It started with viewer email to Central Oregon Daily News.
Why are so many commercial jets flying so low over the west side of Bend? Did something change? Is there a new air traffic control pattern?
“Lately, I’ve noticed an increase in commercial aircraft in a landing pattern on the southwest side of Bend. The airplanes are lower than I’ve seen in the past and quite a bit louder,” said Bill Young of Bend. “Is it something new or something I haven’t observed in the past?”
In 2019, the Federal Aviation Administration joined with the airlines serving Roberts Field and the local flight schools to test a flight corridor concept for incoming flights to the Redmond Airport.
“There has been a safety corridor put in place by the FAA, I think in 2019, that brings aircraft over the southwest part of Bend, over the Tumalo area, to bring them into our main runway 523,” said Zachary Bass, Redmond Airport Director.
This year, Redmond Municipal Airport is anticipating 1.2 million commercial passengers. Many of them are flying in on large, commercial airliners in the new safety corridor over the west side of Bend.
“Yeah, there’s more planes. There’s larger planes. The FAA takes safety seriously so, in a sense, this safety corridor has maybe changed some patterns that people will notice, but at the same time it’s for the safety of the traveling public,” Bass said.
“We’ve lived in this neighborhood 30 years,” Young said. “In the past, the only aircraft we noticed were personal aircraft buzzing around and Life Flight (helicopter ambulance). These commercial aircraft are new. I noticed it three or four months ago.”
Bass said there weren’t many flights in and out of Redmond during the COVID pandemic. Now that flight activity has resumed, he hears from more people who are noticing the increasing number of flights and the larger planes the commercial airlines are operating.
“We receive most complaints in summer when windows are open and people spend more time outside. Aircraft are louder in winter when the air is denser but most complaints come in summer,” Bass said
Visit the Redmond Airport’s noise abatement programs webpage for information and ways to file questions, comments or complaints.