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Residents Want Love Field Runway Shut Down At Night Because Of Noise

Jack Fink, CBS 11 News | CBSDFW.COM
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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Jack Fink
Jack moved to Dallas after three years at WESH-TV, the NBC affil...
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DALLAS, Texas (CBS 11 NEWS) – Brian Wilk moved into his new house just down the street from Dallas Love Field last summer.  “I knew we were close to the airport, but I knew when we built, they had a voluntary noise program in effect.  As soon as we moved in, we quickly discovered those rules aren’t enforced or not well-enforced.”

During construction at the airport last spring, he and others complained planes big and small were using the runway near Lemmon Avenue on the airport’s east side and flying over their homes while they sleep.

This even though since 1981, the city has had a voluntary program asking pilots to use the west side runway closest to Denton Drive between 9:00 pm and 6:00 am.

Records show between October 1 and December 31 of last year, there were 889 take-offs and landings on the Lemmon Avenue runway between 9:00 pm and 6:00 am.

That’s more than a third of the 2,511 flights here at night during the time period.

1622 flights used the runway near Denton Drive at night.

On Wednesday, Wilk told the Dallas City Council the city could ask the FAA for permission to shut down the Lemmon Avenue runway during those hours.

He asked, “So why hasn’t the city initiated that request with the FAA and see what happens?”

No one from the city answered.

Wilk’s request comes as the commercial flight restrictions known as the Wright Amendment end in October.

That will likely lead to non-stop flights from Love Field to the east and west coasts for the first time in decades.

But in an interview with CBS-11, the city’s aviation director Mark Duebner said the FAA frowns upon limiting runway use.  “Ultimately, the city isn’t going to do things that limit the operations on the airport because we’ve promised the FAA when we accept those federal dollars to build and improve the airport, that we would not do so.”

It was a CBS-11 I-Team investigation last fall that showed between April and July of last year, Delta Airlines and Delta Express Jet used the Lemmon Avenue runway between 9:00 pm and 6:00 am 79 times.

Duebner explained the situation during Wednesday’s city council meeting.  “We were a bit curious why Delta was showing up violating. Delta is operating a number of charters. Surprisingly, for a number of NBA and NHL teams, and they take off at 3am after the games. We’ve contacted and worked with Delta.”

He says Delta has agreed to tell its pilots to use the runway near Denton Drive at night.

Our investigation also found that some of the top violators of the voluntary noise program were planes carrying small children who were going to receive emergency treatment at Children’s Medical Center.

Duebner says the city may decide to exempt those flights from the program.

The residents have complained the city wasn’t contacting pilots and the plane’s operators soon enough — and some didn’t even know they were asked to use the Denton Drive runway at night.

Wilk says the airport could do more to inform pilots to use the Denton Drive runway from 9am -6pm.

The signs that the airport have posted are at the end of the runway and say noise abatement program, but Wilk says the signs should be posted in other key parts of the airport, so pilots can see them before they decide which runway to use.

Duebner says they will now post additional signs around the airfield and at the exits of all the fixed based operators, and will continue to contact pilots who improperly use the Lemmon Avenue runway after hours.

During Wednesday’s city council meeting, the interim city manager, A.C. Gonzalez, said the full council will soon be briefed on this issue

Follow Jack on Twitter: @cbs11jack

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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