The Comments Section was deactivated in 2009 following the implementation of the Mayor's Task Force, the Flight School's statement that it would limit itself to 50 aircraft, and the poor economic conditions which resulted in less activity at the airport.

Now that the Flight School has expanded to 75 aircraft, and has disregarded the Task Force Agreement and Fly Friendly procedures, comments are once again being accepted. Many of the older comments remain relevant and are archived below.

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Tuesday, March 01, 6:10 pm. Barnstorming certainly is not helping! During my walk, at University and 54th st, I observed a small single engine aircraft fly UNDER the SRP High tension lines after circling once to get lined up. I initially thought he was going to attempt an emergency landing at the old golf course at 56th and University, but after the first pass, made a tight turn around and passed under the lines. I thought he was going to hit the lines. After the pass he turned parallel to University and proceeded towards Apache Junction out of sight. "Buzzing our neighborhood" is not acceptable behaviour! He HAD to be below minimum. I was not alert enough to get a tail number or use my cell phone to record the incident.
Leslie S - 3/1/2016 @ 6:49a pm - Comment
If anyone has been wondering why they're being woken up nearly every night by propeller aircraft flying in and out of Falcon Field between midnight and 2 am (as opposed to the dozens of Sky Harbor jets we also hear in the middle of the night), you can thank Aero Charter And Transport or "Char-Tran".

That horrible noise is a twin engine Cessna 402. They usually fly at unreasonable speeds, propeller pitch, and low altitude, as if they want to wake us up on purpose. They also appear to do a touch and go while they're there, in the middle of the night, just for good measure. I guess like many others in aviation, they just don't have any consideration for people on the ground.

Much like CAE, here's another commercial entity making money off of the airport at our expense, while paying nothing except maybe a paltry fuel tax if they even fill up here.

Contact them here and tell them how they're doing:
10/14/2015 @ 7:18 pm - Comment
In response to the below comment, I have observed the same unwelcome changes, particularly in Sky Harbor traffic.

You can also track flight activity for Falcon Field at or Sky Harbor at

You can try to make out what's going on at Falcon Field via aircraft radio at (

By regulation, pilots are supposed to CLEARLY announce their aircraft or flight number and operations, so in theory you could get their 'N' number and use it to report them for safety or noise issues. In reality, if you listen to any of this, it's usually a mess. Either they talk too fast, not loud enough, too much static, heavy foreign accent (in that case, most likely CAE).
9/07/2015 @ 4:57 pm - Comment
It's ridiculous that nothing is being done to force noise mufflers on those planes. In many cases they're far louder and more annoying that commercial jets even when they're not flying really low to the ground. I'm not that close to Falcon Field and I can hear those overgrown mosquitos buzzing about all day long. I bought my house because it was in a quiet area. Now it's being overrun by planes.

You can track planes using the Sky Harbor PublicVue program: The planes aren't always identified and they disappear off the map if they go a few miles East, but it does give an idea of just how low they fly overhead.

The FAA changed a lot of flight plans last September which means even more flights going over residential neighborhoods, some of which go straight over Falcon Field. (Jets flying low over a training flight facility is not my idea of safe.) I think this has forced alterations in the flight patterns for the planes at Falcon Field. I'm sure I've seen a lot more planes flying over my neighborhood recently, including large jets making sharp turns directly overhead.

Sky Harbor complaint form:

Maybe we should all buy Harleys and do motorcycle training near council members' residences, especially night time training.
9/05/2015 @ 10:09 pm - Comment
What can we legally do to stop this increased use of the air space over our neighborhood near Falcon Field? The planes fly so low that we feel we are being dive bombed every day and all day long...even into the evening. I look for one to end up going through my house one of these days.
11/27/2014 @ 9:17 pm - Comment
These dam planes are going everyday nonstop. When is this going to stop. Why are we not having more meeting CAE has done nothing to help us. This is our neighborhood and we pay taxes and live here. In Europe air traffic control limits the number of flights a training school can do daily. Why can't this foreign company do the same here. They come here and fly 7 days a week 24 hours a day destroy our livelihood.
Dave S - 10/20/2014 @ 10:34 am - Comment
I'm not seeing a positive economic impact by the over crowding situation at Falcon Field. My taxes have only gone up since Sabena/CAE/Oxford moved in several years ago. City council recently voted to increase our sewer/water/trash bill by something like 15%, which is the largest increase in a long time. Have you noticed how much your bill has increased even though your water usage is the same? CAE certainly isn't help keep those costs down. Where goes all this money that CAE makes? Not back into to the community they degrade, but into the pockets of their execs.
10/11/2014 @ 6:05 pm - Comment
The "Falcon Field Fly Friendly" procedures are more of a joke than a solution. Most or all of the pilots that fly over my house have no regard for them. The only measure of success brought on by these procedures, is the ficticious success that the city tries to sell to us while distracting us from the fact that they haven't actually done anything, other than continue pandering aviation. These procedures are self-serving, made BY and FOR people in aviation. Recommendations made by citizens, not pilots, during the establishment of the original unsuccessful task force of 2009, were discarded for frivilous reasons. Upon reading the AOPA or NBAA noise abatement procedures, you'll notice that the Falcon Field procedures are nearly the same. In big bold type, they remind everyone that safety is not to be compromised for the sake of noise abatement, yet on days when there are no other planes nearby, no breeze, and not a cloud in the sky, pilots are still taking off and landing with unreasonable noise, velocity, and proximity to the ground. This ficticious adherence to "safety" becomes their excuse and loophole for inconsiderate behavior and flight, at times when safety is not even at risk.
10/05/2014 @ 5:17 pm - Comment
Great are our AZ congress people on board with this, or have they also sold us out to aviation?
10/04/2014 @ 10:31 am - Comment

Locals sue FAA over aircraft noise

by Dave Boyce / Almanac

For years, residents in Portola Valley, Ladera and along Skyline Boulevard have complained to Northern California aviation authorities about noise from commercial aircraft flying to San Francisco International Airport.

Now, backed by an online petition complaining about aircraft noise and listing the support of some 900 local residents, and a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration on the same subject signed by 26 members of the House of Representatives representing communities around the country, three residents from Woodside and one from Portola Valley have taken their concerns to federal court.

Jim Lyons, Mary Jane McCarthy and Frank Rothschild of Woodside and Tina Nguyen of Portola Valley filed a petition on Sept. 26 with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The petition objects to findings by the FAA of no significant noise impact in an assessment of plans to optimize the future use of airspace above the Bay Area.

The petition is the first step toward a lawsuit, said attorney and Portola Valley resident Vic Schachter, who helped with the filing procedures. If residents cannot resolve their dispute with the FAA through a mediator, the court will set a schedule to file briefs and argue before the court.

The petitioners are being represented by San Francisco attorney Thomas V. Christopher.

FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said he had no comment since the FAA has not yet reviewed the petition.

The findings of "no significant noise impact" are based on a 313-page Aircraft Noise Technical Report published Aug. 7, 2014, by Santa Clara-based environmental impact analysis consultant ATAC Corporation. The conclusions are based on calculated rather than actual measurements of noise, and claim to represent conditions on the ground under flight paths in 2011, 2014 and 2019.

The law requires the FAA to analyze impacts to historic sites from its proposed actions. Of the 768 sites in the report, three are in Portola Valley -- the Wayside Village Church, Portola Valley School (now Town Center) and the Alpine Inn -- and two are in Woodside -- the Folger Estate stable and the Woodside Store.

New standards

An online petition at lists 1,103 names, most from Portola Valley, asking senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein and representatives Anna Eshoo and Jackie Speier to ask the FAA to reduce the amount of air traffic over Portola Valley and unincorporated communities in Ladera and along Skyline Boulevard.

The petition asks for actual measurements of noise and that pilots and air-traffic authorities live up to a 2001 agreement between Ms. Eshoo and the FAA on keeping aircraft above 8,000 feet when flying over the Woodside navigation beacon and 5,000 feet over the Menlo Interchange beacon.

Go to this link to view the petition.

In a Sept. 12 letter to the FAA, 26 members of the House, including Ms. Eshoo and Ms. Speier, express disappointment with the FAA in addressing noise pollution. The standard in use, the letter says, is no longer reliable in measuring the "true impact" of aircraft noise, and air traffic shows no signs of diminishing.

The Environmental Protection Agency recommended a lower standard in 1974, the letter says. The FAA's traditional noise abatement efforts to avoid "severe and immediate health impacts" are important, the letter says, but so are quality of life, long-term health impacts, home values and economic impact.
Bill S - 10/02/2014 @ 11:13 am - Comment
CAE is the worst offender by measure of quantity and safety issues, but the some of loudest offenders are actually the private pilots who think they have some sort of right to do "whatever they want". They fly low and loud over our houses, during the day and well past midnight. I've seen more than one case where the aviation people get pissed at us for saying something about the noise problem, and then brag about how they fly inconsiderately on purpose.

Those old military aircraft are even worse. You can hear them from 2 miles away, then they come in so fast and loud, you almost think they are going to crash into your house. That's fine if they want to have an air show every month or two, but this becomes a weekly and often daily occurrence as the weather cools. The novelty wears off pretty fast, giving way to annoyance and resent.
9/30/2014 @ 10:04 pm - Comment
CAE is in operation 7 days a week. We don't get a single day off during the week, not even Sundays.

CAE's claim is that by operatng 7 days a week, it reduces the number of nighttime operations. I'm having trouble believing that because we still hear them fly at night, and they start around 5-6 each morning.

It's gotten so out of hand, anyone who expects us to put up with it is pretty stupid.

There's like 3 or 4 holidays during the year that they don't operate. You can really the difference on those days - that's probably how it was when our neighborhoods were built, well before CAE moved in.
S.G. - 9/28/2014 @ 8:05 am - Comment
In response to the previous comment, while it may be true that "aviation disturbs the peace and degrades our neighborhoods" I don't think that's the point here. I think a lot of people just want things to be fair. I'm not against keeping things fair for both sides, but when the flight school, pilots, and others involved in aviation get to do whatever they want, and the residents can't do anything about it, things are not even close to being fair.

Why do the interests of a few hobbyists and aviation-related businesses have priority over the people who live in these neighborhoods? The relatively few people involved in aviation, are greatly outnumbered by the number of home and businesness owners who are negatively impacted by these poorly-managed airports.

Properly managed airports would not have been allowed to expand to unreasonable air traffic levels. If I can't go more than 5 minutes (usually less) without hearing an airplane, at nearly any time of the day, I'd say that's unreasonable.
9/24/2014 @ 3:05 pm - Comment
The sound of frequent/constant aviation traffic over our homes is not the sound of freedom, it is the sound of our freedom being taken away...all so that a small group of hobbyists and businesses can joyride and profit at our expense. We have a right to enjoy our homes, yards, and communities; aviation disturbs the peace and degrades our neighborhoods.
9/21/2014 @ 5:27 pm - Comment
So it looks like these noise mufflers have to come from Germany. No offence to Mr. Carl, but it is disappointing to see that there aren't even any companies in the US who make these mufflers, such that we have to get them from Europe where they actually HAVE limits and regulations on airplane noise. It is obvious that the US can't be bothered to pass laws in favor of suppressing noise, and that they do not support the research and development of companies to make noise mufflers.
9/20/2014 @ 8:52 am - Comment
One argument these wingnuts perpetuate is that the propeller in an aircraft generates more noise than the engine. They also claim that these aircraft all have sufficient mufflers already, and that adding one of these noise mufflers from Germany isn't really going to help. I think that's BS, and an attempt to avoid taking accountability or action. At the next community meeting they need to arrange to have an aircraft present with it's propeller removed. Start it up and briefly run it at typical operating speeds, and if it's any louder than a common passenger car with a proper muffler, then they are as full of crap as I suspect.
9/19/2014 @ 7:40 pm - Comment
In 2004 the U.S. Trade Development Agency (TDA) began a series of grants establishing the Aviation Cooperation Program (ACP) for rapidly developing nations like China, India, and Brazil. The deal offers American know-how in exchange for the hope of snagging lucrative aviation-related contracts for American companies.

Thereafter -- unnoticed by the general public -- general aviation airports across our nation slowly began their de facto transformation into international flight training centers, especially in the sunny South and Southwest. The FAA, in cooperation with the Civil Aviation Authority of China, continue to lead the charge.

What this means to those of us living near an international flight training center is too many student pilots learning to take off and land in the closed airspace above our homes. It means too much intrusive noise that rumbles into our houses and yards all hours of the day. It means greater risk of a deadly midair collision over our homes. It means an increased possibility of security breaches. It means too much leaded avgas residue expelled into the air we breathe and more toxic particles of lead seeping into the ground our kids play on.

Shouldn't our elected officials protect their constituents against abuses as the footprint of an airport grows? They should, but they don't. In fact just the opposite has happened.

Laws of commerce protect business. Aviation law protects runways, aviation businesses and pilots. Those of us in homes on the ground are left out of the equation. Concern about our safety, quality of life and property values? Nothing more than collateral damage.
Advocates for Safe Airport Policies - 8/09/2014 @ 4:41 pm - Comment
Commercial Air Traffic
At the June 2009 Board of Directors meeting, Dina Higgins reported that since the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) implemented changes to airspace boundaries for commercial aircraft arriving and departing Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, complaints have been received about increased air traffic and noise in the northeast section of Mesa.

District 5 Councilmember Dina Higgins reported the following:

Sky Harbor has recently changed their GPS system for guiding planes and this change is still in progress.

Airspace was lowered by 300 feet, 30 miles out from Sky Harbor.

The FAA's response to several letters referencing an increase in noise and air traffic was that airspace is extremely congested with several airports in the area. Safety will always be considered first before redirecting planes due to noise complaints.

Sky Harbor's complaint line should be used to report specific incidents (602-683-2669), noise complaints are charted and action is taken.

Congressman Jeff Flake's office can be contacted at 480-833-0092; Chad Heywood is the contact there for airplane noise complaints.

