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Fines up, noises off

Laura Sturza

General aviation planes that break the Burbank-Glendale- Pasadena

Airport’s mandatory overnight curfew will pay higher fines for their

violations.

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“It’s a deterrent, just like there’s a penalty for running a red

light,” said Don Brown, Burbank Airport commissioner. “When the rules

are there, they think twice.”

While the airport cannot enforce an overnight curfew on commercial

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planes, it can fine general aviation Stage 2 jets, which can be up to

15 times noisier than the facility’s Stage 3 commercial planes.

General aviation includes charter operators, flight schools, and

private and corporate aircraft.

The airport has a voluntary 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew for

commercial flights, the same hours as the mandatory curfew for

general aviation. Only the Federal Aviation Administration can grant

a curfew for commercial flights, and the airport is completing a

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noise study that is a requirement for lobbying the FAA to approve

one.

The increase became effective Thursday night when the Airport

Authority approved the change at its meeting. Rule breakers will pay

$100 to $200 more for fees that ranged from $1,000 to $3,000. In

addition, the Airport Authority approved a yearly review of the fees

based on inflation. Rates had remained unchanged for 20 years until

they were raised in February 2001.

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"[Breaking the curfew] usually involves some sense of urgency

about that particular trip,” Airport Authority spokesman Victor Gill

said. “It’s usually not done carelessly or with utter disregard.”

As evidence that pilots respect the curfew, the airport’s data

showed there were four violations in 2001 and three in 2002. Fines

collected go the airport’s general fund and are not earmarked for a

specific purpose.

Most complaints about airport noise are about nighttime flights,

which are primarily quieter general aviation planes that are exempt

from the mandatory curfew. These include Stage 3 jets or

propeller-driven aircraft.

“The problem with any aircraft noise at night is that there is no

other noise happening to shield it,” Gill said.


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