FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla.,- Problems in the air?? Well, island residents are saying there is a huge problem with planes flying over Fort Myers Beach. They say planes are flying too close and too low to the beach and now they want to see a change to flight plan.
Town council has always supported the effort to make changes to the flight plans and members are taking things a bit further by sending letters of support to the FAA and State Senators.
"We want the airplanes, we want the airlines, we want to be able to have tourism come into the town," said island resident, Tom Merill.
Tom Merill has been a part of a group that has been collecting data and tracking flights for nearly 20 years.
He says the current flight plan is a disruption to the island and visitors. On Monday, he along with a group of islanders presented their concerns to the Fort Myers Beach Town Council. They say they were told Southwest Florida International Airport could implement three things without the FAA's approval.
One, those flights would fly at at least 3,000 feet; two, RSW would put more aircraft behind the island, in the back bay; and three, use one runway that would direct planes away from flying over the beach overnight.
Merill says on Saturday he tracked flights from 9 a.m. to noon and says some of his findings show 95% of the planes flew over Fort Myers Beach. He also said more than half flew below the 3,000 feet.
Vicki Moreland with RSW says the FAA and airlines need to make all the decisions regarding these issues, however, RSW did spent $800,000 to do a study and work with the citizens. Public comment is open till the 20th and then the FAA will do the review.