News

Aircraft noise: Rep. Eshoo asks constituents to voice concerns

 

Acting on numerous complaints by her constituents regarding an increase in aircraft noise, Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Menlo Park, is asking residents to participate in a survey she plans to take to the Federal Aviation Administration for possible changes to flight altitudes.

Residents on the Midpeninsula say the noise level and airplane frequency have increased since the FAA rolled out its new NextGen flight system, which requires aircraft to travel within a narrower corridor to free up airspace for commercial and military drones. The FAA was required by law to devise the plan.

But throughout the country wherever NextGen has been implemented, residents are complaining about the noise and frequency of flights. Pilots have to descend using a continuous decrease in altitude rather than following a stepped descent, as previously done – but that increases noise as engines throttle for the decline, residents say.

NextGen completed its rollout at San Francisco International Airport this spring.

Rep. Eshoo said she met with FAA Administrator Michael Huerta in May regarding the troubling increase in noise across her district, including communities in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties.

"I raised the concerns of the many constituents I've met with in my Palo Alto office with the administrator, and he agreed to reexamine flight altitudes passing over our region," she wrote in a letter to constituents. "He also agreed to have the FAA regional administrator hold a meeting with select community representatives in the near future. If we can bring the testimony of the people of the 18th Congressional District affected by this problem to the FAA, it will help demonstrate how urgent it is for the agency to address them.

"I ask you to please respond to the survey and consider passing it along to others in your community. Your concerns must be heard by the FAA in order for them to make the necessary changes to bring relief to my constituents."

Rep. Eshoo also encouraged residents to report any excessive aircraft noise to the SFO Noise Abatement Office. "This is very important. Your call will become part of the official record and official documentation," she added.

The Noise Abatement Office can be reached at (650) 821-4736 or by email at sfo.noise@flysfo.com.

The survey can be taken here.

Comments

7 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 16, 2015 at 1:01 pm

Dear Anna,

Does this also include noise from Surf Air Flights into San Carlos?

I can live with the commercial jets but not the constant buzzing noise from Surf Air planes


7 people like this
Posted by MEMBERONE
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 16, 2015 at 1:45 pm

Resident (and Anna), I hope so...

I want to see SurfAir OUTTAHERE.
From 7am to nearly 9pm frequently every day their pilots thumb their noses at residents of Palo Alto, Fair Oaks, Atherton, and RWC. SurfAir knows their pilots can come in quieter, but our complaints have no teeth. They would laugh at any attempt at lawsuit.

The commercial jets aren't quite as noisy - especially the newer aircraft. Although one flew over my house on James two weeks ago. I could see the passengers waving. I would have waved back but I was covering my ears.


11 people like this
Posted by no exaggeration, a zillion decibels
a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Jul 16, 2015 at 3:01 pm

"I could see the passengers waving."

It's the gross hyperbole that make me put all these folk in the category called:
.... "NIMBY Whiners who seek to shift (insert issue here) to another neighborhood"




3 people like this
Posted by Noise? What noise?
a resident of another community
on Jul 16, 2015 at 4:38 pm

Having lived under the flight path of Moffett Field for many decades, I am left to wonder what those who complain about aircraft noise over Palo Alto/Atherton/other locales are talking about. If these people want to know what aircraft noise is RE like, they should have been around Moffett back in its heyday...


Like this comment
Posted by Noise? What noise?
a resident of another community
on Jul 16, 2015 at 5:06 pm

Oh boy.

Should be: "...what aircraft noise is REALLY like..."


5 people like this
Posted by love living 20 mins. from SFO
a resident of another community
on Jul 16, 2015 at 5:06 pm

I love living 20 mins. drive from SFO. Some occasional airplane noise is a small price to pay for that convenience. I'd never dream of protesting the noise. That would be incredibly hypocritical.

I bet a lot of people who can afford to take Surf Air also live in Atherton. Sounds like they want the convenience without the airplanes. Wonder how that could work?


4 people like this
Posted by response to hypocrisy
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 16, 2015 at 5:59 pm

Agreed. If the noise bothers them so much then anyone who lives in Atherton should be barred from using Surf Air.

