By Erin Delmore
It’s up, up and away for Teterboro’s stable of corporate jets, but they’re not far away enough for Mahwah residents. The FAA has instructed pilots to take a new approach into Teterboro Airport — one that sweeps low and loud over the sleepy Bergen County township.
“They’re loud. You can see them. It’s a quality of life issue,” said Mahwah Mayor Bill Laforet.
Laforet says he’s gotten about 50 complaints from residents since the FAA changed the flight plan this spring. His town is half an hour north of Teterboro along Route 17, that’s the path the FAA’s instructed pilots to take into the airport using visual cues like the Sheraton Mahwah Hotel and the Westfield Garden State Plaza. It’s only possible in daylight, on fine weather days.
The change is the result of a ten year old complaint from the Teterboro Aircraft Noise Abatement Advisory Committee which argued to reduce flyover noise at Hackensack University Medical Center, fewer than two miles north of Teterboro.
“There’s critical care helicopters landing at Hackensack hospital every day. So the noise is a fact. But moving the pattern just a half a mile, or three quarters of a mile, from the hospital puts a square over top of Mahwah and down route 17. We have schools, hospitals all along the corridor that are going to be affected. So you create a bigger negative affect than the one that’s currently there,” Laforet said.
How many times a day are you hearing these flights overhead? “If we stand here long enough you’ll hear one,” said Laforet. “I mean, starting on Thursdays, the frequency is a few every hour, you know, a few within each hour, especially later in the evening on Thursday, through Friday, Saturday, Sunday. They’re frequent.”
“I think it helps alleviate certain air traffic conditions for the airport and the pilots which is really the main jest of it,”said Ken Goffstein from the Teterboro Aircraft Noise Abatement Advisory Committee
Teterboro Airport is a hub for corporate and private jets. It’s known as a relief airport in the busy metropolitan area. Just 12 miles from Midtown Manhattan. The airport handles around 450 arrivals and departures daily.
“Many of the residents have an app on their phone called Plane Finder. They can actually see the plane. They can see where it’s coming from, its flight path and it’s altitude,” Laforet said.
The FAA told NJTV News the new flight was used by 239 times as of June 27.
The FAA told NJTV News in a statement, “The FAA is testing the procedure for a period of six months to determine its potential impacts in accordance with FAA environmental orders… The FAA has no plans to extend the test beyond October 4.”
All parties will tackle the issue for the first time this quarter during a July 27 meeting of the Teterboro Aircraft Noise Abatement Advisory Committee at Teterboro Airport. Mayor Laforet said he’s expecting a strong turnout from area mayors.