Buffalo Grove staff members are scheduled to meet with Chicago Executive Airport officials to discuss proposed changes to flight takeoff procedures at the Wheeling airport that a critic says will increase airport noise for some residents in Buffalo Grove and Wheeling.
The changes, which are intended to reduce noise for Wheeling residents and which would affect northbound departures from Runway 34, could go into effect on a trial basis in September at the earliest, depending on when the Federal Aviation Administration gives its approval.
Airport Executive Director Jamie Abbott said, in a letter to Buffalo Grove officials, that the goal is to steer aircraft away from neighborhoods near the airport and into a more industrialized section of Wheeling. He said jets already fly "a northwest heading of 310 degrees, so this departure is not new. Also, aircraft at that point are likely over 1,000 feet over Buffalo Grove, so the impact should be fairly negligible."
At Monday's village board meeting, local activist and pilot Rob Sherman told board members the map in the proposal does not accurately characterize the takeoff procedure. The map, he said, "presumes that planes will turn on a 310 heading as soon as they hit the end of the runway." However, he said, "planes don't turn until they reach at least 500 feet … which would put them between Heritage Park and Holmes Middle School. If they turn there … it would send the jets over the Chelsea Cove townhouse development, (as well as) the Whippletree Village mobile home park and the Lexington Commons Townhouse community. So you would have them going over a far more dense population in Wheeling."
Sherman also said there is a disconnect between what the airport is telling pilots and what it is telling residents.
"They're telling us that, oh no, they're not going to head over to the Buffalo Grove Town Center," but Sherman said that on their website, they are telling pilots to maintain reduced power setting until the plane travels over the Buffalo Grove Town Center. "So I'm very concerned that they're telling pilots reduce your power until you get over the Buffalo Grove Town Center, then turn on course and make all the noise you want," he said.
Sherman suggested that a better plan would be to jettison the 310 departure procedure and return to a 340 departure procedure, which would take the planes nearer to a handful of single-family homes and new condos instead of more populated areas.
Abbott's letter led to discussions between airport staff and Village Engineer Darren Monico about the potential impact on the village, Village Manager Dane Bragg said. Another meeting is scheduled, he said.
"At this point, we're still in the information gathering stage," he said. "We're also reaching out to FAA, to set up a meeting with them."