Fort Mill Times

Airport noise plan sparks interest

The lead Lake Wylie Pilot front page feature in the July 22 issue drew significant community interest based on informal resident dialog. Conversations with patrons at the Bagel Boat, Food Lion and Great Clips on July 23 indicated a range of concern about aircraft noise impact from “highly annoying, sleep interference” to “of no consequence.”

Airport Management and the Federal Aviation Administration have ongoing noise monitoring programs related to operations of Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT). A corridor of open space, nonresidential, limited commercial occupancy has been established immediately around the airport, including parts of the Steele Creek Road area.

Normal commercial departure and arrival flights are scheduled after 6 a.m. and before midnight. Private and corporate flight operations usually follow a similar schedule. Charlotte, unlike other major airports, including Washington-Reagan, have curfew or more limited hours of regular operations. Community airport operations management, such as Gastonia and Rock Hill, encourage daylight flight planning, although both have automated landing and approach automation-runway lighting. Airlines, the FAA and airport operators are working together to use more of the newer, more fuel efficient and quieter aircraft to help minimize community noise impact, particularly early and late in the day.

The Charlotte airport is a valuable community resource and continues to see more traffic, both in passenger and freight operations. FedEx and UPS have regular daily jet flights. The Air Force and Air National Guard operate their own flights from dedicated areas of the airport. Some of these include training and relatively low level missions.

Weather, operational restrictions and emergency conditions on occasion bring an increased number of flights to CLT. Raleigh, Greenville and Columbia also are within fuel diversion range of unscheduled flights. Runway capacity, fueling, catering, mechanical support and gate availability make CLT a “preferred alternate” when necessary.

Public meetings were held last week, including one in Steele Creek. Updates are available at and comments can be emailed to

Fred Freiberger is a certified safety engineer and adjunct professor.