FAA considering making Surf Air flight path over Bay official | News | Almanac Online |

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FAA considering making Surf Air flight path over Bay official

Residents living near Sunnyvale have organized to fight the route

The Federal Aviation Administration is considering making the route Surf Air has used to avoid homes on the Midpeninsula – by flying over the Bay – an official fair-weather route. But an organized group of residents from Sunnyvale has turned out in force against the route saying it transfers the noise to their neighborhood.

On Sept. 27, the FAA held what it called an informational meeting in San Jose as part of its consideration of whether to make what it calls the Bayside Visual Approach an official charted flight path.

That would mean the route could only be used when pilots can actually see the airport, but could be flown using instruments, which many pilots consider safer to do even in visual conditions.

The meeting was held in the Santa Clara County Government Center in San Jose starting at 6 p.m., and many of those attending complained about the location as being far and difficult to reach from the areas affected by Surf Air flights.

Nonetheless, about 100 people showed up, the vast majority of them wearing bright orange T-shirts signifying they were part of the Save Our Sunny Skies group. That group, made up of mostly Sunnyvale and Cupertino residents, is protesting the route because it brings more planes into the already congested airspace over their homes.

Officials had designed the meeting to include about 40 minutes of presentations from Surf Air, the FAA and the San Carlos Airport – which is owned and operated by San Mateo County – and then move out into the lobby, where people could ask questions of the officials.

But dozens from the Save Our Sunny Skies group, including a leader with a megaphone, refused to go along and said they wouldn't leave until the officials were regrouped in the auditorium to answer questions from and to the group.

Officials agreed to return to the auditorium, but only after most of the meeting attendees who were not part of the Save Our Sunny Skies group had left.

The route was developed by Surf Air in cooperation with the FAA after Midpeninsula residents complained about the noisy Pilatus PC-12 turboprop planes the commuter airline uses.

The FAA allowed Surf Air to use the Bayside Visual Approach for a six-month experimental period that ended in January. The route takes planes over the Bay – starting in Santa Clara County near Moffett Field – as they descend toward the San Carlos Airport.

The FAA has evaluated the results of the trial, during which conditions allowed Surf Air pilots to use the route about 67 percent of the time, and is now doing an environmental review.

Thann McLeod, a manager of airspace and procedures, planning and requirements for the FAA, told the group that her "primary responsibility in the FAA is safety."

"If something is not going to work, it's not going to work for a reason, not because I'm favoring one community over another," she said. She may have been anticipating that if the FAA decides not to make the approach official, Midpeninsula residents will be angry; if it does approve it, the Sunnyvale and Cupertino residents will be angry.

Because the air space in the Bay Area is so congested, the FAA had little choice in choosing the route, she said. "We run out of room very, very quickly," she said. "This was the best we could do."

"We did put a lot of thought into this procedure when we designed it," she said.

Surf Air and Encompass, the company that has taken over the operations part of the SurfAir business, say that they have been working to find another air route to the San Carlos Airport and have experimented with a route that comes in from the east over the Bay and avoids more residential areas.

"We need a global solution," said Charlie Caviris, the Encompass chief pilot. The route from the east "is a way that we can greatly reduce noise for communities," he said.

The FAA says comments will be taken on the Bayside approach until Oct. 27. Comments can be emailed to: 9-awp-sql-cvfp@faa.gov or mailed to: Noise Concerns, AJV-W25, FAA, 1601 Lind Ave. SW, Renton, WA 98057. Comments may also be made on the FAA website, which also includes a number of presentations from the meeting.

After the six-month trial ended, Surf Air pilots continued to use the route while the FAA studied the results. Existing regulations allow pilots to fly non-charted routes under visual flight conditions, but they, not air traffic controllers, are responsible for maintaining separation from other aircraft and obstacles.

Surf Air started using the San Carlos Airport in June 2013, and by July of this year had 228 flights a week arriving at or departing from San Carlos. Its customers pay a monthly fee for unlimited flights.

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Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Almanac Friend
a resident of another community
on Oct 1, 2017 at 4:16 pm

The truth is FAA is determined to make Surf Air flight path Over Sunnyvale and Cupertino disregarding whatsoever the local residents have to say.
They published another promotional video on BVA on 9/28, after the strong opposition from Sunnyvale and Cupertino one night before, ant the 9/27 FAA BVA "Community Outreach" event!
And the community outreach event was removed completely from FAA website!!! For the reason of continuous maneuver. Fooling the world!

For more, visit FB page:

Web Link


6 people like this
Posted by Surf Air
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 1, 2017 at 5:18 pm

Surf Air is a registered user.



