Dallas Executive Airport's Neighbors Say The City's Been Tight-Lipped About Renovation Plans

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Eric Salard
Dallas Executive Airport
Karen Cameron doesn't spend much time in her front garden anymore. Her yard, though separated from Dallas Executive Airport by Ledbetter Drive and a winding, tree-lined front driveway, is made unbearable, or at the very least extremely unpleasant, by the roaring engines and noxious jet fuel that waft over from the nearest runway.

Cameron more or less accepts that this as part of the bargain. Planes are loud, jet fuel stinks, and neither noise nor smell cares much for property boundaries. She just doesn't want it to get any worse, and she's worried the city's $35 million runway expansion could do just that. Or maybe not.

"I'm not saying that I am against it," she says. "I'm just saying they've [the city] not been transparent."

By not transparent, Cameron means that there haven't been any public meetings or direct communication with neighborhood leaders, just a recent presentation to the City Council's Economic Development Committee, which they read about in The Dallas Morning News. Cameron and neighbors have since wrangled a public meeting with Dallas aviation director Mark Duebner, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. next Thursday at Dallas Executive's conference room, but they say it should have happened way earlier in the process.

Duebner says they probably have a point. "We started working on the master plan for Executive back in 2012 and did have a public meeting where we notified the surrounding homeowners," he says, but it's "been a long time."

"Truth be told we could always do a better job of getting the information out to the public."

In this case, Duebner says the changes will be relatively minor. Though the runway extension, from 6,400 to 7,000 feet, will allow it to accommodate the slightly heavier jets favored by many corporations, the primary purpose is to repair the existing concrete, which is on the verge of slipping below FAA standards. Overall, the runway redo and associated improvements at Dallas Executive aren't an expansion so much as a refurbishment.

Then again, increasing noise and smells and other things an airport's neighbors might find bothersome is the whole point. Right now, the airport is struggling. The city wants to change that, turning it into a thriving regional hub capable of competing with suburban airports, where corporate jets are frequently landing and taking off.

"We don't see it being as busy as Addison, taking off every minute and a half," Duebner says, but a significant hike in traffic would be nice.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.


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34 comments
Annonnymous
Annonnymous

It's Mark Duebner, Mary Suhm's partner in crime on the secret gas drilling agreement. That explains everything.

Same Duebner who married his employee when he was running the City's Purchasing Deparment which resulted in promotions for the couple. Same Duebner who has been the subject of endless complaints and investigations in every department he's worked in for his bullying and threatening of employees and other executives at City Hall. But he has a lifetime appointment at City Hall with a free pass to do whatever he wants thanks to Mary Suhm.

Things are much worse at Dallas Love Field and wait until someone starts looking at the books. Yes. People should be concerned about Executive Airport.

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

Get on the ground catch the ride take care of business get back in the ride get back to the airport catch the plane and be gone .

lecterman
lecterman

"will allow it to accommodate the slightly heavier jets favored by many corporations"

"many corporations"

"corporations"

That should tell you all you need to know.

NewsDog
NewsDog

Why would anyone in the City deem to talk to the peasants. The peasants don't put money in their pockets.

WylieH
WylieH

The reason Vonciel Jones Hill and City staff appear to be acting so evasive is that the renovation program includes a plan to extend the primary runway 685 feet to the northwest in the direction of an established single family residential neighborhood and elementary school.


Upon completion, the extended taxiway and runway will be configured in such a manner as to direct jet blast directly towards single family residential houses sitting less than 700 feet away on Willow Creek Lane.


The single-family residential neighborhood located to the northwest of the intersection of Ledbetter Drive and Westmoreland will also be heavily impacted as larger planes will now be flying directly over the neighborhood and all aircraft landing from the west will now be flying a lower approach path over the neighborhood.  


Thomas Tolbert Elementary School also sits directly underneath the flight path.


Can't believe Vonciel Jones Hill hasn't scheduled any neighborhood meetings about this.

raymondmcrawford
raymondmcrawford

Anytime the City of Dallas puts together a package like this and gets city council approval via consent agenda and without neighborhood input,my antennae picks up vibes. Then to top it off, last month we have Tennell Atkins(he got the plan together with the State) verbally high fiveing himself on this project in The Dallas News. He just forgot to tell those of us in the 'hood about the project.


Vonciel Hill (it's in her district) tells a neighborhood meeting that it's the City of Dallas' aim to get business away from Addison and Love Field. The proposal says that after the redo, it will accommodate up to 90,000 lbs jets. Oh really?

I would like to know why they both think that millionaires would want to land here in Oak Cliff. I'm still waiting to see the Master Plan that is yet to be revealed for some of those answers.

