Navy has right to use airport

Published 10:12 am Saturday, October 30, 2010

We understand there were some rather upset people who attended a Wednesday night meeting with officials to discuss a proposal for the Navy to do touch-and-go landings at Franklin Municipal Airport.

Their concerns with using the airport for field carrier landing practices were related to safety, noise and property values. The meeting was held after the Navy did two flight demonstrations with turboprops earlier in the day at the airport.

The city of Franklin owns the airport, but when it acquired it from the Navy, the Navy maintained its right to use the airport. The city plans to negotiate for the cost of certain services it may provide the Navy. As of Wednesday, Franklin Mayor Jim Councill said it was still too early to estimate the exact economic benefits to the city.

One resident who lives near the airport told a reporter she heard the planes flying above on Wednesday and they weren’t any louder than the military helicopters that currently train at the airport.

We can certainly understand concerns for safety. The airport will receive more traffic, which always increases the risk of an accident. Also, pilots will be making practice landings — essentially training.

The bottom line is the Navy has the right to use the airport. It has a legal agreement to do so, meaning there’s probably no choice in the matter. The Navy didn’t have to offer Wednesday’s demonstrations or host the meeting for residents to express concerns. It was kind of them to do so.

Right now the economic benefit is an unknown. The Navy should quickly address that question. Many in the community are keeping an open mind until they get the answer.