Council votes to change flyer restrictions at McCool airfield

The North Las Vegas City Council voted on Feb. 20 to approve new regulations for hobbyist model airplane flyers at Willie McCool Regional Park airfield, 4400 Horse Drive. The council unanimously approved measures that will change the times hobbyists can fly their planes at the park, noise control and sticker and registration requirements.

The new ordinance originally spelled out requirements for fuel-powered aircraft, such as addressing the size of mufflers, but North Las Vegas City Councilwoman Anita Wood presented discussion from the previous night’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meeting that said flyers should have control over their planes’ features as they meet the decibel requirements. The other council members agreed, and the measure was stricken from the ordinance.

Several flyers spoke out during public forum against any additional regulations, arguing that the airfield was there before the houses were built. Residents spoke out, too — some in favor of the changes and one who said he thought the issue was blown out of proportion.

Greg Minden, president of a local club that uses the field and a member of the City Council-appointed McCool Airfield Advisory Committee, urged the council not to pass the ordinance. He also asked the council to look at disbanding the advisory committee he is a member of because of a lack of participation from other members. City Manager Tim Hacker suggested that the item be brought back to a future meeting.

Minden said he was frustrated by the suggestion that the flyers be told how to keep their planes quieter.

“Don’t tell us how to build the airplane,” he said.

The maximum decibel level at the airfield is 98 dB at 25 feet. He also asked the council to change the resolution to allow stickers to be placed in a discreet place on the model airplanes to maintain their historical accuracy, he said. The council agreed and made the change before voting on the ordinance.

Greg Clemensen, associate vice president of District X for the Academy of Model Aeronautics, urged the council to make the fly field a priority because it is only one of two model airplane fields open to the public in the region.

“This field is a tremendous asset to the city of North Las Vegas because of that,” he added.

“Eventually, this place will just be closed down — is that really what you want?” Clemensen asked, speaking against the reduction in hours.

Daniel Huba, a resident of the Prescott Park neighborhood across from the airfield, argued that he and many other neighbors did not sign an agreement to acknowledge that they knew of the park when they purchased their home.

“When my windows and doors are closed and my air conditioner or heat is on, I can still hear the airplanes,” Huba said.

Huba, also a member of the advisory committee, said he agreed with Minden and supported the committee being dissolved.

After the council voted to pass the resolution to reduce the hours of fuel-powered engines, Minden spoke again in support of the council’s deliberation.

Electric engines are now allowed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Sunday. On Saturdays, both electric and fuel-powered engines are allowed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., but the louder fuel-powered engines are not allowed on Sundays and holidays. They are allowed during the week from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Parks and Recreation Director Mike Henley was asked to decide an additional afternoon evening for fuel-powered engines based on recommendations.

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