Littlefield says heavier planes won't hurt neighborhoods

By Curtis Riggs | July 22, 2009

Airport Commission to vote Aug. 12
Bob LittlefieldSCOTTSDALE – While many residents living near the Scottsdale Airport are adamantly opposed to a consultant's proposal to allow heavier planes to land, City Councilman Bob Littlefield supports the change.

He says the Wilbur Smith Associates proposal is beyond the normal "neighborhood vs. airport" situation.

"This proposal will be good for the airport and good for Scottsdale businesses, without hurting the surrounding neighborhoods," said Littlefield, who is also a part-time flight instructor. "Since the NW2000 controversy I moved and I now personally live less than two miles from the runway at Scottsdale Airport. If I thought that this proposal would be bad for the surrounding neighborhoods (which include mine) I would not support it."

Littlefield disagrees with others living near the airport on increasing the allowable weight for landing planes from the current 75,000 to 100,000 pounds.

He no longer supports establishing scheduled airline service at Scottsdale because security restrictions are so onerous that offering the service would hurt current operators and businesses at the airport.

Many of his neighbors do not support the change in weight limits. Ironwood Village residents like Bob Popow and Nick Luongo indicate allowing the heavier planes will increase airport noise and safety concerns.

Popow is concerned that the "door being open" will make it difficult to stop the increase in planes using the airport.

Luongo is primarily concerned about the potential for a catastrophic accident due to the planes carrying more fuel.

The Scottsdale Airport Advisory Commission is scheduled to vote on the consultant's recommendation at its Aug. 12 meeting. Littlefield expects the Scottsdale City Council to vote on the commission's recommendation in September.