Photo credit: Scott 97006 licensed under CC BY 2.0

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

The pandemic has changed behaviors in several ways. For example, people are now working at home and many of them do not wish to go back to the office. Susan Brind Morrow informs us that the change she has noted in her rural New York State community since the onset of the pandemic is the “dramatic increase” in small planes. These planes are coming from Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Morrow tells her readers that these planes still use leaded gasoline and impose hazardous noise on those exposed to their sounds. The residents of Barrington have also made their voices heard that they do not want these planes in their community.

Now these planes from Massachusetts are also disturbing the residents in New York State and Morrow is seeking some relief. She, like citizens across the country who have been exposed to aircraft noise, knows that aircraft noise affects one’s mental and physical health. The literature has indeed linked aircraft noise to adverse health effects. In her article, Morrow is asking that the Federal Aviation Administration insist that small recreational planes fly high and that they not be used “in a manner that endangers public welfare.” She believes that more attention should be paid to the effects these small planes have on people. She is not alone in this.

Morrow points out that France last year banned short-haul domestic flights and notes that some people have questioned why small planes flying short distances are really necessary. Others, however, still interested in flying short distances point to the companies that are developing electric and hybrid-electric planes for short distances.

Having worked with citizens across the country who have spoken out against aircraft noise and aircraft-related air pollution, I certainly appreciate Morrow’s article and I would hope that she and members in her community join groups nationwide advocating for a more responsible aviation industry.