Scottsdale Airport is a great benefit to our community and region. The airport is the anchor of the Scottsdale Airpark, home to nearly 3,000 businesses and more than 50,000 jobs.
As a longtime Scottsdale resident (and current chair of the city’s Airport Advisory Commission), I have seen how this airport continues to thrive and support our community. From its beginning as a WWII training facility to its evolution as a premier business aviation airport, I want to protect this jewel.
As with any airport, however, noise can be a challenge. Scottsdale Airport is in a great location, but thousands of homes in Phoenix and Scottsdale have grown up around it.
Flight schools can be particularly problematic – it is not unusual to see their aircraft circling the airport practicing “touch-and-go” maneuvers. This is fine and pilots need to learn, but the issue arises when the flight schools do this during the evening and early morning hours. The continuous buzz over and around the runway can be too much for people who live nearby.
Even before most of the homes around the airport were built, the City Council acted to mitigate these kinds of issues. Touch-and-go operations are prohibited at Scottsdale Airport between 9:30 p.m. and 6 a.m., per a city ordinance adopted in 1980.
But in the past few years, issues have occurred. In 2013, pilots from a flight school based at nearby valley airport routinely violated the city ordinance.
After issuing notices of violations, the city took action and a settlement agreement was reached.
Unfortunately in 2016, this same flight school’s pilots violated the prohibition again. Aviation staff issued a notice of violation earlier this year and then again last month, and finally staff issued a denial of access for the next six months.
Since these actions were taken, the flight school has fully complied with the denial of use and, hopefully, will take action to ensure that all their pilots fully comprehend this regulation and avoid further violations.
I was pleased to see aviation management enforce this prohibition. I hope that residents understand what an asset the airport is to the community, and that everyone will understand the dynamic partnership necessary between aviation operators, staff and its residents to make this all work.
Aviation staff didn’t hesitate to enforce their rule for that I applaud them.
Editor’s Note: Brad Berry is a pilot, Scottsdale resident, and chair of the Scottsdale Airport Advisory Commission.