From the looks of the color coded map either way that's chosen all flights will fly over Sunnyvale. The starting point is the red dot, Everyone gets overhead flights there.

The question from there is wether to fly directly up the peninsula over 100.000 homes and schools or continue over the commercial area of whisman to 237/101, to Moffett Field to over water.

I'm just spitballing hear but i would guess 100 to 1 persons flown over if straight in approach versus the Bay approach. And that's only in clear weather.

Also I'm not sure who chose a meeting time of 6:00 p.m. on a weekday, but it was an hour and a half from Menlo Park, and probably 2 hours from N. Fair Oaks where most of the worst noise and plane traffic is. How about holding the next meeting at the airport.


8 people like this
Posted by NicZB
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Oct 2, 2017 at 1:22 pm

NicZB is a registered user.

I agree that this meeting and other Surf Air/San Carlos Airport/ FAA meetings in the past year or so have been purposely set up to ensure low public attendance. Inconvenient locations and times. Most freeways around the bay area are gridlocked at 6PM on weeknights. Very short notice, so that groups cannot organize themselves. Yet, despite this, the public did make it, albeit in small numbers, because it is a BIG PROBLEM.

The Bayside Visual Approach, only redirects a fraction of Surf Air flights, and as the FAA rep stated there are a lot of exceptions. Also the 6 AM departures will continue to rattle our windows.

The main advantage of the Bayside Visual Approach is the safety aspect, in that the planes are flying over a less populated area, and a crash may be less disastrous. I question, what security checks are performed on SurfAir passengers, pilots and flights?

One thing that became abundantly clear to me during the FAA presentation last week is that there are no other routing options for San Carlos airport, because of the flight approach paths into SFO and SJC which take priority. This, I feel, should raise a flag to the FAA that San Carlos airport is not equipped to handle the ever increasing scheduled flights of an airline such as SurfAir, and if SurfAir operations moved to SFO or SJC, there would no longer be a noise or safety problem.


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 3, 2017 at 6:45 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

NicZB:

the whole point of SQL is as a "reliever" airport. Relieving traffic load from airports like SFO and SJC.


Like this comment
Posted by Surf now Rom?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 4, 2017 at 8:16 pm

Surf now Rom? is a registered user.


when was the last time a flight was diverted from sfo/sjc?


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 4, 2017 at 8:29 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The role of reliever airports is not to accommodate flights that are scheduled into primary airports but to provide space for flights that do not need to go to primary airports in the first place.

" Reliever Airports are airports designated by the FAA to relieve congestion at Commercial Service Airports and to provide improved general aviation access to the overall community."

Every flight that lands or takes off from a reliever airport is one less flight that would otherwise cause congestion at primary airports like SFO and SJC.




Like this comment
Posted by Down home cookin.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 4, 2017 at 8:46 pm

Down home cookin. is a registered user.


Sorry Peter couldn't hear your answer to the question

"when was the last time?"


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 5, 2017 at 7:32 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

down home:

Peter answered your question. You just didn't like the answer. The point of reliever airports is not to provide a place to divert scheduled airlines from SFO or SJC. They are there for traffic that doesn't have to use the larger airports. Hence the term "reliever". They "relieve" unnecessary traffic from the larger airports. So, no regularly scheduled flight has ever been diverted to SQL and NEVER will. Get it now?


Like this comment
Posted by Down home cookin.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 5, 2017 at 3:04 pm

Down home cookin. is a registered user.



"Every flight that lands or takes off from a reliever airport is one less flight that would otherwise cause congestion at primary airports like SFO and SJC."

So Sql is there to relieve traffic that would otherwise go to SFO, but there has never been a flight relieved,

Sorry doesn't work,


1 person likes this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 5, 2017 at 3:09 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Every flight that lands or takes off from SQL that would have otherwise used SFO or SJC is a reliever flight because that flight reduced the congestion at SFO or SJC.


Like this comment
Posted by Down home cookin.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 5, 2017 at 3:46 pm

Down home cookin. is a registered user.


Be serious for a moment,

If San Carlos Airport weren't there do you think any of those flights would go to SFO


1 person likes this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 5, 2017 at 3:50 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"If San Carlos Airport weren't there do you think any of those flights would go to SFO"

Absolutely.


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 5, 2017 at 7:16 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"I am ashamed to live in a community that takes this attitude towards anything that costs it money regardless of the benefits to the larger community."

Of course they would. Where do YOU think they would go?


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 5, 2017 at 7:35 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"If San Carlos Airport weren't there do you think any of those flights would go to SFO"

Of course they would. Where do YOU think they would go?


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