BURIEN, Wash. -- The first time he heard the whirring of a commuter propeller plane, Larry Cripe knew something was wrong. It was the summer, and the plane was flying over his Burien home. That was not supposed to happen.
"The noise becomes unbearable," said Cripe. "We've now had as many as 60 flights in a day coming at low altitude. The turbo props are extremely noisy."
Cripe spent decades flying for Alaska Airlines and knows all about flying in and out of Sea-Tac International Airport. Except in rare circumstances, the flight pattern does not include going over his west Burien home.
"The new corridors are against the law," he said. "It's that simple."
During the summer, the Federal Aviation Administration allowed propeller planes taking off northbound to make a quick left-handed turn, rather than continuing north while gaining elevation.
The move was to allow faster commuter jets to take off since prop planes tend to move slower. It also allows airport officials to accommodate the rapid growth.
The problem is, according to critics, no one was told.
"Planes are where we don't usually see them," said Interim Burien City Manager Tony Piasecki, "Second, nobody told us it was going to happen."
City council members agreed Monday to sue the FAA if it doesn't stop the current flight pattern and do an environmental assessment. It set a deadline of February 10.
"We believe there's a process that should've been done first to make sure all impacts of that have been investigated and identified," said Piasecki.
The FAA released a statement, saying in part it is "aware of concerns by the City of Burien with a very limited, but increasing number of smaller turboprop aircraft over a portion of Burien."
"We have met with the (city) on two occasions and responded to...questions, clarifying FAA actions," according to the FAA statement. "We expect to continue to work with the City of Burien...to identify other possible ways to mitigate this issue during the limited time they happen."
The FAA added the northbound flights represent two percent of total departures from Sea-Tac Airport.