Dina Higgins can be reached at 480-644-5294.

Falcon Field's Noise Complaint line is 644-NOIS.

In addition, two websites concerning this issue are: and
Sky Harbor Noise Complaints - 8/06/2014 @ 10:31 pm - Comment
The City hasn't been holding meetings regularly, but the next one is tentatively scheduled for the 2nd week of August. Details will be posted in the news section about a week in advance.

To receive notifications directly from the City, you can sign up for their email list while at the meetings, or you may also be able to sign up by contacting

The most important thing residents can do now is call or email members of City Council, and let them know you are in support of establishing landing fees and fair use of the airport. They may be willing to take action, but they have been hearing mainly from out of state pilots who are opposed to this effort.
KFFS - 6/16/2014 @ 1:08 pm - Comment
I just recently moved in the area NE of the airport and can't believe the noise. I knew an airport was near by but had no idea that it would create this much activity. The morning are terrible my young children are woke up every morning at 6 am I can't believe the number of continued aircraft all around my house. I was referred by a neighbor of mine to this site and it has brought a lot of new information to my attention had I read this prior to purchasing my home 3 months ago I would have moved further away.
I cant believe this is all one foreign company that has been allowed to disrupt Mesa citizens living.

When are these meeting being held to stop this action???????
David - 6/16/2014 @ 11:11 am - Comment
Keep in mind folks, it may seem like we're getting a break now, but that's just because CAE doesn't fly when the temperature is too high (I read 106-109 degrees somewhere), as it causes performance problems with their aircraft. Sill hear a lot of them in the morning, many times every 2-5 minutes between 7 and 9.
Phillip R - 6/09/2014 @ 7:20 am - Comment
A municipal airport located so close to residential areas should never have had it's traffic increase to where it's now the country's 3rd busiest. At the time our neighborhoods were built (~10-30 years ago), conditions at Falcon Field were acceptable enough that people were happy to move into these neighborhoods. The airport expansion should have stopped there. If Mesa officials and/or the FAA wanted the expansion to continue, they never should have zoned the surrounding areas as residential in the first place.

It doesn't take a task force, committee, or analyst to figure out that if you keep increasing traffic at the airport, you're going to encounter more and more dissatisfaction among residents, to the point where they're going to start looking for their own solutions.

The only real solution is to reduce the amount of traffic at Falcon Field. That means fewer operations and aircraft. If the city refuses to take useful action, and instead continue to favor the needs of aviation over those of the residents, then the airport and the surrounding communities will never get along.

I think it's safe to say that no solution up until now has been effective - the city has been "working" on this for over 5 years, yet it is still a problem. For the city to think that they can maintain the current level of airport traffic or even increase it, while maintaining satisfaction among nearby as unreasonable as suggesting that the city buy everyone's property within 5 miles of the airport, pay all relocation expenses and fees related to the sale, and zone it something other than residential.
Paul - 05/21/2014 @ 5:37 pm - Comment
I think we need to start a mail campaign to the CEO Marc Parent in Montreal. We should also call the President Nick Leontidis at his office every time we have noise and aircraft flying overhead.
John A. - 04/25/2014 @ 7:52 am - Comment
As a supplier of special noise suppression silencers for many aircraft types, this web site was brought to our attention. We are located in Germany which is quite densly populated. Therefore noise has been an issue for decades over here. This has led to the development and certification of our noise suppression mufflers. Our patented technology has a proven record of thousands of systems installed. Should anyone have questions in regards to our noise suppression technology, I will be glad to help.

Best Regards,
Oliver Carl -
Oliver Carl - 03/20/2014 @ 4:31 am - Comment
It's kind of sad that only the weather (heavy wind, rain, clouds) can get us a break from the noise.
Mike - 03/08/2014 @ 3:05 pm - Comment
An hour free of air traffic/noise should not be a luxury or something we have to beg or fight for. We didn't move near a large commercial airport, and we paid good money for our homes in what would otherwise be such a nice area.

There needs to be a law that stops or "strongly discourages" CAE from constantly flying over our homes - don't let them fool us into thinking they've done their part by giving us a few quiet hours here or there, just so that they can act like they're off the hook. That's what happened last time - they 'volunteered' to do a few things, then the economy went downhill, and the traffic/noise situation seemed to improve for awhile. But as soon as the economy started coming back, traffic from CAE got just as bad, even worse than before. They can walk away from anything voluntary, just like they did last time - this needs to be mandatory and they need to be held responsible.
Mike - 02/15/2014 @ 8:51 pm - Comment
For those of you who couldn't attend [the Falcon Field Community / Flight School Check-In Meeting] last night, there wasn't much progress in addressing the CAE problem. After arrogantly announcing that CAE had nothing to apologize for and had a "right" to do what they were doing, the latest CAE exec offered his "solution" to the neighbors' noise problems:

1. There will be a 90 day trial in which CAE will fly business as usual from 8 am to 5 pm. (that is about 1 takeoff every 1-3 minutes on most days).

2. Before that time and after it, their touch and go loop flights will convert to what are known as stop and go patterns. After landing, the aircraft will taxi back to the start point on the runway and take off again for the next loop. This is supposed to reduce the frequency of overflights. It can allow them to get higher sooner and thus pull the pattern in closer to the airport, but the airport manager later qualified and stressed that how far out a pilot goes on a training loop is purely up to the pilot.

After that, responses to this offer became a little chaotic because there were a couple of aviation chauvinists there that began shouting about neighbors who moved near an airport and now are complaining about noise. One offered that all people who submit complaints to the airport should have their address listed publicly to alert potential home buyers that there is an airport noise issue at that address. The other said he lived at Red Mountain and loved the noise..."music to my ears". Someone behind him quickly countered that she lived at Red Mountain and didn't like it. That constituted the entertainment for the evening.

The airport director did a long presentation at the end about all the things that could not be done but did note that if the airport gets funding for some new approach lights, the planes could come in from a slightly higher altitude to land. She apparently doesn't know that the big issue is the takeoff noise, not the landing noise. This at least was something the city finally offered to do.

The City Manager's assistant announced that the city was studying landing fees to improve the balance sheet for the airport.

At this point, perhaps the best thing you can do is to write the mayor and express your dissatisfaction with regard to Falcon Field. He is running for governor, is starting to realize that his submission to CAE has created a Frankenstein that is going to make him look bad, and has been saying privately that he has to put an end to the Falcon Field squabble as soon as possible.
Paul K - 02/12/2014 @ 6:03 pm - Comment
The problem with safety we as GA pilots have is the extended downwind patterns for the New ATP school on site. These training patterns extend upwind traffic over residential area early in the morning and extend downwind traffic almost out of the airspace. These 40 or so new trainees per month are an exteme hazard to the general aviation public and serve to disrupt the balance of this airport to the local community.
GA Pilot - 02/12/2014 @ 1:32 am - Comment
Those who dismiss neighbors' concerns with the slogan "You moved near an airport and now you complain about noise" are ignorant of the situation near Falcon Field. The neighbors were here first, and then an enormous foreign flight school took over Mesa's municipal airport. The City must end this all-out assault on the neighborhoods by this 100 airplane commercial enterprise operating without any landing fees, regulation, or special use permit. The CAE executives and managers should be arrested for disturbing and terrorizing the citizens with these endless loops over neighborhoods at the lowest legal altitude, high throttle, and engine cut-out practices. If Falcon Field is to be a nothing but a 7 day a week training ground for foreign commercial airline pilots, it should be closed and replaced with a municipal airport that serves the needs of Mesa's businesses and residents.
Paul K - 02/03/2014 @ 5:08 pm - Comment
I live at Red Mountain Ranch. Today (Saturday 2/1) between 11 am and 1 pm it was like a war zone - at times there were one or more planes every minute. At one point I looked out and saw two approaching to land only about 20 seconds apart. I don't see how that can be safe. What if one of them had an engine failure?
Mike - 02/01/2014 @ 7:04 pm - Comment
For quite a while the noise was at a acceptable level. It has changed. Something is happening for a while. The noise level has risen dramatically. I can even hear planes though out the night when I'm trying to sleep. Very strange. I hope someone is looking into this. It was wonderful for a long time after the complaints. They really worked with us. Why can't this be permanently fixed? Falcon Field knows this is a nuisance. Who is flying in throughout the night time? Its become very loud.
minnie - 02/01/2014 @ 2:37 pm - Comment
We purchased our beautiful home in Spyglass Estates three months ago (October, 2013). We knew about the proximity of Falcon Field, and expected a reasonable amount of aircraft noise. However, since moving in, I have been shocked and dismayed over the nearly constant noise of low flying, buzzing aircraft! It is virtually impossible to enjoy our spacious yard with family and friends, because of the intrusive, insistent noise. When does "reasonable" aircraft noise become "disturbing the peace" (which is a crime)? In my opinion, the training school at Falcon Field has crossed that line. I have read the opinions about the valuable income from the training school. Really? I'm sure the school is receiving considerable income, but is it really benefitting the city of Mesa, my city? What about the negative impact on property values? Since this issue has become "notorious", due to media coverage, I am very concerned that my home's value will be seriously affected. I would think the city of Mesa would be more tuned into the impact that this situation is having, on attracting buyers to the high end neighborhoods that are suffering from the excessive noise from the flight school at Falcon Field.
Dorothy R - 01/29/2014 @ 7:53 am - Comment
Tom DeYoung
Here's something else for you to take into consideration. This is copied from

Q: Why don't aircraft always fly over the desert to the north and northeast of the airport instead of over residential neighborhoods?

A: Specific flight paths are determined based on several factors, including weather conditions, the direction of the prevailing wind and airspace constraints due to other aircraft flying in and out of Phoenix Sky Harbor and Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airports. Since safety is the #1 priority, it is sometimes necessary for aircraft to fly over residential areas in order to maintain a safe distance between 2 aircraft in the air.


Q: Who can do something about low-flying planes? My concern really isn't noise; it's safety. Who should I contact?

A: Specific safety comments should be filed with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Flight Standards District Office at (480) 419-0111. This office investigates low-flying or potentially unsafe flight incidents.


Q: What are the rules regarding how low an aircraft can fly over a residential area? Is there a legal minimum altitude that airplanes can fly over residential areas?

A: Aircraft altitude is established by Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations Section 91.119. It is important to be aware of two aspects of this regulation. First, most aircraft operating in the vicinity of the Falcon Field Airport are in the process of landing or taking off. In these cases, this regulation does not apply. Second, helicopters are exempted from this federal regulation. Helicopters are not subject to minimum altitude restrictions provided that the operation of the helicopter is conducted safely.
09/16/2009 @ 6:38 pm - Comment
In Harm's Way

Recent Aircraft accidents involving pilot training here in the valley
should make us aware of the dangers that many Citizens face who have
homes or reside in the vicinity of General Aviation Airports. The
valley has become an attractive location for this type of flying
because of our weather and the abundance of these types of airports.
Most of these training schools train foreign students for aviation
careers and the best end up with Foreign Airlines. They are able to
take advantage of the ability to use our airports for very little cost
since the municipalities that own them have to abide with FAA rules
that are very liberal to the users.

Mesa's Falcon Field is a prime example since it is rated as the third
busiest General Aviation Airport in the United States. Sabena
airlines from Brussels, Belgium (CAE) (Canadian Corp) has taken over
the airport with over 800 operations per day. They pay no landing
fees or corporate usage fees to the City and virtually have very
little costs of operation for the use of the airport that has been
built and maintained by the Taxpayers of America through the FAA.
Mesa is an example of the disregard for safety of its Residents when
these student flown aircraft are allowed to fly over an ELEMENTRY
the day and night. We are in "HARMS WAY" when those aircraft that fly
above us suffer a power plant failure or a Mid Air Collision.

Federal Air Regulations require that each pilot must be at an altitude
over a populated area that if he does encounter that power plant
failure that he can glide to the Airport or an open area. This is not
possible for most of the pilots with the type of patterns that are
allowed to be flown by the FAA tower at Falcon Field. These student
pilots that Sabena trains have to communicate in English which is not
their native language and they also fly their initial solo flight over
the populated areas which are a combination that worries us all. The
Falcon Field area has had its share of both types of accidents in the
past and just a year ago an aircraft nearly missed crashing into
Wal-Mart and did suffer three fatalities. Sabena itself lost an
aircraft with one fatality this past December but luckily it was in an
open area away from the field.

The City of Mesa through the City Managers office is in the process of
attempting to solve this problem by forming an ad-hoc committee of
pilots, residents, and Falcon business people and including the Sabena
Chief Pilot. This committee has recommended that all student training
be moved to the North Runway and the pattern flown would not be any
larger than one that would allow an aircraft to return to the airport
if he encountered a power plant failure. The flight patterns, to the
north, were the only patterns available when the school, Wal-Mart, and
most of the residential development were completed.

The Mesa City Council and the FAA need to take urgent action to
correct this travesty of lack of Safety that continues to keep the
population of North East Mesa "IN HARMS WAY'. Every aircraft that
they hear above them reminds them!
Al Gardner
09/10/2009 @ 8:05 pm - Comment
Paul Knauth
If our comments get under your skin, Mr. Miller, calm down and reflect honestly on whether the largest foreign flight school in the US should be doing its nearly continuous training flights over densely populated areas of Mesa, or any city. Note that the patterns being flown by CAE/Sabena are in complete violation of the longstanding map issued by Falcon Field in response to State Law to protect home buyers. The only training pattern shown is a tight one off the north runway and does not go over neighborhoods. CAE/Sabena has demanded that this map be changed to include the patterns they are somehow now allowed to fly over long-established neighborhoods. The Mayor's task force sadly acquiesced, but their recommendation will be rejected by the Mayor if he has any sense of government integrity. Any flight school that finds the published pattern inadequate for its needs should relocate. The map was here first.

