Scottsdale man taking battle over heavier planes to the streets

By Curtis Riggs | June 3, 2009

Nick LuongoLuongo opposes 100,000-pound flights
SCOTTSDALE – Longtime Ironwood Villageresident Nick Luongo is concerned enough about the Scottsdale City Council allowing heavier jets to land at Scottsdale Airport he is taking his message to the streets.

Luongo, along with many other north Scottsdale residents, opposes changing airport operations to allow 100,000-pound planes to land.

Airport rules now cap the weight of landing airplanes at 75,000 pounds. An airport consultant proposed allowing 100,000-pound planes to land in Scottsdale this spring.
Luongo’s main concern about changing the rules is the extra 25,000 pounds of fuel jets landing at Scottsdale could carry.

“I’ve never heard a quieter larger jet,” said Luongo, who lives two and a half miles straight north from the end of the runway at Scottsdale Airport. “What flies over my house is scary at times. I can just imagine how scary the bigger planes will be.”

To illustrate his point that many Scottsdale residents don’t know about the consultant’s proposal to allow heavier planes, Luongo has picketed this week at Scottsdale City Hall, the Scottsdale Airport, north Scottsdale subdivisions and major intersections to raise awareness about the issue.

The Scottsdale City Council is scheduled to hold a study session about the proposed change on June 23. The Airport Advisory Commission is set to discuss the plan on July 8.

Luongo is bothered by the proposal being discussed during summer months when many north Scottsdale residents are away.

“Why not do this in January when there are more planes?” he asks. Larger planes, which are not full of fuel, are already being allowed to land in Scottsdale.

He cites this spring’s fiery airplane crash near Buffalo, N.Y. as an example of what can happen when heavier planes are allowed to fly and land.

“I am more concerned about accidents and all the fuel on board,” he said. He is also bothered by the “physical appearance and size of the planes.”

Airport Advisory Commission Chairman Arthur Rosen says if heavier planes decide to bypass Scottsdale because they are not allowed to land it will have a negative effect on Scottsdale restaurants, resorts and rental car companies.

Photo: Ironwood Village resident Nick Luongo began picketing in Scottsdale neighborhoods and at major intersections this week to raise awareness about a plan to allow heavier planes to land at Scottsdale.
Photo by Curtis Riggs