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Letters 12-11-2012

Flight noise

We need leadership on this aircraft issue

During the 40 minutes or so that I spent reading today’s paper, with the latest “class warfare” letters regarding Paul Allen’s helicopter, three helicopters and a small plane flew over my house in Kailua-Kona, interrupting my reading.

I have no way of knowing whether Mr. Allen had any idea that he was disturbing his neighbors, but I feel very certain that no one informed him that he was operating his helicopter in an area declared as a noise abatement area and recommended avoidance area by the Hawaii Airports Division. Mr. Allen is an annual visitor here, and rarely causes any disturbance with his aircraft.

On the other hand, air tour companies and flight training schools bring noisy aircraft over the most populated area in West Hawaii on a near hourly basis — and sometimes more frequently. Such disturbances were negligible before 2008, but are so regular now that it is pretty much impossible to take an afternoon nap or sleep in late in the morning in Kailua-Kona.

Last week I was awakened by a helicopter at 2:50 a.m., then again at 3:25 a.m.

I doubt the operators of these aircraft are aware of how intensely disruptive they are to those of us who are light sleepers, or of the very negative affects that this regular noise pollution has on our well-being.

Because airspace is legally controlled by the FAA, the state and county have no means of enforcing the state-declared “no-fly zones.” However, this does not stop them from asking kokua from the operators on behalf of the beleaguered residents of Kailua-Kona, whose homes were not in a flight path when we bought them.

The airport manager could post notices and maps showing the noise abatement areas and could interact with the tour companies requesting they alter their flight paths to fly out over the ocean after leaving the airport, until they are well south of town.

The County Council could pass a resolution requesting tour companies not fly over the densely populated residential areas of the island. It would not be legally binding, but most people (probably including Mr. Allen) have enough aloha that all you have to do is ask.

Could we get some leadership from our state and county representatives on this very real issue of noise pollution, which affects our health and welfare?

Doug Perrine



An excellent job done by those who sacrifice

Lifeguards and all first-responders are some of our greatest heroes.

The guards at Laa Loa Beach Park (Magic Sands) are doing an exceptional job keeping people safe, both warning them on megaphones and talking to visitors about dangerous surf conditions, currents and obscured rocks in the water.

Unwary tourists and snowbirds like me are grateful for this education to avoid serious injury and even death.

This year on March 4, a tourist named Raymond, was heroically rescued by lifeguards at Magic Sands Beach. I witnessed lifeguards Joy Mills and Waika Koanui swiftly pulling this unconscious man from the water and carefully transporting him on a board to avoid spinal injury.

Joined by Sean Gallagher, these three guards quickly and professionally began CPR and oxygen, waiting for the ambulance to arrive. A retired police officer and others offered their assistance. The beach was very crowded with perhaps a hundred people in and around the water. Onlookers were jolted as they watched emergency procedures, imagining this nearly drowned man as a friend or a family member. We were not watching it on television.

I have heard that his recovery was not easy but he is now fully recovered and back on the golf course, passionately pursuing his favorite pastime. He is alive today, thanks to the Magic Sands lifeguards who saved his life.

Lifeguards, police officers, firefighters, and emergency medics all work under enormous stress every day, protecting us and our loved ones. How important it is for all of us to support these first-responders and to thank all of our public servants for their dedication and the daily sacrifices they make to keep us safe.

Susan Olson