Airplane

Scott Hoffmann had no problem with the Scottsdale Airport for the longest time.

He has lived across the street from it, near the intersection of 68th Street and Paradise Lane, for 20 years and his only contact with it was a visit to a restaurant there. 

But when COVID hit in March 2020, he started noticing a lot more planes going overhead. It’s not clear if the two are connected but like the disease, the planes haven’t gone away. 

So, Hoffmann did what many people in his shoes would do: he went to the airport’s website and he filed a complaint.

He didn’t hear anything back and the planes kept flying overhead all hours of the day and night. One even woke up his wife around midnight a couple of months back, so he filed another complaint … and then another … and another …

In the first half of 2021, Scott Hoffmann has filed 21,136 complaints. 

He admits it’s a bit excessive, but he says it’s the former police officer in him that drives him to document the complaints so thoroughly.

To this day, Hoffmann said no one from the airport has ever contacted him about his complaints.

Scottsdale Airport Aviation Planning and Outreach Coordinator Sarah Ferrara said that’s just not true.

“We responded early on,” She said. “If we don’t reach someone right away, we do leave a message.”

Hoffmann said he has called Ferrara and that she told him he was out of luck because the airport was there first. 

“In essence, these pilots have more rights than we do,” Hoffmann said.

Ferrara disputes that claim as well. 

“We really do aim to track all of the noise complaints and respond to them efficiently,”  Ferrara said. 

After that, he called Scottsdale Mayor David Ortega’s office, but never got a return call. 

Ortega said he does not recall any communication from Hoffmann but would research the issue further.  

Hoffmann got so desperate he called the Federal Aviation Administration, Sky Harbor Airport; and even called a Phoenix City Council member because even though he has a Scottsdale address, he gets city services through Phoenix.

But all of them said they couldn’t help him. 

Hoffmann said he has no complaint about the jets flying in and out of the airport because they always seem to miss his house. It’s the prop planes used by the 12  – and soon to be 13 – different flight schools at the airport, that circle over head as students practice making right turns. 

Flight schools generate complaints because they tend to fly certain patterns above the airport repeatedly.

Flights landing and taking off between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. also generate complaints.

“We reach out to operators to ask for their cooperation but because we get federal grants we must, must stay open (24 hours per day, 7 days per week),” Ferrara said.

Hoffmann says it sounds funny but he figures at least some planes are flying directly over his home in retaliation for all the complaints he’s filed. 

“It sounds paranoid and goofy,” he said.

Hoffmann and his wife have considered moving but in this sellers market, he doesn’t figure he can afford to move.

There have been 21,854 noise complaints registered with the airport for the first half of this year and if you subtract the ones filed by Hoffman, total complaints are down 258 in the first half of this year from the same period in 2020.

Approximately 195,852  takeoffs and landings occurred in 2020, making Scottsdale one of the busiest corporate jet facilities in the state.

Hoffmann figures the number of planes flying over his house have eased a little bit since the runway reopened in August. 

About 455 aircraft are based at Scottsdale Airport, from single engine recreational planes to numerous corporate jets. The airport is the busiest single runway, general aviation airport and the second busiest single runway for all airports in the nation.