There have been several training flight crashes in recent years in northeast Mesa. The staggering increase in student flights now orbiting continuously over the city means that chances of a tragic crash into a neighborhood have increased accordingly. You can rant at us and incorrectly say we are insensitive to the impeding human suffering, but ranting at those who brought this safety risk, those who profit from it, participate in it, and defend it is actually the more civil and appropriate response. CAE/Sabena's activities clearly divide, imperil, and torment citizens in Mesa. Emotions are understandably high. Calls for homeowners to simply learn to live with this new situation are out of line and futile.

Also note that a buzz job is a buzz job. Sit for a time in one of the many neighborhoods previously free of frequent propeller noise and see if you think Sabena is doing buzz jobs! It doesn't matter to the people being tormented whether it is due to inadequate flight skills, designated procedures, or bad intentions.

I would be happy to discuss these issues with you or any others who think homeowners are wrong to speak out against the current goings-on at an airfield they used to love and support.
09/05/2009 @ 5:56 pm - Comment
Tom DeYoung
Do you honestly think for one minute that the FAA would permit Sabena to continue operating in violation of as many FARs as you say they are?
09/04/2009 @ 8:30 pm - Comment
Terri Eisenhauer
Yes. Since the FAA considers there are no restraints on its decisions and mandates, FAA Tower Controllers feel free to violate not only their own Federal Aviation Regulations, but also the airport flight pattern map filed with the Maricopa County Recorder's Office (and the AZ Real Estate Dept.) in compliance with AZ Revised Statute, Title 28.
09/11/2009 @ 7:04 am
Paul Knauth
Yes!! In response to yet another training crash, today's Arizona Republic has a story that the FAA needs to crack down on the lax practices of the big flight schools in the Phoenix area. Why are there so many training crashes and incidents if the FAA is doing such a terrific job of regulating? Some of these crashes are fatal. CAE/Sabena does not have to fly training patterns over populated areas of Mesa and should not be allowed to do so.
09/11/2009 @ 7:25 am
Chris G
As a holder of a commercial pilot's license, I make it a point to be proficient in all regulations affecting my career. Violations of the regs have varying punishments ranging from a slap on the wrist to certificate revocation. Something that can cause an unplanned job change warrants thorough research. Your interpretation of §91.119 wouldn't allow any aircraft to operate anywhere. Every commercial flight landing at SkyHarbor would be hard pressed to find adequate landing sites if their engines quit. Imagine O'Hare International or Chicago Midway, Minneapolis-St. Paul or any of the airports in New York City or Washington DC. None of these airports would be able to accommodate departing or arriving aircraft simply because cities have built around them, "causing undue hazard." If those qualifying words, "except when necessary for takeoff or landing" were to be used solely during a crisis, wouldn't the regulation site that more concisely? A few examples of how the FAA words their regs involving emergencies:
14CFR§91.3 - Responsibility and authority of the pilot in command.
(b) - In an in-flight emergency requiring immediate action, the pilot in command may deviate from any rule of this part to the extent required to meet that emergency.

14CFR§91.123 - Compliance with ATC clearances and instructions.
(a) When an ATC clearance has been obtained, no pilot in command may deviate from that clearance unless an amended clearance is obtained, an emergency exists, or the deviation is in response to a traffic alert and collision avoidance system resolution advisory. However, except in Class A airspace, a pilot may cancel an IFR flight plan if the operation is being conducted in VFR weather conditions. When a pilot is uncertain of an ATC clearance, that pilot shall immediately request clarification from ATC.
(b) Except in an emergency, no person may operate an aircraft contrary to an ATC instruction in an area in which air traffic control is exercised.
(c) Each pilot in command who, in an emergency, or in response to a traffic alert and collision avoidance system resolution advisory, deviates from an ATC clearance or instruction shall notify ATC of that deviation as soon as possible.

Earlier in our conversation you assumed that I was pilot. I'll hazard a guess that you are not. People outside of the industry are not as familiar with the regulations as we are required to be. It's like a hypochondriac arguing with a physician. §91.119 is to be interpreted exactly as it is written. Low altitudes are necessary during climbout and descent, and are thus exempt during that period. I encourage you to contact the local FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) located right in Scottsdale. Ask for their interpretation of §91.119. Feel free not to believe me; I'm just a lowly commercial pilot.

Weather plays a huge role in aircraft performance, as well as perceived noise. Cold air carries sound better than warm air; even an overcast sky can reflect sounds back towards the ground, increasing noise levels. Allow me to clarify about the different types of aircraft Sabena operates. Each model operates differently, but a DiamondStar will act similarly to every other DiamondStar and a Piper Arrow will behave like the other Arrows. Inefficiency isn't a problem solely with Sabena's aircraft; every airplane suffers from performance loss due to heat. In fact, Sabena voluntarily grounds their aircraft when the ambient air temperature reaches 43° Celsius (109° Fahrenheit). Safety is also on their mind. Sabena operates a fleet of white aircraft; over 90% of all aircraft at Falcon, and at all other airfields for that matter have white as a predominant color. Proper identification of what aircraft Sabena is actually operating may also be an issue in categorizing who is causing the "problem." Simply saying a low wing, white airplane isn't sufficient to prove that it belongs to Sabena.

As far as the accusations of tower controllers not only being in violation of their regulations, but also knowingly causing them is completely off base. Falcon Field recently raised their pattern altitude, voluntarily I might add, to aid in the noise abatement procedures. An unfortunate issue with Falcon, and the other satellite airports in the valley, is that they are nestled under the busy airspace controlled by SkyHarbor. They are unable to enter that airspace without permission, and serious complications will occur with that violation.

08/27/2009 @ 4:29 pm - Comment
Chris G
Terri- We live in Arizona. Aircraft of all sorts suffer from a decrease in performance due to heat and humidity. Those "commercial take-off patterns" may not be Sabena students trying to climb out like the big iron does; they may be simply trying to climb. As you might know, aircraft are burdened with the distinct disadvantage of not being able to climb out vertically, as helicopters can. Your hypothesis that the low trajectories their small aircraft fly causes an unsafe situation is not necessarily true. Forcing a student to bleed off every spare knot of airspeed for those precious few feet of altitude is far more risky than a stable climb with a safe margin of speed. Most aircraft have a best rate of climb speed just slightly higher than the stall speed. Imagine those little airplanes climbing out just over their stall speed when they are flying overhead. Altitude isn't everything.

You are completely correct that the words "when necessary" are crucial in that FAR. Planes simply cannot just pop to the pattern altitude and dive to the ground right before landing. A safe, stable climb or descent is a necessity, isn't it? You state that some pilots "do not extend their take-offs on such a low trajectory." One major oversight of yours is that different aircraft have different performance limitations. A Cessna 152 or DA-20 simply doesn't have the climb performance that a SR22 with a 310 horsepower engine has. Sabena operates a fleet of only six different types of aircraft, and each model is going to perform similarly.

Good pilots follow the rules prescribed by the FAA. You also state that the FAA interprets the regs to give pilots latitude. Sorry to nitpick, but that means those pilots aren't actually in violation if the controlling agency doesn't deem it so? Those "hundreds of FAR violations" mustn't actually be occurring.

08/25/2009 @ 10:10 am - Comment
Terri Eisenhauer
Chris, you still are not defining the Federal Aviation Regulations as intended. The FARs state " person may operate an aircraft below the following altitudes: (a) Anywhere. An altitude allowing, if a power unit fails, an emergency landing without undue hazard to persons or property on the surface."

The intent of the regulation is that unless an aircraft can make an emergency landing without undue hazard to persons or property on the surface, an aircraft cannot operate anywhere.

The qualifying words, "except when necessary for takeoff or landing," do not apply to any and all take-offs and landings. They apply only when a special emergency requires the take-off or landing that would potentially or actually risk persons and property on the surface. They words cannot be applied to the regular training procedures of any flight school.

Since the flight training patterns performed by Sabena students have taken place since Sabena arrived in February 2007, it is apparent that weather (heat and humidity) isn't a factor in their long, low trajectories over our neighborhoods. They have been using this commercial pattern winter, spring, summer and autumn--for 2-1/2 years now.

You also state it is riskier not to make the long, low training patterns that Sabena pilots routinely make, however, we never had this type of pattern prior to Sabena's tenancy at Falcon Field. The private pilots and other commercial pilot tenants and users of Falcon Field have never used this type of pattern over city neighborhoods and properties. Your description of "popping into the pattern altitude" and "diving to the ground" is a ludicrous statement in view of the many years we have watched and listed to the many pilots using Falcon Field and never used this pattern. We have also heard from Falcon Field pilots who complain that being caught in Sabena's training patterns forces them to violate the FARs. They have stated in clear words that 'if they had an engine failure, they wouldn't be able to get back to the airport and/or land safely without risking persons and property on the ground."

You also tell me that Sabena operates six different aircraft types that operate similarly. You state it is my oversight in not considering that Sabena's planes are unable to climb efficiently enough and gain sufficient altitude to return to the airport in the event of engine failure. I see no reason why the residents of Mesa must endure additional risk because Sabena doesn't fly efficient aircraft. In fact, if this is the case, then I demand that ALL SABENA AIRCRAFT BE IMMEDIATELY GROUNDED in order to alleviate the tremendous risks they have imposed on us since their arrival at Falcon Field.

And one final note, Chris. It is completely clear that the FAA tower personnel are accommodating Sabena's training procedures--not directing them to fly the types of training patterns they use to train their future commercial airline pilots. If the FAA tower personnel had any intention of complying with the Federal Aviation Regulations, they would be (1) directing Sabena to fly different patterns, (2) at higher altitudes, and (3) they would be directing them away from the developed areas south of Falcon Field in order to comply with the posted maps required by AZ Statute.

Both the FAA tower personnel and Sabena are complicit in violating the Federal Aviation Regulations and in deliberately risking the lives and property of the residents of Mesa and the surrounding community. Both parties to the violations, Sabena and the FAA, have made it abundantly clear that they don't care about the residents and businesses in the surrounding community.

Terri Eisenhauer

08/26/2009 @ 3:52 pm
Terri Eisenhauer
Response to Chris G.'s response.
Chris, I didn't say Sabena's operations were legal, I said they MAY be legal. I don't know if violating the FARs are legal or illegal. I was responding to someone else's comments. Sabena's operations, abetted by the FAA, are the act of a company that cares nothing about risking the lives and property of airport neighbors and shows a complete lack of common courtesy to everyone around them.
08/21/2009 @ 9:21 am - Comment
Paul Knauth
So, I'm out fixing a sprinkler and watching CAE/Sabena beginners in the distance taking off to the southwest at the rate of about one every minute for hours on end. After they get out 1.3 mile from the END of the runway, they are still low and at full power and turn to buzz the neighborhoods to the south of the airport. Suddenly, as one of these Sabena incompetents starts the turn, the engine goes out. The plane starts dropping and is now seconds from crashing into the homes near Brown and Val Vista. No way this plane could glide back to the airport. No way. "Here we go", I think to myself. Mercifully, the engine starts up and the student continues the buzz job back toward Barbara Bush elementary school.

Twice in the past several months while outside only briefly, I have witnessed Sabena engines going out on approach. It appears to be a common problem. One was high enough that a glide in might have made it; one certainly was not. Sabena beginners tend to power into the glide path close to the airport (to get in more frequent touch and gos?). This is horrible, dangerous flying. What kind of flying practices are these students being taught?

Folks, with this intense frequency of beginner flight activity at low altitudes and no chance of returning to the airport, it is only a matter of time before a Sabena plane crashes again, this time into a Mesa neighborhood. I don't understand how the City or the FAA tower chief can condone their non-stop practice patterns over densely populated areas of northeast Mesa. This is INSANE! I realize a few businesses are profiting from Sabena's dangerous buzz jobs, but what kind of people condone this? How will they sleep when the inevitable happens? Will they realize that they are complicit in the disaster? WE CERTAINLY WILL!
08/20/2009 @ 2:41 pm - Comment
Terri Eisenhauer
Response to Chris G. for his FAR Response Comments

I will also recopy 91.119 yet again and will emphasize the main WORD you seem to IGNORE.
Except when necessary for takeoff or landing, no person may operate an aircraft below the following altitudes:
(a)Anywhere. An altitude allowing, if a power unit fails, an emergency landing without undue hazard to persons or property on the surface.

EXCEPT WHEN NECESSARY FOR TAKEOFF OR LANDING. The key words here are not take-off and landing; they are actually WHEN NECESSARY. You see, Chris, it is not necessary for Sabena's student pilots to train using a commercial take-off pattern from an airport that is surrounded by residential and business properties--and schools, and where a hazard to persons and property definitely exists in the event of an emergency landing.

Private pilots take off all the time and do not extend their take-offs on such a low trajectory over the populated residential neighborhoods and surrounding businesses. Therefore, a take-off from Falcon Field runways can almost always be safely accomplished in a manner that would allow the pilots to return to the airport in the event of engine trouble and without risking undue hazard to persons and property on the surface--just as it says in paragraph (a) above. Result: Sabena should not be operating ANYWHERE out of Falcon Field.

Having 7 or 8 aircraft in a pattern doing multiple touch and go operations in any given hour only emphasizes the number of flight violations per hour each day perpetrated by Sabena's students at the direction of FAA personnel. The increased number of flights emphasizes the difficulty in attaining sufficient altitude when so many are flying in the pattern, and also means extending their low trajectories farther out from the airport over populated areas, further increasing risks to persons and property on the surface--a never-ending cycle of violations to Federal Aviation Regulations. Even worse, private pilots who are caught in Sabena's dense patterns, find themselves inadvertently violating FARs because they also are not able to attain sufficient altitude to return to the airport in the event of engine trouble.

Your problem, and that of many other members of the aviation community is that you accept the arrogant interpretation of FAA regulations by FAA personnel without bothering to really understand the regulations, what they actually mean AND their intent. Naturally, the FAA is always going to interpret the regulations to give themselves and aviation as much latitude as possible. It is a shame for general aviation that it is being done at the expense of the non-aviation public.

