Noisy planes flying in and out of the Montgomery County Airpark have sent neighbors running to the Federal Aviation Administration for relief.

"Imagine a train coming at you," said resident Robert Anderson. "It's just very disturbing over a sustained period of time for a large portion of the East Montgomery Village community."

Anderson, head of the 43-member Airpark Concerned Citizens Association, said the planes fly so low they create safety concerns.

"Planes crash," he said. "And when you're directly flying over a community where there's no place to go, you're left with the results of that when the engine stalls out."

The association wants the FAA to designate their neighborhood a "congested area," which would place more stringent restrictions on overflights.

"We believe we would solve 90-95 percent of our problem if this area were to be declared a congested residential community," Anderson said.

The FAA designates a "congested area" on a case-by-case basis, according to a letter Anderson got from Rebecca MacPherson of the FAA's Regulations and Enforcement Division.

Officials of the airpark, which is run by the Montgomery County Revenue Authority --a public corporation -- declined to comment on neighbors' complaints.

Anderson said the authority has ignored concerns raised by the association.

"Our complaints have been falling on deaf ears for far too many years," Anderson wrote to the FAA and the Montgomery County Council in June.

Tim Fleming, a flight instructor and owner of Fleming Aviation, which operates out of the airpark, said residents may be right about the noise problem, but not about the solution.

"If it's enough to bother somebody, then I think it's a problem whether it's warranted or not," he said.

Fleming said the FAA should re-examine areas around the airpark to see which ones are experiencing loud noise, and then rewrite flight patterns to reduce it.

lessley@washingtonexaminer.com