Noisy skies

Posted: Sunday, July 01, 2001

The other day on one of my regular walks on Sandy Beach I decided to keep track of the aircraft noise while I was walking. I walk, as does almost every dogwalker out there, from the parking lot to the cave-in and back, 10 to 15 minutes each direction at a leisurely pace. This was a low-cloud day, and as a result the ERA helicopters were going both north and south down the channel. I walked all the way to the cave-in and halfway back before there was even one moment when I could not hear an engine. I didn't count the aircraft, but there was a steady stream. The float planes spaced themselves so that as soon as the noise from one was almost gone, the noise from the next one started. During a full half-hour, there was only the one minute of quiet, then the noise started again and continued until I got to my car.

A few days later, on a sunny Saturday, I walked the wetlands trail around the perimeter of the airport. As you'd expect on a sunny summer weekend, the private pilots were taking advantage of the day, and there was a lot of small plane activity. However, there was actually more quiet time there, right next to the airport, than there was on my Sandy Beach walk. (By far the noisiest plane I heard was a Wings Otter, presumably on its way downtown to fly tourists. Oddly, the quietest plane taking off during that walk was an Alaska Airlines jet!)

It is completely unacceptable to me that there would be more aircraft noise at a popular recreation area 14 miles from the airport than there is right next to the airport itself. It is time we addressed this problem.

Deborah Vogt


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