Aerial “stalker” banned from flying

Photo credit: Alexandra May

by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., Board of Directors, GrowNYC, Co-founder, The Quiet Coalition, and Honorary Chair, Quiet American Skies

The Quiet Coalition blog has cited many articles that deal with the adverse effects of aircraft noise on the mental and physical health of millions of residents worldwide who are exposed to overhead aircraft noise.  Unfortunately, these residents live in communities located within many flight paths. But for the most part, they do not feel singled out by each flight. That’s why this post is somewhat different. The title, “Aerial Stalker Banned from Flying,” should give you a clue. 

This article appears on Oregon Aviation Watch, a group working to lessen the adverse impacts of aviation activity. The story is of a Vermont family who, for the last four years, has been awakened by a neighbor’s single-engine plane flying over the house and causing windows and doors to shake. The flyover takes place three days a week at 7 a.m. In one instance, the pilot of the plane threw tomatoes at the home and yard. The family contacted the police to intervene because they believed this “stalker” might fly the plane into their home. It is worth mentioning that a woman in this family and the pilot had a bad interaction that caused them to be angry at each other.

In late May, a judge issued a temporary protection order for the family that told the pilot that he cannot fly any aircraft until a Nov. 30 court date. But the flyovers never stopped. A family member told a Federal Bureau of Investigations employee that the pilot flew over their home on Sept. 28 and had a video to prove it. A sergeant with the Sheriff’s Office also saw the plane fly over the community on Oct. 1. The judge has yet to decide whether the pilot can fly again, but it should be noted that the pilot said his eyesight was failing and he was considering selling his plane.

Oregon Aviation Watch let its readers know that the woman in the family sent complaints about the incident to the Federal Aviation Administration. But she said that each time she issued a complaint, the FAA replied that there was not enough evidence to label these incidents as stalking. Oregon Aviation Watch said other individuals have been harassed by student and private pilots and have similarly been ignored by the FAA as well as port authorities and elected officials. 

While most U.S residents who are exposed to daily aircraft noise may not report that they are being singled out for noise exposure, I believe they would most likely say that the FAA has not done enough to protect them from aircraft noise.

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