Donald Trump, always the media hound, just sucks us in (and I’m guilty here), but for entertainment value this is hard to top. The latest Trump titillation is the $100 million lawsuit he’s filed against Palm Beach County. In a recent interview he said, “I am saving one of the great houses of this country and one of its greatest landmarks, and it’s being badly damaged by the airplanes.” He claims noise and emissions from aircraft are damaging the stone construction and disrupting “the once serene and tranquil ambience.” Perhaps Mr. Trump hasn’t noticed that most of South Florida is anything but “serene and tranquil” with the population influx over the last half century.
That’s understandable. He’s been distracted with multiple lawsuits against the Palm Beach International Airport (PBI). The first one in 1995 was settled when the county agreed to lease him some land to build Trump International Golf Course. Very shrewd business deal. He sued again in 2010 but that case was dismissed. Undaunted, he’s back!
Never one to be overly self absorbed, Trump claimed that he was being deliberately targeted by having most flights fly directly over his house. The suit apparently claims that the county’s airport director, who has been named in previous litigation, asked air traffic controllers to direct almost all flights due east, over Mar-a-Lago. These actions are called “deliberate and malicious. “Even Trump’s own Boeing 757, with his name modestly splashed over the side in gold, has been forced to rumble over Mar-a-Lago. It should be mentioned that the runways are aligned with the prevailing winds, east and west, which makes it operationally necessary for east arrivals and departures.
Too many other airports around the country are besieged by neighbors who move in afterwards and belatedly discover that aircraft make noise. The estate was built in 1927, and Eastern Airlines started operating DC-3’s out of PBI in the mid 30’s. Trump bought Mar-A-Lago in 1985 but apparently was unaware that a major international airport was less than three miles to the west. Who knew?
The irony of Trump’s whining is as epic as the man himself. Let me get this straight: Here’s a man who flies a heavy jet and helicopters around the country, who buys real estate (his business) located in the arrival and departure path of a large airport and then somehow feels he deserves to be compensated because of noise? Equally plausible, perhaps, is a new aviation “reality” TV series where the Kardashians will make a guest appearance as they get into aviation. What could be better?
How about recognizing airports as noise producers for the foreseeable future and zoning/purchasing property accordingly?