Pilots from Pearson Airfield, the local municipal airport, are flying low over neighborhoods and harassing residents. Buzzing small aircraft have singled out one individual for targeted intimidation and consequently a whole neighborhood suffers. As if ripped from the very pages of Golding’s classic “Lord of the Flies", in this case the flies are literally fliers. The contemporary version is complete with an ecological disaster, cult leader, and primitive tribal behavior.
Problems began for one Vancouver, Washington homeowner when he erected an elaborate sunshade over a patio. Little thought was given to how the multi panel sunshade, comprised of muted fall colors, might appear from above. Unfortunately, the shade proved to be an alluring target from above. Referencing it as the “Maple Leaf”, pilots flying small planes started to use the shade as a marker on their approach to Pearson Airfield located 3 miles to the southeast—too far from the airport to be in any normal landing or takeoff path. In fact, it has been used in radio transmissions, “south over Maple Leaf” to establish location.
When upwards of 50 aircraft a day started to fly directly over the home, at low altitudes, from every direction, it became apparent that the flights of small planes were no longer random and infrequent. The homeowner turned to publicly available data sources, www.flightradar24.com and www.webtrak.com. Both applications allow the user to observe the flight paths of aircraft. The analysis reveals that the deliberate targeting of the home continues to this day. He discovered that the pilots are flying low and loud over his home from every direction, and collaterally affecting the entire neighborhood. In fact, many planes go well out of their way to fly directly over this home. This information is available at www.citizensforquieterneighborhoods.com.
When the homeowner began his research, he was keenly interested in the motivations for this harassing behavior. He declares he has never met or knows anyone in the local flying community. However, he quickly realized the pilots themselves were behaving as members of a cult, which would explain the coordinated programmatic activity. Rather than motorcycles or religion, this time it’s a cult of small plane pilots bound in a brotherhood of 8–10 committed members and associates. It is part of our social biological being to belong to groups and pilots are no different. All the other ingredients for a cult are present; foremost, the leader is a veritable fixture about the airport and the enforcer self identifies as facilitator/coordinator in web postings, and young, twenty-something men follow. It is quite astonishing to consider that pilots would organize purposefully to harass someone.
What started as research into harassing planes also revealed that small planes are the last transportation segment to use LEAD in fuel, aka Avgas. Lead is permitted in Avgas because of exemptions based on the operating performance of rotary engines. Small planes spew lead particulates everywhere they fly! That’s right, see www.citizensforhealthycommunities.com! There are no exceptions. The particulates must land somewhere and that somewhere is in our school yards, streets, rivers and forests. In this time of great economic injustice, society has granted a very small group of pilots special permission to poison us all.
When asked about this situation, the homeowner replied, “Pilots must be smart because they have to demonstrate a technical proficiency but that doesn’t prevent them from being dumb.” He went on to explain, “cults need constant short-term stimulus; in “Lord of the Flies” it was the ceremony of the hunt. It is basically a neurochemical response. In this case, the tribe condones harassing behaviors and creates psychological incentives to repeat the behavior, to curry favor and please the cult leader.
However, the cult is ignoring its own extinction, spewing lead into the environment, harassing people and whole neighborhoods with their loud engines and antics for short-term neurochemical rewards. The looming extinction is the I-5 bridge replacement. The increased height of the approaches to the new bridge will reduce the necessary clearances for small planes to safely takeoff and land from Pearson Field. There is a high probability that local authorities will vote to close the airport because of the inherent danger presented by amateur pilots flying low over the freeway. Interstate 5 is perpendicular to and approximately 200 yards from the end of the runway. At a time when pilots should be forming alliances with the community, they are alienating whole neighborhoods with their toxic behavior— literally. Basically, pilots are forcing the community into opposing camps with many citizens now calling for the closure of Pearson Airfield. Pilots need the support of the community if they want to keep the airport open, but pilots are pursuing a strategy of making an enemy of the good citizens of Vancouver, WA. The short-term approach is dumb.”
We know where the children are. How can we forget the main character in “Lord of the Flies,” Piggy, in distress, asking, “Where are the adults?”
The "Maple Leaf" is a target for KVUO pilots harassing this Vancouver, WA neighborhood.