Fly friendly, please

In an attempt to be a better neighbor, the Ashland Airport Commission developed a brochure that maps out a noise sensitive area they're asking pilots to avoid.

The Fly Friendly Program brochure asks pilots to be courteous to Ashland residents by not flying under 1000 feet in the area west of the railroad tracks. It also asks pilots to avoid the downtown area in the evenings because of outdoor theater performances.

Lincoln Zeve, airport commission chair, said efforts are being made to inform pilots about areas of which to steer clear.

"We put the brochure together because we want the airport to be a responsible neighbor," Zeve said. "The more information we give pilots, the better."

Bob Skinner, the fixed base operator for the Ashland Municipal Airport, said most local pilots know about the "red zone," and the brochure would be a great source of information for pilots who aren't familiar with Ashland.

Scott Fleury, City of Ashland staff advisor to the commission, said the red zone highlights Ashland's high-density residential area that pilots should "try" to avoid.

Skinner said airport personnel can only offer guidelines for pilots to follow.

"We can't tell them what to do," he said. "We're an uncontrolled airport, which means we don't have a control tower; so the FAA only allows us to offer recommendations to pilots."

Skinner said he would talk to a pilot if he saw him or her doing something "unsafe."

Zeve said, "We try to be Johnny-on-the-spot if we become aware of any problems. We'll attempt to find out who the pilot is and talk to them or write a letter."

Fleury said the airport receives relatively few complaints about airplane noise or low-flying aircraft; but at a recent airport commission meeting, Skinner shared an e-mail he had received from a man who lives near Jackson Wellsprings.

"We only get about ten complaints a year," Skinner said. "But in the last couple months, I've gotten about 30 e-mails from this guy. He's indicated planes have been flying over his place. But it was during the winter when we typically only have one or two planes a day. He also gave us a specific date when this happened, but we went over the logs and they show we didn't have any air traffic that day."

Skinner wouldn't reveal the man's name, but said he invited the man to come to the airport so the two could go over maps in order to educate each other. Skinner also offered several times to take the man flying.

"I wanted to show him our flight patterns and I was hoping he'd show me where he thinks the planes had been flying over," he said.

The man declined Skinner's invitation.

The Fly Friendly Program brochure is scheduled to go to the printers soon and will also be available for pilots on the airport's Web site, .

Reach reporter at 482-3456 x226 or .

Share This Story