I do agree with you that it is possible a U.S. trained foreign student pilot may eventually become a well-trained commercial pilot. I disagree that they have to right to perform those training operations at an airport that is in the heart of a residential and business community, when those training operations risk the persons and property in areas surrounding the airport, and when the FAA is complicit in violating its own regulations in providing that training. There are many other airports in desert, rural and/or sparsely populated nearby areas that would be happy to accommodate Sabena's flight training operations. SABENA should move.
08/06/2009 @ 4:19 pm - Comment
Ed Murphy
I live 3 miles west of Falcon Field. I cannot understand how former airline and military pilots can whine about plane noise when they deliberately and openly purchased homes at the end of a runway. You guys delivered hudnreds of decibels of jet engine noise to those living near airports you flew into and now you are complaining! This is hypocrisy at its highest level.
Most of your innuendos on this web site are false, exaggerated, or jingoistic rhetoric. They have little or no basis in fact. For example, you whine about pollution but the EPA recently found that small engine general aviation aircraft account for something less than 3/10th's of a percent of pollution.
You've been leading the fight against Falcon Field for over 20 years. This is just the latest in your attacks. You obviously won't be satisfied until Falcon Field is gone. You've filled the aviation ignorant neighbors with such misstatements that a 600 foot runway expansion at Falcon a few years ago would result in 737s and 747s flying into Falcon day and night. I remember all that hostile rhetoric.
It is too sad that you guys have nothing better to do in your old age than needlessly attack an airport that has been in continuous operation since 1940 and contributed to the victory against tyranny in World War II. Your selfish, tyrannical attacks are known for what they are
08/06/2009 @ 8:16 am - Comment
KFFS Committee
It looks like the Sabena employees are at it again. You can't support your current employer so you resort to insults and lies. The same old refrain, 'Falcon Field was here first' and 'it was originally a flight training facility in WWII' so it should be again.

Falcon Field is no longer training military pilots to support WWII or even the current war on terrorism. Military flight training now takes place on military bases. Falcon Field is no longer surrounded by orange groves with a small town population 7-1/2 miles away.

All of the facts on our website are verifiable and came from valid sources; most from government 'public information.'

Why don't you guys accept reality? Unless it changes the way it operates, Sabena's operations are a threat to the surrounding community. As stated by Federal Aviation Regulations, Sabena's operations present "an undue hazard to persons and property" surrounding the airport.
08/06/2009 @ 7:27 pm
Paul Heitmeyer
I don't have a problem with the airport. I've lived in the North flight path for 4 years, and know I need to use earplugs if I want to sleep in past 6am on the weekends. And I don't have a problem with the jets, as they are very quiet and pass by quickly. However, I do have a problem with planes doing constant touch and go's at night after 11pm. There is a huge difference between normal airport traffic and non-stop touch and go's late at night. And this has been a fairly recent development. I've contacted Melissa and Jim over at airport administrations (both nice people), and I've been told it is legal. But that does not make it right. Think of it this way... it is also legal for me to drive my car within the speed limit around and around and around a pilots street past his house at all hours, but that doesn't make it right. Just because you are allowed to do something doesn't mean you should do it. I believe some common courtesy for other people would solve many a problem.
08/05/2009 @ 5:02 pm - Comment
Terri Eisenhauer
You are absolutely correct, Paul. The current operations may be legal, but are not right. However, neither Sabena Airline Flight Training Center, nor the FAA understand the definition of common courtesy.

I also agree with your assessment of constant touch and go operations. Not only can't we sleep at night, but we can't enjoy our homes and property during the day, either. There is a huge difference between the normal operations that we used to enjoy and non-stop touch and go operations, day and night.
08/06/2009 @ 1:43 pm
Chris G
Terri, I noticed that you said Sabena's operations are legal. Doesn't that contradict your previous allegations of the company being in constant violation of the FARs?
08/08/2009 @ 9:05 pm
Andrew Elliott
I live off the departure end of 04 at Falcon (in Red Mountain Ranch), and have been flying out of Falcon for more than 20 years. As far as I know, there has never been any restriction against patterns to the Southeast of the field. In fact, normal operations are for such patterns on the Southeast runway (04R/22L), while patterns are to the Northwest on the other runway (04L/22R).

When it is safe to do so, the tower controllers may try to minimize traffic on the SE side, in the interest of being neighborly, but there is no *restriction*. I think the Falcon tower controllers are some of the best. You have only to see the backups and jams at Deer Valley airport, which also has heavy training going on, to appreciate how good they are.

And in response to a question about "How many of the young instructors working for Sabena are commercial pilots?" Well the answer is 100%. You can not get a flight instructor rating with a commercial ticket.

Finally, the net noise from aircraft operations in my area is much lower than that due to the 202, where trucks and motorcycles go by at all hours. Of course, there is no convenient target group for the 202, and anyone who suggested that trucks, motorcycles and loud cars be prohibited on the 202 at night would be laughed at.

So I agree with other posters who suggest that if you personally dislike the perceived noise, or feel unsafe in your home, that you simply move someplace well away from *any* airport.
08/05/2009 @ 11:18 am - Comment
Terri Eisenhauer
Freeway noise has always been an issue for nearby residents. ADOT has been putting rubberized surfaces on most freeways within city limits--because it provides for quieter freeway traffic.

The KFFS Committee probably did not adequately phrase comments about young and inexperienced flight trainers. However, it does not follow that flight trainers who receive a commercial certificate for flight training have more than the minimum hours and education required, nor that many of the trainers have had actual commercial airline flight experience as a pilot.

I am not sufficiently aware of the control tower's efforts to be neighborly by directing traffic away from the areas SE of the airport. They are not neighborly to areas south and SW of the airport. They deliberately violate FARs and FF's published flight maps by sending flights south and SW of the airport even when wind and other safety factors are not an issue. (See KFFS comments from several days ago.)

My family has also lived here, SW of the airport, for 20 years. We rarely had flights over our neighborhoods and we never had flight patterns over our neighborhoods. Even three years ago, that was true.

Since Sabena came to Falcon Field 2-1/2 years ago, there are constant student flights over our homes, schools and businesses. And safety has nothing to do with the tower controller's direction of flights. Harold Sharpe, seems to delight in sending them here in order to thumb his nose at anyone who would dare to question aviation operations and activities.

If you were paying attention, you would have seen the comments by one of the FAA examiners who expressed concern with the tower's inability to adequately communicate with the foreign student pilots that resulted in landing delays, increasing safety risks and noise over surrounding communities. His comments allow questioning the ability of FF's tower personnel. Other pilots I have talked to think FF's tower personnel are 2nd rate. If you think they are the best, I would hate to think how bad things are at other airports.

As a federally tax-supported employee, Harold Sharpe should be fired for his direct violations of FAA Regulations, AZ Statutes, and his deliberate risk to Mesa's community members by his arrogant disregard for them.
08/06/2009 @ 2:56 pm
Keep Falcon Field Safe Committee
Response to Bob Reid's comments.

The Keep Falcon Field Safe Committee has no reason to criticize or complain about businesses at Falcon Field--other than the flight operations of CAE/Sabena.

You continue to stress noise complaints, but you refuse to acknowledge the far more serious issues of safety and health risks. Thousands of community residents are asking why our quality of life should be negatively affected in order to support aviation activities.

You also have failed to mention the constant violations to Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs) by Sabena students and other FF pilots who are inadvertently caught in Sabena's long, low flight training patterns. Nor do you seem at all concerned by the complicity of the FAA in those violations that significantly add to the safety risks experienced by Mesa's residents, schools and businesses.

As an aviation business owner and an apparent supporter of GA activities, you should be extremely concerned about the FARs violations. You should be even more concerned the FAA is not only ignoring the violations, but actually promoting them by directing flights over populated areas; flights that haven't a prayer of getting back to the airport in the event of engine trouble. The acceptance of these violations by the FAA and aviation community can only serve to damage the ongoing success of general aviation by building increasing animosity in the non-aviation community.

If, 20 years ago, you were flying your 1/2 dozen planes out of FF day and night without many complaints, it is unlikely you were constantly flying over the developed areas around the airport. Flight training schools at FF trained their students to avoid flying over the developed neighborhoods and businesses, as that appears to be the pattern for (and taught to) most private pilots. But, even you should be able to acknowledge that your six planes are a lot different than 50 planes for up to 400 students per year.

Three years ago we didn't have problems with flight noise, or the dramatically increased risks to our safety and well-being. There is a very big difference between sporadic traffic with occasional heavy activity and the current, fairly constant activity by student pilots. Especially when the flight training patterns are over an area the previous city government, throughout the last decades, continued to insist would not be subjected to flight patterns in order to protect the safety of residents, schools and businesses.

It is unfortunate the current city government inherited the problems caused by its predecessor. Although the current city government has initiated a task force to study ways to alleviate the problems, it remains to be seen if they will recommend and enforce any material changes to Sabena's abusive operations.

Until we know the task force's recommendations, the KFFS Committee will continue to build community support for a government that protects our rights, minimizes risks to our safety, health and well-being, and adds to our quality of life instead of destroying it. We will seek a government that represents our interests, as well as those of the aviation community--instead of representing only the aviation community and aviation related businesses.
08/04/2009 @ 8:51 pm - Comment
Thomas Wheeler
I've lived in Mesa now for over 23 years. I'm located in the flight path for the airport. I have no problem with it. Falcon Field has been here way before all of the homes were built and like myself new about the airport before we built our home. I remember when I was a teenager back in the 60's, I would drive by the airport and that was way before any of the homes were built around it. I believe that if you have a problem with it, you should move.
08/02/2009 @ 2:41 pm - Comment
T.M. Eisenhauer
Why is it that Sabena's supporters who have 'no problem with Sabena's operations' continue to tell those wjo are concerned with Sabena's operations to move? Are you unable to read and understand the English language? Should I rephrase my answer in words of one syllable?

It doesn't matter that the airport was here first, or that residents surrounding the Falcon Field knew the airport was here--how could one miss it?

Arizona Statute requires airports to file flight pattern/noise maps with the AZ Real Estate Dept. for the express purpose of informing potential property purchasers about what they can expect from airport operations. Falcon Field's map has not changed in decades, certainly extending back 25 to 30 years, or more when our neighborhoods were being developed. The maps did not show flight patterns south of the airport.

For the past 2 decades, The City of Mesa has stressed there would be no flight patterns south of Falcon Field. They used this information to approve the building of Barbara Bush Elementary School in the mid-1990s and the Wal-Mart strip mall south of the airport in the past decade. They assured residents and voters of Mesa there would be no risk to their children and to the expected (and realized) concentrations of businesses and shoppers.

As home buyers in NE Mesa, we relied on the AZ Statutes, the FF map filed with the AZ Real Estate Dept. and the City of Mesa, who continued to stress for 15 years AFTER we purchased our home that there would be NO FLIGHT PATTERNS south of FF!!!!

For the City of Mesa to change that map now in order to accommodate one single commercial airline flight school is a gross miscarriage of justice imposed on those who purchased property near the airport in the last several decades.

Until Sabena arrived, there were no flight patterns south of the airport. Now there are. The FAA and Sabena CONTINUE TO VIOLATE the FF published flight pattern maps and they CONTINUE TO VIOLATE Federal Aviation Regulations that were established to protect populations under flight operations from unsafe patterns.

Why is it so hard for you to understand that a community that has supported Falcon Field and coexisted peacefully with it for these many years, is now concerned with the flight operations of a single commercial airline flight training school that has invaded our quality of life and dramatically increased the risks to our safety, health and well-being? Why should thousands of Mesa's residents be expected to move or put up with the increased risks and negative environment we now must endure?

Are the employees of the FAA and members of the aviation community, especially employees of Sabena and the businesses that directly benefit from their business, so arrogant that they believe their right to fly anytime, anywhere supercedes everyone else's rights, everyone else's ability to live a reasonably safe, peaceful life?

We are not moving anywhere. Sabena should either move or change the operations at Falcon Field to minimize the risks to the surrounding community.
08/04/2009 @ 6:58 pm
Trouble at Falcon Field
I don't believe Sabena brings a substantial economic boom to NE Mesa and ask you to prove it by demanding an independent economic analysis from the City of Mesa.

It may be true that the growth of cities includes airport expansion, but that expansion doesn't include increasing airport statistics for flight training by "the largest European flight training center in the U.S." It should include airport growth that also brings in economic growth through non-aviation business growth--real economic growth--not just increased flight activity.

The only ones who benefit from Sabena are a few other aviation businesses and Sabena's employees.
08/04/2009 @ 6:11 pm - Comment
Bob Reid
Good afternoon everyone,
From the time lapse on the comments it would appear I am the only person defending the businesses at falcon.
Perhaps others are going to pursue this endeavor on a different track.

I haven't lived in mesa long. I bought my house and some other properties about twenty years ago from a mortgage company that had foreclosed on the subdivision. Of course over the last twenty years the neighborhood has grown and property values increased.

While this neighborhood was developing I was recruited by the city of mesa to relocate my aviation business from Scottsdale to Falcon.
I came over here with 1/2 dozen airplanes to include king airs, turbo commanders, Cessna 421's and one Lear jet.
My company flew out of Falcon day and night with few complaints. Of course the neighborhood the current noise complainers are in was not yet developed. They came later around 93-94-95 time frame.

In 1994 the city had introduced a new master plan for FFZ which included lengthening the runway. It did not include any additional runway strength to allow an increase in the weight of aircraft currently allowed to arrive and depart..Those types of aircraft were destined to go to Gateway.
So the types and size of the aircraft using the field was going to remain the same.

The primary purpose of increasing the runway length was to have a safer departure threshold during the hot summer months when even the small aircraft would have difficulty maintaining a rate of climb so as not to drag out over the houses SW and NE of the field.

The plan was stopped by neighbors that claimed FFZ would turn into another Orange county with 747's zooming out over their heads.

