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Homes and lives in danger close to the airport
Article published on Wednesday, March 30, 2005
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Re: Air Park safety?

Recently a spokesman for the Clearwater Executive Airport announced in a news release that the number of fatal plane crashes from his airport (about one a year) was acceptable and “in line” with other airports of this size around the nation. If one took the time to look at the perimeter of the listed “accident zone,” the occurrences were, for the most part, only within a few miles radius of the airport.

As our home is only 1.5 miles from the airport (and within three blocks of the recent fatal crash), I feel public awareness of more accurate facts is in order. The average resident in Pinellas can think of the percentage of chance of a plane crashing and hitting their home as less likely than winning the Florida lottery.

But the truth is, homes near the airport have a much more dangerously higher statistic, and again, even higher for those under the takeoff and landing routes.

For example, today I went outside after hearing a plane with a sputtering motor, and a weird metal-against-metal sound, traveling over our house, not once, but six times in a circling pattern.

I immediately phoned the airport to report this. They knew about it, but had not yet been able to contact the pilot. Then I found out they thought it had a stuck landing gear but weren’t sure.

Not only did this increase our danger potential by an outlandish percentage, but it brought up the question of why the city of Clearwater is about to approve the spending of 80 percent of $187,500 to replace the airport terminal. When in the light of recent events, and looking at putting the lives of so many people living near the airport in jeopardy, why wouldn’t now, before work commences, a new location be found perhaps near the water, so planes could take off and land safely away from residents?

This situation can be “worded” by officials for public PR assuring a measure of safety, but the factors I’ve just mentioned are the real facts of day-to-day life by the airport.

Is this airport really safe? Ask the neighboring residents.

Stephanie Rosen
Article published on Wednesday, March 30, 2005
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