No, Federal Wayans, you are not crazy.
More airplanes have been flying over homes lately. They are flying lower and are, therefore, louder.
“We all sort of say, are we crazy? Has it always been this bad?” Steve Edmiston, a Des Moines resident with the Quiet Skies Puget Sound coalition, said at Tuesday’s Federal Way City Council meeting.
Through working with the Des Moines chapter, which is the fastest growing Quiet Skies chapter in the nation, Edmiston learned there were 412,170 flight operations in the area in 2016 compared with 317,186 in 2013. That’s 260 more planes every day, he said.
Edmiston was among three people who presented information to the council on what has been done and what needs to be done in the future to combat the ramifications of more planes.
Other presenters included Larry Gripe, a Burien resident who is part of the Quiet Skies Coalition, Inc., and Federal Way’s Quiet and Healthy Skies Task Force Chairman John Resing.
Gripe told the council of the volunteer-based group’s struggles in working with the city of Burien to file a $65,000 lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration, only for it to be shelved as a settlement is negotiated.
“We believe that there’s intolerable behavior of the FAA to all citizens,” Gripe said.
Resing said Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell has charged the city’s task force with delivering a report that focuses on short-term, intermediate and long-term recommendations for mitigating aircraft noise as well as the environmental and health impact flight emissions can have.
That report is expected to be delivered on Dec. 15.
In addition to the attorney, CPA, engineer and representation for a municipal government with an airport, Resing requested the council consider adding more members to the task force. Specifically, he asked for an airline pilot, someone with FAA experience, someone with marketing and social media experience, and a member with knowledge on the National Environmental and Policy Act compliance.
Recently, one of the current members of the task force was awoken in the middle of the night by an airplane.
Resing said the man checked the Port of Seattle’s reporting station nearest to his home and discovered the plane was 83 decibels. The FAA’s day night limit is an average measurement of 65 decibels.
“None of us experience averages in life,” Resing said. “I can have my feet in ice water and my head in a steam bath and, on average, I feel just great.”
Noise isn’t the only issue increased flights traveling similar every day can bring.
Emissions from airplanes do have an impact on health.
Using Federal Way High School as a location point, Edmiston told the council the Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Impact Statement mapping tool projected the risk of getting cancer if one had attended the high school was in the 80-90th percentile. The risk of developing respiratory issues in a lifetime was in the 95 to 100th percentile.
“And that is because you’re in a flight path,” Edmiston said. “The science is in on this. We already know those risks.”
Edmiston also reported the Port of Seattle currently has a plan to increase cargo as well as international flights flying in and out of Sea-Tac Airport in the next five years.
“We look forward to helping Federal Way and the new task force in any way we can,” he said.