Of course these people were crazy and would not listen to the fact that runway strength was going to remain the same allowing only the same light aircraft that use Falcon now.

Had the runway been lengthened onto the longbow property you would not have any noise from the little airplanes to complain about. They would not be dragging out over the houses but instead turning out well before Greenfield Road. The noise would be almost a mile away instead of 500 feet as it is now.

It was not destined to happen and the politicians' at the time all hid under their desks to avoid any perceived conflict and possibly not be re-elected..

Meanwhile, back in the late 70's early 80's. Residents living off the SW end of the 4800 ft runway had a similar problem with noise.

Scottsdale extended the runway to the North East to 8500 feet. This allowed the departing aircraft to turn out long before they reached Scottsdale Road.. Problem solved..The long runway at Scottsdale encouraged businesses that operated corporate aircraft to move into the area.

The North Scottsdale area exploded in activity to one of the finest first class areas in the Southwest. Thousands employed, great restaurants, TCP golf course and tons of other amenities not enjoyed by the area known now as The Podunk Airport in Mesa..Falcon fortune 500 companies here. We have Boeing..but they don't even need a runway..
So...My recommendation to get rid of the noise from Sabena and the other little airplanes that bother you is to ask the city to take advantage of the stimulus program and lengthen the runway..the airplanes will make their turn out before the reach Greenfield and you will barely be able to hear them..

Good luck with that... most of the pansies at city hall don't have the balls to even suggest it.
07/29/2009 @ 2:15 pm - Comment
KFFS Committee
Response to Bob Reid's response

So you talked to Sabena about their operations and actually think you can rely on their information? Sabena lied directly to the Mayor. They told him they weren't doing night-time touch and go operations when he and others verified they were. To get around the restriction of touch and go operations, Sabena directed their trainers and students to do stop and go operations, instead. But you either work for Sabena or do business with them, so naturally you believe they are an honorable company who should be given every consideration.

I didn't know that the FAA had Chief Flight Instructors at FF. I thought they had flight controllers. The same ones who are very defensive about their own contributions to the FAR violations by Sabena students. Exactly what verification did they give you that shows numbers so vastly different from Falcon Field's own reported numbers? If you send us the official documentation of the FAA's information, we will report it--after we verify that it is correct.

Falcon Field reported flight operations for 2006, 2007 and 2008 as 249,081, 314,181 and 320,606, respectively. These are official numbers, not the comments pulled from the faulty memory of a FFA tower controller. If you continue to believe our facts are faulty then feel free to get official information from public records. Unless Falcon Field has amended the numbers they reported to us, you will find that our information is factually correct. We only asked FF for the past 3 years' numbers, but if you insist, we will get public information on the past 7-10 years.

As you can see, the number of flight operations jumped dramatically in 2007 when Sabena arrived at Falcon Field and again in 2008 as Sabena leased additional aircraft and put more training flights in the air. The flight numbers for 2007 and 2008 are not as high as they would have been if there had not been a substantial drop in other (non-Sabena) flights due to the high fuel prices and the deteriorating economy. The arrival of Sabena did increase the traffic count, because without Sabena, the flight operations numbers would have dropped dramatically in 2007 and again in 2008 due to less use by non-Sabena pilots. As is evident, not only did Sabena "take up the slack," they increased the numbers by a substantial amount.

We also previously stated that our numbers were as of December 2008. In March/April 2009 FF told us Sabena was closer to 70% of total operations than 80%. We could accept that number since our observers were not counting flights everyday of the year, 24/7. However, in December 2008 for the various 1 - 2 hour periods at various times of the day and week that we did observe FF flights, Sabena's flights were closer to 80%. At the busiest times of flight operations, Sabena training flights took-off approximately every 80 seconds.

As to your analysis of the flight numbers, you state that if 750 flights per day is correct, only half of them matter. So I guess it is your opinion that only the take-offs are a risk, or is it only the landings that are the risk--but not both? And then you state that only half of those matter because there are 2 runways. So I guess the flights that take off from the North runway and fly over our neighborhoods are not a risk, only the ones that take off from the South runway? Or is it the other way around? Maybe it is the flights that take off to the East that pose little risk; or is it the ones that take off to the South? Or is it only the landing operations that are a risk? Somehow you take a number of 750 flight operations per day and reduce it by 75% because YOU don't notice more flights.

You think by trying to discredit members of our committee who don't agree with you, you can discredit factual information. It won't work. Each time you try to discredit us by giving your idea of information that will make Sabena look good to the public, we will answer with verifiable facts. Each time you give your version of information, we will ask you to prove that it is verifiable, as we are able to verify our information.
07/23/2009 @ 9:13 pm - Comment
KFFS Committee
Response to Bob Reid's comments

Well, Bob, answering your thoughtless comments and accusations are hardly worth our efforts either, but at least is gives us another opportunity to state a variety of facts we have collected over months of extensive effort in protecting our neighborhoods and community from harm's way.

State and federal taxes may be collected on every gallon of fuel sold at FF, but those taxes do not support FF. The flow fee is 10 cents per gallon (not at least 10 cents per gallon) and is paid to FF. We have repeatedly asked the airport how much they receive from CAE/Sabena for flow fees, and they tell us they don't know (or they decline to give us that information.) Sabena stated on their (totally inaccurate) "Economic Benefits to the City of Mesa" Statement that they paid $1,804,000 for fuel in 2008 including city taxes. I am not aware of city taxes for fuel unless they mean the flow fee. That fuel expenditures figure may be a great deal, but it means nothing for the benefit of the city without knowing the number of gallons used in order to calculate the annual flow fee received.

The airport is not self-supporting. Falcon Field is supported by annual grants from the FAA. The FAA is a federal agency that is totally supported by U.S. tax dollars. Every tax paying resident supports FF, including you.

We all pay for fire, trash and other city services, as should the tenants of Falcon Field. However, there was, or is, some discussion going on about increasing the fire/emergency charges to all tenants of FF, even though it is CAE/Sabena, at 70% use of airport facilities, who uses the services most often. Is that fair to other FF tenants?

CAE/Sabena does not pay the city for any leases other than 50 tie down spaces. And, for those leases they receive a 22% discount over what other tenants pay for their tie-down spaces. Each of CAE/Sabena's planes takes up the same space as other tenants who pay full price for tie down spaces, so why the huge discount? An administrative discount for duplicative paperwork might involve a small discount (1% - 3%?), but each aircraft is supposed to be inspected by FF employees which involves (or, is supposed to) physical effort--so why the huge discount? According to leases and other sources, CAE/Sabena has at least 5 or more twin-engine aircraft, yet they are only being charged the higher tie down lease price for 3 twin-engine aircraft. Another special discount/allowance for CAE/Sabena? On top of this, the new lease charges that become effective August 1, 2009 are structured to affect everyone at FF, including substantially more to some classes of aircraft, but only a nominal increase in tie down lease fees to CAE/Sabena--the tenant who uses 70% or more of airport facilities.

Mr. Yost's lease payment to the city is due whether he has the building leased or not. He appears to be one of the few benefiting from CAE/Sabena. Without independent economic analysis there is no indication that it also translates to an airport or community benefit. However, his lease with the city states the uses he will make of his building. The uses do not include leasing to a commercial-airline flight training school.

We are sorry aviation businesses are suffering from the Obama administration and in the current economy. However, there are many businesses and individuals throughout the United States, including those in Mesa, AZ that are suffering. What gives you the right to think we should support your aviation activities at the expense to our safety, health and well-being?

Why would you or any other responsible individual assume CAE/Sabena has the right to ignore AZ Statutes and continually violate Federal Aviation Regulations--because aviation business is barely getting by? Do all Sabena employees conclude it is OK to ignore rules and regulations?

The FBO that sells fuel to CAE/Sabena is also one of the few benefiting from doing business with them. However, without knowing the cost of fuel and the net profit the FBO is making on fuel sales, calculating the benefit to the FBO and/or the community is impossible. That is why an independent economic analysis of CAE/Sabena's is important.

KFFS Committee members and supporters have knowledge and experience in many areas of expertise. For aviation issues, we rely on those who have the knowledge and experience. Even those who are not knowledgeable about aviation know there are qualifications for flight school instructors and that the flight trainers hired by Sabena must be minimally qualified. However, we did not say the instructors were unqualified, we said they were young and inexperienced. If you would like to give us a list of CAE/Sabena's flight trainers, including when they received their licenses and certificates and how many hours of flight experience each has, we may, then, correct the information we have related.

A person is mature at 21 and we never suggested the flight school's mechanics take their responsibilities lightly. The qualified flight school mechanics, notwithstanding, other qualified mechanics have stated there are legitimate safety issues and worries regarding Sabena's aircraft.

We quoted from Al's comments dated 6/4/09. We would never knowingly slander anyone, nor would Al do so, by repeating slanderous remarks. We know and respect Al for his many fine qualities, including his knowledge and experience of all things aviation. As a retired military flight pilot, commercial airline pilot and commercial airline trainer, Al does business with qualified and experienced individuals. The mechanics he spoke with gave their opinion based on the pressure Sabena's mechanics are under from Sabena's apparent insistence that all planes are always ready to fly.

The accident you are referring to did not occur at FF, it occurred within 500 feet of our neighborhoods and just as close to the Wal Mart Strip Mall and hundreds of shoppers and business employees. We have never attributed that fatal accident near FF, and practically on top of our neighborhood, to Sabena. We stated it was another TRAINING flight. It is imperative that everyone realizes the risks and dangers of so many student pilots training over our neighborhoods.

Apparently, Bob, it is you who should get your facts straight, and you should have done it before you accused us of slander. The Keep Falcon Field Safe Committee deals in facts--not innuendo, insults and repetitious name-calling. It is apparent that CAE/Sabena's employees and/or business partners are afraid of the truth, and afraid to face the damage they are doing to members of the surrounding community.
07/23/2009 @ 9:11 pm - Comment
Federal Aviation Regulations .
Message: To Chris G

FAR-91.119(a) Anywhere(below). An altitude allowing, if a power unit fails, an emergency landing without undo hazard to persons or property on the surface.

Obviously you are a pilot. (a) applies if you are in the pattern (1000ft) and not close to Falcon or close to an open area. One Falcon Tower Controller (who is a pilot) only allows 3 aircraft in a circuit pattern which keeps those pilots from violating that FAR. All of the rest of the Controllers that allow up to 7 or 8 in a circuit pattern help to possibly place all of these pilots in violation of the FAR sometime in the circuit. Long (simulated) 737 departure profiles can also violate this FAR.

Your last paragraph where you state that Falcon Field is offering flight training to students and an invaluable service to both the community and economy is absolutely ridiculous. Training Foreign Students for Foreign Airlines and the Day and Night constant danger, noise and health issues that households endure cannot be classified positive in any way. No offence meant to Bob Reid and Tango One!

Before Sabena arrived none of our neighborhoods had any complaints about aircraft traffic because the sounds come and go. Now they just come and never go away. Our local population of pilots would love to be back where we were before Sabena where we had sanity when we were in the aviation environment.
07/23/2009 @ 5:52 pm - Comment
Chris G
I'll recopy 91.119 yet again and will emphasize the main part that you seemed to have forgotten.
14CFR §91.119
Except when necessary for takeoff or landing, no person may operate an aircraft below the following altitudes:
(a) Anywhere. An altitude allowing, if a power unit fails, an emergency landing without undue hazard to persons or property on the surface.

EXCEPT WHEN NECESSARY FOR TAKEOFF OR LANDING. Simply failing to write the first seven words of that regulation doesn't make it simply disappear. Sorry bud.
I'd be apt to believe you about all of these "violations" occurring if you can produce even one instance of the FAA violating a pilot in the traffic pattern based on that FAR.

FAA Order 7110.65S, section 3-10-3 refers to same runway separation requirements for ATC controllers to follow. For Category I (ie. single-engine piston) aircraft landing behind other Category I aircraft, 3,000 feet separation between landing and departing aircraft must be maintained. Having 7 or 8 aircraft in that pattern is irrelevant if controllers follow their regulations as well.

I stand by my statement where the flight training offered at FFZ is an invaluable student. Those "evil foreigners threatening our very way of life" will be pilots flying internationally, and many assuredly to the USA. The reason foreign students are sent to the USA for flight training is because of the superb training they receive. Knowing that those very pilots trained with US instructors and learned our air traffic control system when they are flying aircraft many times heavier than their little diamondstars over our homes is extremely comforting. At AirVenture 2009 in Oshkosh, WI, the new Airbus A380, the largest passenger aircraft in existence, arrived with a Sabena graduate in the crew. Think about who might be flying and what type of training they received next time you board a commercial aircraft.

08/02/2009 @ 8:13 pm
KFFS Committee
Marc Wells completely misses the point of the many facts and opinions expressed on this website. He also continues to insult the intelligence and commitment of those who are both concerned about the increased risks to our safety, health and well-being and outraged at the loss of our rights as residents and citizens perpetrated by the FAA and CAE/Sabena.
It doesn't matter whether Falcon Field was here first. The KFFS committee and Mesa's residents have repeatedly stated they had no problem with private flight activity prior to the arrival of CAE/Sabena. What does matter is the inappropriate use being made of our municipal airport; the almost monopoly of airport facilities by one commercial flight training school, and the sheer number of student flights over our homes, schools and businesses. And all of this is being done on tax-payer dollars at our city-owned airport by a foreign company that pays virtually nothing in taxes, fees, or other remuneration for the use of Falcon Field. It is difficult to understand why even aviation community members are not rising up in outrage over this usage. The City of Mesa and Falcon Field clearly are being taken for a ride by CAE/Sabena.

