News


Tuesday: Board of Supervisors update on San Carlos Airport issues

Meeting is Tuesday starting at 9 a.m.

San Mateo County has hired two aviation consultants to help it study how to "provide meaningful relief" for local residents affected by the noisy aircraft that have begun using the airport in greater and greater numbers.

An update on what the county is calling the "San Carlos Airport Aircraft Disturbance Study" from county Public Works Director Jim Porter will be presented to the Board of Supervisors when it meets on Tuesday, April 26, starting at 9 a.m. in the supervisors' meeting room at 400 County Center in Redwood City. The item is scheduled for 9:15 a.m.

Surf Air, the commuter airline that began using the San Carlos Airport in June 2013, is not named directly in the update, probably because Federal Aviation Administration rules prohibit discriminating against any airport user. But complaints about the noisy turboprop planes used by the airline have poured in to the airport since Surf Air began its scheduled flights there.

Supervisor Don Horsley said in March that he asked for the study only after attempting to work collaboratively with Surf Air for nearly three years.

A March meeting to discuss the issue drew an overflow crowd, including both those who say they are plagued by the noisy aircraft and airport users who said they were afraid regulations could affect their use of the airport.

"It is clear, based on community input, that noise reduction efforts to date have not resolved the considerable community concern over aircraft disturbance," Mr. Porter's report says.

Mr. Porter said the consultants will look at the regulations at other general aviation airports, study the flight data at the San Carlos Airport and "develop more refined noise reduction options" specific to the local situation.

Cost of hiring the consultants is estimated to be $165,000.

The county will also hire a consultant to survey resident and airport businesses about the impacts of current use of the airport. In May another public meeting will be held to discuss the county's options for dealing with the problem.

The county is also work with the FAA and the airport's business and pilots' associations, Mr. Porter's report says.

The supervisors are scheduled to receive recommendations for further action at a June meeting.

Comments

12 people like this
Posted by Karen Farnesi
a resident of another community
on Apr 23, 2016 at 10:44 am

We live by the Crystal Spring shopping center in San Mateo. Almost all our neighbors who live along highway 92 have complained on the Nextdoor app about small planes out of the San Carlos airport. We have lived here since 1975 and the noise in the last 2 years has increased, I have had neck surgery last February and trying to rest during the day is impossible.


20 people like this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of another community
on Apr 23, 2016 at 12:02 pm

The Daily Post also covered the Board of Supervisors meeting in an article published on Friday. The Post's article highlights discussion of a curfew (and 11 other ideas). If a curfew is indeed discussed, it should be an interesting discussion. SFO and other airports contend they are not able to impose curfews due to the contractual requirements imposed by the AIP grants they clamor after, and receive, from the FAA.

If AIP grants are preventing government owned airports from regulating airports on behalf of their own citizens, maybe they shouldn't be taking the FAA's AIP grants in the first place?


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 23, 2016 at 12:19 pm

maybe they shouldn't be taking the FAA's AIP grants in the first place?


Nobody forced them to request these grants or to accept the grants. But when they accepted the grants they then we're bound by the terms of the grant including the prohibition of discriminatory actions/rules.


22 people like this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of another community
on Apr 23, 2016 at 6:11 pm

While nobody forced local governments to apply for, or accept, FAA AIP Grants, many local governments were naively unaware that the misleadingly named prohibition against "discriminatory" rules/actions would prevent them from regulating their airports in any meaningful way.

Long term contracts require extraordinary disclosure by both parties. If the FAA has not been fully disclosing its long term plans, parties to the contract, or the full effect of the terms of the AIP Grant contracts, then the contract may not be legally binding.

In any case the FAA is not protecting the public from the many long term health effect of aviation noise, so local governments that own airports need to put the FAA on notice that AIP Grants are not working out as expected, and begin the long process of freeing themselves from the onerousness terms imposed by the FAA in AIP Grant contracts.


