Letters to the Editor

Trees don't provide noise barrier as touted

It has been quite clearly stated that the principal reason the St. James Baptist Church congregation is against removing trees near the church is that removing them will prevent the suppression of the sound of aircraft taking off or landing at Hilton Head Island Airport. Frankly, nothing could be further from the truth.

I am a graduate mechanical engineer, with 36 years of experience in the machine tool industry. We had machines with high-speed, high-powered spindles that made noise so loud that the operator would become deaf without proper protection. Furthermore, we learned that we could put guarding around those spindles but only if there were no "holes" in the guarding. So how does that relate to trees and sound suppression? Simply put, trees are full of holes, with or without leaves.

Every professional study done to date indicates that those trees have little to no effect on noise suppression.

I live exactly one mile from the middle of the Hilton Head Island Airport, and I can hear every airplane take off or land, even with the windows closed. And there are hundreds of trees (and houses for that matter) between the runway and my house.

Before we have a terrible aircraft accident, the congregation should reconsider its position and drop the lawsuit that threatens not only the viability of the airport, but also the safety of the people who use it.

Tom Hatfield

Hilton Head

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