April 2014.  Letter sent to Dean at Embry Riddle University

Michael J. Williams, Ph.D., is Dean of the College of Business
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
600 S. Clyde Morris Boulevard
Daytona Beach, FL 32114-3900

Dear Mr. Williams,

I would like to inform you of the need for Embry Riddle aircraft to please voluntarily abide by the noise abatement paths for the Ormond Beach Airport.

First, a little about my wife and me. We have lived in Tomoka Estates, unincorporated North East Volusia County, since 1996.  Beginning in about 2006 we noticed a gradual increase in the volume of airplane traffic using the City of Ormond Beach Airport for training purposes.  Since that time I started reporting to the Ormond Beach Airport Manager about the noise. 

I also participated from June to November 2009 in Noise Abatement Committee meetings the City of Ormond Beach scheduled, that included aviation representatives and Embry Riddle University staff.  Some committee members and local residents flew in aircraft to observe the takeoffs and landings for this airport.

A voluntary noise abatement path was established (See attachment A) and during these meetings it appeared Embry Riddle University would assist in reducing complaints and noise.  Not so true. I have hundreds of photos and videos of aircraft not following the path, many flying directly over my house, which is not on the path as well as many of other residents who live in Tomoka Estates (see attachment B).

The current Ormond Beach Airport Manager, Steven Lichliter, who I have documented noise abatement incidents with, has told me he has in the past, and has been continuing to mention the complaints at meetings held with flight schools he attends in the area.  Mr. Lichliter’s request appears to be ignored most of the time.  Sometimes after I send in a complaint, the number of aircraft flying over my house actually increases. 

The City of Ormond Beach has taken a position that they have no control over the airport aircraft traffic and that it is the responsibility of the F.A.A. to regulate air traffic.  The only assistance I believe that has been taken is to post a sign at the airport for pilots and having the airport manager ask for cooperation at any meetings he attends. There is nothing that can be done to pressure flight schools to follow the City of Ormond Beach Noise Abatement path. However, I feel that residents around the airport (and not always close, for example, our house is almost 1.5 miles from where the aircraft would approximately go wheels up) deserve more voluntary cooperation. Some aircraft I can hear almost a mile away. If automobiles made that much noise they would probably see some enforcement taken.  I am aware that your aircraft are in the process of improving the engine noise output but if pilots flew the requested path, it would not be a problem.

As the Dean of Embry Riddle University I ask you to please read a little more of what I describe as just a fraction of the photos/videos/dates and times/ and aircraft N numbers that your school, a “world leader in aviation” fails miserably in on pages following the attachments.  If I was giving grades, most of the instructors, more responsible than the students, would be getting F’s. 

I have read the Embry Riddle University Mission Statement (attachment G) and it describes how the university intends on identifying itself with the public and stresses professionalism.   I have also included a portion of the Embry Riddle Flight Operations Manual (attachment H) which addresses Noise Abatement. 

If you look at a video on you tube produced by Embry Riddle University, you will see that aircraft are asked to flight over the marshland (attachment C through F).  This is not happening most of the time.  If they do fly over the marshland, then they cut back over the noise sensitive residential areas. 
Embry Riddle University produced Youtube link:

Sometimes the noise is so bad with aircraft flying directly over our house, you cannot hear a person talking.  My personal opinion is that the aircraft are making their turns as quick as they can to return to the airport for another touch and go or landing and then another takeoff. Another personal opinion is that it saves fuel, and more touch and go’s can be made. If your instructors tell you they were flying the noise abatement path, check a few random gps records of flights I have mentioned and you will see they were not.  In my observations I have included small cutouts of the area east of the airport showing the approximate paths the aircraft mentioned took. I just started doing this approximately two weeks ago but did not go backwards.  The maps are identified as (A), (B), etc.

Concluding, my wife, other residents living around us and myself would appreciate your attention on this situation of more cooperation in flying the voluntary Noise Abatement Path established by the City of Ormond Beach and Embry Riddle University becoming better “good neighbors”. If any of your staff would like to contact me I will make myself available to discuss it or even show them the area where we live.

One other questions I have is, when an aircraft repeatedly does not attempt to follow the noise abatement path, can a complaint be made against the operator (student or instructor) with Embry Riddle University and if so, what is the procedure for this?  I would believe that there are procedures to make complaints on your campus for violations of the various student codes. 

Thank you for taking the time to read my letter. Please send me some type of acknowledgement that you have received this information.

Norman Echelberry
1032 Shockney Dr.
Ormond Beach, Florida 32174