After all, the only solution is for Surf Air to fly over some other less affluent community.


6 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 16, 2015 at 6:08 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

If you're going to bar Atherton residents from Surfair then you'll need to bar Palo Alto and Menlo Park residents as well. The three towns have the biggest collection of self absorbed whiners in the area.


6 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 16, 2015 at 6:11 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Noise:

I too grew up under Moffet's flight path. That was LOUD. Surfair noise is a pimple on an elephant's rear end by comparison.

It just kills me. We love living within 20 minutes of an airport, but we don't want to hear any airplanes.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident,
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 16, 2015 at 6:22 pm


The only solution to Surf Air is to fly over ALL COMMUNITIES,

What part of that do you not understand.

By the way there are no less affluent communities anymore


7 people like this
Posted by Resident,
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Jul 16, 2015 at 6:35 pm

There goes another SA, That's 2 in the last 15 minutes since I got home, and 5 this morning between 7-9

God knows how many during the day while I was gone,


4 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 16, 2015 at 7:10 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

resident:

they can't fly over ALL communities. Under instrument conditions they have a very specific place they MUST fly. Under VFR conditions they can spread out, but the closer they get to the airport the less spread out they can be.


1 person likes this
Posted by Resident,
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Jul 16, 2015 at 7:45 pm

90% of our weather days are VFR, They are flying 90% of their flights using AMEBY the IFR flight path,

Google Surf Air flight schedule and you'll see the times they fly and how many are using AMEBY

I live under it I know

The ruse of pushing flights over the less affluent areas is a red herring, that hollow argument must be coming from a Surf Air investor


5 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 16, 2015 at 8:14 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

resident:

surfair flies over my home pretty frequently. I live to the "west" of you, NOT under AMEBY.

Also, I am NOT a Surfair investor. Speaking of red herring.

I'm betting the train generates more noise at your home than Surfair. When will you be demanding the relocation of Caltrain?


5 people like this
Posted by Resident,
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Jul 16, 2015 at 9:18 pm


With starter homes costing 1M$, Where are those less affluent areas again?

There goes another one. 9:18 p.m.

Anna, where do I sign up? Our working group is worthless, Hope you back up what you say.


27 people like this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of another community
on Jul 17, 2015 at 12:09 pm

There are solutions to the aircraft noise problem, that do not involve passing the problem onto another community:

1. HIGHER - All aircraft on approach, should fly higher to reduce ground level noise impacts. Sound obeys the inverse square law, so distance has a dramatic effect on sound.

2. DON'T SHIFT, SHARE - Aircraft traffic and noise should not be shifted from a larger number of people, and onto to a smaller number of people. That's just not fair. Everyone should help share the burden.

3. CURFEW - There should be a sensible nighttime curfew that limits flights over populated areas and dwellings when people are sleeping. This should be easy to do, since there are only a handful of planes in the air between Midnight and 6:00am.

4. BAY APPROACH - The FAA should transition to a plan where all aircraft approach SFO starting at the southern tip of the Bay, and don't fly over populated areas or dwelling at less than 10,000'. This is done in other cities like Washington DC, where all approach routes fly along the Potomac River.

An over the Bay approach for all SFO bound aircraft would open up options for Surfair to route over less populated areas, and implement other noise abatement procedures.

For those living in Anna Eshoo's congressional district, the survey has a comments section, where you can voice your concerns about Surfair. More information on aviation noise, and air traffic patterns, in Anna Eshoo's 18th congressional district can be found on the websites of the community groups linked below:

Sky Posse Palo Alto: Web Link

Save Our Skies Santa Cruz: Web Link



10 people like this
Posted by Wow
a resident of Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on Jul 17, 2015 at 2:19 pm

@jetman: thank you for a sensible and through post. I agree 100pct. A couple of comments:

-the faa did a study before implementing NextGen. I think the findings were basically that no significant impact should be expected. Hmm....let's see. Airplanes flying lower, in tighter corridors and closer to each otherr. They can pay me a visit anytime and will find out for themselves.

