Ayer man seeks help in combating nuisance flights over Groton, Ayer

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GROTON — Selectmen heard an appeal Monday night from Ayer resident David McCoy who is seeking support in combating a flight school that uses the air space over Ayer and Groton as a training area.

According to McCoy, ever since flight restrictions were removed from the former Fort Devens in 1996, the flight club has been conducting flight training over the two towns even though its headquarters is in Bedford.

McCoy said the company is in violation of state regulations in the way they conduct flying lessons often exceeding altitude restrictions and other negligent operations.

In addition, because flight instructors have concentrated lessons over the same areas in the two towns, he said, the same residents have had to endure airplane engine noise on a constant basis. McCoy said that he has seen planes fly at “rooftop level” near his Ayer home.

As a result, he asked selectmen to support and sign a letter of complaint addressed to the Massachusetts Transportation Department Aeronautics Division.

But selectmen had questions about the contents of the letter with Stuart Schulman wanting to know exactly what regulations the flight school is breaking.

“Not all activity is illegal,” noted Schulman, even though they might be considered a nuisance.

“The chief thing here is enforcement,” said Schulman, suggesting that selectmen urge the state to review the company’s flight practices and enforce existing regulations rather than issue a blanket letter condemning the activity.

In the end, selectmen asked town manager Mark Haddad to review the letter and amend it accordingly so that it would demand simple enforcement of existing regulations for training flights over Groton.