I have lived in this vicinity since 1994, and this is my first letter to the Roundup.
The crashing fatality on the airport runway could have occurred anywhere in Payson. For the past four years, the citizens who are aware of the situation have followed procedure with petitions, letters, calls, meetings, etc., all elaborating on public safety and noise intrusion.
While exercising patience during the past four years, the air traffic over Payson increased. Along with the local pilots, novice training, lessons, which includes many touch-and-go's, (a continuous practice of landing and taking off) and, most recently, performing barrel-rolls was added to the group.
Additionally, flight schools from various Arizona locations fly in just to practice touch-and-go's at the Payson Airport.
The airport is not self-sufficient. Tax-wise, every property owner in Payson contributes to the maintenance and operation of the airport.
However, the issue here is not money. The concerns are public safety, peace of mind, and not being rousted from your sleep by the noise.
The situation warrants a change in a flight pattern. There is no problem with the change and FAA said the matter can be resolved locally.
False hopes appeared in Roundup issues Oct. 22, 1999, "Airport board directs planes south. Pattern modified to quiet traffic over neighborhoods," and headlined front page Aug. 18, 2000, "Flight patterns take quiet approach."
One would think that the 55 regional pilots and town's administration would want to come together and show consideration for our community. The now discussed solution has been to simply fly to the north side of the runway, shifting the air traffic over the less populated areas of Payson.
It has been a workout of four years of scrutinized controversies. What does it take to activate this safety pattern? Who is responsible for the citizens' safety? Who is in command of the Payson Airport? Who owns this airport the taxpayers support? Where is the rapport between the townspeople, the town hall and the airport that makes this the wonderful Payson we advertise?
Jeanne Dell, Payson