Saturday, July 28, 2012

Copters irritate neighbors - Joint Base Lewis-McChord

A spokesman at Joint Base Lewis-McChord said Friday that the base was remiss in not informing residents of a major change in air routes that has resulted in dozens of public complaints about helicopter noise this month. 

More than 50 residents living south of the base have lodged complaints since the first week of July, when helicopters began flying outside Lewis-McChord for the first time to reach training areas.

Neighbors say the aircraft are flying too often, too low and too late, rattling windows as well as nerves and interrupting sleep.

“We should have done a lot better in notifying our communities that we are going to begin flying these new routes, especially because they were off the installation,” said Joe Piek, the base spokesman.

As a result of the complaints, the base commander is deciding whether to adjust the air routes or increase the altitude of the helicopters that fly them. It’s uncertain when he will make that decision.

A base official said the heavy traffic is expected to drop off in a month anyway as aviators finish getting familiar with the new routes.

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