Sent by Dee Anne Thomas ( on behalf of (
on Thu 2/20/14 at 5:13 PM

Airport Tenants and Community Update
CAE Oxford Aviation Academy responds to community concerns

      After receiving input from community members and the City of Mesa (City), CAE Oxford Aviation Academy (CAE Oxford), a commercial airline pilot training academy at Falcon Field Airport, has agreed to voluntarily make changes to aircraft flight operations to help reduce noise impacts. These changes are in addition to their continuing commitment to comply with the voluntary noise abatement “fly friendly” procedures that were established at the airport in 2009 by a task force consisting of community members, CAE Oxford (formerly Sabena and CAE), and other airport tenants.

      CAE Oxford recently consolidated their flight training programs at Goodyear Airport and Falcon Field to Falcon Field only. As a result, flight training activities increased at the airport and noise complaints from nearby residents increased. Residents have specifically expressed concerned about the repetitiveness of “touch-and-go” operations. During a touch-and-go operation, an aircraft lands on a runway and takes off again without taxiing off the runway first. Pilots typically circle the airport to then repeat the maneuver.

      Effective Monday, February 17, CAE Oxford began a 90-day trial period during which their touch-and-go operations will be conducted only between 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Between 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 a.m., student pilots will be required to taxi off the runway and then taxi back to the end of the runway to take off again. This will reduce the number of repetitive operations. It will also enable aircraft to take off again from the end of the runway (rather than the middle) and climb to a higher altitude before flying over residential areas.

      Bruce Van Allen, CAE Oxford Global Business Leader, said, “CAE Oxford Aviation Academy is proud to be part of the Mesa community. We have made substantial investments at Falcon Field, and our 180 employees represent $20 million each year of economic benefit to the Mesa community. We understand the concerns of our neighbors and we are working with the City of Mesa, the Airport Director, and the community on alternatives that will be beneficial to both parties.”

            Other steps that CAE Oxford is in the process of implementing include:

1)      CAE Oxford has formally notified the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) air traffic control tower at Falcon Field that they and their pilots have no issues with allowing larger corporate jets to have take-off and landing priority. This has been a concern expressed by corporate tenants who bring jobs and commerce to Mesa.

2)      The recent purchase of additional state-of-the-art flight simulators to use in its curriculum. Because these simulators replicate so closely the actual flying of an aircraft, the students will be able to spend more time learning in the simulator and less time actually flying in aircraft.

3)      In-flight aircraft proximity warning systems installed on the Academy’s aircraft, which notify the pilot of other aircraft in the vicinity, help to improve safety in busy air space. The systems also help monitor aircraft locations so that CAE Oxford can re-locate their aircraft to other flight training areas when the Falcon Field air space becomes congested.

4)      CAE Oxford is transitioning its fleet to four-seat aircraft that will allow them to carry more students at one time. This will result in decreased flights in and out of Falcon Field because the aircraft can land at other Valley airports, change student pilots and continue training without returning to Falcon Field to switch out students.

5)      In addition to the 90-day trial period limiting touch-and-go operations to 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., CAE Oxford flight instructors and students are being asked to go to other airports for touch-and-go activities when their curriculum and student proficiency allows.

6)      CAE Oxford will adjust aircraft propeller rotations (RPMs) earlier in the landing process to help reduce noise when aircraft are on their final approach to the runways.

Some members of the community have expressed a strong desire for CAE Oxford to install noise mufflers on their aircraft. CAE Oxford has volunteered to work with the City, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), and community members to further explore the required process to have noise mufflers certified by the FAA for use on aircraft owned by CAE Oxford. Mufflers are not currently certified on their specific type of aircraft and must be certified by the FAA before they can be used.

In addition to the voluntary measures being taken by CAE Oxford, the City will be implementing the following changes:

1)      The existing Precision Approach Path Indicator (PAPI) lights located on each runway are scheduled to be replaced this summer. The lights are used by pilots to help ensure that they are approaching the runway at a safe angle when they are landing. The City has received approval from the FAA to set the new PAPIs at a 4 degree setting. The existing PAPIs for Runways 4R/22L are set at 3 degrees. By adjusting the lights higher by one degree, this will increase an aircraft’s altitude (and thus reduce associated noise) by approximately 92 feet when it is one mile away from the end of the runway.

2)      In addition to notifying airport tenants and users and based on your request, the City will also send email notifications to neighbors when runways are expected to experience higher-than-normal use, such as when one of the two runways is closed for construction, causing increased use of the second runway.

      Community meetings will continue to be held to ensure that residents and Falcon Field tenants and users can continue to communicate and work together to reach a healthy balance between the needs of neighbors and Airport users. The City appreciates all of the time and effort that all the interested parties are putting forth to find and implement these reasonable solutions. We also appreciate all our tenants’ and pilots’ continuing efforts to “fly friendly” and our community’s support for the long-term success of Falcon Field.
Visit the Voter Initiative page for more more information on a solution that finally shows some promise.

City Council

Mayor, Council & Manager's
Contact System:
E-mail Mayor &
all Council members:

City of Mesa Contacts


Alex Finter

City Manager:

Chris Brady

Ass't to City Mgr:

Natalie Lewis

District 1 Councilmember:

Dave Richins

District 2 Councilmember:

Terry Benelli

District 3 Councilmember:

Dennis Kavanaugh

District 4 Councilmember:

Christopher Glover

District 5 Councilmember:

David Luna

District 6 Councilmember:

Scott Sommers

FF Airport Director:

Corinne Nystrom