East Lake neighbors ask Birmingham Airport Authority for help with air traffic

(CBS42 News, WIAT-TV)

[lin_video src=http://eplayer.clipsyndicate.com/embed/player.js?aspect_ratio=16×9&auto_next=1&auto_start=0&div_id=videoplayer-1376954283&height=480&page_count=5&pf_id=9624&pl_id=21958&show_title=1&va_id=4231497&width=640&windows=2 service=syndicaster width=640 height=480 div_id=videoplayer-1376954283 type=script]BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — For some homeowners who live near Runway 18, the recent plane crash is the final straw.

“It’s frightening,” Cornelius Benson said, “The longer we stay here, the more frightening it is.”

Benson has been worried something like this would happen, but he hoped he would never have to see it.

“I wasn’t really looking for it, but I knew eventually something was going to happen because those planes come over my house every day,” Benson said. “Passenger planes and cargo planes.”

The crash has cemented those fears in neighbors’ minds. East Lake Community President Robert Walker brought his own concerns to the Birmingham Airport Authority’s attention.

He wants large airplanes to be directed to the longer runway.

“It was our understanding that when the buyout came about that they would stop flying those size planes over that area,” Walker said, “And use that area for smaller planes.”

The buyout Walker mentioned began in 2001. The BAA received millions of federal dollars to purchase homes from people who would be negatively affected by airport noise. This buyout was not required by the FAA; it was optional.

“The BAA has a noise abatement program in place that is nearly complete,” Birmingham Airport Authority Al Denson said, “With the exception of a few unresolved issues. The crash of UPS flight 1354 and this program are unrelated.”

A spokeswoman for the Birmingham Airport Authority said the only other properties the Authority will purchase deal with airplane noise, not safety.

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