Residents near airport asked to keep eyes on skies

The joy some residents feel living near the Carson City Airport when they see an array of aircraft fly in and out of airport is tempered by the noise the craft emit. And some are noisier than others.

However, the biggest concern of neighbors is that a plane will come crashing into one of their homes, several of them told members of the airport authority on Monday evening.

A small plane crashed June 5 when a pilot lost power and landed in the intersection of Apollo Drive and Hiko Court.

No one was injured, and the cause of the crash is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Another small-plane crash happened in the same neighborhood in 2001, seriously injuring a man who was gardening in his back yard.

The Kelleys live near the intersection of Apollo and Hiko. The plane involved in the June accident ran through their front yard and crashed into their mailbox, said Dottie Kelley.

The incident "was very disconcerting," Kelley said. She was no more than 10 feet away from the aircraft when it passed by her house.

"We have a right to live here peacefully," she told the airport board.

While Kelley realizes the airport was there before her family, 30 years ago "there wasn't that much traffic" coming and going.

While airport officials continue to make efforts to educate and keep pilots from conducting themselves in a bothersome fashion - and enforce rules while pilots are on the ground - the Federal Aviation Administration is the enforcement agency for pilots when they are in the air, said Neil Weaver, chairman of the airport authority.

"I don't know if I can ever assuage your fears about being hit by a plane," Weaver told Kelley. He did say that airport officials can intervene, talk to pilots, and ask them to "be considerate."

Nearly $25 million in facility improvements are expected to add to the airport's overall safety by realigning the runway so the flight path is directed north - 100 yards farther away from homes on Apollo Drive - and adding modern guidance equipment, the officials said.

Officials asked residents to watch aircraft and report any problems to the airport, such as repeated flyovers, low ascents and descents, or other potentially dangerous activities.

"A kid with a good slingshot could bag one of those," said Ed Mees, who lives on Hiko and complained about how low some of the pilots fly.

What airport officials need most is the number of the aircraft painted near its tail. If that's not available, a partial number and a good physical description of the aircraft would be helpful, too, officials said.

The number for the airport is 887-1234.

• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber @nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111, ext. 215.

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