Palwaukee tends to its noisefighting needs

 - April 21, 2008, 6:06 AM

With a noise study and plans for a Stage 2 aircraft nighttime ban approved by the Palwaukee Municipal Airport commission, Palwaukee (Ill.) Airport (PWK) has taken proactive steps to address noise issues. In late May an FAR Part 150 noise-compatibility study for the airport made 12 recommendations, including a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew on Stage 2 aircraft operations. The airport commission, a group jointly operated by the city of Prospect Heights and the village of Wheeling, accepted the recommendations. But implementing the ban requires a Part 161 notice and approval of airport noise and access restrictions study. Such a study would take approximately two years to complete, with another six to nine months needed to implement the ban. The airport commission has requested federal Airport Improvement Program funding for the Part 161 study, which is expected to cost between $500,000 and $2 million.

The airport recently instituted a community-engagement program known as PACE (Palwaukee Airport Community Engagement), designed to establish constructive lines of communication with area residents. PACE is meant to address not only the noise issue, but to inform airport neighbors of the value of the facility, including an estimated contribution of some $37.5 million to the local economy. PWK is nine miles north of Chicago O’Hare Airport.

One feature of the PACE effort is a dedicated noise officer for PWK. That person will field noise complaints via e-mail or through a toll-free telephone number, identify the aircraft involved using flight-tracking software and either explain to the complainant why the aircraft properly did what it did, educate the pilot regarding posted noise-abatement procedures at PWK or some combination of the two. The airport has committed the resources necessary to ensure that each and every resident who files a complaint receives a response from the noise coordinator. In addition, ATIS recordings at PWK include noise-abatement procedures.

The PACE Council is seeking corporate operators willing to become members and serve in volunteer positions that will help shape the future of the airport through the council’s open advisory forum setting. PACE coordinator Robert Mark said, “Representatives from [the flight departments of] Allstate, Alberto and Klein Tools have agreed to participate.” To take part in the PACE Council, contact Mark at