Fake noise complaints pouring into Paine Field

VIDEO: Investigation into hundreds of noise complaints about Paine Field

An investigation is underway into hundreds of noise complaints about Paine Field.

They allegedly came from an account belonging to the man who runs the airport. Last Sunday, nearly two hundred more came in allegedly from Arif Ghouse.

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The people at Paine Field insist they are fake. Is there noise at the airfield? When the jets fire up, there definitely is.

But the people running the airport say fake noise complaints are painting an inaccurate picture.

The sky high above Mukilteo was filled with airplanes and the noise that comes with them. But it was hard to find anyone on the ground who minds, even with commercial jets flying out of Paine Field for the last seven months.

"They're not as noisy as the Boeing jets," said Howard Nelson, Mukilteo. "They're certainly not as noisy as these military jets. And so I just think it's great. I mean I love flying out of here."

According to the airport's own website, nearly 11,000 aircraft took off and landed in August of last year. Yet just 53 noise complaints were filed.

This August, there were 5,000 more aircraft operations, but the noise complaints jumped to more than 2,700, a whopping 5000%.  And several hundred of them came from an account supposedly linked to the airport's director.

Scott North, a spokesman for Paine Field, said those complaints are not being sent by Arif Ghouse.

"Correct," he said.

He added the fake complaints are not coming from their website.

"What's new is that there are 3rd party apps or services that are enabling people to make noise complaints from their computer desktop or their phone," said North. "And it makes it a lot easier. So they're making a lot more."

There are no complaints from residents like Therese Sullivan, still marveling over the convenience of a commercial airport in her backyard.

"You shouldn't even ask that question," she said, when asked if Paine Field is a good place to pick up someone. "It's wonderful."

Sending fake noise complaints is considered a crime. The Snohomish County Sheriff is investigating.

Believe or not, the people at the airport say they want to hear from anyone concerned about noise. They say they want to be a good neighbor. With accurate information about noise, they can take the steps to make sure they are.