Marc Wells wants to talk about safety. He thinks we are ignorant morons because we define the risks of students learning to fly 737 commercial flight patterns as vastly different than the safety record of 737 commercial airlines. Commercial pilots may have a great safety record, but we are not talking about commercial pilots flying at FF. We are talking about students learning to fly commercial patterns, and being taught to fly by young, fairly inexperienced pilots who are trying to add to their own flight hours. I wonder how many of Sabena's flight trainers are commercial pilots? He also indicates that pilots have a much better accident ratio than autos. This is immaterial; autos are not driving through our homes at all hours of the day and night.

He admits that private pilots die because of poor judgment, disregarding inconvenient safety recommendations and lack of familiarity with emergency procedures. These are all definitive labels that are applicable to students learning to fly. It applies to Sabena's students more than others because they are learning to think and understand and communicate in English at the same time they are learning to fly. It doesn't matter that CAE/Sabena has an excellent safety record. The risks exist and multiply with the number of CAE/Sabena's operations. I would remind Marc that ALL pilots had an excellent safety record before they crashed and ??-- if lucky, lived to tell the tale.

Al Gardner, who is a retired commercial pilot and commercial pilot trainer, spoke to mechanics at Falcon Field who said Sabena's planes have a history of mechanical problems, are serviced by young, inexperienced mechanics who are pushed hard to keep them flying everyday and are an "accident waiting to happen" (see comments 6/4/09.) The mechanics told him "they push the maintenance to the limit on all their equipment and have no interest in spending money since the rumor is they are trying to sell the Company." Every time our committee members and I have been at the airport requesting information, the fire truck has been called out to the runway for an arriving Sabena plane because it reported trouble. Is any of this information supposed to instill confidence in those of us under Sabena's long flight patterns?

Are Sabena's weekly meetings discussing safety and oversight the ones when they are directed to ignore the Mayor's request not to do "touch and go" operations at night after the tower has closed and do "stop and go" operations instead? Is that what they were doing for the entire hour between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. in the early morning hours of July 7th when Sabena students bombarded neighbors south of the airport with their constant flights?

Marc says safety at Falcon Field is better now that Sabena is part of the picture. It is true that we haven't had a major accident or fatality at FF since the summer of 2008--almost a year. Statistically, however, it is not IF one will happen, it is WHEN; and statistically, WHEN is anytime now.

07/20/2009 @ 4:23 pm - Comment
Chris G
To "Disgusted with the Lot of Them"-
The name change to CAE Global Academy was not to escape "negativity associated with the name." CAE, a company based in Canada, recently purchased Sabena.

To Jim Allen-
Sabena students, as well as numerous employees at Falcon Field support local businesses daily. I recently went to Subway, a neighbor of Buffalo Wild Wings, and had to wait in line behind about 12 Sabena students taking their lunch. With the present economical situation, many other factors such as high rental rates at the strip mall may have played a role other than a pilot's failure to "support community businesses."

To "Federal Aviation Regulations"-
14CFR §91.119
Except when necessary for takeoff or landing, no person may operate an aircraft below the following altitudes:
(a) Anywhere. An altitude allowing, if a power unit fails, an emergency landing without undue hazard to persons or property on the surface.

(b) Over congested areas. Over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open air assembly of persons, an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft.

Stating that Sabena students routinely violate this regulation is completely inaccurate. Subsection (b) applies during level maneuvering flight and students are not in violation during the student's departure climbout due to the first part of the FAR- Except when necessary for takeoff or landing. An FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) is based in Scottdale. The Western Pacific region, which Arizona resides has a reputation of having an extremely strict rule enforcement policy. Surely violations would have been issued if the regulations were truly being broken. I challenge you to contact Sabena, or any of the flight schools based at Falcon or airports elsewhere and ask what their maneuvering altitude is for training flights. I can guarantee that it is above 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle.

To Pat Tregaskes-
The Mesa Police Department owns a blue and white helicopter, and Omniflight, and air ambulance service also operates a blue and white one. Both use general aviation as a vital part of their operations. Be sure to let them know about their loud aircraft as the police is performing aerial monitoring or when the air ambulance services are rescuing car accident victims or transporting patients to hospitals.

People who live near interstates don't lobby to reduce traffic on the roads to lessen noise, they cope with it because of the service it brings. Falcon Field is offering flight training to students, an invaluable service to both the community and economy. That Harley Davidson idling right in front of your homes is much more of a noise issue than an airplane climbing overhead.

07/17/2009 @ 11:36 am - Comment
Pat Tregaskes
I am very concerned regarding all of the helicopter touch and go's that are passing directly over our property during their flights. I have written before and have not gotten a response. I have tried yesterday and today (7-15, 16) to click on the noise complaint button and the web page will not come up. This morning starting at 7:45, there is a blue and white jet propelled heli flying over our home. I know they are out of MD because I went to their facility and saw them. I talked to the security guard . This has been approximately a month ago and still they are overstepping or over-flying their boundary which is to stay EAST of the north-south canal between Greenfield and Val Vista. Yesterday I left a message with MD but have had no response. I challenge anyone to come over to my home and just see and listen to what we have to put up with. All the companies that the helicopters are out of need to do is have a meeting with their pilots and tell them they have had numerous complaints from citizens and to stay EAST of the canal. How simple is that?? Probably too simple for the city council to understand.
07/16/2009 @ 10:29 am - Comment
Federal Aviation Regulations
Federal Aviation Regulations

Sec. 91.119 - Minimum safe altitudes: General.
Except when necessary for takeoff or landing, no person may operate an aircraft below the following altitudes:
(a) Anywhere. An altitude allowing, if a power unit fails, an emergency landing without undue hazard to persons or property on the surface.

(b) Over congested areas. Over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open air assembly of persons, an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft.

A while back a Pilot from Falcon Field quoted this FAR as being violated by Sabena pilots flying out of Falcon Field. He used the example of the low (buss job) departures that Sabena is famous for since they teach simulated 737 departures for the benefit of the Foreign Airlines that they train Pilots for. He also says that the touch and go patterns that they fly are loose and wide and that Falcon Tower allows so many aircraft in these patterns that this type of operation is a direct violation. You add in these inexperienced pilots who are all foreigners whose primary language is not English and you have an extremely dangerous situation. Any engine failure for those aircraft that are not close to Falcon means that that aircraft is not going to make it to the Field. This is the reason for the regulation and Sabena is violating this regulation hundreds of times every day. Even worse is that they violate it at night and most of the flights at night are done without the benefit of a controller in the tower.

This Pilot who reported this was absolutely right and before Sabena arrived most Pilots who plan on staying in the pattern at Falcon tried to follow the FAR's by trying to gain the 1000 ft as soon as possible and turn to the downwind of the runways so as to always be in a position to make it back if they had an engine failure. Those Pilots on a departure would normally gain the altitude needed as they turned away from the residential or congested area and started looking for areas ahead that would be available if they had an Engine failure.

The high volume of traffic that Sabena has created has forced other local pilots into positions that they themselves are in violation because of the extreme amount of traffic.
Paul Knauth
I'm getting tired of those who continually refer to Al Gardner and Dave Wayne as "whiners". Al and Dave are leaders and spokesmen for citizens concerned about safety at Falcon Field now that a foreign flight school has essentially taken over. To those hurling insults at them: note that both are former USAF fighter pilots who subsequently flew for commercial airlines and now regularly fly small planes out of Falcon Field. Al spent 9 years training pilots at Williams AFB and several years training commercial pilots for United Airlines. He is one of the few ever to survive a mid-air collision after getting hit by an errant student pilot (a foreign student having communication problems, BTW). Both live near enough to observe the foreign beginners trying to learn to fly over densely populated areas of Mesa. Both hear the confused tower communications made difficult by thick accents and inexperience. Both know that it is just a matter of time before one of these beginners flying so irresponsibly low throughout their patterns will not make it to the airport following an engine problem.

Al and Dave are pillars of the community who have contributed much to Mesa. I doubt any of you people insulting them have one tenth their flight experience. You clearly have no knowledge of the situation here and are callously indifferent toward families living under flight patterns newly established to accommodate this enormous flight school. Those insulting from the east coast, those personally profiting from the current situation, and those responding to silly calls from paranoid flight organizations falsely claiming that general aviation is under assault here SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELVES. Talking about whiners!! Peeuw.
06/29/2009 @ 6:09 pm - Comment
Jim Allen
6/28Just sent this to the Mesa Trib. After yesterday's article "Irked in Mesa":

After reading the article "Mesa residents irked", I am fuming. Who are these
people that don't care a bit that our community is being taken over by the
flight schools at Falcon Field? Should large flight training companies have
all rights because they are paying taxes to the community, and the people
that live in the community have NONE? Should they have the right to take off
every 80 seconds at 5:30 am just because they can? I don't want to shut down
the flight schools at F.F., I am just hoping that F.F. and the flight
schools will do their part to be more neighborly. I used to love opening the
windows on those cool nights but not anymore, not unless we need to be up at
the crack of dawn. But like having an obstinate child it looks like we, the
community members, have to be the parents and raise our voices to help them
refocus on having good manners.

Are the pilots in the flight schools really supporting the community
businesses in the area? A great restaurant, Buffalo "WINGS" Grill and Bar,
right across the street from Falcon Field just closed. Great place for a
pilot to watch some sports and have a meal. If they are really supporting
the community, would this restaurant have closed?

Home values are not only dropping from the economy, but also from the
increase in noise pollution, and safety issues. Air pollution is also
increasing as flights increase, as are the chances of a plane crashing into
a home, and that affects all of us whether the noise bothers you or not. Is
being the 3rd busiest small public airport in the country something to be
proud of? Are we striving to be number one, or should we slow down and think
about this as a community by talking out our difference of opinions? We all
know what it is like to build the freeway after the traffic already out of
control. It is not good for anyone and it creates unnecessary frustration.
Let's think about this and come to some agreeable solutions, win win!

I have several pilots in my neighborhood that love planes and love to fly
but they are even saying enough is enough. They feel F.F and the flight
schools could do more to be neighborly but are choosing not to. Don't be
bothered by the fact that they have created a web site to talk things over.
Embrace it, and realize they just want F.F. and the flight schools to take
them serious and slow down to talk it over. A good nights sleep and a
healthy & safe neighborhood is great for Mesa and that should be important
to all concerned!

06/28/2009 @ 7:03 pm - Comment
Disgusted with the Lot of Them
It looks like Sabena Air Training Center changed their name this month to CAE Global Academy Phoenix.

If they want to be named ...Phoenix, why aren't they operating out of Sky Harbor or another Phoenix airport?

They probably changed their name to get away from the negativity associated with the name, Sabena. That was a dumb decision. Their lies, negative attitude and poor neighbor policy will follow them whatever of their name. Only an abrupt change of heart (OMG, does CAE Global/Sabena even have a heart?) or, more likely, a change of upper management, will have any positive results. Unfortunately for the parent company, CAE, Inc., the mud will now stick to them. Too bad they are saddled with such a loser.

It's time to clean house; starting from the top. If our U.S. representatives won't stop the FAA and give our rights back, let's get new ones . If our city doesn't understand that it represents us, kick them out. If the FAA and Falcon Field won't stop hurting Mesa's residents, close them down! It is definitely past time for a citizen revolt!

Keep up the good work, people. We need SOMEONE to speak for US!
06/23/2009 @ 7:21 pm - Comment
Terri Eisenhauer
We have been informed by the City Manager's office that the Falcon Field Ad-hoc Task Force will recommend the City quickly replace the existing flight pattern map (showing NO flight patterns south of the airport) with a map showing CAE/Sabena's current flight patterns south of Falcon Field. The Ad-hoc Task Force members consist of City of Mesa (City Manager's office) representatives, Sabena's General Manager, 3 additional Falcon Field tenants or AOPA representatives, 1 community member, and 2 KFFS committee members. Please read the following email comments:

"Natalie Lewis (City Manager's office) just informed me that the ad hoc Task Force is going to recommend that the City move quickly to replace the pattern/noise map that State Law requires Falcon Field to post. This is the one that alerts potential home buyers of where aircraft typically fly. If true, this is a really dirty trick. How can it be legal for the City to do this? Falcon Field posted its map, the City zoned residential areas, and people bought. Now they post a new map showing beginner patterns going right over your home?

I urge our reps on the Task Force to fight this. Instead, Sabena needs to be constrained to the exisiting (map) patterns--at a minimum!"

We have previously reported that the under AZ State Statute, Falcon Field (and other airports) are required to file flight pattern maps with the Arizona State Real Estate Dept. for the sole purpose of informing potential property buyers about the flight patterns of the airport before they make their property purchases.

We have also previously reported that Falcon Field has continued to file maps showing NO flight patterns south of the airport. In fact, that information was used by the City of Mesa in order to approve zoning for both the Barbara Bush Elementary School and the Wal Mart store and strip mall that were subsequently built south of the airport. The airport's and City's comments during pre-zoning hearings were that there was no risk to our children attending a school and no risk to a concentration of people shopping at Wal Mart and other stores in their area BECAUSE there were NO flight patterns south of Falcon Field.

We have stated in our website "Facts" that property values have been negatively affected by CAE /Sabena's operations at Falcon Field. Instead of requiring the flight school to use the North runway and fly over the desert--to be in compliance with the map--Mesa's solution is to further hurt its residents by quickly and quietly changing the map (many years after economic decisions by Mesa's residents were made as a result of their filed map), and allowing CAE/Sabena to continue risking the lives of our children and residents and pounding our neighborhoods.

We have to ask why the City of Mesa/Falcon Field continually protects the operations of this major commercial flight school that, admitted by the City, pays virtually no fees and taxes that support their +70% operations at Falcon Field. There must be agreements under the table somewhere--and that too is a violation.

Any City Official who thinks changing the map instead of seeing that Falcon Field tenants comply with it has lost my vote.
06/23/2009 @ 2:46 pm - Comment
Terri Eisenhauer
According to the AZ Republic, Sabena Air Training Center changed their name this month to CAE Global Academy Phoenix. (I suggest for awhile we refer to them as CAE/Sabena--so we don't have to keep explaining to those who are unaware, who we are talking about.)
06/23/2009 @ 2:27 pm - Comment
KFFS Committee
For the record, we do not hate Falcon Field or the aviation industry. Nor are we trying to close down businesses. We do not promote anti-aviation bigotry. We are simply trying to protect our families.

