Some 40 years ago in San Fernando Valley, Calif., two planes collided in mid-air then fell onto the junior high school athletic field. Nearly 100 children were on that field and my daughter was in a classroom in the school.
It was a most terrifying experience. Some of the children were killed, others lost limbs and many had severe injuries.
Payson is growing. Airport traffic is busier than ever. Currently the town is investing substantial sums of money to expand the facility, with the obvious intent of attracting a large number of planes to use the air space. This traffic must be planned for now, just as street and highway traffic is planned for with loop roads and bypasses.
A simple alternative to the current traffic pattern would be to divert the traffic to the north, over (less) populated areas. This would remove the danger from our schools and homes.
In recent years, we have had three incidents of planes down. Fortunately, no injuries occurred, but next time we may no be so lucky.
This is the ideal time to make a change to a north-side-only pattern, and I made this request to the pilots who conducted the airport board meeting Tuesday night. They are unwilling to even consider it. Their reasoning seemed to be:
• Many pilots are not experienced enough to make right-hand turns safely. These are the people flying over your schools and houses everyday.
• The board will print brochures to hand out asking pilots to be careful to fly on a specific pattern over town.
• If a pilot fails to follow the request, then "someone" will ask them to stay away from this airport. Who?
I believe the airport users owe the residents of Payson every effort to keep our families safe.
A close look at the town budget will show that your tax-money provides a very substantial sum of money to expand and maintain the facility.
A traffic pattern change to benefit the safety of 12,000 people is a small price to pay for the benefits a small group of local pilots receive.
Ruby P. Finney