Chatham Seniors Deserve Support
As a community we have supported our police department with a new police station, our fire department with a new fire station, and our children through a new regional high school. It is time, actually beyond time, that we support our seniors!
Chatham’s current senior center is outdated, cramped, inflexible and thoroughly inadequate to meet the needs of our town’s senior community. We can do better than this!
In supporting the town’s purchase of the land at 1610 Main St. and the funding needed to get this project moving forward you will be supporting our seniors. They deserve it!
Meeting Times Create Conflicts
Recently I have been torn as to which important town meetings to attend—the airport commission or the board of selectmen. Both meetings are on the same night beginning one hour apart. It seems once again Chatham residents lose an opportunity to attend and to possibly offer valuable comments on one or two of the agenda topics of great interest to many Chatham citizens.
Residents of Chatham have packed the last few meetings of the airport commission to express their concerns, Many people cannot afford to skip a meeting, where the commission sometimes and unpredictably permits public comment. The BOS is considering the rezoning and purchase of 1610 Main St. for the proposed COA facility, a location that is not without controversy.
There is certainly a perception that the town has intentionally scheduled two controversial meetings at the same time to minimize attendance by citizens, a violation of the spirit of the Open Meeting Law if not an actual violation.
It is my intention to urge the two entities to reschedule their meetings so that Chatham citizens may attend both meetings and avoid conflicting schedules in the future.
Keep Airport The Way It Is
I oppose the Chatham Airport Commission’s plans to expand services at the town of Chatham airport, the millions of dollars being spent that will destroy the character of Chatham and encourage more loud turboprop charter airplanes coming in at night, and in bad weather. Noisy Pilatus turboprops would be coming in frequently at 5 a.m. or late at night just above people’s homes, at high speeds in bad weather, so low that they will have to move telephone poles which are only 40 feet high!
I oppose the negative impact on Chatham residents’ quality of life, such as sleep disturbance and the increased noise pollution more planes will bring.
An environmental impact to consider: Desecrating acres of wetlands, destroying trees on residential properties and removing eight acres of trees along the whole length of runway.
Cape Cod already has the Barnstable Municipal Airport in Hyannis, which is just a few miles away! We do not need or want a busier airport in Chatham.
The World Health Organization states that noise pollution from airplanes has significant negative effects on the health of children and adults. WHO has published specific noise level recommendations to reduce aircraft noise exposure below 45 decibels, and 40 decibels at night, as aircraft noise above these levels is associated with adverse health effects. Studies show the noise level in the center cabin of a Pilatus at takeoff is around 85-90 decibels.
Keep Chatham airport small and quaint. I think small planes are just fine and have no problem with the way the airport is right now.
Flights Won't Be Closer To Ground
I wrote a couple weeks ago as an Angel Flight pilot based at Chatham. With big discussions around town these days on airport planning, I wanted to keep helping in some way. I thought I'd focus on what new approaches to landing do at any airport. New approaches, no matter how sophisticated, do not present a new opportunity for a pilot to fly closer to the ground at any point during the entire approach. In that sense, all approaches are identical as to airplane height above the ground. What does change is the clearance requirements of ground objects (trees) under the plane. More sophisticated approach? More clearance under the plane, same airplane height above the ground.
Where the plane travels over the ground on its way to the runway does change with more sophisticated approaches. The more advanced the approach, the more tightly controlled the course of the airplane. This means the plane is aligned exactly with the runway further away, usually about 10 miles. From that point until touchdown, the airplane makes no turns at all. Just a controlled gradual descent, following a GPS descent radio to touchdown. This way there are no big engine power changes by the pilot, which is otherwise the biggest source of extra noise. I hope this is helpful. No new flight closer to the ground, and no noisy power changes.
Stunned By Airport Hysteria
As a 62-year-old IFR pilot who has owned a house in Chatham since 1995, I write to say that most of the letters written about the updated airport plan are factually wrong. The new approaches will not cause planes to fly lower or destroy acres of wetland. They will not alter the traffic pattern except to reduce direct traffic over the airport because circle-to-land approaches will be replaced by straight-in approaches. The plan will not cost $5.2 million and millions in litigation. Folks, we are talking about trimming nine structures/trees on the south end of the airport. Six of these are on commercial property, three are on private property. They have grown to a height that the FAA will not approve. The approaches will greatly increase the safety of the flying public and by extension the safety of those on the ground. Currently the airport is using antiquated 50-year-old approaches which are legitimately dangerous. GPS approaches solve this. The hysteria surrounding this issue is stunning to me.
