Tonight: Aircraft noise forum set for Redwood City


Those upset about commercial aircraft noise will have an opportunity on Wednesday, June 15, to sound off to the Federal Aviation Administration and hear about activities of a new committee of elected officials appointed to deal with the problem.

The Select Committee On South Bay Arrivals will hold a public forum starting at 6 p.m. in Carrington Hall, the Sequoia High School auditorium at 1201 Brewster Ave. in Redwood City.

This is the second of three meetings being held by the committee, made up of elected officials from three affected counties -- San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz -- and headed by Santa Clara County Supervisor and former state legislator Joe Simitian.

The first meeting, held in May in Santa Cruz, attracted about 650 people, said Portola Valley Councilwoman Ann Wengert, a member of the committee.

That meeting was intended as a listening session for the committee and was "extremely well organized," Ms. Wengert told her Portola Valley council colleagues on June 8.

The meeting began with a "lengthy" preamble by Mr. Simitian, followed by a FAA presentation on a recent feasibility study on noise concerns in the three counties. Then came remarks from local noise-protest groups. The remainder of the three-hour session was taken up by comments and questions from the audience, with each person getting 90 seconds to speak.

The final meeting is set for June 29 in Santa Clara County at a location to be determined.


Follow the Almanac on Twitter and Facebook for breaking news, local events and community news.

What is democracy worth to you?
Support local journalism.


20 people like this
Posted by Clint Gilliland
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jun 14, 2016 at 2:42 pm

I live in the Flood Park Triangle near the FAA Menlo Intersection. Aircraft arriving from the South and arriving over the Woodside Vortac all go over my house. Many large (737, A320) and very large (747, A380s). They are probably at 4,000 ft. but slow and quiet. The Surf Air Pilatus flights also pass over very quickly and not very noisy. But all of these flights are transient, gone very quickly and do not bother me.

What bothers me more are leaf blowers and power lawn mowers. These disturbances last for long periods and on some days several are going on at once.

Lets eliminate these blowers before complaining about aircraft noise.


13 people like this
Posted by Air Noise
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Jun 14, 2016 at 4:14 pm

We have terrible commercial jet traffic over Portola Valley; when we moved here in 2002, there was NONE. We checked with SFO to ensure that flight paths were not anywhere near PV before moving here. To the people who say "You knew there were airports here when you moved here," I say, we did our research, and did it well. There was no jet noise issue when we moved here, or for years after, regardless of weather/fog/visibility/wind or anything else----just when SFO suddenly decided to change their flight paths. Suddenly, one day, everything changed.

I have to disagree that the large jets are going slow and quiet; in fact, they are applying speed brakes (that screaming whooshing sound from the A320s) and are descending at a rapid rate over PV. Directly over my house, they tend to be around 4500 feet, +/- 200 vertical feet. The noise is not quiet; it's anywhere from THUNDERING to SHRIEKING. My favorites are the immense jets coming in from Hong Kong, UAE, France, and the Lufthansa flights. Those planes are around 4000 feet, and HUGE, turning sharply as they go over my little town. When you can read "EMIRATES" on the fuselage without squinting, and see the window on the cockpit, they are coming in too dang low.

I do feel your pain regarding Surf Air, and can't imagine how enraging that must be.

Let's save discussions about leaf blowers for another forum or article. Lots of people find leaf blowers annoying, and they are deserving of their own forum.

11 people like this
Posted by Treetop
a resident of another community
on Jun 15, 2016 at 8:32 am

We choose to live in an area where there are no less than three major international airports in close proximity - two of them within direct sight of each other - plus numerous other municipal and local airports, and yet we feel we have room to complain about airplane noise? Really? Spoiled and entitled in the extreme describes the impression one gets, frankly. It's embarrassing.

What's next? Demanding that pilots shut off their engines and perform unpowered glides to landing during their approach, just so we don't have to hear it?

Bothered by airplane noise? Don't live in an area that has airports. Especially one that has particularly high airport and air traffic density like the bay area.

6 people like this
Posted by deafened
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Jun 15, 2016 at 12:47 pm

Air noise--you are absolutely correct! When people say we live near 3 major airports, they fail to understand that until the recent change of flight paths, there was no noise overhead from jets using those airports. When we bought here, noise was one of our considerations and we would not have spent our hard earned money on a home under a flight path.
People seem to be ignorant of the harm noise does to health. There is plenty of medical research to show the damage that noise causes and the damage that disrupted sleep causes.

I'm also puzzled as to why those who claim they're not bothered by the roar of jets are so antagonistic toward those who are. If you think screaming, rumbling jets are no problem, that's fine. I'm sure that quiet skies won't bother you either.

5 people like this
Posted by Woodsider
a resident of Woodside: Woodside Glens
on Jun 15, 2016 at 12:52 pm

Sure, why not let the FAA, and for that matter any and all government agencies, blindly make changes without regard to quality of life? The FAA rolled out their cost-saving changes last November with a caveat that there would be no significant new noise impact. For those of us under the flight paths, that goal was clearly not achieved.

