December 02, 2000

Chicago Sun-Times

Jets not too low over Barrington, officials say

December 2, 2000


The Chicago Aviation Department denies that jets approaching O'Hare Airport are flying too low over Barrington.

About a half dozen people who live in the northwest suburb--including former airline pilot Michael Blandford--have complained that jets have been making more noise, flying as low as 1,800 feet above their homes.

But Assistant Aviation Commissioner Chris Arman said Friday that radar data, interviews with air-traffic controllers and city noise-monitoring records show that that isn't possible.

"If aircraft were that low, [air-traffic control] alarms would have been alerting the controllers to have corrective action taken by the cockpit crew," Arman said after an O'Hare Noise Compatibility Commission meeting.

In other business, commission chairwoman Arlene Mulder said she'll send letters to nearly two dozen airlines, including United Airlines, seeking their plans to phase out "hush-kitted" aircraft.

Such planes have engine-muffling equipment, designed to make their old engines comply with federal noise rules, but they aren't as quiet as newer aircraft with modern engines.

American Airlines stopped flying hush-kitted aircraft at O'Hare on Oct. 1, Arman said. As of that date, about 17 percent of aircraft using the airport had hush kits.