."

McGlinchey is among residents hoping to show that they are not just being overly sensitive.

They believe that a new monitoring device paid for by Philadelphia International Airport will prove that the noise made by commercial jets over their neighborhood, exceeds federal guidelines.

For its part, the airport has been caught in the middle of the feud. It has used a monitoring device in the past. But it would register data for just a few consecutive days and not necessarily during inclement weather.

The new approach will mean year-round monitoring.

"We understand the economic value of an airport," McGlinchey said. "I use the airport personally and for business. But we don't need to be impacting people's quality of life if there are alternatives and we are actively seeking those alternatives."

Eventually, the data collected from the device will be shared with residents, the airport and the Federal Aviation Administration as all sides hope for a sound solution, everyone can live with.