Those darn airmen in their flying contraptions...
July 9, 2001 7:32 AM   Subscribe

Those darn airmen in their flying contraptions... Interested in hearing other's opinions on this. If I have an airplane should I be able to fly wherever I want to, or should property owners be able to erect an invisible fence 40,000 feet high around their property to keep airplane owners away? Also, if I can keep people with noisy airplanes from flying close to my house, can I also outlaw people with noisy motorcyles from riding on country roads near my home?
posted by fluxcreative (28 comments total)
you just go ahead and do whatever the heck you want. This is America! Land of the free and the brave. No big govt ought tell you what you can and can not do.
posted by Postroad at 7:41 AM on July 9, 2001

> No big govt ought tell you what you can and can not do.

Absolutely -- although noise abatement ordinances are usually passed and enforced by small governments, like towns or counties.

So we'll let you make all the noise you want, and we'll let me take potshots at you with my .30-06. Leave the government out of it.
posted by jfuller at 7:48 AM on July 9, 2001

flux: to be fair, however, people who live near airports (which i know is not those in the link) to have a legit gripe about airplanes. noise pollution drives down property value, by nearly 1/3rd if memory serves and depending on proximity to the airport, and noise pollution also leads to some significant mental and physical health risks due to the often high anxiety level brought on by high decibal sound. those aren't the people in the link, as i said, but this isn't an issue where it's ok for people to say "goverment is trying to control everything! i want to do anything i want because i'm an american and that means i am entitled!"
posted by moz at 7:51 AM on July 9, 2001

Speaking as a confirmed peace-and-quiet introvert, I say yes. There's too much noise in my world, and I dont want any more. I especially sympathize with those who have bought property out in the rural areas in order to try and get away from the general press of sound of the urban jungle.


I've spent 20 minutes trying to finish this comment. It's tough. I'm a "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" kind of guy, and I know that the flyers (and the noisy motorcyclists and the noisy powerboat people and the people that blast their music while driving) are just exercising their unalienable rights.

I just wish that their happiness didn't rely so much on loud noises that impede mine.
posted by Irontom at 7:53 AM on July 9, 2001

In old days any property you owned was 'Cujus est solum, ejus est usque ad coelum et ad inferos' - To whomsoever the soil belongs, he owns also to the sky and to the depths. In 1926 Congress passed the Air Commerce Act, which declared navigable air-space (above 500-1000 ft) as a public highway -- open to all citizens. Cecil Adams covered this topic answering a similiar question.
posted by patrickje at 7:56 AM on July 9, 2001

you have far fewer "rights" than you think you have. What may or may not be written down, historical, told you by teachers is not what is the reality of things.
posted by Postroad at 7:58 AM on July 9, 2001

Model rocketry is fun when planes fly low.
posted by clavdivs at 8:06 AM on July 9, 2001

From the looks of it though, the areas these folks live in don't seem to be too rural. It's right off of an interstate and only about 30 miles from Boston. I imagine it is probably the only place students and aerobatic pilots can fly due to the tons of commercial air traffic coming into Boston. I guess it all comes down to when do the rights of some have to be forfeited for the benefit of the rights of some others?
posted by fluxcreative at 8:07 AM on July 9, 2001

The statement, "This is America" may be true for you, Postroad, but it is not true in general.

I sympathise with these people, but the rights of the flyers have to be respected as well. I imagine it's pretty hard to find somewhere to fly that doesn't involve flying over someone's property!
posted by salmacis at 8:16 AM on July 9, 2001

This shows the lunacy of 'individual rights' when taken to an extreme. Obviously, if any one person could disrupt the air rights, it would be impossible to maintain our air transportation system.

Except in the case of residents who have been there for decades, who may have a legit gripe, these things are factored into the price of the home. If residents are allowed to buy cheap property near an airport, and then get the airport shut down, sending up the property value, they are actually making a profit.
posted by brucec at 8:17 AM on July 9, 2001

I support this fully, assuming that "stop the noise" includes loud-ass web pages like this one. :-)

Seriously, though, I happen live very close to these towns in question (I actually work in Chelmsford), and I don't see (hear?) what all the bitching is about.

