FAA holds meetings on Phoenix Sky Harbor flight paths

- The FAA wants reaction from the public on some proposed changes to flight paths at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport.

A public meeting on Tuesday night is the latest development in the years-long controversy, and one of the first critical steps in the process.

The FAA is partnering with the City of Phoenix for these meetings, and during the meetings, they will be talking about the plan they jointly developed with the city.

With nothing finalized, officials are hoping people will come and voice their concerns, like Lourie Fleet did.

"You noticed it the day it went into effect. It was like, 'what the heck happened? Why are all of these planes flying all over the house?'" said Fleet, who lives northwest of the fairgrounds. "It was like the sky was falling."

When the FAA changed it's flight paths in September 2014 without any consultation, Fleet was directly affected. She is happy a change is coming soon. 

"We have very little time on our back patio that we can sit and enjoy this great weather," said Fleet. "Last night, we went to bed at 10:30, and they started promptly, and an hour and a half, every two minutes, there's a plane taking off and going up Grand Avenue."

After a lawsuit was filed, the court ruled in favor of the City and affected residents. As a result, the FAA is now working closely with the City and residents to fix the issue. 

At these open house-style meetings, people can see the new proposed paths, and how it might affect them. They can also talk with the FAA about the proposed changes to the westward flight paths out of Sky Harbor.

"We will take every substantive comment that we receive at the workshop or online, and we will analyze those comments before we make a decision on how to proceed," said FAA spokesperson Ian Gregor.      
Gregor said the plan is to reinstate, as closely as possible, the paths that were used before they were changed.

"The tentative date to put the first interim flight paths in place is late March," said Gregor. "March 29."    

"I'm really pleased that they're taking the time this time," said Fleet. "I'm OK with the routes they're showing us today."    

There's two other workshops being held. One is scheduled for Wednesday at Cesar Chavez High School from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., and another on Thursday at 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., at Horizon High School. The meetings are open to the public.

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