Re. curfews: it's now illegal for airports to establish new curfews. The airports that have one in place (SJC for instance) had theirs grandfathered in when the new law took effect, I think in the 90s.

Lastly, I'm thorougjly amused by some of the comments on that thread. Want to hear real noise? You should have lived by Moffett field way back. That's cute. How about lokimg forward not backward? And what's with the bashing of specific towns? Last time I checked, the noise level,is not proportional to the size of one's wallet (or perceived size...)




5 people like this
Posted by Disheartened
a resident of another community
on Jul 17, 2015 at 2:56 pm

I see a few points worth addressing:

- The old times, with the P3s from Moffett Field. I remember those. They were loud but so much less numerous in Palo Alto, and mostly daytime flights, that I would gladly switch back to that era rather than have to put up with today's commercial traffic as it is.

- If you live where your commute to San Francisco is about 20 minutes, you live in a Peninsula area where airplane traffic is much less, or is much higher and quieter. In Palo Alto, 45 minutes away from SF, we actually have more such noise than you do. SFO bound plane traffic (and noise) was shifted down to Palo Alto in the 90s to protect San Mateo county, and Palo Alto does have lower traffic and noise than most communities in San Mateo county. Look into it. You will see it IS the case.

- "Shifting". There was a shifting of commercial flights from a less populated area (Atherton) to a more populated area (Palo Alto) in the 1990s. So, I am not sure I agree about not shifting from more populated to less populated areas. I would love to send all the commercial planes back to where they originally were, Atherton. (I understand the shifting comment in the context of NextGen however.)

- I do agree that the best thing to do would be to have systemic solutions: fly higher (can be done), longer above the Bay (can be done), curfew (change the rules, San Jose has a curfew, although it is regularly broken).

It is time for the FAA to stop just aiding and abetting airlines and to go back to its mission of protecting the public, not just protecting its safety, but also protecting its health. Airplane noise and pollution is a big health issue.


2 people like this
Posted by Disheartened
a resident of another community
on Jul 17, 2015 at 2:58 pm

I meant to say that Palo Alto has HIGHER traffic and noise that your community 20 minutes away from SF.


2 people like this
Posted by Disheartened
a resident of another community
on Jul 17, 2015 at 3:02 pm

Or rather lower flying airplanes and higher noise levels... Alright. I made my point. Sorry about the confusion.


19 people like this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of another community
on Jul 17, 2015 at 3:41 pm

Wow,

EIR - The aviation indistry lobbied congress for, and received a "categorical exclusion" or CATEX. The CATEX exempts the FAA from doing a federally required environmental impact study, if they complete a preliminary study and issue a "finding of no significant impact" or FONSI. The FAA did a preliminary study of the Norcal Metroplex, and issued a FONSI for "nextgen" implementation. A group in Portola Valley is mounting a legal challenge to the FAA's FONSI.

Curfews - It might be more accurate to say it would be in violation of a contract most airports have with the FAA, to impose a curfew. Most airports take grant money from the FAA, and in exchange sign a contract with the FAA. These contracts have "non-discrimination" clauses which prevent the airport from limiting when any aircraft can use the airport. Some airports like SJC with long-standing curfews have FAA contracts which allow them to maintain their curfews.

That being said, there is nothing to prevent the FAA from granting limited exemptions to the "non-discriminatory" clause that would allow airports to use curfews for noise mitigation, or from using some type of temporal route management strategy themselves, to reduce nighttime noise impacts.


8 people like this
Posted by Courtesy
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 17, 2015 at 6:39 pm

Come on folks... Please stay on topic and respect your neighbors and communities!


2 people like this
Posted by Resident,
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Jul 17, 2015 at 7:19 pm

Jetman I appreciate your knowledge,

Any thoughts on getting Surf Air to spread their approaches to San Carlos Airport on VFR days.


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 17, 2015 at 7:29 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

resident:

as I've said before, they're already spreading their flights. Sorry if you don't thinks so, but they wouldn't be flying over my house on a regular basis if they weren't.

If you don't believe me I suggest you go to SFO's noise abatement website and click on the flight tracker and watch arriving SA flights for a while.


