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Bend Airport neighbors don't want the noise

By Femi Abebefe
Published On: Mar 04 2014 09:52:24 PM CST
Updated On: Mar 05 2014 01:29:34 PM CST

NewsChannel 21's Femi Abebefe reported from a NE Bend neighborhood that can't stand the noise from Bend Airport helicopters.

BEND, Ore. -

Many of northeast Bend residents let their voices be heard at an open house Monday night about the Bend Airport expansion to accommodate more helicopters.

Less than 24 hours later, neighbors are still upset.

Anne Pelham has even padded the walls of her bedroom so she and her husband can try to sleep in peace. According to her, it's a necessity, because the noise is unbearable.

"You can be carrying on a conversation outside, and you have to totally stop talking until they go by," Pelham said.

Leading Edge Aviation has been training student pilots at the Bend Airport since 2006. When asked why she lives by the airport if she can't stand the noise, this was her response:

"We have no problem with the small jets,” Pelham said. “They take off and they're gone. But the helicopters are just doing touch and go touch and go touch and go all day long."

Leading Edge Aviation officials said they operate following the FAA-approved flight patterns, and  they work with individual neighbors to avoid areas that are shown as especially noise-sensitive.

But it's not just the noise that bothers Pelham. The fact that its students flying the helicopters is a safety concern.

"They're flying over our homes with animals and children, and they're students?” Pelham said. “When a helicopter crashes, it generally drops -- they have no glide like an airplane."

She also owns a pair of horses and dogs, who she says tense up when they hear the helicopters.

"Animal hearing is so much more sensitive than ours, and it bothers us so hideously -- imagine what it's doing to the animals," Pelham said.

She said she doesn't know what, but believes something needs to be done.

"They just need to find a different solution for these helicopters than here at the small Bend Airport," Pelham said.

Leading Edge officials said when weather permits, they conduct some of their training operations at other local airports, like Redmond and Prineville.

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