5 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 23, 2016 at 6:15 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"then the contract may not be legally binding.
"

Te AIP grants have been tried and tested in many courts and have never been found to be in any way illegal. The AIP contract were freely entered into by duly elected and appointed representatives of the citizens.


14 people like this
Posted by Tired of Noise
a resident of another community
on Apr 25, 2016 at 10:41 am

This is a waste of money. The solutions are obvious.

We need to enact meaningful limits on the noise residential areas are subjected to from aircraft. The current 65 DNL standard is too high to protect our health. According to the WHO, a single noise event of 45dB will disturb sleep. For continuous noise, and I would consider a flight every minute continuous, the level must be as low as 30dB.

We also need to be reducing, not expanding, air traffic. Aviation already accounts for 4% of the gasses contributing to anthropogenic climate change, and it is hypocritical to claim to be working towards sustainability while increasing air traffic. In addition, aircraft emit toxic pollutants, and because of the low altitude approach and departure paths currently being used the number of people being subjected to the health effects of those pollutants is increasing significantly.

The problem is the aviation industry is determined to expand, regardless of the cost to our health or the environment. The only way to get them to listen is to boycott; don’t fly unless you have to and don’t have anything shipped by air.


2 people like this
Posted by Calypso41
a resident of another community
on Apr 25, 2016 at 12:51 pm

Calypso41 is a registered user.

I hear the noise in Redwood City as well. Why can't SurfAir operate out of the main airport. I have to have a noise machine by my bed to drown out the engine noise.


2 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 25, 2016 at 2:03 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"don't fly unless you have to and don't have anything shipped by air."

Exactly what would you suggest as an alternative?


Like this comment
Posted by Tired of Noise
a resident of another community
on Apr 25, 2016 at 2:19 pm

Menlo Voter:
I'm not saying never fly and or have something shipped by air again. There has been a significant increase in aircraft noise that many are experiencing because of the aviation industry’s desire to expand, and communities have so far not received any respite, but we could make the aviation industry listen if we hurt their sales.

In the long run we have to acknowledge that not everyone can fly everywhere they want whenever they want and have everything delivered next day. People have to be willing to make the way they live sustainable.


17 people like this
Posted by Quiet and Proud
a resident of another community
on Apr 25, 2016 at 3:07 pm

Menlo Voter:
There’s a lot we can do. We have the power of numbers. Not so long ago, Americans didn’t have to choose between flying/shipping or receiving things by air and a good night’s sleep, quiet enjoyment of their home, and pleasure in the outdoors. But if this industry and others reliant on it aim to increase capacity whatever the cost then we have no choice but to change our behavior to make the listen and do the right thing. All that aircraft and the coming drones have to go somewhere. So drop that altitude as low as possible right out of the gate, and then pack the skies going up and up as far as possible. This isn’t sustainable and it isn’t ethical by any honest measure.

Okay, you’re not ready, for whatever reason, to do an all out boycott. Well, what if everyone affected (and BTW, those who proudly claim they don’t mind the noise are still physiologically impacted meaning their health will suffer despite their imperviousness to noise) cut their flying and air deliveries/shipments by even 50%, e.g. use Skype and buy at real rather than virtual stores. If their profits go down and that is sustained long enough there won’t be a need for studies, committees, and so on. Suddenly they’ll know exactly what to do. Overnight. I don’t care how long they planned this without a peep to the public. We went to bed one day and woke to hell over our heads the next. You’d think our elected officials and their battering ram, the FAA, are waging a war on us. Noise is used to torture people. Are you sleeping, are you resting, are you enjoying your property, the outdoors? If not, do something to send a message. If we don’t buy, this won’t fly. Works every time. Oh, and don't give your elected officials peace until they do their professed job and represent the common good above profits for the few at the expense of the many.


2 people like this
Posted by Too noisy
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Apr 25, 2016 at 3:36 pm

Suggest they do a specific outreach in Spaniish at least for N Fairoaks area.


4 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 25, 2016 at 5:07 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Tired:

you didn't answer my question:

Exactly what would you suggest as an alternative?


