Open letter to Robert Head

Dear Mr. Head:

In response to your letter to the mayor, with regard to the C-130 Hercules cargo aircraft flying over Lewisburg, I can agree they are large and do have a visible presence over our city when they are practicing takeoffs and landings at Greenbrier Valley Airport. These West Virginia Air National Guard transports come to Lewisburg because we have less air traffic to contend with than at other airports, such as Yeager Airport in Charleston. This takeoff and landing practice is part of an extensive initial and follow on training program specified for the aircrews by the Air Force and approved by the FAA to ensure all flying operational and safety standards are followed, and this has resulted in the outstanding safety record of the West Virginia Air National Guard.

With regard to rerouting the aircraft from the north, it is not a matter that can be changed by FAA, but rather a reality of flight. If the prevailing winds are more than a few miles per hour, all airplanes must land and takeoff headed into the wind. This means that when the winds are coming from the north (which is the direction of prevailing winds here in Lewisburg) the aircraft must be headed in a northerly direction, so they have to begin some of their approaches by flying over Lewisburg. The direction of landing approach is dictated by wind direction not by FAA. And safe flight practice, the physics of flight and FAA require all takeoffs and landings to be made flying into the direction of any significant wind.

Unfortunately airports are by nature noisy and aircraft occasionally have accidents, but due to the professionalism of the West Virginia Air National Guard and our other pilots, we have an excellent safety record and we will continue to strive to maintain the highest possible standards of aviation safety.

Yours truly,

Jerry O’Sullivan


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