Blue Angels practice triggers noise complaints, flight delays

(Via KHON)

Don’t be alarmed if you hear loud planes flying overhead.

The Blue Angels are practicing in Honolulu ahead of this weekend’s Wings Over the Pacific Air Show at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

Increased noise is expected over the next several days during the following times:

  • Practice: Friday, Sept. 26, 4-5:15 p.m.
  • Performances: Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 27 and 28, noon-5 p.m.

Jets took to the skies Thursday afternoon, startling many residents.

“It was actually quite frightening. It reminded me of living on a military base,” said Debbie Dew, Ewa Villages resident. “(It) sounded like the airplanes were actually going to come through the roof. I felt like I needed to duck.”

“They are basically learning the airspace they are going to be performing in, so it is really for the safety of the team as well as those attending the show and our community as well,” said Col. David Kirkendall, Deputy Commander, JBPHH.

Thursday’s practice session also triggered flight delays at Honolulu International Airport.

The airport duty manager confirmed a temporary flight restriction from 4-5:15 p.m. and similar restrictions will occur through the weekend per FAA regulations.

Sec. 91.145 Management of aircraft operations in the vicinity of aerial demonstrations and major sporting events.

(a) The FAA will issue a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) designating an area of airspace in which a temporary flight restriction applies when it determines that a temporary flight restriction is necessary to protect persons or property on the surface or in the air, to maintain air safety and efficiency, or to prevent the unsafe congestion of aircraft in the vicinity of an aerial demonstration or major sporting event.

Hawaiian Airlines said in a statement, “We are experiencing more than 40 interisland flight delays today as a result of the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels practicing over Honolulu International Airport in preparation for this weekend’s Wings Over the Pacific Airshow, and we expect further impact as practice continues tomorrow. Our team is working quickly to accommodate all of our customers. We advise our customers to check on the status of their flights tomorrow and to anticipate more delays.”

A spokesman said the airline expects rolling flight delays from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

“This was coordinated with the FAA and the pilots’ unions and Honolulu International Airport, so we are sensitive that there were flight delays. This was fully coordinated with all the competent agencies that are in charge of those programs,” said Col. Kirkendall.

Passengers KHON2 spoke with said that while they do understand the delays because of the air show, they still would have liked to receive notice before purchasing tickets.

Michael and Hannah Marquez were greeted at the airport by signs showing that their flights had been delayed.

“(There was) no notice, no notifications. There’s nothing posted and so yeah, it’s kind of disappointing,” Michael Marquez said.

“I actually got a text that they would let me know if there were changes but I didn’t get a text when it changed,” Hannah Marquez said. “The schedule should be out there. We should have known it was going to be delayed and if it’s a scheduled show, I would think this could be planned and notifications sent.”

On Saturday and Sunday at noon, there will also be F-22 Raptor demonstrations, and the U.S. Navy Elite Frogs Parachute Display Team will be on hand.

“We’re expecting, due to previous air shows, up to 50,000 people visiting us on Saturday and Sunday, so it’s going to get pretty hectic,” said Col. Kirkendall. “It’s going to be pretty congested. So we’re just asking people when they visit to be patient with us. Make sure they look on the website to see what the restricted items are, and understand that we ant them to have as happy and an enjoyable experience as they can here on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.”

Click here for more information on the Wings Over the Pacific Air Show.

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