It's particulalrly annoying to read a comment defending this blind decision from a "resident of another community."

5 people like this
Posted by Treetop
a resident of another community
on Jun 15, 2016 at 4:55 pm

** In response to Woodsider: I live in Redwood City, if that makes it any less annoying for you to know where I reside. Never mind that there was no choice for Redwood City in the dropdown. **

It is a failure of logic to accept the benefits of living in an area with the expectation of not having to deal with the preexisting consequences of it as well. The multiple airports in the bay area - and the aircraft that use them - have been around for decades. In years past they were far noisier and polluting than they are now. Is it better to have quiet skies? Of course it is, obviously. However, choosing to live in an area that has lots of busy airports around, yet making complaints about the airplane noise with an expectation that something should be done about it is akin to sitting next to the pool with the kids already swimming in it, yet complaining about getting wet from their splashing, and expecting them to splash less, or splash somewhere else.

Could you imagine the response if the people of South San Francisco or Daly City petitioned for the aircraft taking off from KSFO to be "less noisy" or to "take off higher"? While it obviously goes without saying that having quiet skies or having technologically advanced aircraft engines that make no noise would be desirable, they accept the situation as a consequence of where they live. We are talking about people who have to deal with much higher levels of noise than we ever have to experience here in our local neighborhoods.

It isn't like the aircraft we're complaining about aren't already following strict noise abatement procedures over residential areas. However, some will have you believe they are deliberately being noisy in excess, specifically to make our lives miserable.

Really, this issue has less to do about airplanes making noise than it does about an exclusivity of thought that advocates one should have their way.

9 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 15, 2016 at 5:00 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Dear Treetop - Sadly the political correctness of this venue requires that only posters who claim to live in a certain area are considered to be legitimate commentators. The facts or logic that you might provide are deemed to be irrelevant. The sole purpose of this "rule" is to be able to ignore such facts or logic.

2 people like this
Posted by Woodsider
a resident of Woodside: Woodside Glens
on Jun 16, 2016 at 12:31 pm

Treetop, to your pool analogy, the increase in noise from the reduction in approach altitude and use of air brakes would be like the pool getting invaded by cannon-balling teenagers. There is a continuum in noise, it's not all or none. There was a sharp increase in November in the aircraft noise that sometimes, literally shakes our windows and wakes our sleeping infant. I feel like I have a right to be annoyed by this, and if some consider that a privileged response I have no control over those opinions.

Peter- I'm not sure what the term "political correctness" has to do with the rest of your comment. But to your point, since decibel level is a direct function of distance, clearly where you live in relation to the source of noise is relevant and will shape opinions on the matter.

Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 16, 2016 at 2:12 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Other community could very well be a place that is closer to the airplane noise than is Woodside or Palo Alto. Certainly most SFO bound planes come and all SQL bound planes closer to my home than they do to Palo Alto or Woodside homes.

7 people like this
Posted by Frustrated
a resident of another community
on Jun 18, 2016 at 8:43 am

I'm very frustrated to read these comments- i think we all know that we live in an area where there are major airports. But when we chose to purchase our home in redwood shores, near the bay, we considered all factors, including noise. Three years ago, jet noise was not an issue. Now, The FAA has changed flight paths so instead of flying over the bay, the flights come over redwood shores. Even with the windows closed, I've timed them, it's every 1-2 minutes we hear the loud rumbling and screeching, all morning, day, and night. We cannot sit in our backyard anymore. How is it ok for the FAA to change their policies and we have no say? Now we are not in a position to move financially.. So we have lost our peaceful home environment. This is not a privilege issue- this is a change that was made without consulting communities that have to live with the direct impact. For some residents to say that it is exclusivity of thought dismisses the ability for our local communities to organize and show a unified position to the FAA, and work with them to come up with an alternate solution.

8 people like this
Posted by Tired of Cronyism
a resident of another community
on Jun 18, 2016 at 1:07 pm

People don’t serve airports. Airports serve people. When they cease to be operated in a way that makes them a good neighbor, they need to be dealt with accordingly and if they refuse then measures taken, up to and including being shut down if they insist on acting as tyrants destroying human health and the environment. Those standing up to the changes taking place were first told by defenders of the changes, You chose to live near an airport. Now they say, You choose to live where there are airports. So now it’s airports come first and entire communities or the entire world, since the world is full of airports, can suck it up or shut up. Those who don’t have a problem with the noise, air, and visual pollution call those that do names like whiners, call these forums for discussion full of political correctness. Well, if it’s being politically correct or a whiner to stand for basic quality of life issues then keep up the name calling, noise and pollution lovers. Since when did wanting something as basic as sleep, enjoyment of your home and the outdoors get attacked like this? Our quality of life is under assault. We fight to hold on to it, to get back what we’re losing and it’s attacked as a first world problem, as a NIMBY cause and so on. I don’t want to be in a race to the bottom thank you. I don’t want the air in the Bay Area or anywhere else to look like the air in Beijing or Calcutta. And to go down in the ambiguous name of the economy. That word is being used to bludgeon people into silence when we should be standing up and fighting back. We are forfeiting what past generations fought long and hard to achieve.

