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OSU airport meeting oppostion in expansion plans

University officials first announced the plans almost three years ago. They call for the construction of two hangars and expansion of the north runway toward Sawmill and Godown Road. But some area residents oppose the move. A group calling itself "We Oppose Ohio State Airport Expansion," or WOOSE, formed shortly after the plans were announced. WOOSE president Dennis Hennen says expansion of the airport would go against OSU's mission statement of serving surrounding communities.

"The airport expansion is incompatible with the neighborhood and the community it it in," Hennen says. "It's unnecessary for an academic-oreinted university to be expanding it's operations."

Last night's meeting focused on monitoring and decreasing noise from the airport. Hessen says his group has received over 11,000 noise complaints for the airport. The biggest point of contention is the "050" flight plan. That refers to the 50-degree angle east-bound planes must make to avoid north bound traffic coming out of Port Columbus. The result of this is almost all east-bound planes flying over the same area while revving their engines to make the necessary turn. Port Columbus air traffic controller Jeff Ashwood says the 050 is the only way to allow Don Scott and Port Columbus to run simotaniously.

"We have found out that the 050 heading is indeed the best way to work airplanes out of Ohio State on an east flow based on the traffic that comes in and out of Columbus," Ashwood says. "Therefore, the noise in that area will be there."

To better identify noisy aircraft, OSU has contracted a Virginia-based company to install noise-monitoring equipment on towers throughout the city. The devices will identify all aircraft and the time at which the were in the area. That data can then be compared to noise complaints to identify the problematic aircrafts. Officials say the system will cost OSU $290,000.