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$591,898
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  Lantana Airport Helicopter operations in question
Posted on Thursday, February 21, 2008 @ 22:04:07 EST by admin

Palm Beach County

Lantana Airport Helicopter Issue

Editorial by William Coakley

Dan Crowe owner of the helicopter training school                                       Mr Jufko and Mr Arnold consultants

CLICK HERE FOR FIRST SEGMENT VIDEO OF THE MEETING 117 meg stream

**CLICK HERE FOR SECOND SEGMENT VIDEO 118 meg stream

Welcome Lanier Park, Atlantis, Lake Osborne, Pompano Beach and other areas that attended the Department of Airports meeting February 21. This is video coverage in rough edit form and is accessible with broadband and DSL speeds only. Part II has some great highlights... a must see.

The Lantana Airport has been operated by the late Owen Gassaway since 1945 making him the most experienced operator in all of the South Eastern US. Hence my request that all financial information be released on that operation since with the most experienced operator, Lantana Airport remains the only airport in PBC that LOSES money. The public deserves to know why since in the end, its our money that's being lost... somehow.



In 1970, as a Commercial/Instrument/Multi-engine pilot with 1200 hours flight time logged, I formed the first pilots association at Lantana Airport to stem off the tide of rising concerns that developers were creating a negative PR campaign against the airport. I personally took some of the most frequent complainers from surrounding communities up in my Cessna aircraft. I served as Vice President of that Association for many years and continued to fly for Owen and for hire. Owen Gassaway continued to protect the existence of his enterprise in every conceivable way imaginable.

With the advent of helicopter training and an increased fixed wing flight training, the number of operations and the noise level rose to a sufficient level to prompt an immediate reaction which has been brewing for the past 5 years or more. The days of responsible flying in the pattern around the airport are gone and its not uncommon to see that a safety issue exists. Pilots choose whatever runway suits them at the time and with all runways lighted during the night, it's not unusual to see more than one runway being used simultaneously. The standard traffic pattern altitutdes are not being respected by the helicopter traffic because they are basically underpowered roto-craft and it would take more time than the operator is willing to spend to adhere to those altitudes.

For example, the standard pattern requires a straight out climb after takeoff and a turn at 500 feet. Helicopters are beginning gentle turns at 50 to 75 feet and flying over houses at a 100 to 150 feet in the area east of the Lake. With these gentle turns, the pattern is much closer to the airport which saves the operator/training mission money since they are not being required to climb to the standard altitudes in a standard right pattern.

More than one public participant raised the question of how did this negative impact to the surrounding communities get permitted? Mr Gassoway said he had no choice. The county said they had no choice. The Department of Airports said they had no choice and they all blame the FAA, and the FAA has been totally non-responsive and doesn't appear interested in returning phone calls. So the problem has been allowed to fester with all government claiming they have no available controls to remedy the situation.

Now introduce the study team LPA Group, Inc and its associate ESA both of whom provide "construction services" for the expansion and development of airports... and its no wonder that residents released a barrage of questions and scorn upon these ill prepared gentlemen who didn't even know the number of helicopters on the field and the operator was sitting right in front of them.

to be continued....


 
 

 
 
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Re: Lantana Airport Helicopter operations in question (Score: 1)
by LynnA on Saturday, February 23, 2008 @ 09:27:49 EST
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Now and then, I observe low flying aircraft over where I live on Lake Osborne. It is very loud so I can imagine the annoyance for those who have continuous flights over-head all day long. People in my community have endured for years. We have suffered the construction on I-95 for 2 years--the dust and the dirt and the jack-hammering and noice pollution. Small aircraft and helicopters just add to the lack of quiet enjoyment here. I keep the a/c on 24/7 which drowns out a lot of the problem. If FMPA ever puts that generator in close by, we will have noise pollution until the end of time.




 
 

 
 

Re: Lantana Airport Helicopter operations in question (Score: 1)
by oscar_night on Monday, February 25, 2008 @ 08:39:26 EST
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Dan Crowe admits that he has around 50 students at $70,000 each. He makes $3.5 million a year off these people. He has a very keen interest not to see any changes here. I don't experience any noise where I live but I have to question all these foreigners coming into our country to learn this profession. Are foreign governments picking up the tab for their students? We already experienced Saudi's (supposedly our friends) and the total destruction of the World Trade Center. Does anyone think about this? This equates to selling arms to the Al Quada. How do we determine that?




 
 

 
 

Re: Lantana Airport Helicopter operations in question (Score: 1)
by SunnyDaze on Monday, February 25, 2008 @ 16:03:34 EST
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I got a friend who lives near the airport and she says having a conversation with your neighbor outside is impossible when the helicopters are constantly going overhead. She was told there was nothing you could do except move away.




 
 

 
 

Re: Lantana Airport Helicopter operations in question (Score: 1)
by PalmBeachHelicopters on Thursday, March 13, 2008 @ 19:39:38 EST
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First I would like to say that I am glad that this article is properly identified as an "editorial" which in effect means someones opinion and not necessarily reporting of factual information. Because the opion expressed here contains some information that is not factual I feel the need to point those out.

