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Welcome to
  Editorial --  All we want?  Honest answers from the FAA and PHL.

Distance above is shown in nautical miles. The 10
mile mark above is almost 20 standard miles from PHL.

Contradictions… Plenty 
Answers… Not Enough
October 9, 2003
By: Stephen and Tina Donato

By now, you may have read the articles. You may have gone to meetings. Airplane noise has been an issue in the Brandywine Hundred area for many years.  The noise study was done and completed last year. New control systems have been installed at PHL. Have things improved? No. Are the planes holding altitude to minimize noise? No. Have planes ever been rerouted?  No. Have our politicians who represent us done enough?  Certainly not.  

The time for change is now. Airspace redesign is currently underway. There is now talk about airport expansion and additional runways. Is there anyone out there who wants more planes? Is there anyone out there who even believes that the status quo is okay? Should these airplanes fly 1000 feet above our homes- homes that exist fourteen or more miles from the airport? Will our homes maintain their value if things continue or get worse? Personal questions we need to answer.   

And then there are those answers that need to come from other sources, namely the FAA. As this redesign process continues, many untruths and misrepresentations have been brought forward. Many questions are asked, though there are often more questions than answers. It is time for the FAA to stand up and answer the questions.  There is a meeting at Brandywine High School at 7PM on October 16.  One may ask, "Are there really that many questions to answer?"  Review the following points.  You be the judge.

News Journal Article from September 27, 2003:

  • According to FAA's Air Traffic Division manager Richard Ducharme, “The altitude limit is not an ironclad rule, and, in rare instances, planes drop below 3,000 feet over Delaware so they can keep a safe distance from one another.”  According to the graph using data given by the FAA, on average 18% of all operations were under 3000 feet (January to June, 2003).  To Mr. Ducharme we say that this happens more than “in rare instances.”
  • According to a PHL noise officer, the BWINE intercept is the point where the planes begin their descent- traveling below 3000 feet.  In a letter written by Philadelphia International's (PHL) Director of Aviation Charles Isdell to Tom Carper, the location of the BWINE intercept is described using a constituent's residence as a reference.  It can be concluded from this letter that the BWINE intercept is 1.9 miles due west of Inwood and Marsh Roads (in Lancashire), locating it near the intersection of routes DE 92 and US 202. This would mean that planes are descending over a large portion of Brandywine Hundred- by design, going under the stated 3000 feet.  Isn’t it time to raise the approach elevation, considering the FAA is not following their own stated, misleading guidelines?
  • A pilot in the article stated that the planes begin to descend at Arden. The maps supplied in the News Journal article do not have Arden located in the correct geographical position. Once and for all, where are these planes supposed to begin their descent?  And, more importantly, why must they fly so low? Should we really be able to visibly see the stripes and numbers on the planes? Should our windows really vibrate? We do not live next to an airport, though sometimes it feels like we do.
Past and Present... What about the Future?

Yes, we must be concerned about noise and air pollution in our community.  But there is also a larger national issue to consider.  Security.  We must not forget the tragic events of September 11, 2001.  There are inherent security problems within our country and its infrastructure --computer systems,nuclear plants, power grids and seaports just to name a few.  We have the technology in the private sector to  track every can of soup coming off the shelf of a Wal-Mart SuperCenter, yet our government does not  know to whom we are giving immigration visas.  We must ask ourselves, “Is now really the time for our government to expand the nation's airports? Can we really afford to grow an infrastructure we cannot currently secure?”

Congress is now considering the FAA Reauthorization Bill.  Much debate is involved.  If passed, sixty billion ($60,000,000,000) of your tax dollars will fund the FAA and its projects for the next four years. This bill includes funding for airport expansion and airspace redesign.  At this time, airspace redesign does not even recognize noise reduction as a goal.  Once and for all, isn’t it time for change?  Isn’t it time for our delegates to stand up and protect our interests?  We must stand up and be heard. Go to the meeting on October 16 at Brandywine High School.  Write letters and send email to our politicians.  Register noise complaints.  Let us find better solutions. Let us get real answers from the FAA soon.     

All scanned documents shown in the editorial were sent to my attention by Senator Carper's office.
The originals of the scanned documents state the owners of the residence in Lacashire DE that made noise complaint to
Senator Carpers office. 
Originals are available
for inspection.
About the authors: The Donato's are former 35 year residents of Drexel Hill, PA and are new to the Brandywine Hundred area of Wilmington, DE.

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