Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

WebTrak Is Our Digital Eye on the Sky; Users Can See Details of Planes Flying in Our Area and ID Noise Offenders

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

WebTrak Is Our Digital Eye on the Sky; Users Can See Details of Planes Flying in Our Area and ID Noise Offenders

Article excerpt

Byline: Drew Dixon

A new computer program available on the Internet allows residents near Jacksonville airports to track flight patterns of airplanes and lodge complaints if those aircraft fly too low and are too noisy.

The Jacksonville Aviation Authority officially launched the WebTrak system Monday on its website at www.flyjaxex.com. The system not only tracks flight patterns of airplanes, but also provides altitude and speed data for aircraft that approach, depart and pass all four Jacksonville airports - International, Cecil, Executive at Craig and Herlong.

"The WebTrak system allows the community to go online via our website and they can track noise around that area," said Tiffany Gillem, manager at Craig. "We're using data from the [Federal Aviation Administration] radar at Jacksonville International to pool flight data."

Military and law enforcement aircraft are exempt from having data on those planes from being posted on the public tracking system, which cost $550,000 and was paid for with funds from the JAA capital budget.

The service of the WebTrak system is drawing particular attention from areas surrounding Craig airport, where many residents have complained for years that aircraft noise is too excessive.

That's also a fundamental reason those residents have argued against JAA proposals to extend runways at Craig.

The WebTrak system allows residents to enter noise complaints on the Internet site that provides the tracking system. In addition, residents will still be able to call Craig Airport's noise abatement line at (904) 641-3606 to report a complaint.

Beverly Garvin is a member of the Craig citizens advisory committee and said she sees some value to the new reporting system.

"It's a great tool for people who like to use technology," said Garvin, though she acknowledged the system won't solve the noise issue. …

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