Large commercial flight training schools, like Sabena, have many options to operate their flight training in areas that don't risk significant numbers of any city's population. They also have the option at Falcon Field of using the North runway and performing their flight training over the desert, again limiting the risk to surrounding populations. However, they choose not to do this. It is too inconvenient for them. Why should they bother to be good neighbors?!! This 'not-so-good neighbor' when asked not to do touch and go operations after tower hours, directed their students to do stop and go operations instead. And that shows what kind of voluntary efforts Sabena is willing to make to comply with Falcon Field's 'Fly Friendly Zone' and 'Good Neighbor Policy.'

For more than 20 years Falcon Field and its neighbors lived happily together. We enjoyed seeing planes flying overhead. We also expected growth at the airport; the kind of growth that would bring real economic benefit to the area--not just to a few businesses at Falcon Field . It is unfortunate that Falcon Field has already lost at least four (4) new corporate tenants because of the flight school's operations. The economic impact of the loss on just one 75,000 square foot building at Falcon Field is approximately $15 million to $20 million annually.

As one individual said: 'So, Falcon Field's goal is to be the busiest muni in the nation. That is a laudable goal for the economy of Mesa if "busy" people are flying in here to tend to their economic engines in Mesa. However, the much-celebrated landing count is due to repetitious student flights, not due to a substantive increase in business people flying in. FF is #3 (written December, 2008) now because of student touch and go landings from a single flight school that brings in minimal bucks and inflicts horrific collateral damage. The sound of Sabena is actually the sound of (Falcon Field's)....failure. Not only has (FF) failed to bring businesses to FF, it has clogged up the entry portal for traffic that might actually bring in something substantive. The landing statistics are all phony PR that actually mean the opposite of what it says.' (end quote.)

06/22/2009 @ 1:19 pm - Comment
Terri Eisenhauer
Scott Roberts has made many assumptions that are incorrect. We do not deal in assumptions and opinions. We try to verify our facts before reporting the information.

The members of Keep Falcon Field Safe Committee are supportive of foreign corporations and foreign individuals who wish to do business in our city. We have stressed the foreign ownership of Sabena Commercial Flight School and its foreign commercial student pilots in order to explain that Sabena's +70% use of the airport facilities seems excessive at a FAA / taxpayer supported municipal airport, especially when they pay virtually nothing for that usage.

The fact that Sabena trains commercial pilots also adds to the safety and health risks experienced by Mesa's surrounding neighborhoods and community.

We also wish to emphasize that many of the foreign students have difficulty understanding and communicating in the English language--to the extent that it significantly increases the safety risk for Mesa's residents and businesses who live and operate under the student flight patterns.

We know English is the international language of aviation and that all licensed pilots are required to use it during flight operations. However, many of Sabena's student pilots have passed an English exam only recently, in order to attend Sabena's flight training programs. Therefore, they are not truly proficient in the language; they do not yet think in the language and they have difficulty understanding and communicating in it.

For proof of our statements, one only needs to listen to the tower communications from Falcon Field and read the various blogs from the students in which they admit they didn't understand the tower, but acted anyway. For further verification on the tower's difficulty understanding and communicating with Sabena's students, read the article by an FAA examiner who was trying to fly into Falcon Field and was unable to communicate with the tower for an extended period of time while the tower dealt with the foreign students--trying to understand them and make them understand what they needed to do. Other pilots who are waiting to communicate with the tower tell us they do not understand the students' communications with the tower.

These are legitimate reasons for our belief that the type of flight school Sabena operates presents undue risk and is better suited to rural or under-populated areas instead of flying more than 500 flights per day over highly populated residential and business areas of the city. At the very least, Sabena should be directing their student pilots to do their touch and go operations at one of the many other airports in nearby areas; airports that are not surrounded by highly populated residential/business areas.

06/22/2009 @ 12:49 pm - Comment
Trouble at Falcon Field
From Al Gardner's comments (6/4/09) it seems that many of the tenants, employees and pilots working at, or flying out of, Falcon Field are not happy with Sabena and their operations procedures. They recognize the risks imposed by Sabena's operations, both to the surrounding community and to other pilots. They believe Sabena's training flights 'are an accident, waiting to happen.' In looking through the website, I find that even an FAA examiner recognizes the problems at Falcon Field posed by Sabena's operations. Therefore, it is not just a few neighbors who believe they should operate their flight training elsewhere.

It must be Sabena's employees and a few diehard supporters who are really the self-serving whiners. Do you all get together once a week and plan your attack comments for this website? I read your comments with interest and think your childish insults and ignorant comments more accurately describe you. If you don't have any real facts to back up your self-serving opinions, you just fall back on the same mantra "you live near an airport, blah, blah, blah, and if you don't like it move!" You must be really afraid. I find that interesting, too.

A concerned neighbor.

06/22/2009 @ 12:19 pm - Comment
Safety First
Please read these excerpts from a Sabena Flight Academy beginner pilot learning to fly in low-altitude patterns over the homes, businesses, schools, and churches of densely-populated northeast Mesa. These are from JUST ONE Sabena beginner. Sabena wants to put more than 400 foreign beginners per year into learning patterns right over the City of Mesa. In their first year here, one has already crashed. Falcon Field is no place for the largest European flight training school in North America. The Mayor and City Council need to act immediately to protect the citizens of Mesa.

"After a horrible night, being sick and only 4.5 hours of sleep, I woke up at 0430 because I had the first flight of the day. I took some painkillers, left my breakfast for what it was, and went to dispatch with my flymate"

"I found it quit hard, I was sweating, I was nervous, I barely payed any attention to the tower and didn't had the time to listen out what and who was talking on the frequency, and to keep an eye on your instruments and the other traffic was just a hell."

"I hear the tower speaking to somebody else. I almost have to turn final. Frequency is clear and I wanted to try for a 2nd time when I heard "44P, number two follow the archer, cleared to land, rwy 04R". I thought immediately "Number two? Did he said number two? Archer? Which Archer? I'm on final you .... !!!!!! *again a Maltese word that I'm not going to repeat*! And off course there's no Archer in sight! Not in front or behind me. Not on the left or right. But I was wrong, there WAS an Archer...on the runway below, just in front of me, positioned and holding, ready to take off as soon as he got the clearance. There was only one little tiny problem, I was on short final and there was no way I could land. I remember I heard the voice of Achmed The Dead Terrorist in my head saying "holy crap!". I hit the throttle to full power, flaps up. When the tower finished giving the Archer below me his take off clearance I said "very friendly", "Falcon tower 44P RUNWAY 04 RIGHT, going around!". I saw that the aircraft below me started to roll just a couple of seconds before I flew over him. "Archer 44P, roger, make euhm...right traffic and euhm...turn crosswind when able." I don't think I was nervous...I didn't had the time to be stressed, only time to react...I know the plane below me was climbing in the same axis as I was...I looked behind and below and had him in sight. To be sure not to hit him I turned a bit to the right to fly next to the runway and I turned crosswind as soon as possible to separate us. When I extended my crosswind I heard, "Archer 44P, sorry for that, you are number 3 and cleared to land runway 04R, advise when you have the traffic in sight"

"And off course the run-up of the bird was a complete mess again. When I started to do the right magneto check, the plane started to vibrate horrible and the RMP dropped to 1300. Luckily after a couple of months you start to know the aircraft his behavior and I just let the engine run a bit."

"I put the frequency of the SE practice area in the standby comm. box and I was ready to request the change when the engine started to sound differently. The throttle was at full power, but the RPM's showed me 2100. I wasn't climbing anymore and my speed was dropping. I put the A/C level, went to my normal RPM setting, but the position of the throttle didn't match what the RPM indicator was showing me. And my speed was still dropping slowly. I checked my mixture, everything fine, I put the fuel pump back on... and switched full tanks, just to be sure. Nothing. RPM's still not giving me what I want to see and my speed was now around 70 going to 60kts.

The engine was still running, so I put the engine in idle, to lose some altitude. Instead that I saw the normal 700 RPM's when idle, the damn thing showed me 1600 RPM's. I was nose down, to get some speed back, but it didn't help as much as I had hoped. I entered the traffic pattern altitude a bit to low and with 2200 RPM's for only 65 kts. Abeam the numbers, I put F10 to make use of the 'ballooning effect' to get my ass again a bit higher. Of course, with putting flaps, the speed went more down as well, so I retracted the flaps back. On base, 2200 RPM's, 60kts and dropping. I was below glide, below speed, not the kind of situation I love. I kicked the throttle to 2400 RPM's to maintain some speed and was able to put the 77L just before the numbers on the ground."

06/21/2009 @ 7:22 am - Comment
Falcon Field Pilot
I am a pilot who flies out of Falcon Field, and I can vouch for those who have complained about the congestion at the airport. I learned to fly at Falcon Field, and can attest to the fact that there is frequently a line of four or five aircraft idling in line for takeoff, with several more doing their preflight run-ups before joining that line. Many times, I have been told that the landing pattern is so full that I am third or even fourth in line for landing. This has become such a problem that my instructor and I would fly to another airport (such as Casa Grande, Phoenix Regional, or Eloy) to practice landings because of the congestion.

It seems that, much of the time, almost all of the planes flying are Sabena student pilots. Their numbers have caused a negative impact on the feel of our "hometown" airport.

To make a comparison of how busy Falcon Field really is, consider the following: Falcon Field is listed on the website as having 739 operations per day (an "operation" is a takeoff or landing). On the same website, by comparison, John Wayne airport in southern California has 733; Tucson International has 687; Houston's Hobby airport has 644; Dallas Love Field has 634. These are government figures, not propaganda. Of note, none of these airports are in residential neighborhoods!

Regarding the safety of the Sabena pilots, they are known to fly very wide landing patterns, which given the low altitudes at which the landing pattern is flown, are supposed to be close to the runways, not as far as are commonly flown by the Sabena student pilots. The Federal Air Regulations (FAR 91.119(a)) "prohibit operating an aircraft below an altitude that, if a power unit failed, would not have allowed an emergency landing without undue hazard to persons or property on the surface." The rule is also interpreted to mean that the DISTANCE from the airport at which the patterns are flown, are supposed to permit the pilot to land the plane at the airport in the event that power is lost. With this in mind, the hugely extended patterns flown by the Sabena students are, simply put, in violation of the Federal Air Regulations. During training, my instructor told me that the Sabena students are learning to fly the patterns as one would do in a big commercial jet (ie, Boeing 737, 747, Airbus, etc); nobody else at Falcon Field flies the landing patterns so large.

In my mind, since this is a public airport and there is no restriction on who can come and go there, the only sensible way to protect the neighbors from the airport, is to restrict HOW the airport is used.

In California, the Santa Monica airport is located in a residential area, and they have developed rules that govern airport operations to minimize the impact on the surrounding community

The following quotes are from the NOTAMS (Notices to Airmen) for the KSMO (Santa Monica) airport:

The following are the direct quotes, followed by plain English translations for non-pilots:


Curfew: No engine starts or departures (except for LifeFight helicopters) between 11pm and 7 am Mon-Fri and between 11pm and 8 am on weekends


No "touch and goes" (landings with a brief touch on the runway followed by an immediate takeoff), "stop and goes" (landings followed by a full stop on the runway, then accelerate for takeoff), or "low approach" (flying the length of the runway as though landing, but not actually contacting the runway surface) permitted on Satuday, Sunday, or Holidays. Also not permitted on weekdays between Sunset and 7am.


Helicopter flight training operations are prohibited.


Taking off from locations other than from the end of the runway, and also by formations (greater than one aircraft at a time) is prohibited.


Runway 3-21 Departure end (the end at which the planes have just taken off) approximately 220 feet from residential homes. Extended high power settings on run-up (testing the engine before takeoff) or departure negatively impact the community.

These measures, if put in place at Falcon Field, would negatively impact the helicopter school at Falcon Field, the helicopter operation at Boeing, the Commemorative Air Force Museum, etc. Therefore, I would propose a "middle ground" that could limit the impact of the flight operations--but would probably make Falcon an undesirable location for a high volume flight school if similar night flight restrictions were enacted.

In addition, if the FAA tower at Falcon would actually start enforcing the FAR's and writing up students who violate the regulations on runway encroachments, flight pattern operations, English proficiency, etc, I believe much of the problem would be solved in a heartbeat.

And, if similar restrictions to those in place at Santa Monica were enacted (and ENFORCED), even more of the problem would be solved.

Keep up the good work!
06/09/2009 @ 5:28 pm - Comment
Al Gardner
Today I spent the day at the airport talking to mechanics and others since I have a major engine problem with my own airplane. Here are some of the comments that I heard about Sabena from these people. ----I questioned if they had done any work for Sabena? No! since they want it done yesterday and they push the maintenance to the limit on all their equipment and have no interest in spending money since the rumor is they are trying to sell the Company. They hire young inexperienced mechanics and every aircraft they fly is an accident waiting to happen with a history of mechanical problems every day. The Flight instructors they hire are simply Kids instructing Foreign Kids. The solo students who cannot speak English have no business in the air. The patterns these students fly do not resemble what they should be doing. Nobody can understand what they are saying.. Every one at Falcon is upset at how bad the situation is since Sabena arrived. No one wants to be in the air and nobody likes the long lines for takeoff or the inability to talk to the tower or the problems of entering the pattern. They say that Falcon was a country club before Sabena and they were all proud to be there and now they detest the whole situation.

Those are a few of the comments.

06/04/2009 @ 10:39 am - Comment
Marc Wells
"... dangers of the hideous Sabena Flight Academy."

So there it is, its not about jobs for local people working at Sabena or economic security in these troubled times, or the millions of dollars poured into the local economy, or the fact that Sabena has actually improved safety at Falcon Field by demanding the tower and other operators rise to FAA safety standards.

