TORRANCE — An aerial demonstration, which sponsors once threatened would make so much noise that angry and bleary-eyed residents would storm City Hall, turned out to be an almost quiet, private affair as a small group of pilots and friends watched a single-prop World War II plane make a single trip over the Torrance Municipal Airport.
"I wasn't impressed," said City Councilman Mark Wirth, the only member of the council who showed up Wednesday afternoon up to watch the North American AT-6 attempting to roar its 850-hp engine 1,600 feet above the ground. The plane was scheduled to fly at an altitude of 1,000 feet, but heavy aircraft traffic around the airport forced it to fly higher, lessening the effect of the noise.
The Noise Abatement Center at the airport said the noise level reached 88 decibels, the maximum allowed under Torrance regulations for landings or takeoffs. Outside the pilots lounge near the control tower, a pilot reported a reading of 83 decibels. (The name of the pilot in the AT-6 was undisclosed.)
Clark Garen, the attorney/pilot who has filed separate lawsuits against the city and homeowners near the airport over noise regulations, said the demonstration was toned down to show the city that pilots have the weapons to fight, but that they are willing to be reasonable in trying to reach a settlement on the regulations.