I like peace and quiet too, but I also respect others' rights who share the earth, air and water with us. I have little respect for people who live their lives shut in their half-million dollar homes (and in the towns in question, that's what many of the homes cost) in front of television but are willing to organize and protest when it comes to protecting their property values. There are a lot worse problems in the world than the occasional sound of an airplane overhead.

Pass (reasonable) local ordinances on the noise levels cars and other vehicles make, if you must, but instituting no-fly zones is elitist bullshit.
posted by jpoulos at 8:49 AM on July 9, 2001

As one of those student pilots that have practiced manuevers over these people's backyards (flying out of Bedford, MA) all I have to say is -- where else can we do it?

Anyone who has ever flown over New England knows that there just isn't any open space. Every place is built up.

Manuevers are generally flown over 2000 feet for safety reasons. Acrobatics are not supposed to be flown over congested areas for the safety of those on the ground. There really is nothing else that can be done. We have to practice somewhere.

Sucks to be these folks. Perhaps next time they buy a house they'll check with the FAA to see where the practice areas are.

Other people have prisons, sewage treatment plants, shooting ranges, malls, highways or whatever else in their backyards. Such is life in busy, congested, New England.

Maybe they should all move to East Boston. That should shut them up.
posted by bondcliff at 8:59 AM on July 9, 2001

Oh, and one time my instructor opened the window (you can do that in a Cessna) and dropped his gum from 1500 feet. Hopefully he hit one of these whiners in the head.
posted by bondcliff at 9:00 AM on July 9, 2001

There's nothing wrong with wishing one person's dumb fun wouldn't be allowed to destroy the peace of many other people.

I hate light pollution. I want to look up at night and see the stars. People who leave outdoor lights on all night (instead of installing lights triggered by motion detectors) need to be dragged into the bushes and introduced to rough justice. And because they're probably the same people who use leaf blowers and jet skis and snow mobiles and dirt bikes, joy would spread throughout the land if they vanished.

[And of course I'm joking about doing them violence, but ask me again when I'm trying to enjoy nature to the soundtrack of some bastard with a one-cylinder brain revving a two-cyclinder engine, or ask me when I can't see three stars on a clear night because nearby dim bulbs have left bright lights on all night, and my sense of h. will by then have evaporated.]
posted by pracowity at 9:25 AM on July 9, 2001

I hate light pollution. I want to look up at night and see the stars.

I agree, pracowity, but most of us choose to live amongst other people. The skies over Montana and Greenland are filled with stars, and you can live there if you like.

Personally, I hate driving to work and seeing my neighbor's "I love cats--they're great with ketchup" bumpersticker, but that's what I get for living where I do.

If someone's fixed his Harley Davidson to be the loudest in his bike club, or sets a fire to clear the trees out of his back yard, we should feel free to promote restrictions. But running a flight school seems like a pretty reasonable activity to me.
posted by jpoulos at 9:43 AM on July 9, 2001

I'm on a helicopter route (I think it is NWS, not sure). Anyways, that thing goes by 6-7 times a night at least. But hey, get used to it. It's life.

pracowity: I'm with you there. I love the night sky, and my stupid neighbors are trying to have MORE street lights put in. We already have 1 every 4 homes. They want 1 for every home. Arghh....
posted by benjh at 9:45 AM on July 9, 2001

I wonder if any of the folks at StopTheNoise.Org smoke? I wonder if they've ever smoked at a red light and had the non-smoker in the car behind them gagging over the odors wafting into their car?

It sucks that one person's enjoyment can lead to another person's misery, but that's life. I know I'll never be able to get smoking banned in public no matter how much I'd like. I too, would love to have a dark night sky so that I could see more stars.

Life is unfair. Stop whining and understand that everyone has something they'd like to eliminate. Sometimes you just have to suck it up and deal with it.
posted by bondcliff at 9:52 AM on July 9, 2001

If this ordinance was enacted how would it be enforced and who would pay for enforcement?

Would it just be a case of some pissed off landowner saying "Your plane flew over my land, you lose your license!"? That kind of power would be abused for the purpose of grounding everyone in the area I am sure. Aside from that, then "heli-cops" maybe?
posted by plaino at 9:54 AM on July 9, 2001

Bondcliff has it right. I went thru ATC school in the USAF. Over populated areas you have to stay above 2000 feet. In rural areas the limit drops to 500, so they should be glad they aren't rural. Keep in mind that I went thru ATC school in 1993 and have been out of it since I got out of the USAF, so rules may have changed. I wholly sympathize with the motorcycle issue though. I live in Sterling Mass, about a mile from a Harley dealership. That can get very annoying, especially for a BMW rider.

