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San Francisco Airport Incoming Flight Patterns and Noise Pollution

Original post made by Bill Stewart, Duveneck/St. Francis, on Jul 14, 2012

Is it my imagination or have the incoming flight patterns changed such that more flights into San Francisco Airport are brought in directly over Palo Alto? Are planes flying lower than they have been? Why are the jets not flying higher and powering down to reduce the noise? Why arn't flights directed over Redwood City and Atherton? Are flights from the east being routed around San Francisco and brought in over Palo Alto from the north? Does anyone have historical records of flight patterns and how they have changed over the past 10 years? Are there repercussions for airlines that fly lower than they are supposed to as they come in over populated areas to land at the airport?

Comments (345)

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Posted by Read Often
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jul 14, 2012 at 11:37 am

Bill: you obviously don't read these postings very often. See below a blog entitled: "Air Traffic Noise Increasing" and you'll find some 30 or more comments.


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 14, 2012 at 1:42 pm

YES! All any Palo Alto resident needs to do to perceive this is to stand outside for 15-20 minutes and just listen to the number of airliners, small planes and helicopters that travel over our fair city - it is a lot and it is neverending.

Maybe they assume that since we already have an airport here that no one will notice, or that people will assume this is normal … but it was not always so loud. (another of may reason to shut down the Palo Alto airport) In the 80's San jose neighborhoods sued and got compensation and even housing upgrades to fix the noise from the SJ airport.

There is virtually an airplane going overhead almost every minute of the day in Palo Alto now … and I feel sure that someone made a deal to allow that to happen, again dump the losses and liabilities on the public, and privatize whatever gain there is to be made to a few fat cats.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 14, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"There is virtually an airplane going overhead almost every minute of the day in Palo Alto"

Hyperbole and simply not true.


Web Link


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Posted by Anna
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 14, 2012 at 3:54 pm

While it may not be strictly and literally "true" that there is an airplane overhead every minute of the day, it is definitely true that there is continual overflight of both jetliners and small planes in many parts of Palo Alto. It is also manifestly true that this phenomenon has become MUCH more pronounced over the last decade or so.

It is also a fact that about a decade ago, San Mateo County cities negotiated an agreement with SFO where SFO agreed that (with minor limitations) overflight in San Mateo county would be kept above 10,000 feet. Naturally, the response of the airport was to route airplanes over the northernmost part of Santa Clara county, namely Palo Alto.

If Palo Alto officials had been on the ball back then, or if they would push the issue now, we could doubtless reach an agreement with SFO to counteract the parade of jets that increasingly affect our quality of life. Whether whey will or not depends in part on the extent of public pressure. Perhaps the posts here on this forum are an indicator of an increasing awareness of the issue and an unwillingness to tolerate these assaults on our peace and serenity.

Public pressure might similarly affect the city's willingness to subsidize the Palo Alto airport with its buzzy weekend noisemakers affecting our outdoor activities in the summer.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 14, 2012 at 4:11 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Look at the web site above - there is far less traffic than the posters suggest.
**********************
This feature allows you to watch the movement of flights and air traffic patterns currently in use within the Bay Area. This map will show flight tracks of aircraft arriving and departing from SFO, Oakland, and San Jose Airports as well as other nearby general aviation airports. Red aircraft are arrivals, green aircraft are departures, and blue aircraft are General Aviation or small propeller aircraft and helicopters. The white aircraft are transiting the area and bypassing local airports. The icon aircraft sizes are uniform regardless of the actual size of the aircraft.

These flight tracks, although taken from actual radar data, are not in real time. There is a delay of ten minutes, as indicated in the lower left corner of the map window. This can be helpful if you notice an unusual overflight in your neighborhood and you need time to bring up this website to study its altitude and flight path. It is not uncommon to see tracks occasionally disappear as the information is updated.


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Posted by Not Peter
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 14, 2012 at 7:08 pm

""There is virtually an airplane going overhead almost every minute of the day in Palo Alto"

Hyperbole and simply not true."

Carpenter's statement is unhelpful and simply misleading. Monitoring the air traffic through the site on a lazy Saturday afternoon, I count one every 3-5 minutes coming directly over LAH and PA. Aside from simply being A LOT, that is vastly more than going over any other Peninsula community.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 14, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Aside from simply being A LOT, that is vastly more than going over any other Peninsula community.


Wrong - even more planes go over Redwood City , San Carlos and San Mateo and at a much lower altitude.


But don't let the facts get in the way of your deeply held feeling of being abused.


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Posted by Not Peter
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 14, 2012 at 7:40 pm

"Wrong - even more planes go over Redwood City , San Carlos and San Mateo and at a much lower altitude."

Plainly untrue and fabricated. They did not - anyone who observed the feed that I did would see that. The facts clearly pain Mr. Carpenter, I do not know why he makes such objectionable comments.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 14, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Look at the actual radar - planes arriving from the north and west transit Palo Alto at or above 5000 ft. Planes from the east and south arrive over Fremont. All of these planes then overfly Redwood City, San Carlos and San Mateo and do so at much lower altitudes. But don't let the facts get in the way of your deeply held feeling of being abused.



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Posted by Not Peter
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 14, 2012 at 8:00 pm

"But don't let the facts get in the way of your deeply held feeling of being abused."

Abusive and uncalled for. My comments were based on 90 minutes of actual observation of the radar site noted above: Web Link

Editor, I hope you attend to Carpenter's ad hominen and abusive comments.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 14, 2012 at 8:07 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The facts are the facts - look at the radar, note the flight paths and the altitude readouts.