The airport was built in 1934. Anyone who owns property near the airport was aware of its existence when they purchased their property. You would have to be 105 years old to have purchased pre-airport. Chatham property tax is $4.82 per thousand, among the lowest in Massachusetts. This is because the high-end homes on the waterfront pay between $25,000 and $70,000 per year in property tax. Those high-end homeowners use the airport. They bought their properties and paid what they did in part because of the airport. Opponents can’t have it both ways. Would they prefer property taxes that are two or three times today’s levels and no airport? Is it fair to change the rules mid stream? Will opponents feel any remorse when a pilot (and perhaps others) is killed flying a dangerous approach?
Airport Change Safer For Community
As a 27-year veteran pilot of the USAF and 32-plus years as a captain flying for a major airline, I have read my share of accident and incident reports over those 59-plus years of military/civilian flying.
Pilots are trained to manage risk in the cockpit (where very few passengers ever see the inner workings of a crew, much less understand the teamwork involved on every flight to keep it safe). The workload is divided between the pilots to ensure a safe flight.
In general aviation (read small airplanes and small airports like Chatham), we don’t have the luxury of multiple pilots and redundant systems to minimize our risk. It’s generally one pilot and one engine propelling our aircraft around the skies of Cape Cod and beyond.
To my reason for this letter to the citizens of Chatham—any risk reduction an airport can provide us in poor weather should be welcomed by pilots and citizens alike. To upgrade the outdated instrument approach at our airport to an LPV approach to runway 06 and an LNAV approach to runway 24 would provide substantial risk reduction as well as a quieter landing profile for the surrounding community. A very narrow, straight corridor directly to the runway is the preferred approach by every airline pilot, including this one. Any improvement that reduces my cockpit workload in poor weather not only reduces my risk, but increases the safety for my valued passengers as well as my community.
One Alternative Airport Future
Worth mentioning in the continuing battle to save the airport is what would happen if the airport Antifa succeeded in shutting down the airport. Wil Berube gave the town the airport property on the provision that it remain an airport. If it were to close (that's really what the protesters are trying to do), then Berube's heirs would have a pretty good court case to take the property back.
So the question is, when a large tract of land becomes available in a town with little to no affordable housing, what do you think will go in there?
If you think your property values stink now, wait until the well-to-do on Great Hill are looking down at a housing project.
Be careful what you wish for folks.
Who Was Being Rude?
In response to Mr. Geylin’s letter “Rude Behavior Was Unacceptable” in the Nov. 20 Chronicle, there is another side to this story. I agree that speakers at the podium should be treated with respect. However, I do take issue with calling the man Mr. Geylin referred to a gentleman.
I attended the airport commission meeting at the community center on Sept. 30. This “gentleman” stood behind me throughout the meeting. He made very negative comments while some of the speakers were talking, saying “liars” and “not true” over and over again. It was impossible to hear the speakers with the constant interruption. Other people in the vicinity were clearly getting agitated and angry. I asked him very politely to please stop. He did not. I asked him a second time, explaining that we were being respectful when those in agreement with him spoke and he should do the same for us.
This pilot was not a gentleman that night. He was rude and disrespectful. If he deserves an apology, I would say we do too.
That's A Lot Of Trash
Sustainable Practices deeply thanks all who helped with our beach clean up Saturday at the town beach off the Morris Island Road on Stage Harbor.
We thank Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge for partnering with us, for their enthusiasm, and for doing much of the heavy lifting.
We dumped the trash out on 12-by-eight-foot a tarp and the trash was two feet deep. That is a lot of trash!
Plastic bottles, styrofoam take out and Styrofoam float pieces, plastic wrap of every kind, fish net of every kind, etc.
Our wildlife, which lives on, feeds on, and passes through this beautiful property, is no doubt, breathing a sigh of relief.