CENTENNIAL, Colo. — Neighbors near the Centennial Airport swear something has changed. They say planes are flying lower – and louder – over their homes in Greenwood Village, Centennial and Englewood.
Their concerns have led to an increase in noise complaints to the airport authorities, who suggested the Federal Aviation Administration changing flight patterns after a 2021 mid-air collision might be to blame.
"The FAA claims the pattern hasn’t changed. We think it’s kind of a matter of semantics because the way they have managed the pattern traffic has changed and the data shows that," airport spokesperson Chris Thompson said. "The issue is that the pattern is getting extended north of Arapahoe Road."
Kathy Clark has lived in Greenwood Village for about 30 years and said the airplane noise is worse than she can ever remember.
"You hear it inside, watching TV or cleaning," she said. "I can see the planes. I can make out all the detail of them, to give you an idea of how low they come."
"If I was able to tell you exactly what was causing this, I’d be the star of the show," Thompson said. "I think that’s some of the frustration we have at the airport is we aren’t exactly sure what’s causing this."
In addition to the changing aircraft patterns, Thompson said an increase in traffic from flight schools could be to blame too.
U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper and Rep. Jason Crow sent a letter to the FAA late last year urging the agency to consider the community's concern over the noise. An FAA representative attended the airport's latest public meeting about the noise last month.
In a statement, an FAA spokesperson said the agency "continuously works to help reduce the number of people exposed to aviation noise in communities around airports."
It recommended that people with concerns about noise complain to the airport directly.
"The FAA can then work with airport operators to determine if the aircraft noise can be mitigated through changes in air traffic procedures," the statement said.
"We want to be good neighbors. I hope the FAA wants to be a good neighbor. We want to come to a solution," Thompson said.
For now, Clark said she's resigned to the noise.
"I would love not to have it, but it might be the way of the world," she said.
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