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Judge Sees an Airport as a Mammoth Mistake

May 08, 2003

Re "Brakes on Airport Plan," editorial, May 5: At last, a judge with some common sense. The Federal Aviation Administration should be reprimanded for approving the Mammoth Lakes airport to allow Boeing 757 aircraft to service the area. Of course it is going to affect the environment with the noise of the engines on arrival, and especially on departure. Safety is also an issue. That airport is not designed for commercial operations. As a pilot of 30 years, and having flown into the Mammoth airport, I know how quickly the weather can change in that area. Just last month, winds of 125 mph were reported on Mammoth Mountain. No one in his or her right mind would want to fly there with winds that frequently blow off the Sierras at 50-plus knots. There is also a mountain right on the approach end of the runway, way too close for commercial operations. I have been enjoying the Sierras for more than 50 years for the solitude, fishing, hiking and camping. We all need that type of environment now more than ever. Let's keep it that way.

Don Wollard

Simi Valley

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The Times continued its vendetta against limited commercial air service, wealthy out-of-state tourists and the elected officials of Mammoth Lakes in its editorial accusing the FAA of making a bad judgment in granting $30 million for improvements to the safety of our airport. Endorsing the elitist, exclusionary policies of selfish local environmentalists, The Times failed to say that 7,000 local residents continue to be denied commercial air service, that $30 million in federal funding likely will not go to local construction "dudes" and California businesses and that anyone without a private jet or exhaust-spewing SUV will be denied access to this beautiful region. Great job. Even your gratuitous slap at the French could not add credibility to your environmental scare tactics, which lecture airport improvement advocates from the land of pollution and water depredation 300 miles away. The Mammoth airport issue is about power and exclusion, not the environment.

Mike Bauer

Mammoth Lakes

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