1) By regulation helicopters are to "avoid" the flow of fixed wing traffic. Helicopters do not by regualtion fly the same pattern nor altitude as an airplane. You can refer to the FAA publication "Basic Helicopter Handbook" to understand what would be considered a "standard" helicopter pattern your description of a climb to 500 ft after takeoff before the turn is an airplane pattern. A typical helicopter pattern as described in the mentioned FAA publication the first turn would be made at 300ft and the second downwind turn would be made at 500 ft.

2) The type helcopter used primarly for training the Robinson R22 and R44 have been certified by the FAA and many other goverments around the world they are in fact the largest selling helicopter in the world in terms of units sold. They as any other aircraft or airplane have the appropriate airworthness and installed horsepower engines to operate as they were designed and will perform as designed as any aircraft would provided they are operated within thier stated limitations.

3) With regards to "saving money" by flying "non standard" patterns or not climbing to higher altitudes I find it ironic that just the oposite practice is taking place within our company and students. We actualy INCREASE the cost to the students by flying patterns and to other locations in some cases strickly to try and reduce the noise impact to the surrounding communities. Additionally we have DECREASED our potential revenue and student capacity by limiting our hours of operation again strickly to help reduce the noise impact.

4) With regards to a helicopter making a turn at 50 ft and flying over houses east of Lake Osbourne at 100 to 150 I can say that there is absolutly NO OPERTIONAL REASON for this to happen and that I am reasonalbly certain that instructors from our company DO NOT do this and I am just as certain that if one did it would be grounds for termination of employement.

5) With regards to the post about foreign students. A school who trains foreign students must be approved and is monitored by Homeland Security and US Customs each student must pass security cleareances and obtain a VISA specifically for training at our school.

We as a company understand that some people are bothered or annoyed by the noise generated by our operations. We as a company do not ignor that fact and we proavtivaly and voluntarily participate in reducing that noise impact with what ever reasonable measure we can take. We are a professional and safe operation overseen and monitored by not only the FAA but several other goverment agencies who validate our saftey and professionalism. Our choice as to where to conduct our business is a limited one. As with any business or home for that matter your choices are dictated by economics, location, regulations. Generally speaking in a business that involves flying your only choice is usually an airport.

Thanks for reading,

Dan Crowe
Palm Beach Helicopters




 
 

 
 

Re: Lantana Airport Helicopter operations in question (Score: 1)
by William_Coakley on Friday, March 14, 2008 @ 09:12:20 EST
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On behalf of Lake Worth Media I would like to welcome you Mr Crowe and thanks for participating, we are very happy to see you here.

I want to preface my statements with an acknowledgment that following the DOA meeting, some relief of the noise problem has been forthcoming in my area and is based on all or part of the following:

1. An effort on the part of the operator to bring training practices into conformance with a respect for homeowners’ peace of mind who have for years been affected by the noise. This is greatly appreciated.

2. A annual shift in prevailing winds which has placed flight patterns at lower altitudes away from Lake Osborne.

3. A possible decrease in helicopter flight activity

I only speak for myself, others may not have experienced the same lull in the noise.

Now to address your statements relative to my experience:

Your item 1) Comment: No one is questioning what helicopter traffic SHOULD be doing. The noise issue, as the radar traces show is they don’t conform to any pattern turns. They just begin a gentle turn right after take off with a very slow climb and end up over Lake Osborne houses at 100 – 150 feet every 2 minutes on an average day.

Your item 2) Comment: We can disagree as to whether or not these helicopters are underpowered. The bottom line is they don’t seem capable of pattern training at altitudes that are within the tolerable limits of residents especially when a helicopter flies over the house at low altitude every two minutes. No one can tolerate that.

Your item 3) “We actualy INCREASE the cost to the students by flying patterns and to other locations in some cases strickly to try and reduce the noise impact to the surrounding communities.”

Comment: Perhaps if this had been done previously, the noise issue wouldn’t have gotten out of hand.

Your item 4) If you’re serious about this; most of your instructors should be fired immediately.

Your item 5) Sensitivity may vary on this issue. Is there any public record of these security and visa checks?

Comment: People just want what they are entitled to… the peaceful enjoyment of their property without unnecessary and unwarranted disturbances. Americans are very tolerant and understanding, sometimes to a fault… but they have limits. Since my first landing at Lantana Airport in 1967 and being the VP of the Lantana Pilots Association after founding it… I have never heard of any community wide movement against aircraft noise from any of the surrounding communities. I believe that you have now taken that into consideration and have made some resolutions to do what should have been done years ago and hopefully now we can entertain the possibility of you becoming a good neighbor that we can be comfortable with.




 
 

 
 

Re: Lantana Airport Helicopter operations in question (Score: 1)
by ILoveLW on Friday, March 14, 2008 @ 15:01:02 EST
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I haven't heard any noise lately.




 
 

 
 
 
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