Belmont man starts online petition after air traffic over his house increases

David Morgan loves his property in Belmont.

"It was rustic where I could build a log home," he said. "I built this house and bought this property as a place for me to retire. And I wanted to retire here in peace and quiet."

Morgan said the quiet has been shattered.

"December 13 the bottom fell out. It's been like an assault," he told WBTV.

According to Morgan, in mid-December planes taking off from the runway at the north end of Charlotte Douglas International Airport started flying over his property. He said the planes have been flying over often, and at times, low and loud.

It's a far cry from what he remembers the last nine years.

Morgan said before he built his house, he did the research. He used to live on Old Whitehall Road "where airplanes would come within 10 feet of the house."

So in 2005 when he chose the spot for his retirement home, he said he chose carefully.

"There was no air traffic here," he said. "It's always been quiet. I've used these porches extensively to read books, have guests over, and it's been quiet."

Now, he's wondering what's happening.

Morgan said he contacted Charlotte City officials to get data about historical flight traffic out of Charlotte. He told WBTV he wants to know "when flights occur, when they come over his area, how far they are from the property, their coordinates as they pass by."

Charlotte City officials sent Morgan a letter saying his home is 5.7 miles northwest of the airport. "When the airport is using a north departure, aircraft fly mostly north of your home on electronic routes referred to as RNAV {Area Navigation} departure routes for departures to the northwest." The city said the route has been used since 1979 when runway 36C/18C was opened.

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According to the city, "When the airport is using a south departure, aircraft fly mostly west of your {Morgan's} home as they arrive at the airport. These flights are mostly at an altitude above 5,000 feet."

But when it comes to aircraft operation, city officials told Morgan that that is "under the sole control of the Federal Aviation Administration."

"Although the City of Charlotte owns and operates the Airport, it has no say in which or how many aircraft use the Airport or how they operate in the air," the officials said.

WBTV contacted the FAA to see if there has been a change in flight paths, or altitude or speed. We received a statement saying "The FAA has not made any changes to departure or arrival routes for Charlotte-Douglas Intl. Airport."

Charlotte city officials said they looked at Morgan's home and the number of flights that flew over or near it. According to the city, on December 13, 2014, 31 flights flew within a 1.5 miles of Morgan's home; and 19 were within one mile.

For December 13, 2013 - the city said it found 47 flights within 1.5 miles of the house, and 30 within one mile.

December 13, 2012 - there were 68 flights within 1.5 miles, and 58 within a mile.

In 2011, December 13 reportedly saw 43 flights within 1.5 miles of Morgan's house, and 27 within a mile. WBTV checked with American Airlines to see if they increased the number of flights departing Charlotte or made any other changes that would account for increased traffic and noise - the Airline referred us back to the F-A-A.

Morgan said he hasn't been able to get any answers. He just wants to see what's going on. "If it says I'm wrong, I'll shut up and go away" he said.

In the meantime, he started an online petition demanding the City of Charlotte cease and desist jet noise over Gaston County.

"I think once people know about the issue and start knowing that other people are looking into it, they'll raise their voices and sign the petition" Morgan said.

Morgan told WBTV the jet noise has changed the feel of his piece of heaven on earth. "Now, my property value has probably devalued anywhere from 25-50 percent just because of airport traffic."