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How to Run El Toro Base as an Airport

August 08, 1993

* In response to Gen. Art Bloomer's recent column ("Commercial Airport Would Minimize Costs, Maximize Benefits," July 25) concerning the future commercial use of the Marine Corps Air Station at El Toro, I feel a couple of issues raised need clarifying.

I am concerned about the transition of the base to commercial use for conflicting reasons.

First, I live under the flight path and agree with most that the issue of use should be decided by local interests, not other cities with selfish motivations.

Second, as a commercial airline pilot employed by Federal Express, I have a conflict with my first concern about increased noise and use by commercial carriers.

If a joint-user task force can be impaneled to research the alternative uses for the base, and the answer is not an airport, so be it. If they decide to use the facility as an airport, then I propose these operating rules:

* Allow only FAA Stage 3 noise aircraft use of the facility, as well as the same operating hours as currently in use by the base, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

This will actually reduce noise levels because the current (military) jets do not come close to meeting Stage 3 noise standards, as well as eliminate the idea that Fed Ex or UPS would be landing in the early-morning hours.

* Determine the total number of flight operations used by the Marines, and limit the total number of commercial operations to this number.

This will establish a status quo that homeowners can accept, since it will be the same number of aircraft (and much quieter) flying over their homes.

* Move general aviation aircraft from John Wayne Airport to El Toro.

Most commercial pilots will say the most dangerous problem at John Wayne isn't the unusual noise profile departure, but the speed difference between airline and general aviation traffic.

This would also free up more landing slots at John Wayne to add other major carriers, like Southwest Airlines, to the price mix at the airport.

MARK S. HODGES

Laguna Niguel

* Your Sunday issue (Aug. 1) containing all the comments against the use of El Toro as a commercial airport are probably quite cogent and understandable and if we would hesitate just a minute we would all recognize that said remarks are equally applicable to the existing Orange County airport and its environment, and especially me.

The county supervisors have gone on record as assuring us of the need for another airport and at that time, although it was suitable, El Toro was unavailable.

Now that it is to be in our future, certainly it should be used to ease the pressure on those of us who are likewise citizens of the area just like those in Laguna Beach, etc.

We are entitled to a little peace and quiet also.

If indeed El Toro is officially deemed not to be in our future as a commercial airfield, then certainly John Wayne Airport should receive equal treatment.

ALAN L. BLUM

Balboa Island

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