Loud pipes don't save lives. They just make everyone around them deaf.
posted by a3matrix at 10:03 AM on July 9, 2001

If someone's fixed his Harley Davidson to be the loudest in his bike club,

Wait a second. You mean people make their bikes that loud on purpose? I always assumed it just meant they were broken.

Loud bikes now piss me off on a whole new level. Thanks.
posted by kindall at 10:49 AM on July 9, 2001

Another agreement with Bondcliff here; there are already rules in place about the height at which operators must fly. Go beyond that, you run into the right of free access. Theoretically, under these bizzare 'rules', you could air blocade an entire state. Hell, expand 'em just a bit further, and we'd have a great little time figuring out tresspassing laws for satellites.

Farmer Brown's Geosynchronous Hunter-Killer Satellite...

If this guy has planes low enough to disrupt his life that seriously, he should grab their registration and complain. They're probably flying too low. The idea, however, is absurd right on the face of it, and simply can't be passed into law.
posted by Perigee at 10:52 AM on July 9, 2001

I work on the approach path for an airport. Large jets are flying at the same height as the 4th story roof when they pass the building to land. We have F-15s taking off twice a day and landing twice a day for exercises, using full afterburner.

Do you hear me complaining? Nope. PDX was here long before the building was, and I'm very new at this company. What's the use of complaining? (I can just hear it: "Those jets should just turn off their engines when they're this low so that they don't make so much noise!") Riight. Anyway. I'll bet people were flying over those houses long before the current inhabitants were born. Therefore, they have no right to complain.

Loudmouths don't save lives. They just make everyone around them deaf.
posted by SpecialK at 10:54 AM on July 9, 2001

Also, the flight training and acrobatics ends before the sun goes down. These folks are just complaining for the hell of it.

I'm sure their lawnmower makes a lot more noise than a single engine plane flying at 2000 feet.
posted by bondcliff at 10:58 AM on July 9, 2001

kindall: my motorcycle is loud. Its not obnoxiously loud, but loud enough. i like it that way. it has the added bonus of waking up dumbassed drivers who aren't paying attention.

want to see the stars? move out of the city.
posted by jbelshaw at 11:21 AM on July 9, 2001

"We have to practice somewhere."

Actually, no you don't HAVE to practice anywhere. You choose to engage in a recreational activity, and it annoys the bejeezus out of some.

Don't elevate your choice about how you spend your free time and cash into an imperative, please.
posted by Irontom at 11:28 AM on July 9, 2001

and no, you can't outlaw people from riding their motorcycles on a road. That was tried in Chicago, on Lake Shore Drive a few years back. Failed. Thank goodness.
posted by jbelshaw at 11:31 AM on July 9, 2001

Actually, no you don't HAVE to practice anywhere. You choose to engage in a recreational activity, and it annoys the bejeezus out of some.

Ok, I admit my choice to learn to fly was purly recreational. For future commercial pilots though, they DO have to practice somewhere. They DO have to take lessons at local flight schools and fly around practicing stalls, slowflight, and steep turns.

Or would you rather not train future pilots?

Nobody HAS to smoke. Nobody HAS to mow their lawn, use a chainsaw, turn on an outside light, drive a motorcycle, own a boat, eat at a McDonalds, play music, have a party, march in a parade, ride a on the side of the road, own an SUV, or upgrade their PC and throw their old one into a landfill.

Unfortunatly, life is full of things that please one person and annoy others. Life is also full of whiney people that have nothing better to do but complain about things. I say we eliminate those folks.
posted by bondcliff at 11:38 AM on July 9, 2001

Unfortunately some of those who are practicing in that area may be on their way to a commercial pilots license.... and to be perfectly honest... I would much prefer the pilot flying me from point A to point B to have had as much practice as possible, regardless of the fact that he may have annoyed a few rich folks.
posted by fluxcreative at 11:40 AM on July 9, 2001

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