Frustrated neighbors of BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport filled a school cafeteria in Linthicum on Thursday night for a chance to confront Federal Aviation Administration officials about the increased jet noise caused by new, lower flight paths over their homes.
FAA representatives greeted about 100 people at Lindale Middle School and explained the reasoning for the adjusted flight patterns — part of a $35 billion nationwide air traffic overhaul intended to modernize routes and save the airlines tens of billions of dollars in fuel. The plan will save $160 billion in fuel and other costs through 2030, according to the FAA.
But several of the upset residents said they didn't come to be educated on the reasons for the new patterns. They want them reversed, they said, to be able to sleep at night and not have conversations interrupted by planes flying over — problems that they said didn't exist before.
Richard Ugiansky, 80, a former pilot who lives in Elmhurst, said planes used to fly a mile overhead. Now, he said, they fly at 850 feet.
"You can see every rivet on the airplane," he said. "And you can't hear the person right next to you."
Residents in both areas don't need any further information on the reasons for the noise, Lahr said. They just want it to stop.
"I don't think they're here to hear our concerns," she said. "We've already heard the rules."
Maryland Aviation Administration officials said in June that they want to revert to old air traffic patterns after hearing residents' complaints. MAA and county officials have pointed out in letters to the FAA that the flight patterns are not compliant with the airport's Noise Compatibility Program and the state's Noise Abatement Plan.
Carmine Gallo, the FAA's regional administrator for the eastern region, said he was unaware that the lower flight patterns violate the local agreements.
Jonathan Dean, a spokesman for BWI and MAA, said state aviation officials plan to organize a roundtable with local, state and federal officials to discuss how to proceed. He was less harsh than the neighbors in his view of the FAA's efforts.