4 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 25, 2016 at 5:09 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

quiet and proud:

guess what? You're fighting a losing battle. People buy on line because the LIKE it. They couldn't care less if it means more air traffic.


3 people like this
Posted by Walter Jacobsen
a resident of another community
on Apr 25, 2016 at 5:55 pm

"We also need to be reducing, not expanding, air traffic"

Wow, welcome to the flat earth. You have to be kidding. Have you driven lately? We have maxed out surface transportation. We can only add so many more lanes, and they're essentially useless when our legislators and law enforcement are too gutless or ignorant to enforce passing-lane laws.

Or maybe you're against the horseless carriage, too. If you ride a horse everywhere and never fly and never buy goods shipped by air... then you can continue to whine about aviation I suppose. Otherwise, you're a hypocrite spewing "statistics" with absolutely no citation or factual backup whatsoever.

Not to mention, if you close airports, you PREVENT the very innovation that would solve the problems you're complaining about. Electric airplanes exist TODAY and even have sufficient range to serve as commuter craft between various communities. If there's no place to land, aviation innovations become economically impossible.


Like this comment
Posted by Tired of Noise
a resident of another community
on Apr 26, 2016 at 9:27 am

Menlo Voter:
An alternative to expansion of air traffic? A combination of: expansion of rail for the movement of people, greater use of technology for communication when it can be used in lieu of face-to-face, and a recognition by people that a desire for instant gratification by billions of people is not sustainable.

Walter Jacobsen:
Not sure to where to begin with your response. You set up a false dichotomy (we either fly or drive, as if there are no other options), accuse me of making unsubstantiated claims, although what claims you feel are not supported by the facts you don’t say, and suggest that I’m calling for airports to be closed, something I never proposed.


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 26, 2016 at 12:26 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Tired:

so what you're suggesting in regards to travel is that we go backwards. Rail is not viable and hasn't been for a very long time. Also, all of those trains have a carbon footprint just like planes. Given that they burn diesel and a lot of it for a given passenger mile I suspect they have a higher carbon footprint than a modern airliner.

Reducing travel by use of technology is already happening, but businesses still have a need to meet face to face. So, this isn't going to work either. At least any more than it already has.


Like this comment
Posted by Tired of Noise
a resident of another community
on Apr 26, 2016 at 1:11 pm

CO2 emissions for aircraft range from .24 kg per passenger mile for short flights to .18 kg for longer flights. Trains emit .17 kg per passenger mile, less if the train is electric. Additionally, the impact of air travel is compounded by the effects of the high altitude emissions, so the true effect is greater than the figures shown. For the sake of comparison, the average car emits .35 kg CO2 per mile (and that is for a single occupant. Carpool and you have less impact than flying).

For cargo, aircraft emit .8063 kg per ton-mile, trains .1048 and trucks .1693.

Time is the biggest difference between rail and air, but only for longer trips. A trip from London to Paris via the Eurostar would take 2.75 hours. The same trip by plane would take 3.5 hours. A trip from SF to LA would take longer by train than by air, but not much longer (if we had a good rail system) and at a much lower environmental cost. According to the US Bureau of Transportation Statistics, only 7% of business trips are over 1,000 miles, so the vast majority of such travel could be done by rail.

How is rail not viable?


Like this comment
Posted by Quiet and Proud
a resident of another community
on Apr 26, 2016 at 3:55 pm

Menlo Voter/Walter Jacobsen:

It is a losing battle so long as the majority of people complaining about noise and pollution refuse to adjust their contributing behavior. Noise and pollution don’t bother me, spread the noise and pollution equally (misery wants company not a stop to the misery), or not in my backyard seem to be the most popular sentiments in response to this drastic change in our skies—incessant, low altitude aircraft 24/7.

Desire for profits and instant gratification appear to be without limits (e.g., fly whenever I want wherever I want as much as I want, next day FedEx, 30 min delivery by Amazon drone, whatever), but our resources are finite. Adopting an attitude of conservation, limits, won’t shut down airports and destroy businesses and put an end to air travel and deliveries.

