Monday, November 26, 2012

Flights over Southlake bring complaints

Airplanes took off over Southlake and Grapevine again this month prompting resident complaints about commercial airplanes flying outside of their normal flight path.

Long-time Southlake resident Vic Awtry recorded audio of the airplanes flying over his home in Lakewood Acres over the Nov. 3 and 4 weekend to show how disruptive the take-offs can be from runway 13R/36L. He compared that to audio of an airplane coming in for a landing along the normal flight path toward the same runway.

"You literally cannot have a conversation outside. The planes are not staying in the noise corridor," Awtry said as he addressed the City Council on Nov. 6. "If they would do that it would be fine because they've been a good partner. It's different than it's ever been before I can promise you. I've been here a long time."

Awtry said he understands the airport's need to make improvements to the runways and shift air traffic to another runway based on wind conditions. It's the Federal Aviation Administration's decision to allow airplanes departing from runway 13R/36L to use different headings that cause problems, Awtry said.

D/FW Airport closed runway 18R/36L maintenance for 16 hours from Nov. 3 to Nov. 4. Airport officials purposely scheduled the closure for the weekend because air traffic decreases on weekends, said Cynthia Vega, media relations manager for D/FW Airport.

It coincided with northerly winds, which put the airport into a north flow configuration for take-offs and landings. With one of the primary take-off runways closed, airplanes were diverted to runway 13R/36L, the diagonal runway on the west side of D/FW Airport, for take-offs.

It's a rare occurrence but it happens, Vega has said.

"However, it's important to note, air traffic control is responsible for all decisions regarding the routing of planes in and out of D/FW Airport," Vega said.

When a prolonged closure "changes normal flight patterns," the airport alerts area cities, as it did in September and again recently.

"Our noise compatibility office sent a notification email to the affected cities of Southlake and Grapevine, and we also posted the information to the D/FW website, as well as D/FW's Facebook and Twitter accounts," Vega said.
Southlake posted a story about it on and Grapevine posted it to its website,

Read more here:

The last closure lasted 33 days from August into September, when the first cold fronts of the season shifted winds to the north several times, again forcing the airport into a north flow configuration.

At the time, airport officials said they would take complaints from residents into account when planning future runway closures.

Read more here:

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