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General’s Complaints Bring Changes In Andrews Flight Patterns

December 22, 1988

ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE, Md. (AP) _ Aircraft using this base in the suburbs of the nation’s capital have changed their flight patterns, after a general living at the facility complained of the noise.

Col. William Phillips, commander of the 1776th Air Base Wing, apologized in writing to Gen. Bernard Randolph, a four-star general who heads the Air Force Systems Command which has its headquarters at Andrews.

Randolph’s Belle Chance mansion is just 1,200 feet from a main runway.

Randolph’s complaint stemmed from a Sept. 12 incident in which an air traffic controller directed a C-141 to change its path for safety reasons because it was on a crash course with an approaching F-4 fighter.

Base spokeswoman Maj. Val Elbow explained Wednesday that the C-141 banked sharply over Randolph’s house, drawing the general’s concern for the safety of those below.

″I apologize that we appear to have ignored your request to reduce noise when possible in the vicinity of Belle Chance,″ Phillips wrote to Randolph. ″I talked to each of our flying unit commanders personally and requested they emphasize the location of Belle Chance to their air crews.″

Phillips also said most flights on the Belle Chance side of the runway will not be allowed.

The noise abatement policy has been in effect for years, but pilots didn’t receive special notices to follow the rules until after Randolph’s complaint, The Washington Times reported Thursday.

Maj. Elbow said the matter could have been smoothed over if Phillips’ letter had focused on the safety issues.

″It’s not realistic not to expect noise″ at an Air Force base, she said.

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