Saturday, June 17, 2017

Elite pilots reject extra work to continue their noisy flights over poor Hackensack

This sleek but noisy business jet flew low over the Fanny Meyer Hillers Elementary School in Hackensack in April 2016 -- just one of the many hundreds of private jets that are destroying the quality of life in towns near Teterboro Airport, which caters to celebrities, CEOs and other members of the 1%.

-- HACKENSACK, N.J.

By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

Hackensack officials and residents know that many aspects of their daily lives are out of their control.

Property tax bills would be lower, if the county seat didn't host such enormous tax-exempt entities as Bergen County, Hackensack University Medical Center and Fairleigh Dickinson University -- none of which "give back" to city residents.

The quality of life would be so much better, if the city and neighboring towns weren't under the noisy flight paths of both Teterboro and Newark Liberty International airports.

And after a City Hall hearing on the abandonment of a quieter flight path for private jets heading to Teterboro, city residents also realize a decline in the quality of local reporting at The Record of Woodland Park appears irrevocable.

Six-month experiment

The Teterboro flight-path trial began on April 4, 2o16, and ran for six months, until last October, in an effort to cut noise for hospital patients, Prospect Avenue high-rise residents and elementary school children.

But the headline on The Record's story on Friday indicated the trial just ended:

"Relief from
air traffic
stalls for
Hackensack"

A much better headline ran on Thursday's report from the online Hackensack Daily Voice, which quoted airport and Federal Aviation Administration officials:

"Quiet Flight Path 
Was Too Much Work For Pilots"  

The lead paragraph:
"HACKENSACK, N.J. -- An air traffic control manager at Teterboro Airport said the trial flight path for incoming planes -- originally implemented to diminish aircraft noise and avoid Hackensack University Medical Center -- was too much work for pilots and thus abandoned."
The Record's lead paragraph on Wednesday's hearing talked about the six-month flight-path trial as if it just ended, and noted "there were few answers about steps to take next."

'Far less work'

Daily Voice reporter Cecilia Levine said:
"Testing began April 4, 2016, and ran for a continuous six-month period. Simultaneously, pilots had the option of utilizing the flight path that they were accustomed to -- RWY 19, which flies directly over Hackensack Medical Center [and] Prospect Avenue, the most densely populated street in Bergen County -- and other residential neighborhoods.
"That flight path utilizes an instrument landing system, the most common approach utilized by pilots which requires far less work than the quiet visual approach, officials said.
"Over the course of the six-month trial period, only 234 planes utilized the quiet visual approach.... Officials said the manual entry of landing waypoints increases the workload for pilots and requires a lot of 'heads down' time when they are supposed to be flying."
Levine also reported that in answer to a question from Deputy Mayor Kathleen Canestrino, "FAA officials said that both flight paths could work with instrument-landing systems."

Mayor John Labrosse's wife, a teacher at Hillers Elementary School in Hackensack, said on hot days, the windows must be kept closed so students can hear teacher's instructions without noise from business jets and other aircraft that pass over the school.

Filled with jargon

Record Staff Writer Rodrigo Torrejon quoted a lot of aviation jargon from Gary Palm, Teterboro air traffic control manager, for why most pilots refused to use the quieter flight path:
"One of the reasons given for pilots opting not to use the test flight path was waypoints.
"... A charting company removed the coding for waypoints depicted as visual reference points from aircrafts' flight-management system. This made it so pilots would have to input the coding manually mid-flight, causing safety and time concerns....
"The coding was removed due to pilots flying waypoint to waypoint instead of over Route 17."
Neither reporter defined "waypoint," which in air navigation is an intermediate point on a route.




Food coverage

The Better Living section on Friday and on June 9 was missing both restaurant inspections and dining-out coverage.

Since the weekly restaurant reviews ended last November, The Record has been running "food crawls," and articles recommending or ordering readers to try certain dishes and restaurants.