Guest Column: Questions on safety, noise and logistics for our visiting Navy aviators

I would like to make a few comments about our new arrivals in town, the U.S Navy. Here are three issues I would like to address.

The first issue is the safety of these aircraft flying over the cities of Lake Havasu, Bullhead City, and Kingman. I live in Kingman, so my comments are about air traffic at Kingman airport.

All U.S. civilian airports are regulated by the FAA. These regulations specify the direction and altitude of aircraft arriving or departing the airport, and establish the traffic pattern all aircraft must fly so as to avoid any mid-air collisions. The next paragraph was taken from the Aeronautical Information Manual, or AIM, written by the FAA.

"While operating in the traffic pattern at non-tower airports the pilot maintains an airspeed that conforms with the limits established by FAR 91 for tower controlled airports: no more than 156 knots (180 mph) for reciprocating engine aircraft or 200 knots (230 mph) for turbine-powered airplanes. In any case, the speed should be adjusted, when practicable, so that it is compatible with the speed of other aircraft in the pattern. Arriving airplanes should always be at the proper traffic pattern altitude before entering the pattern, and should stay clear of the traffic flow until established on the entry leg. Entries into traffic patterns while descending create specific collision hazards and must be avoided at all times. The entry leg should be of sufficient length to provide a clear view of the entire traffic pattern, and to allow the pilot adequate time for planning the intended path in the pattern and the landing approach."

Last Thursday, while listening to airport traffic on my scanner, Bearcat 99 said his position was west of the airport at 10,000 feet and he was entering the traffic pattern on a high crosswind. Today, another Bearcat pilot called in over the airport at 13,000 feet, entering the pattern on a high downwind.

The Kingman traffic pattern is 4,250 feet, not 10,000 or 13,000 feet! Both of these guys were in violation of FAA rules by entering the traffic pattern at such a high altitude. These are basic rules that they are violating daily, all day long. If they are supposed to be in training, why are they not following the published rules for Kingman airport? I have seen many of these planes that appear to be exceeding the speed limit for turbine aircraft while flying in the traffic pattern.

The second issue is the noise these turboprop planes are making over the city of Kingman. With open desert within 10 minutes flying time, why do they chose to do high speed maneuvers over the downtown area of the city? What about the people who work nights and need to sleep during the day? We were in Walmart last week, and even inside the noisy store you could hear these guys flying overhead.

Why can't they do their flying over Red Lake or the open desert east of Kingman? They are showing no consideration for the population they are constantly flying over.

The third issue is logistics. Why are military aircraft flying out of civilian airports? Within a short flying time from Kingman there are many military facilities they could be using, such as the Naval Air Facility in El Centro, the Marine Corp Air Station in Yuma, the 29 Palms Marine Base, or the China Lake Naval Weapons Center. All have runways, housing and mess halls to meet the needs of these pilots.

How convenient that they chose Bullhead City as their base of operations with the casinos of Laughlin only a short drive form the airport.