To understand why more homeowners are upset about larger, lower flying, loud jets, you need to remember that the FAA controls planes while they are in the air. And it appears to me that the FAA wants to maximize the use of every airport that it can find. The federal government seems to feel that we are all better off if our airports are handling more planes that are larger and noisier than their predecessors. And if they run 24/7, that is fine too. If you remember this doctrine, the rest will fall into place.

How do homeowners feel? They hate it when they can't watch a television show or talk to someone on the phone without jet interruption. They cannot tolerate the soot on their cars, the pollution in the air, and the noise pollution. That noise alone can make people crazy. But the FAA cares very little.

Don't get me wrong. You will be told it cares. But without a fight, nothing will likely happen. You usually need to organize and fight. And it's not easy.

As I write this column, I represent several municipalities in a lawsuit concerning expansions at a regional airport. When I first met some of the mayors to discuss this matter, I was shocked at the noise levels with which they, and everyone who lives in that area, must contend.

Throughout the country people are filing lawsuits over noise and air pollution. These airports are literally ruining people's lives. Constant loud noise exposure can be a horrible nuisance and people should not have to live with this.

If you don't live near one, you can't appreciate the problem. Many airports are expanding and changing flight patterns. This often translates into more planes, that are often larger, flying over people's homes.

If you don't live near an airport, you figure these people are just complaining for no reason. But often the problems were minimal or nonexistent when the homeowners first moved into their communities. Then, as the airports expanded and planes got bigger, their lives became miserable. It's no big deal, unless it has happens to you. Once it happens, it tends to consume your entire life.

Right now a lawsuit is pending in federal court in Arizona over nose pollution. Brought by the towns of Carefree (I guess no longer) and Cave Creek, these people have had enough.

Another suit was filed last year in the Dayton, Ohio area. Residents there claim that the government is violating an agreement in which they promised that planes would fly away from residential areas.

So much for promises. Many airport operators are specially created governments formed with laws that insulate them from much legal liability. So attempts to fight the operators are easily frustrated. And for this reason, promises then go ignored.

In 1999, about 105 Toledo residents accepted a $4.6 million settlement with the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. The settlement ended a legal battle that began in 1993 and threatened to bankrupt the port authority.

A court found that the airport operator created a nuisance in enticing a large air carrier to locate an air-cargo hub at the airport. Good news for the community. The good guys won.

Don't be victimized by airport noise. Don't believe you have to live with it. No one should be exploited. I suggest that you fight back.

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