Its an emotional response to change. Sabena is the scapegoat for a bunch of idiots who bought houses in the vicinity of an airport thinking that you could whine Falcon Field into extinction.
05/26/2009 @ 4:09 am - Comment
Paul Knauth

No one is trying to "whine Falcon Field into extinction". The issue is whether it is an appropriate place for the "Largest European flight training school in North America" (as it advertises itself).

How many miles out around Falcon Field should be vacated of "whiners" so that Sabena can practice its low-level, high power, incredibly noisy, lead-spewing training flights:? One mile? Two, three, four....tell us! Have you seen how far out the complaints are coming in from? How much of northeast Mesa should now be vacated? And, note that the Falcon Field pattern map required by State Law for potential home buyers shows NO PATTERNS to the south---where Sabena now flies daily and continuously! Perhaps the idiots are those who thought Sabena could be brought in and allowed to operate with abandon and without complaint as long as it provided some jobs.

Sabena is hideous because it lies and refuses to yield an inch to community complaints. It long ago assured the Mayor and told the press that it does not fly local patterns after 9 PM, but continues to do so at will (last Friday night, for example, until midnight! Totally documented).

I regret that this issue pits residents against locals recently employed by Sabena. Falcon Field is no longer out in the country. It can operate nicely as a municipal airport serving the needs of local business people and recreational pilots. It cannot operate without determined opposition if it now chooses to house a huge foreign flight school flying daily, continuous patterns over businesses, 20,000 households, 77 churches, and 23 schools. Sorry.

06/01/2009 @ 11:40 am
Paul Knauth
Here is part of an e-mail I received from Mr. Jeffrey Tripp (Falcon Field Assistant Manager) in response to a noise complaint I filed last December.

"The airport's recommended noise abatement practices requests that pilots try to fly between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. whenever possible to minimize noise impacts upon the community at night. The majority of flights at Falcon Field occur during daylight hours. If the daytime flights between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. are causing an on-going concern to you, at what times would you suggest as an alternative?"

This response shows what our group was up against when we started.

The City has been lax in protecting the health and safety of residents in northeast Mesa. Falcon Field is no the place for the biggest foreign flight school in North America. Please keep spreading the word. We are making significant progress and are determined to save our neighborhoods from the noise and dangers of the hideous Sabena Flight Academy.
05/24/2009 @ 11:47 am - Comment
Bill Close
As I read these comments, it makes me mad that our city has done such poor planning in letting houses being built so close to Falcon Field. I have lived in Mesa for over 30 years and have noticed planes flying over places I have leaved at in those 30 years. These planes were flying out of Falcon field and Sky Harbor. I live at Stapley and Univeristy and can sometimes be bothered more by the jets landing at Sky Harbor.

I worry about the New planned neighborhood near William/ Gateway. When will those people start complaining about noise. I saw these when they were biulding the houses at Supersition Springs, and knew those houses were going to be a problem, and sure enough the complaints start roling in.

My real concern is what is a citizen commitee going to do. Is blanance with both Pro and Con opinions in this commitee. The city fathers have really screwed this one up, and have made this commitee and Mr. Wayne the scapegoats and the villians.
05/14/2009 @ 9:27 pm - Comment
Mayor Smith Needs To Reevaluate The Situation
Saw the Mayor in the CBS 5 News report and I think he really needs to take some time and think this situation through. He said that this was the kind of economic engine and growth that Mesa was looking for, but when it's all said and done, Sabena doesn't come anywhere near true growth for Mesa. They are a leech, plain and simple, and they will suck the blood out of Mesa until we kick them out like Scottsdale did.
05/19/2009 @ 9:12 pm
Avis and Larry McEachen
We are so happy that some of you have taken the initiative to speak out against the tremendous roars that wake up the little one in our house more than once a week. Some of the planes are so loud and low that we can anticipate a crash into one of the homes in no time at all. When I retired and home during the day for the first time, I noticed the great numbers of flights overhead. That was a few years ago, and the noise and frequency has increased dramatically. Thank you so much for helping us stave off another "invasion" of test flights.
05/12/2009 @ 5:29 pm - Comment
Darshan Dawson
I am one of the "sensitives" who moved into a home close to Falcon Field. It was before the management at Falcon Field began its bid to become the #1 busiest GA airport in the nation and the premier foreign pilot training facility in the country. Prior to 2007, the noise from flights out of Falcon Field was a non issue.

That all changed when a commercial flight school was allowed to operate there. The noise in just one issue. Safety is the issue that should be of concern to everyone. According to the Pilots' Safety Association, pilot training is the most dangerous time for the students, in terms of having crashes,not to mention for us "sensitives" underneath those training flights. Sebena brings in 400 students every three months! Those statistics are frightening! Given the risk of training, the numbers of new students and the density of the population, statistically, it is not a matter of IF but a matter of WHEN one of these students will come down. In a 3 mile radius surrounding Falcon Field there are 23 schools, 77 places of worship, dozens of strip malls and at least 20,000 households. Where is the best place to crash your plane?
05/12/2009 @ 11:26 am - Comment
Matt Miller
A couple points of clarification from a long-time user of the airport:
1) Sabena is not owned by Belgians, they are now separate from the Euro facility which contracts them. Ownership is CAE, a huge training and simulator company.

2) The recent increase isn't mostly from Europeans (flying Piper aircraft), it's Indian & Chinese contracts using Diamond aircraft.

3) Virtually all it's personnel are local CITIZENS.

4) Sabena wasn't kicked out of Scottsdale, they moved here to take up a facility that was already built in the hope of attracting business, under the specific terms & guidance of the City of Mesa, which rejected several other airport development projects in favor of this.

5) As soon as the FAA gets off their butt and approves a non-leaded fuel alternative (currently under review), we pilots won't need much prodding to switch. Until then, we're all breathing what's released into the air from all over the valley, not just within a few miles.

05/11/2009 @ 3:07 pm - Comment
Bob Reid
Richard Cutter Writes..."Hopes Falcon Field returns back to the nice quiet fun field it was in the 60's. "
Back in the 60's Falcon was just as busy as Sky Harbor with Connies,DC-6's,DC-4's,B-17's,B-25's,PV2's, and every other old warbird that would carry slurry, bug poison, cargo and maryjane from all parts of the world.

There was a lot more noise activity then there is now..Not to mention lots of crash activity..Like back in the early 70's when the Connie crashed with 2000 gallons of avgas on board, sliding up to the front entrance of Sunshine acres and killing all on board..or the dozen of crashes in the grove area where the complainers live now..Oh Yeah..that really sounds like fun..Back to the least we would have a little more excitement in our lives..

Do you people think you could shut down the freeway if you bought a house next to that infrastructure and suddenly didn't like the noise level? Why did you move here under the flight path? Sounds like these problems you have with the living conditions are self-inflicted.

Living under the flight path for 20 years and loving it., (On Maple just north of McKellips) where do you live?
it's hard enough for these business to make a living out here and tougher when some Johnny come lately moves in and try to restrict lawful activities.
Bob Reid
PS. strong letter to follow.
06/18/2009 @ 1:21 pm
Richard Cutter
Greetings all... Pro and Con.

I took my flight training in Tucson in the 1960's. The Intl. Airport is south of the city and the city fathers were not concerned for awhile until developments were built just off the end of the main runway, including an elementary school 1/4 mile from the runway and just a few hundred feet to the side of the runway. By the seventy's they relocated the school and restricted the rest of the land around the airport to commercial development. Purchased land off the end of the runways to reduce the impact of the airport. This worked out well.. ALSO the city developed a old training base west of the main airport , Ryan Field as a reliever airport ( In the 60's it was in operation but few aircraft were stationed there ) Ryan Field now now handles ( I am guessing at this ) over 80% of small airplane traffic into and out of Tucson. It has worked there. Albuquerque has done the same outside of their developed city areas. Both towns have restricted housing from the areas around these airports. They were looking ahead and planned for it.

Sounds like no such plans were done for your area. So where does it go from here? Lets get together the Pro-Con people that desire to be sensible and plan for an "Out-Of-The-Way" reliever and training airport on some of the hundreds of thousands of acres the state of fed's own south of Phoenix and build a new facility. restrict housing developments around - 5 miles at least - the new airport. This will satisfy most - except for the tree huggers who will complain about killing some lizard -
Reality and planning must take over out thoughts, not complaining. With a unified approach this can happen. It may take awhile but it can be accomplished.

As to leaded gas, my plane can run without it and runs far better. BUT the fed and state governments have required alcohol to be added to the un-leaded car fuel I was using and that will not work in aircraft engines. I spit out lead not because I desire to but was mandated by the feds and state governments. Allow us easy access to clean burning additive free unleaded and that will work well in 80% of small aircraft. I breathe the same air you do and my kids played in the same Arizona dirt your kids do... There is research being done on lead free aviation fuel, write your representatives both state and federal and ask ( not complain ) for action.... Or at the least have then do something to make UnLeaded Auto fuel available at most airports. This will move most aircraft into a cleaner fuel.

Thanks for listening and I hope both sides win and Falcon Field returns back to the nice quiet fun field it was in the 60's.

An Arizonian now living in Colorado ( eat your heart out )
05/11/2009 @ 12:59 pm - Comment
Kevin Recker
I have been coming to Falcon Field for over 40 years and currently fly and train there, I also live directly under the flight path (Groves North.) I have issues with Sabeena but ALSO have issues with the tower clearing the old military aircraft down the runway for high speed low passes (with gear up.) I love old military aircraft, but the Tower HAS got to stop approving those runs! Those are the times where my whole house shakes. I think the new Pattern Altitutde is better and my flight school has posted a number of notices on noise abatement. They are all good. Stop the late night Sabeena flights and do not approve single or tandem go-rounds unless in an emergency and I will consider this progress. Thanks.
05/11/2009 @ 12:00 pm - Comment
Retake Falcon Field Alarm
OK, tell us Robert and James, how big is the area around Falcon Field in which no one should complain? One mile out? Two, three, ....15? TELL US. Do you realize how far out these students are doing their beginner flights? Must all of northeast Mesa be sacrificed to noise, lead pollution, and dangerous beginner flights for a Belgian business enterprise? Sabena is flying up to 9 planes in a pattern (proof available in spite of what the lying Belgian Jean-Pierre Van den Berghe told the Tribune) and the training goes on up to 16 hours a day.

Our wonderful Falcon Field has been turned into a junk airport devoted entirely to training foreign pilots that go on to support foreign businesses that compete with American businesses. It is not training pilots to fight Hitler, so stop talking about how it started. Our federal tax dollars supporting the Tower are now used almost exclusively to train pilots for foreign companies. Make Sabena pay the tower costs and see how long they will enjoy their new playground!!! They have displaced legitimate businesses and got Falcon Field for chump change. Hopefully, the City will move soon to change that. Mesa's citizens should not subsidize this offensive enterprise and its lying general manager.

Also, take a look at the Falcon Field pattern map that Arizona law requires Airports to disclose. Do it before you comment again. It is on the Falcon Field web site. Note there is NO south pattern. This is the map a realtor is required by state law to show. Then, apologize to Terri.

Also, would you tell us if you are personally profiting from Sabena's activities? We really want to know. We are just citizens concerned about our families' safety. What is your motivation for supporting this Belgian flight school?

05/10/2009 @ 7:02 am - Comment
James Raynovic
I find it hard to believe that anyone who buys property near an airport expect not to hear aircraft taking and landing. Falcon Field has a rich history of training pilots since WWII. The flight school at Sabina brings in students from around the world. Boeing and MD helicopters came to Mesa because of Falcon Field. Only a MORON would move next to an airport, and then whine about the noise.
05/09/2009 @ 5:58 pm - Comment
Abnormal .
It makes sense if you want to put blinders on and forget about one TINY detail, James...


In one short month, there's more traffic than what used to take a year! And now another flight school wants to join in the unsupervised, uninhibited, free-for-all? Do you think Sabena pays for all the runway maintenance that has to be done? The hugely disproportional wear-and-tear on Falcon Field's facilities hasn't gone unnoticed!
05/09/2009 @ 9:42 pm
Terri Eisenhauer
According to Matthew North, any views that oppose his own are pointless and shouldn't be made public (Tribune, Saturday May 9th.) However, It was OK for the Tribune to do a full, front-page ad and full-page story last Saturday, May 2nd, because those views more closely expressed his own.

North states Mesa needs Falcon Field because it makes money (for Mesa.) Does he realize that in recent months, 4 new businesses that were considering locating in Mesa because of the nearby airport have now decided NOT to locate here because Sabena monopolizes Falcon Field's facilities? This means that 4 new businesses that would have provided jobs and economic activity in Mesa will not be providing those jobs and economic benefits. How many others that we haven't heard about have opted out because of Sabena?

If he, like others, want to crow about the economic benefit that Sabena provides to Mesa's economy, then require Mesa to hire an independent study and PROVE IT. Don't just accept Sabena's over-inflated numbers they've given to our airport director. It is outrageous the City of Mesa allows the unsubstantiated numbers and unsubstantiated and over-inflated economic benefit to be reported under the city's name.

North goes on to relate the same old argument as other Sabena supporters; Falcon Field has been there longer, and since we moved next to an airport--we should just deal with it--or move. He uses the analogy that Falcon Field is as important to us as city emergency services, such as police and fire. Give us a break. Falcon Field is as far as from being an emergency protector of the city's residents as you can get.

North, like other Sabena supporters, resorts to name calling and insults. In reality, those descriptions more aptly apply to him and to Falcon Field's business leaders who stand firmly behind Sabena--you know, the few who are directly profiting from Sabena's business--the very ones who are incapable of reasoned analysis of the issues at stake.

Was it stupid and idiotic for the thousands of the residents surrounding Falcon Field to trust our city officials and employees? If it was a mistake, it can be rectified.

05/09/2009 @ 4:38 pm - Comment
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