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Costa Mesa delves into flights issue

September 26, 2002

Lolita Harper

Aviation. Education. Collaboration.

Those are the key terms surrounding the boost in airplane presence

over the city and the steps that should be taken to resolve the

quagmire, officials say.

Costa Mesa's problem of increased airplane traffic is fraught with

confusing terminology, conflicting statements from local airport

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authorities and local officials who are desperate for some way to

take action in an area in which they have no authority.

City Manager Alan Roeder said city officials have been diligent

about gathering information about local flights and plan to take more

aggressive steps that include hiring outside experts and teaming up

with other city leaders to pressure federal aviation officials for

change.

Roeder said the increase in flights has been clearly documented by

airport flight paths and mounting complaints from residents. What

isn't clear is exactly where the flights are coming from or what can

be done to stop them, he said.

ALL SIGNS POINT

TO LONG BEACH

While he can confidently point the finger at Long Beach, Roeder

said the evidence gathered so far exonerates John Wayne Airport as

the culprit. City officials have spoken with Long Beach and John

Wayne airports' representatives, who both claim to have no part in

the flight increases.

Long Beach Airport spokeswoman Sharon Diggs-Jackson has said her

airport is too small to be the cause of such a noticeable increase

and said residents should look to JWA and LAX for answers.

Officials from John Wayne have volunteered various maps and charts

that detail the number of flights traveling through their air space

and clearly identify which are routed into and out of John Wayne,

Roeder said. City staffers have also researched LAX flights, Roeder

said.

"Based on what we've seen, there just any documentation that says

this is an LAX or John Wayne issue," Roeder said.

EDUCATION IS KEY

Without pointing fingers, Roeder said the first order of business

was to educate city leaders on aviation and what role, if any, they

can play in finding a solution.

Councilman Gary Monahan invited Tom Naughton, a former pilot and

president of the Airport Working Group, to brief council members on

various factors involved in the increase in flights over the city.

Most of the increase stems from the adjustments in air space by the

federal government.

Federal Aviation Administration officials confirmed changes in

allocated airspace over the Southern California region, including a

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