Easterbrook's article suggested mandatory transponders would solve the "undersky" problem at or near busy airports. He overlooked an important element: Pilots must also observe flight rules and the rights of those on the ground.
We live in a densely populated area (including schools and churches) a few miles southeast of the Palomar Airport in Carlsbad. Light, fixed-wing airplanes continually harass our neighborhood at altitudes frequently below 400 feet above ground level (AGL). Federal Aviation Regulations Section 91.79 requires a minimum altitude of 1,000 feet AGL over such areas. A laughable noise abatement program, a voluntary plan shrugged off by at least half of the aircraft using this facility, calls for entering the 3-mile noise sensitive zone at no less than 2,000 feet AGL. Both of these specifications are routinely ignored, especially on Friday afternoons, weekends and holidays when the macho hotdogs and cowboys are out in force.
Palomar's FAA-operated tower supervises the control zone 14 hours a day, every day of the year. Taxpayer-supported controllers have an unobstructed view of this dangerous activity and do nothing to prevent or reduce it. Appeals to our congressman, the city of Carlsbad, San Diego County (the airport operator) and the FAA have proved futile.
Transponders will not solve our problem. Concerned, responsible and regulation-abiding pilots can. Unfortunately, both our freeways and airways are menaced by the same breed of reckless, thoughtless and undisciplined lunatics.
ALAN K. KINDLE