9 people like this
Posted by Wow
a resident of Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on Jul 17, 2015 at 8:43 pm

@ jetman

Thank you so much for your input, you clearly know your stuff. As you probably know, Ms Eshoo is looking for feedback and suggestions and you could clearly contribute a lot to the discussion if you haven't already. I'm not associated with her.

SurfAir planes are a pain in and of themselves, flying lower, more slowly and with a distinctively annoying noise. And they're adding more early morning and late evening flights starting mid-July...


16 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 18, 2015 at 2:00 am

It's interesting, I live in Atherton and now have less commercial flights over our home since next gen started.

I for one didn't mind the extra commercial traffic. They were occasional, large and frankly amazing to watch. Especially multi colored jumbo jets from foreign countries. Their planes were different to look at. Patterns, speeds, and schedules were varied. However as was stated Next Gen was set up to create a narrower path with more planes to lessen traffic over a larger area and concentrate more traffic on a smaller footprint. Like a freeway. That is totally unfair to the people who now have 90% of the traffic directly over their houses with a regular schedule. I would welcome back the way it was before Next Gen.
and will post my feelings on the Eshoo survey.

We suffer a similar concern about Surf Air flying the majority of their aircraft over one flight path similar to next gen. into San Carlos Airport. They are smaller aircraft Pilatus PC-12, Turboprops and make a very distinct annoying buzzing engine noise. Like the next gen commercial jet traffic Surf Air flies the same flight path, on a specific schedule, at low altitudes.

A bad noise that's also predictable, creates an atmosphere of painful predictability. It's like hearing the dentist drill right before it hits your teeth. They are allowed to vary their flight path on clear days but for the most part choose to fly one path. They wake me in the morning with their 7:00 a.m. arrivals, and I listen to them all day as I mostly work from home, Then the 5:00-8:00 p.m. rush hour comes through before capping it off with the later 10:00 flights.

Google Surf Air flight schedule and see how many flights a day into San Carlos and the times. This will only be growing,

As Jeff Potter once told me "He can fly as many flights as he wants in to San Carlos and there's nothing we can do about it"

I've lived in the same home for 15 years, My wife and I started with nothing, worked very hard everyday and still do. From the ages of 10 on I raised my family here. My kids are off living their lives and my wife and I have really enjoyed continuing to live here. At least until SA showed up. I now keep my doors and windows closed much of the day and dread the anticipation of the those noisy scheduled flights. No more peaceful get togethers with family and friends as they fly 7 days a week morning til night. I now know how the people who live under next gen feel and you have my empathy.

I am not anti aviation or a NIMBY, On the contrary, I learned to fly at Moffett Field 40 years ago and am very familiar with loud and not so loud aircraft .From Cessna 150's to C5A's As a pilot and a resident. So after over 45 years living on the mid-penInsula I never thought I'd be the one to complain about aviation noise. Since SA doesn't seem to be going away,

I hope jetman doesn't mind if I borrow one of his many well put statements above.

2. DON'T SHIFT, SHARE - Aircraft traffic and noise should not be shifted from a larger number of people, and onto to a smaller number of people. That's just not fair. Everyone should help share the burden.

If Surf Air would Share "spread" their burden I think most people could live with it.




Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 18, 2015 at 8:12 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Neighbor:

In my experience SA IS spreading out their flights. I live close to El Camino, to the "west" of the AMEBY IFR route. We get frequent over flights of their aircraft, so I know they're not always flying the AMEBY route.

In my opinion they're not that loud, their engine noise while different isn't annoying and the duration of the noise is no more than twenty seconds. To me that just isn't a terrible intrusion. Especially compared to some of the 747 flights that sometimes pass over when they're low,slow and "dirty."


Like this comment
Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 18, 2015 at 9:33 am

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

@neighbor

Not to burst your bubble, but the number of GA flights at SQL (San Carlos) has actually dropped over the years, as have the other small airports. There was a time when PAO (Palo Alto) was one of the 5 busiest airports in the country.

All this is because there are fewer certified pilots every year.

