Gillespie Field
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Some Fletcher Hills residents want Gillespie Field airport to consider adopting the Scottsdale Airport pilots’ "Good Neighbor" pledge, a statement that pilots voluntarily sign to declare they are "sensitive" to community concerns such as noise.

Sue Strom, a member of Fletcher Hills residents’ group Advocates for Safe Airport Practices, distributed copies of the Scottsdale pledge at the July 16 Gillespie Development Council meeting. The council represents a joint agreement between the County of San Diego and the City of El Cajon and makes recommendations about the county-owned airport.

At the meeting, airport manager Marc Baskel reported that there were 17,474 operations (landings and take-offs) in May and 14,964 operations during June.

During May and June, there were 23 noise complaints. Baskel said Gillespie's voluntary noise-abatement program was established many years ago and includes pilot education and raising the awareness of residents.

"The [Gillespie Field] good-neighbor program is part of that," Baskel said. According to the Gillespie Field website, the noise-abatement program is coordinated with the FAA. However, the program is "not formally recognized or accepted by the FAA as official air traffic control procedures."

County recommendations include discouraging jet operations and “touch-and-go operations” (when a plane lands and keeps operating before it takes off again) between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.  Furthermore, the program encourages training operations at other airports.

Gillespie Development Council representative Barry Bardack and Strom elaborated on issues discussed at the meeting during separate interviews this week.

Bardack, whose aviation experience includes work as a chief flight instructor and aerospace engineer, has served on the council for six years. As part of the good-neighbor program he helped institute, he said that when pilots reach “pattern altitude” of 1200 feet mean sea level, they reduce power to 2300 RPM to lessen noise.

At the meeting, Fletcher Hills resident David Brittain gave the council a scroll detailing incidents he charted when pilots took off within 22 seconds of each other.

"That's normal," said Bardack. "That's plenty of distance." Bardack noted that Fletcher Hills homeowners sign an agreement acknowledging that they live near an airport.

Strom has lived in Fletcher Hills since 1977 and said the airport has changed since then.

"It was a general aviation mom-and-pop operation, not an aviation center with international flight schools," she said. Strom called the county good-neighbor program "unneighborly" and maintained there is no noise abatement. She said residents' concerns included a fear that development will bring more flight schools.

"We're striving to have a two-way dialogue," Strom said. "Let's start with the [Scottsdale] pledge.” She added that Gillespie Field airport manager Baskel created it when he worked at the Scottsdale airport.

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regermann July 26, 2013 @ 5:56 a.m.

I'm surprised that Mr. Bardack didn't tell Mr.Strom to move, that is usually Gillespie's answer. The 3 schools that teach China, middle east and Latin America student pilots started in 2006. The schoold don't care about voluntary noise restrictions, there making money. In 2005 US initiated these different Aviation Co-operations Programs (ACP treaties)to keep the FAA and their small airports like Gillespie in besiness with our tax money footing the bill. It is a sell-out to China from these so-called Patroits at Gillespie. Gillespie is 90% flght schools and 10% antique airplane enthusists. The schools are keeping Gillespie solvent but in the meantime training replacement workers for an aviation industry that the US is number one in. The State Dept., FAA and Mr. Bardack's Gillespie Field is helping China take the US's title away but they don't see it that way as they change yen into dollars. We don't need Patroits(neighbors) like this in East County. Gillespie Field has to go!


EdBlitz July 26, 2013 @ 4:08 p.m.

Gillespie Field is a BAD neighbor! There are hundreds of students being trained, everyday and at all hours, to take off and land over our homes; homes which are located on very high terrain. Yet at Gillespie Field there are-No noise restrictions, No curfews, No noise monitors for aircraft, No air quality monitors near the airport, No restrictions on leaded avgas emissions from small aircraft, No airport hotline to handle noise or safety complaints, No protections against harmful business practices against property owners written into county airport leases, Dangerously low practice patterns (Touch & Go’s) over Fletcher Hills, Lakeside and Santee flown mainly by flight school students, No limit to the number of planes doing Tough & Go’s, No limit to the number of flight schools and/or students, No one in the Tower from 9pm to 7am, and No radar In fact, there appear to be no restrictions at all. To quote one air controller, “what is going on at Gillespie is NUTS.”


truthful1 Oct. 5, 2013 @ 3:59 p.m.

I really wish both sides of the story had been investigated. Gillespie Field is a very good neighbor. There are a few people distorting facts - they do NOT speak for the entire neighborhood. We live directly under the flight path and overlook the airport. With the exception of ASAP, everyone else living in the area wants to work WITH the airport for the good of the community. The bigoted, racist comments by ASAP about foreign students are shocking and unfortunate. Will they be protesting UCSD next? Foreign workers are at local companies (General Atomics, SAIC, Qualcomm, etc.) and driving, working in this area. The false information spread by ASAP is astounding. With the exception of a very few people, everyone acknowledged the airport when they purchased their homes. People speed on the freeways, violate laws and are penalized. If anyone does fly out of the pattern at Gillespie, it should be noted by tower the handled with the individual offenders. Nearly all flights operate properly and in-line with regulations. No one is willing to risk their life and intentionally fly in a risky manner.


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