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

Uh....money. Pretty obvious. Welcome to Dallas.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@bvckvs  600' ft of runway, is not going to change the quality of life that already exists there.  

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@bvckvs

C'mon French-Fry Guy, you know damn well she and her constituents are "Evangelicals".

raymondmcrawford
raymondmcrawford

@WylieH She doesn't feel obligated to talk to her constituents. When asked too many questions, she gets defensive and starts a-n-n-u-n-c-i-a-t-i-n-g her words in order to run you off.

jawshominy
jawshominy

@raymondmcrawford Uptown Dallas (Ritz-Carlton) to Executive Airport: 10.3 mi, 31 minutes in current traffic according to Google.  Same location to Addison Airport: 14.4 mi., 38 minutes.  Now do you see why?

Annonnymous
Annonnymous

1. Friend of Mary's.

2. He negotiated the secret gas drilling agreement between the City & Trinity East on Mary's behalf.

Keeping secrets AND being Mary's friend equals lifetime appointment. Hell he was on track to be Assistant City Manager. Still is with Mary still parked at 1500 Marilla.

Face it. When has the City ever gotten rid of an executive who was not a minority? Never. Duebner was moved to Love Field with WHAT experience/knowledge of the Aviation industry? None. That's why nothing works at city hall. Promotion by association not qualifications.

WylieH
WylieH

@ScottsMerkin @bvckvs  It's actually 683', all in the direction single family houses.  The difference in decibel  levels at 700' vs 1,400' is actually pretty significant.

raymondmcrawford
raymondmcrawford

@ScottsMerkin @bvckvs Both Atkins and Hill have bigger plans that they believe would change that.This meeting was arranged without their approval or involvement.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@Mervis_Earl @WylieH  

That's a pretty good Vonnie impression.

WylieH
WylieH

@Mervis_Earl @WylieH  Dagnamit!  Still, do you see what I mean about the jet blast?  When these jets are powering up to enter the runway, their engine will be pointed directly at these houses.

The photos in the staff briefing to Council have the residential neighborhood and the school cropped out, so you can't tell how close they are.

If you look at the above photo, the white dot in the upper right corner is the school... the planes will be flying right over it at a lower altitude, due to the runway lengthening.

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

@jawshominy  Plane owners are going to go to the better FBO and they aren't going to worry about ~10 minutes of commute time on the ground.  It's not location, it's about the quality of the FBO.

WylieH
WylieH

@ScottsMerkin @WylieH @bvckvs  The stuff about planes not being louder even though they are lower, because they will be slower is actually not true.

Inbound, planes fly with a constant power setting the entire time they are on final approach, only adjusting power (in combination with pitch) to maintain position on the glide slope.  On departure, they fly at take-off power settings until well clear of the field.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@WylieH @ScottsMerkin @bvckvs  unless a significant more amount of takeoff/landings is coming to the airport, it wont matter.   If the runway is closer to the houses, while the plane will be lower over that house, it will be going slower over that house than before so the noise difference in the engines will be negligible.  I lived right in the landing/takeoff path of a municipal airport.  Was it be loud at times sure, but it didn't ruin my quality of life.  Oh, There is a very busy flight school at this airport too with lots or single engine and jet engine training there

Mervis_Earl
Mervis_Earl

@WylieH I noticed it on Google maps after reading your comment. Yeah they're gonna love it out there in the Bird!!!!

raymondmcrawford
raymondmcrawford

@jawshominy That's it. Except you have to space out each and every letter/syllable, per the Hill method of speaking.  Thanks

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

@jawshominy Fair disclosure - part of my team's job description is "Executive Support".  Given that, I don't see this activity as a substantial incentive.

A bigger incentive would actually be the fact that Execs of companies who are very "diversity" conscious (like my organization) may be attracted to Executive so they can claim additional diversity supplier credits.  All that Executive would need to do to become attractive in that light would be to level the playing field so they are as good as Addison or Love.

jawshominy
jawshominy

@PlanoDave @jawshominy Execs would rather use their cellphones and ipads anywhere but the back of a black car.  And, yes, the improvements discussed in the article are infrastructure, but if they're making a play for corporate by lengthening runways, they're not too dumb to realize they should spruce up other aspects.  Meanwhile, FBO services are being squeezed out by expansion of commercial at Love.  I'm really confounded by why you are so reluctant to admit this is plausible.

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

@jawshominy  Executives have mobile phones, tablets and wifi.  Commute time is not lost time.

The improvements at Executive are infrastructure, not service.   The Execs don't care.

BTW, the decision isn't Executive or Addison.  The money flies into Love.  They have the best FBO.  Addison is for the dudes on the north side of town.

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