Roy Thiele-Sardina
SMEL Instrument


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 18, 2015 at 6:00 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

"All this is because there are fewer certified pilots every year. "

And that's a darn shame. Nothing beats the freedom of flying yourself somewhere.


4 people like this
Posted by Tricia
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jul 20, 2015 at 1:46 pm

Been here on Atherton Avenue since 1978 and right now July 20 at 1:30 PM I'm trying to have lunch out in my garden and all I hear are several lawn leaf blowers. I do not mind the airplanes nor the train horn at all .... But I hate those leaf blowers.
Surf air has never bothered me at all and even at 11 o'clock at night I hear the train from a mile away and it does not bother me .... This is Sillaken Valley after all and I have no objections to any airplane noise in a helicopter noise any train noise but please get rid of those leaf blowers


Like this comment
Posted by Tricia
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jul 20, 2015 at 1:49 pm

Silicon Valley..... That's what you get for dictating through Siri


15 people like this
Posted by Ann
a resident of another community
on Jul 20, 2015 at 3:19 pm

Tricia,

Maybe if you had a little more compassion for the people suffering from aircraft noise, they would be more concerned about your pet peeve?


4 people like this
Posted by More flights coming
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Jul 21, 2015 at 6:38 am

If you Google LA Times Surf Air you will find many articles regarding the history, financing and expansion plans of Surf Air. This is an excerpt I posted before from an article by Andrea Chang dated April 10, 2015:

Surf Air, the members-only airline, is poised for a growth spurt
To accommodate the anticipated increase, Surf Air is adding to its fleet of eight Swiss-made Pilatus PC-12 planes, placing a large order for dozens of new planes. It will have 15 by the end of this year and, by 2020, will have at least 65 planes in operation.

"We foresee ourselves on an hourly basis in a couple years," Potter said.

If Surf Air cares at all about the noise complaints, they certainly aren't helping to solve the problem by buying more Pilatus PC 12 planes. They have to be the noisiest aircraft in the sky. There must be other safe alternatives-probably faster too


3 people like this
Posted by farmer doe
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 23, 2015 at 10:30 am

Trains planes and leaf blowers.

Planes are the least of the three.


1 person likes this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Jul 23, 2015 at 9:06 pm



While Surf Air May have the legal right to fly into San Carlos? They do not have the right to affect one's quality of life. 200 flights a week over the same homes is too much.

I would support legal action.

Any aviation specialist attorneys out there looking for a class action? Over 700 people signed a petition objecting to Surf Air flying it's AIRLINE into San Carlos General aviation airport.

Perhaps San Carlos Airport should prohibit Commercial Airlines and go back to General aviation as it was originally designed to operate.

Who are we kidding legally or under the spirit of the law SC was not when designed and built planning on or intending to accommodate a commercial Airline.


Like this comment
Posted by Not the worst nuisance...
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 24, 2015 at 12:45 pm

It seems like as noise sources go, this one is relatively transient and not as loud as some, so I have a hard time getting excited about it, and have completed my survey accordingly.

But leaf-blowers now, the gas-powered ones in particular. What an incessant racket! There always seems to be one roaring away in one or another yard nearby. Largely unnecessary, and pumping harmful fumes and dust into the environment to boot. I wish Ms. Eshoo would turn her attention to those ...


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 24, 2015 at 9:57 pm

Neighbor:

So I guess you're not effected by any of the other noise makers the study found? Are you going to sue Caltrain? They're a heck of a lot louder than Surfair.


6 people like this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of another community
on Jul 28, 2015 at 11:05 pm

Not sure why the Almanac is not reporting on this story given that Atherton, Portola Valley, and Menlo Park are in Congresswoman Anna Eshoo's 18th congressional district, and representatives of these cities attended the meeting with FAA officials in Palo Alto:

"Admitting that jet aircraft noise is a problem over Palo Alto and neighboring Bay Area cities, Federal Aviation Administration officials met with local government representatives and grassroots airplane-noise groups on Friday morning at Palo Alto City Hall"

"FAA to work to reduce plane noise"
Palo Alto Online ~ Jul 26, 2015 Web Link


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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