California has been in a drought. Is it crazy to suggest the idea of water conservation? Do our skies have to look like our freeways and roads at rush hour 24/7 before we change our behavior, even a little? BTW, a critical difference; you can get away from a fixed location, e.g. road or freeway, but we can't escape the sky.

The aviation industry lobbied relentlessly and threw big money at our elected officials in Congress to get the green light to bring the aircraft, and coming drones, down low over our heads. We can complain all we want about the now omnipresent invasive noise and air pollution, but if their profits keep skyrocketing while our quality of life gets continually degraded, and we complain but don’t change our behavior, well then this terrible change to our skies is here to stay and set to just get worse.


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 26, 2016 at 4:49 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

tired:

unless I'm mistaken Eurostar is high speed rail. We don't have it and won't for a very long time. Certainly not nationally. In addition, most all of the rail in this country is NOT electric it's diesel. So it has a carbon footprint on par with passenger aircraft. Not to mention if the rail isn't high speed, rail takes longer for a given distance than air.


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Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 26, 2016 at 4:51 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

quiet:

as I've repeatedly pointed out in other posts, the reason we have increased air traffic is because of increased demand. Demand for more convenient flight times and cheaper fares. From many of the same people that now want to complain about the noise.


Like this comment
Posted by Tired of Noise
a resident of another community
on Apr 26, 2016 at 5:13 pm

Menlo Voter:
Yes, we need high speed rail to make it a viable option. Let’s advocate for that rather than on-demand flying. As I pointed out earlier, the carbon footprint of long distance air travel is on par with that of diesel rail, but the majority of business travel is short distance which results in significantly higher emissions.


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Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 26, 2016 at 5:23 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

tired:

then it isn't going to happen. High speed rail isn't going to get built. It costs far too much and will require subsidies to make it close to on par with air travel. Not to mention that much of the power generated in this country has a carbon footprint as well. So electric trains really aren't that "clean" either.


Like this comment
Posted by Tired of Noise
a resident of another community
on Apr 26, 2016 at 5:27 pm

Menlo Voter:

One thing we have to keep in mind though is that diesel rail is on par with passenger aircraft only when we do not take into account its emissions at higher altitudes and how those chemicals react in the upper atmosphere to increase global warming.


Like this comment
Posted by Tired of Noise
a resident of another community
on Apr 26, 2016 at 5:37 pm

Menlo Voter:

You ought to check out the historic subsidies that have gone into the aviation industry!


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Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 26, 2016 at 7:23 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

tired:

bottom line is to go to rail is to go backward. We aren't going to do that. So, beyond that pipe dream what do you have?


Like this comment
Posted by Tired of Noise
a resident of another community
on Apr 27, 2016 at 8:23 am

Menlo Voter:
You keep making the claim that rail is "going backwards" but have yet to substantiate it. I am arguing for creating a sustainable society that serves the common good, a progressive policy.

Regarding your comment above about emissions of electric trains, since diesel trains are already lower than aircraft, electric will be even better.

As for cost, the FAA NextGen program alone is estimated to cost $29 billion, and since it has continuously been above previous projections that amount will go up.

I'm not saying aviation does not have a role to play, it certainly does, but the industry has to serve the public good. People have the right to sleep and the quiet enjoyment of their homes. They have the right to breathe clean air. Those rights outweigh the desire for someone to get from A to B quickly or to have something delivered in 1 day instead of a few.


