Noise Sensitive Areas
There are three areas around Columbia Airport that pilots should avoid if possible:
- The first is the area east of the airport which contains Columbia Elementary School and the historic Columbia State Park. The airport traffic pattern is specifically located on the west side of the airport to reduce over-flights of this area.
- The second noise sensitive area is over downtown Sonora where there is a high density of buildings and people. This area also includes offices, hospitals, courtrooms, schools, and many other noise sensitive gathering places.
- The third area to be avoided is located five nautical miles southwest of Columbia Airport. In addition to being a low density residential area, it is the location of the historic Mark Twain Cabin, the New Melones Visitor Center, and the Federal Headquarters for the Bureau of Land Management.
The noise sensitive area near Pine Mountain Lake Airport spans a large area over and around Pine Mountain Lake.
Flying responsibly is every pilot’s obligation. Aviation is under attack from many different entities, and all pilots should do their part to reduce the number of complaints directed toward aviation.
What Pilots Should Avoid Doing
Things that pilots should avoid are low flying over people or property (buzzing), violating temporary flight restrictions (TFR), and creating excessive noise. Buzzing people, houses, cars, and livestock give pilots and aviation a bad name. Busting a TFR can not only result in the suspension of your pilot privileges, but it also gives certain federal agencies even more reason to restrict general aviation. Creating excessive noise annoys people on the ground that prefer peace and quiet over hearing the unnatural sound of a propeller.
What Pilots Should Do
Here are some things that pilots should do:
- Obtain a good weather briefing
- Obtain NOTAMS before you fly
- Keep your charts current
- Use your radio when in an airport traffic area
The typical high performance complex airplane requires that pilots fully understand the complexity of engine management. Managing the power, mixture, and engine cooling is important to engine longevity.
A very important aspect of engine management is controlling your propeller tip velocity such that you are not creating an undue amount of noise that is broadcast to the ground. This is particularly important when departing and arriving at an airport when your aircraft is typically flown at maximum rpm. When departing, please reduce your rpm as soon as it is safe to do so. When arriving, first reduce your manifold pressure to a point where pushing the propeller control to maximum pitch will not result in the engine going to redline. This will significantly reduce the noise emitted by your plane in the traffic pattern and promote a friendly relationship between the pilots and residents living near the airport.