Burbank, California is trying to put in a curfew from 10:00 PM to 07:00 AM to prevent any airplane from using the airport during those hours. Here is a letter I received from AOPA soliciting feedback from pilots using Burbank’s online comment form. I encourage any and all to access the comment form and put in a word about your opposition to closure of a part of our national transportation infrastructure, etc. The curfew, if implemented, would set a precedent that could affect all of us adversely, nationwide.

The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority is preparing an application to the Federal Aviation Administration for approval of noise restrictions FAR Part 161 Process - Notice and Approval of Airport Noise and Access Restrictions. The current draft of the proposal includes a curfew on ALL aircraft operations between the hours of 10:00 pm and 7:00 am. Part 161 noise restrictions are designed to only apply to Stage 2 and 3 aircraft, which are mostly jet aircraft. A total curfew of this kind would be a first under the Part 161 process. AOPA is concerned that if this curfew is accepted by the FAA, it could set a precedent limiting General Aviation at other airports through the country. Before this application has chance to get to the FAA, public comment is being invited on the cost - benefit of such a curfew at: Members are encouraged to log-on and comment on this proposal that could keep you out of Burbank.

Would they shut down the interstate highway for the same reason? Or ban cars and trucks from refueling in their region? How will the local politicians respond when the first aircraft crashes in their community because the pilot was forbidden to land to refuel?

No they wouldn’t but the mistake we all make is assuming that airport issues are approached by airport neighbors and local politicians on a rational rather than emotional level. Because of that our rational arguments tend to fall on deaf ears. That’s why it is so important for the FAA to not cave in on unreasonable locally imposed restrictions.
For example, people oppose longer runways because they think they are going to bring in larger aircraft and therefore a crash would be much worse. They don’t comprehend the concept of runway weight limits nor do they understand that longer runways increase safety and decrease noise because they, of necessity, keep departing aircraft over the airport environment longer.
While I encourage all of us to participate and present rational pro airport arguments to our airport neighbors I also feel that it is imperative that we strongly lobby the FAA to keep local interference with airport ops at the absolute minimum level possible. In fact this is one of the few areas where I feel that the Federal government should have complete control to the exclusion of local governmental organizations

First, I agree with all you say. However, I would like to remind folks of one point that people frequently forget, as referenced in your post: “…I feel that the Federal government should have complete control to the exclusion of local governmental organizations…”.

The Federal government DOES have complete control. The FAA regulates and enforces that control in “…all the navigable airspace over the United States, its protectorates, and territories…”. The FAA has interpreted “navigable airspace” to mean ANYWHERE you COULD operate ANY TYPE of aircraft - i.e. from the ground up everywhere there’s no structure in the way. That is why the local gov’t has to petition the FAA for noise abatement procedures. The FAA can turn them down flat if the FAA so decides. And, as I understand it, should the FAA turn them down, there’s not much, short of trying to close the airport entirely, the local gov’t can do about it, because the U.S. supreme court has already ruled that FAA “regulatory” decisions are not actionable in court (i.e. the locals can’t sustain a cause of action against the FAA, even if they feel their constitutional or legal rights have been violated, because the FAA is immune from prosecution as long as it follows its own guidelines in the decision-making process). On the flip side, the FAA is legally bound to follow its own regulations when making decisions about noise abatement, so unless the aircraft meet the stage two or stage three guidelines, I doubt the FAA will allow them to be banned at night. Also, if the airport authority has ever taken Fed. money for improvements, staffing, etc., they have to keep the airport open throughout the life of the improvements. It says so right there in the fed. regs. (so they can’t shut it down completely…)

{Of course, that’s just my learned, but non-legal, interpretation of the statutes and case law involved}

I too am not a lawyer but I’m sure you’re correct. My real meaning was that we, as pilots, have to continually petition the FAA to not allow local juristictions to place restrictions on airport use. Therefore I would encourage pilots to comment on these issues whenever the FAA is asked to rule on a petition to issue restrictions.