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Posted by Quiet and Proud
a resident of another community
on Apr 27, 2016 at 9:07 am

Menlo Voter:
I don't think the French would call their high-speed rail, the TGV, "backward." If it's just the greater population to blame for the now 24/7 low altitude aircraft stealing our sleep, the peace of our homes, pleasure in the outdoors then why does the aviation industry and its dependents lobby relentlessly, throwing big money left and right to get this redesign of the airspace at the expense of the human and natural environment? The impact is significant! Congress knew it would be and the industry they served hence legislating in the categorical exclusion of the human impact on NextGen implementation that stole the public's voice. Mainstream media has mostly done a black out on the public outcry or they focus endless on the technology: GPS instead of radar, blah, blah. The technology is irrelevant. I can fly low altitude with either. They're flying low in order to pack arrival and departure paths. Entire communities are essential transformed into enormous airport tarmacs. I'd call that backward! I'd rather have my sleep, a peaceful home, and enjoy the outdoors. That's my idea of progress. And when we talk about the economy let's unpack that. This ultimately pumps up the aviation industry's profits at the expense of the common good, a fair and just transportation system for everyone.


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Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 27, 2016 at 3:05 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

quiet:

given the ever expanding population of the bay area which is unlikely to stop growing, your desire for peace and quiet aren't going to happen. Unfortunately, increased growth increases the demand for space, housing, transportation, etc. Not a recipe for peace and quiet.


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Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 27, 2016 at 3:07 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

tired:

Nextgen may cost $29 billion, but the currently projected cost of HSR between SF and LA currently stands at $69 billion. That is likely to go up as well. And that is for just one small part of the country. What do you think it would cost to put HSR in nationwide?


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Posted by Tired of Noise
a resident of another community
on Apr 27, 2016 at 4:10 pm

Menlo Voter:
It is expensive partly because we've invested so little in rail for so long. The US has favored for-profit modes of transportation for a long time, to the extent that we've torn up public transportation systems. (I won’t even get into the debate of whether the CA HSR should cost that much, but even if we assume that’s what it would cost, the price would get reduced as more lines were built.)

$69 billion is a large number, but keep in mind that is only .4% of US GDP in 2015. If we reduced our military spending down to what it was in 2000 (2.9% of GDP) we could pay for a California-style HSR every year and have money left over.

And then there’s the cost of doing nothing. I’ve seen wildly differing estimations on what ignoring the environmental impact of our actions would cost us economically. Frankly, while that is a real impact, not saving lives (human and other) because of a relatively small cost is a ridiculous argument. The fact that protecting the environment would also protect our economy seems like a win-win to me.


Like this comment
Posted by Quiet and Proud
a resident of another community
on Apr 27, 2016 at 5:00 pm

Menlo Voter:
You’ve chosen to confuse a good night’s sleep, quiet enjoyment of one’s home, and pleasure in the outdoors with ABSOLUTE silence. That’s your faulty reasoning. I’ve lived in urban environments all over the U.S. and abroad and it was not until the aviation industry with the help of Congress and their battering ram the FAA brought 24/7 low altitude aircraft down on our heads that those basic freedoms were stolen.

There is no justification for this incessant low flying aircraft.

Sleep, if you value nothing else, is the most basic of human needs. That alone should be enough to compel our elected officials at every level of government to do all that is within their delegated, representative power to put a stop to this travesty IMMEDIATELY.

They could flip the switch and bring this down on communities throughout the U.S. overnight, but gee now we got to have roundtables, studies, committees, task forces, whatever you want to call these stalling tactics, until they wear people down so they just give up. We’re deprived, got to go work, deal with daily responsibilities and life, so easy to defeat us, right? Because while we’ve got to keep all that running as best we can they’re getting paid to play these stalling games, to show up at these meetings, etc. We don’t! That should piss us off even more!

Everyone who thinks this is a degradation of our quality of life will hopefully not give up, but instead fight and fight until members of Congress realize they can’t just pander to big money. They actually need to represent the people.

Have our freedoms as Americans shrunk so low. I for one certainly hope not. We have the numbers! We have the power! We just need to realize it and act on it!


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 27, 2016 at 5:24 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"If we reduced our military spending down to what it was in 2000 (2.9% of GDP) we could pay for a California-style HSR every year and have money left over. "

Not going to happen, in fact, the military needs MORE money not less.

Clearly we will have to agree to disagree.


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

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