Local lawmaker leads meeting on military aircraft noise impacting downtown Wilmington

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Noise from military aircraft has been talked about by many, and a recent meeting led by Representative Deb Butler discussed some possible solutions.

Representative Deb Butler, officials with the FAA, The U.S. Marine Corps, Modern Aviation, and ILM were at the meeting held on Monday. Butler says she and many community advocates expressing concerns about military aircraft flight patterns in and out of ILM creating noise over historic downtown Wilmington, and schools in the area.

They are worried about the noise having an impact on the tourism and film industries, and the real estate market.

“We support our military in North Carolina, there’s no question about that, we are the most military friendly state in the union, and so we have to find a way that peacefully coexists, and that’s what we’re planning to do,” said Representative Deb Butler.

ILM interim director Gary Broughton attended the meeting, saying airport officials empathize with residents, but maintain a neutral stance on the issue.

“The FBO, Modern Aviation, that holds the military fuel contract, which generates a lot of this traffic, is a tenant of the airport, but because we’re funded by the FAA through the airport’s district office, we cannot interfere in their business, and that’s why we have stepped back and tried to stay neutral in this,” said Gary Broughton.

US Marines representatives and the FAA say there are steps that can be taken to reduce noise, like redirecting flight patterns over the prison and the wastewater treatment plant.

“What it looks like to me, is that the FAA and the military have a plan that they can mitigate this noise without hurting the ability of the military to use the airport for their maneuvers,” said Broughton.

Butler says although the meeting was productive, it is unsure if the changes will serve both entities in the long-term.

“The marine corps has got something in place that’s going to work. You know, whether or not the long-term compatibility of the military in a historic downtown environment is appropriate is beyond my pay grade. You know, other aviation professionals will decide that, but for now if we can peacefully coexist, that’s what we want to do,” said  Representative Butler.

We reached out to the FAA on the outcome of the meeting, and when or if the FAA and the USMC will implement the changes proposed in the meeting, and have not yet received a reply.

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