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Do aircraft landing at Wilmington International Airport ever get fined for flying too low over residential neighborhoods?

Ken Little

The Federal Aviation Agency does take disciplinary action if aircraft are flying under a minimum standard safe altitude, agency spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen says. But aircraft have to land and take off, she adds.

“I haven’t heard of that here. There is a process in place for them to be fined,” says airport director Jon Rosborough.

Instrument landing systems are in place on the airport’s three main runways that provide precise runway alignment.

“I doubt they would be anywhere close in terms of being low over a residential community that would result in fines,” Rosborough says. “Air carriers can be fined if they do that.”

There sre set criteria of acceptable decibel levels generated by aircraft taking off and landing at ILM, he says.

“All the noisiest aircraft have been phased out,” the FAA’s Bergen says.

Other than takeoff and landing, the minimum safe flight altitude for fixed-wing aircraft set by the FAA for urban and congested areas is 1,000 feet. The minimum for rural and unpopulated shore areas is 500 feet.

Private civilian aircraft that fly too low can be reported to the FAA, but the person doing the reporting must have the registration number of the aircraft in general. The number should be affixed on the side of the aircraft and start with an “N,” Bergen said.

The FAA customer service phone number is (800) 322-7873. For more information, go to www.FAA.gov

Any noise concerns involving military aircraft should be reported to the nearest military installation, Bergen says.

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2 Responses to “ Do aircraft landing at Wilmington International Airport ever get fined for flying too low over residential neighborhoods?”

  1. On September 28, 2009 at 11:12 am Regina wrote:

    I don’t know about other areas, but were I live off of, Rankin St., it surely doesn’t seem safe how low they fly. Just last week I was sitting in my living room, with some guest, when we heard a plane over head. It was so low you could feel the vibration I had to cover my ears the sound was so piercing. Not even 2min. later another one came even lower. One of my guest opened the door to see the plane. The vibrations and sound kept growing stronger. I guess we were all thinking the same thing, because before I could say, close the door and get back, he slammed the door and jumped back. We all just stayed still and looked at each other until the sounds and vibrations dissipated. My heart was racing I really thought the plane was about to crash, we all did. Needless to say it didn’t it was just going in for a landing. Now this was the worse scar I’ve ever had from the planes flying over, but it wasn’t my first. Something should be done. Just the sound alone was hurting my ears and I am grown, what effects could it have on children, which there are a lot of in this area.

  2. On June 1, 2011 at 7:24 pm Lee wrote:

    Does that rule apply to that police helicopter too? That guy hovers over the neighborhood quite often and he is NOT above 1000 ft. He comes so low sometimes it rattles all the windows in the house…. Normally about 2-3 am in the morning!

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