Morris opposes aerobatic practice box at airport
By Sarwat S. Ahmad For The Herald-News June 6, 2012 8:14AM
Updated: July 11, 2012 6:07AM
MORRIS — The city has finally taken formal steps in its ongoing attempt to have an aerobatics practice box at the Morris Municipal Airport moved.
The city council in a 7 to 1 vote Monday night approved a resolution objecting to the Federal Aviation Administration’s approval of an aerobatic practice box for the International Aerobatic Club Chapter 1.
Alderman Don Hansen voted no.
The FAA in early May approved a two-year waiver allowing the club to use the area that extends to an altitude of 5,000 feet and consists of a box that measures 3,600 feet by 3,600 feet.
“We are not objecting to the box, we are objecting to the location of it,” said Alderman Julian Houston, chairman of the airport committee.
The location of the box “is in direct conflict with the crosswind and downwind legs and the existing downwind approach pattern for the runway at the airport,” the resolution reads. “The aerobatic practice box is also located in close proximity to two established airways for commercial air traffic approaching both Midway and O’Hare Airport.”
According to the resolution, the city’s request to the DuPage Flight Standards District Office for the application materials were ignored until the city filed a Freedom of Information Act request. The city then received the documents 11 days after the FAA had already approved the box.
Furthermore, although the club’s application for the box indicated that it had received the approval of the city council, the issue had actually never been brought to the council or to the airport committee, Mayor Richard Kopczick said.
Airport Manager Jeff Vogen said there is no limitation to how many times the club can practice in the box. “It could be once a year or 365 times a year,” he said.
The city has been dealing with this issue for a few years.
Last year the city took no formal action, choosing instead to attempt negotiations with the club and the FAA. However, the club was able to get a 12-month waiver last year as well.