Again, this change to our skies is recent and global and people better wake up and fight because governments and their FAA equivalents are doing this worldwide. They are captured agencies doing the bidding of the aviation industry at the expense of human health and the environment. For example, the International Civil Aviation Organisation or ICAO, is pushing hard for EU regulation so the EU can do to its member countries what our federal government has done to us through legislation passed to take away the ability of communities to regulate their own airports.

The agenda is none other than increasing CAPACITY at all costs. The crux of our shared torture is what’s called Wake RECAT or Wake Turbulence Recategorization. Aircraft create a turbulence wake, but flying aircraft close together increases capacity, more and more flights, and efficiency, quicker landings and takeoffs, so altitude is lowered drastically from historic levels over communities to take advantage of denser air that allows aircraft to fly slower and closer together when lining up on arrival and departure paths. In short, the skies have been transformed into one massive tarmac for these slow, close together lineups of aircraft. And coinciding with this is an unleashing of GA and military low altitude flying over communities as never before. The drones are next. Our Congress is seeing to that too. Everything aviation is expanding and there’s no intention of stopping and unless we hold our elected officials accountable and also send a clear financial message by flying less or not at all and shipping by air less or not at all until our quality of life is restored.

Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 18, 2016 at 4:20 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.


people aren't going to fly less and they aren't going to decrease the demand for air freight. That's a demonstrated fact. So the FAA can only do what they are charged with doing; making sure aircraft can operate as efficiently and SAFELY as possible.

11 people like this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of another community
on Jun 21, 2016 at 1:08 am

Why are the new "nextgen" approaches noisier than the pre-nextgen approaches?

The collection of technologies known as "nextgen" has fallen far short of delivering the benefits originally promised. The "nextgen" that the FAA is implementing today cannot safely manage the the complex flight patterns, and steep sinuous descent profiles envisioned at "nextgen's" inception 25+ years ago.

Several of "nextgen's" components do not integrate seamlessly, "nextgen" does not fail gracefully, and key components have never performed to specification. The biggest problem component is the Lockheed-Martin developed ERAM system, which has already suffered two spectacular failures in the last two years.

The FAA is NEVER going to implement complex noise reduction plans which would challenge the technological capabilities of "nextgen", and risk an embarrassing public exposure its failings that would bring attention to the $40+ billion the FAA has squandered on a system that does not deliver the promised benefits.

"Major Air Traffic Control Upgrade Broken, Again And Again, And..."
The Daily Caller ~ July 30, 2015 Web Link

"Scathing report: FAA isn’t delivering on promises in $40 billion project"
Washington Post ~ May 1, 2015 Web Link

2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 21, 2016 at 10:21 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

This proposal uses existing waypoints and does not require NextGen technology:

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 27, 2015 at 3:35 pm
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

IF you want a simple solution then Palo Alto should just request that the FAA do the follow three things:

1 - All SFO inbound traffic from the North and the East must use the RNAV (GPS) X RWY 28R approach and must enter that approach at the ANETE Initial Approach Fix (IAF) for which the minimum crossing altitude is 7000 ft,

Alternatively these aircraft could us the ILS or LOC RWY 28R approach and must enter at ARCHI IAF for which the minimum crossing altitude is 7000 ft,

2 - All SFO inbound traffic from the South and the West must use the RNAV (GPS) X RWY 28L approach and must enter that approach at the Faith IAF which has a minimum crossing altitude of 7000 ft.,

Entry to this approach via MENLO intersection would not be permitted.

Alternatively these aircraft could us the ILS or LOC RWY 28L approach and must enter at the FAITH IAF for which the minimum crossing altitude is 7000 ft,

Entry to this approach via MENLO intersection would not be permitted.

3 - SFO and SJC must be landing in the same direction unless the wind differential between them is greater than 1o knots.

These recommendations use existing and established procedures and do not impinge on the SJC airspace.

If these recommendations were to be adopted then Palo Alto's problem would go away. Some communities further to the South would see significant increases in overflights but these would be at much higher altitudes.

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

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Couple brings Chinese zongzi to Mountain View
By Elena Kadvany | 0 comments | 5,780 views

Don't Miss Your Exit (and other lessons from an EV drive)
By Sherry Listgarten | 6 comments | 1,376 views

Goodbye Food Waste!
By Laura Stec | 2 comments | 1,250 views

"Better" Dads and "Re-invigorated" Moms: Happier Couples
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,078 views

Bobby in Naziland: A Tale of Flatbush
By Stuart Soffer | 2 comments | 486 views


Register today!

On Friday, October 11, join us at the Palo Alto Baylands for a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run or half marathon! All proceeds benefit local nonprofits serving children and families.

Learn More