Plane spraying for gypsy moths surprises Clintonville residents, FAA Columbus

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A yellow airplane buzzing Clintonville neighborhoods early Wednesday morning caused a stir for some residents who contacted the Columbus office of the Federal Aviation Administration wanting to know what was going on.

Local FAA officials discovered it was an airplane out of Michigan spraying for gypsy moths. The problem was, no one contacted the Columbus FAA office to let officials here know.

“Why weren’t we notified?” said Dennis Garcia, a supervisor for the Columbus office.

Garcia said his office found out on Thursday that the pilot contacted John Glenn Columbus International Airport’s tower about spraying in the area Wednesday morning, giving the tower the tail number. The FAA then learned that the plane belonged to Al’s Aerial Spraying out of Ovid, Michigan.

But in 2018, the company wrote the local FAA office that it was working with the U.S. Forest Service and the Ohio Department of Agriculture to spray areas of Columbus for gypsy moths between May 29 and July 31 of 2018.

Garcia said there was no such letter this year.

“I have nothing coming in that we were even aware of it,” Garcia said.

The Dispatch received an email late Wednesday afternoon from Clintonville resident Cathy Costello about “a small single-seater plane, bright yellow,” that was buzzing Clintonville around 7:30 a.m. Wednesday.

“It literally was at tree-top level,” she wrote. “I saw many people out trying to figure out what was going on and if a plane was coming down. He probably passed over at least eight times in a 10-minute period.”

Garcia said his office received five or six calls about the incident.

He said he plans on Friday morning to talk to Al’s Aerial Spraying and the FAA inspector out of Grand Rapids, Michigan about what happened.

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