New GPS-guided flight paths into Sea-Tac airport will planes to significantly shorten their landing routes, saving gas and perhaps reducing noise for many homes in Seattle, including the Central District.
But, of course, the changes also mean new residents will experience more noise than before. Many folks in West Seattle, Beacon Hill and South Seattle are upset with what they see as a lack of outreach on the part of the FAA. Mayor McGinn has convinced the FAA to hold a community meeting from 6-8 p.m. October 23 at New Holly Gathering Hall.
They want the technical jargon in the program’s draft environmental report translated not just into laymen’s terms, but also into the diverse languages spoken in South Seattle so that residents can better understand how much more air traffic and noise the program might bring to their neighborhoods.
“We just want a lot more clarity,” said North Beacon Hill resident Ticiang Diangson. “We’re not even really sure what the impacts on us will be right now.”
Designed to improve flight safety, Greener Skies uses satellite-guided technology to minimize potential miscommunication between air traffic controllers and pilots. It also shifts the flight paths of planes equipped with the new technology, concentrating their descents along more consistent and direct routes over smaller areas, saving fuel and reducing carbon emissions.
The new approach method was tested this summer at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
If the FAA approves Greener Skies after the environmental-impact report is finalized, the agency could begin phasing it in as soon as next year, starting with two of Sea-Tac’s busiest carriers, Alaska Airlines and Southwest Airlines.
Speaking of flight paths, it you heard a woosh around 7 this morning, that was your humble editor flying to St. Louis for the week. If you see anything happening in the neighborhood, email us so we can check it out!