SAMPLE LETTER TO CONGRESSMAN KEN BUCK
ACTION: JOIN QUIET SKIES CAUCUS
Dear Congressman Buck:
As a supporter of Citizens For Quiet Skies I am writing to ask for your help to reduce excessive aviation noise in our community. Communities across Colorado and beyond are facing serious impacts created by aviation activities. Currently, there is no local authority able to adequately address this problem.
I would like to encourage you to join the “Quiet Skies” Congressional Caucus, which was recently formed in response to the ongoing and oftentimes blatant abuse of citizens’ rights with respect to aviation impacts. We are very pleased that Congressman Jared Polis has recently joined the caucus. Other members include Henry Waxman, Adam Schiff and Anna Eshoo, all of California, Mike Quigley (Ill.), Alan Grayson (Fla.), Keith Ellison (Minn.), Tammy Duckworth (Ill.), Mike Capuano (Mass.), Katherine Clark (Mass.)).
Residents in Longmont, CO, Molalla, OR, Cloverdale, CA, Chatham, MA, Tecumsah, MI, Lancaster, OH, Oak Harbor, WA, and likely many others, are repeatedly faced with impacts from aviation operations associated with skydiving businesses operating out of general aviation (GA) airports. Under current practice, these primarily recreational businesses are allowed to operate out of GA airports with little or no effective federal oversight or local control of their noise impacts on surrounding residents, many of whom live in neighborhoods several miles distant from the airport.
At Longmont Airport (KLMO) for example, skydiving operations have been growing rapidly in recent years without consideration for the impact on surrounding communities, including those far away from the airport. In 2014, 60% of all Longmont Airport weekend flights were for skydiving. This massive amount of slow-moving, low-altitude, excessively noisy air traffic consists of 55 or more skydiving flights a day on spring, summer and fall weekends, passing multiple times per flight over residential neighborhood seven or more miles away from the airport, and producing 70 or more noise incidents in those neighborhoods (many of which peak at over 70 dbA) on each of those weekend days.
For example, during the past several years Boulder County residents have been subjected to increasing noise from skydiving operations originating at Vance Brand Airport in Longmont. Skydiving operations are distinct from other general aviation traffic and they create a significant noise burden on the local community. While other planes take off and go somewhere, the jump planes remain within a designated “flight box” over our homes for the entire duration of their flights. Each flight climbs steeply and noisily to jump altitude, gaining 13,000 vertical feet of altitude in about 10 minutes. They operate multiple jump planes concurrently, with peak activity on the weekends. And finally, they operate for more than 12 hours per day, creating nearly constant airplane noise. Here is a video illustrating the impact of skydiving operations in Boulder County:
Skydiving operations are significantly degrading the quality of life in Boulder County – something must be done.
To date, we have pleaded with the city of Longmont, the owner and operator of the airport. We also conducted a lengthy lawsuit against the skydiving operator. These efforts have been unsuccessful, in large part due to the FAA’s presumed authority over all aviation noise regulations. Therefore, we find it necessary to seek relief at the federal level. With your support, we can move forward with meaningful amendments to the FAA reauthorization bill that will significantly improve the quality of life for ordinary citizens.
Thank you for your consideration of this important issue.