Open letter to the membership regarding noise abatement at our flying site.
The following may not be a popular idea but I feel this is a vitally important subject that needs to be discussed.
The recent complaint about noise from a Ranchos resident should not be written off as some crack pot curmudgeon complaint. It is something that we should take very seriously.
Despite having a reasonably long term lease on our field there are two factors that could jeopardize our ability to use our field…specially for gas and nitro powered aircraft. These two factors would be...the development of the property that we fly over but do not lease to the North…the second is continued complaints regarding noise from our neighbors to the West. If these complaints reach Madera County officials we could easily loose our ability to fly the gas and nitro and even electric powered planes at our field.
Flying fields have been permanently lost because of noise for as long as I have been in the hobby of model planes…and, like many of you, that has been fifty plus years! Take Fresno for instance...for years there has been an ordinance prohibiting model airplane flying…sure it was a safety issue but equally a noise issue as well.
Here is an idea I would like to propose to the membership:
1. Appoint a committee chairman with two assistants (or attach this reponsibility to the Field Committee) to be in charge of noise abatement at the field and policing same.
2. Purchase one or two DB meters (available for purchase for $50 from Radio Shack http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=12680845
) and required accessories, tri pod, etc.
3. That we adopt the AMA recommendations http://www.modelaircraft.org/files/927.pdf
and methods for noise abatement at our field for all members all days. These standards could be waved, or noise limits raised, for special major events outside of club activities like IMAC, Scale Masters, etc…and example of this would be Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey County where DB levels are monitored daily but are suspended for a number of days out of the year when major competitions are held. During and event where our noise abatement standards are lifted the noise abatement committee would distribute flyers to out nearby neighbors inviting them to spectate and enjoy the special day of competition.
4. Re-establish the fields hours of operation and post signs at the gate, bulletin board and pilot stations. Signs should also indicate that noise abatement standards are in place at all times.
5. Penalty for violation of the noise abatement standards would need to be established. I would suggest...first time warning, second time loss of flying privileges for a period of time (one or two months?), third time would be revocation of membership.
Probably not a popular idea, and we have had very few complaints over the years but we need to become pro-active on this before it is too late . Guys I have witnessed large clubs in the Bay Area where their fields were in pretty remote areas loose those fields and significant investment due to the noise issue. There isn't an engine made that we use that does not have efficient mufflers available that would comply to the AMA recommendations.
What say you?