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The Record, Friday, October 6, 2000
Editoral Page

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Record photo

Just plane too noisy

Teterboro must do more to quiet loud aircraft

No MATTER where you live in this region, you hear an occasional blast of noise – the rumble of traffic, the clack of trains, or the din of airplanes overhead. Noise has become so ingrained that the only lasting solution is an impractical one, to move away and hope for the best.

But just because noise has become a fact of life doesn’t mean that officials should fail to do everything they possibly can to ease the problem. Take the roar of airplanes.

Earlier this week, Staff Writer Doug Most reported on the growing litany of complaints about a Teterboro Airport approach path that’s used by roughly 20 percent of the airport’s traffic.

The flight approach is the designated route for pilots to land in foul weather because it is directly in line with the airport’s longest runway. The trouble is that the route takes planes over several high-rise apartment buildings, an elementary school, and Hackensack University Medical Center.

What’s safe for pilots and planes can be hell for the people who live in the high-rises or use the hospital. Their stories about the din caused by airplanes are persuasive – and so are their photos, such as the one above, of planes flying too close for comfort.

As The Record article points out, roughly 90 percent of the airplane noise from Teterboro Airport is caused by 15 percent of the aircraft, which use older turbo-jet engines. Rep. Steve Rothman, D-Fair Lawn, has introduced legislation to phase out this sort of aircraft from the largest metropolitan areas, but the measure has yet to get off the ground.

The Port Authority, which operates Teterboro, says it endorses the measure wholeheartedly. But has the agency done everything it can to reduce the number of takeoffs and landings by these noisier jets between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., when most people are trying to sleep?

The Port Authority says it is pursuing several possibilities, including working with the Federal Aviation Administration on a regulatory solution and checking with general-aviation airports with similar noise concerns to see how they have addressed the problem. Those are steps in the right direction, but the time has come for results.

A new lobbying group created to promote general aviation in New Jersey announced yesterday that will it oppose a curfew and other efforts to reduce traffic at Teterboro or any of the other 48 public – and private-use airports.

That’s hardly a constructive approach. What about all that noise?

The most recent records available show that in January and February of this year, decibel levels of 90 or higher were recorded 75 times at Hackensack University Medical Center and the elementary school. Ninety decibels is the equivalent of standing next to a subway as it rumbles by.

And that is unacceptable.



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