Planes arriving from the north and west transit Palo Alto at or above 5000 ft. Planes from the east and south arrive over Fremont. All of these planes then overfly Redwood City, San Carlos and San Mateo and do so at much lower altitudes. This has also been true for the last 90 minutes.

It is not a question of opinion, the facts are there for all to see. And there is nothing ad hominen about expecting posters to be truthful in their postings - per the Editor.


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Posted by Not Peter
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 14, 2012 at 8:31 pm

Carpenter: "there is nothing ad hominen"

Outright lie - "... your deeply held feeling of being abused" is both ad hominen and abusive.

Carpenter: "planes ... arrive over Fremont"

Irrelevant - we are talking about Peninsula communities.

Carpenter: "planes then overfly Redwood City, San Carlos and San Mateo"

Misleading to just wrong. The planes skirt the unpopulated waterline at the edge of the Bay on their way to SFO. I did not see any go over San Mateo or San Carlos - a few flew over the waters edge of Redwood Shores. It would be the equivalent of overflying the edge of the Palo Alto Baylands. In fact they fly over the densely populated Palo Alto neighborhoods.

There seems to be no dispute about the "every 3 to 5 minutes part" which would be 12 to 20 flights an hour.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 14, 2012 at 8:37 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

You are entitled to your opinion but the facts are there for all to see. How easily you dismiss low altitude flights over East Palo Alto and Redwood Shores and eastern Belmont and San Carlos - and the fact that all of the planes from the south and the east never overfly Palo Alto but all of them overfly parts of the northern peninsula communities.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 14, 2012 at 8:42 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

SW 236 just came over Portola Valley and Menlo Park - never touched Palo Alto.

UA 577 just flew over Foster City but never touched Palo Alto .

Nothing over Palo Alto at all for last ten minutes.


Facts are such troublesome things.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 14, 2012 at 8:52 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Another 10 minutes and still nothing over Palo Alto.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 14, 2012 at 8:55 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Sky West 5371 just flew OVER Stanford and Menlo Park and San Carlos - did not touch Palo Alto.


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Posted by Palo Altan on vaction
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 15, 2012 at 4:49 am

@Peter Carpenter

There are plenty of loud planes overflying Palo Alto. Where they come from and the fact that airplanes also fly over San Mateo county does not take anything away from the fact that planes are very noisy over PA. Additionally, there are periods of time when planes do fly above PA every 2 minutes or so. I don't understand your insistence that PA does not have a jet plane noise problem, when you don't even live in PA. Do you have some connection with the powers that be at SFO maybe?

I must say that I am currently vacationing in the 4th largest city in France, a city with an international airport. Not a single plane flies over our neighborhood. It is so much quieter and we sleep so much better at night. The contrast is unbelievable. The quality of life so much better.

We should not have to deal with such noise pollution in PA, 20 some miles away from SFO.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 15, 2012 at 7:51 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"I don't understand your insistence that PA does not have a jet plane noise problem"

I just believe that it is preferable to have a fact based discussion rather than talking about perceptions. The vast majority of people living on the peninsula do not perceive that there is an aircraft noise problem. The facts allow us to put their and your perceptions in perspective.

" Do you have some connection with the powers that be at SFO maybe?"

None.

"Additionally, there are periods of time when planes do fly above PA every 2 minutes or so. "

There are time when planes fly over Palo Alto two minutes apart but there are seldom times of day when this occurs repeatedly. What I think is occurring is that the few people who are sensitized to this issue perceive it differently than others and also differently from the known facts.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 15, 2012 at 7:54 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Sky West 5440 and 5485 just flew over Menlo Park and Atherton and did not touch Palo Alto.


The radar tracking data is the fact base on which an intelligent discussion can be based.

Web Link


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Posted by Read Often
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jul 15, 2012 at 2:22 pm

Folks, get used to it because it ain't going to improve; infact it will probably get a lot worse. How about if they turn Moffett Field into a hub for overnight postal services and commercial carriers, we'll have planes coming in all night long.

The only answer is to move right away from the Bay area.


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Posted by double-paned windows
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 15, 2012 at 2:27 pm

We have so many planes over, turning here, that if we didn't have double-paned windows we would really suffer. It can be annoying to be outside in the backyard. I have directly witnessed lowflying commercial planes turn right over our home - noisy - not sure if heading to land at SFO or Oakland. It appears we take the brunt of the arrival traffic. Sometimes the noise is frequent.


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 15, 2012 at 9:18 pm

> Monitoring the air traffic through the site on a lazy Saturday afternoon, I
> count one every 3-5 minutes coming directly over LAH and PA.

That is pretty much what I have seen and reported here before.

Since I said there was one a minute Carpenter seems to think it is a "honest"
of himself to use the word hyperbole to discount first hand data in the ballpark.
Chronic in that kind of tactic he is.

The question was, is aircraft noise bothering people in Palo Alto.

Peter Carpenter if he was honest should recuse himself from comment or
admit he is a resident of Atherton.

In the forum spirit I am fine with people disagreeing with me, but those
who attack distorting the facts, ie. the use of the world hyperbole should
be pointed out.


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 15, 2012 at 9:25 pm

The other error is that Peter Carpenter is looking at numbers but it is not understanding the experience, because he is biased and attacks those that disagree with him unfairly.

An airplane takes a certain amoint of time to fly over, it is not one discrete event a spike that makes most of a minute seem like empty space … it is a long event, first you hear it, then it builds, then it blares and then it starts to fade. So even if that is one every fine minutes that is 20% of the time.

There is no ultimate unbiased data source, so trying to create your own facts is typical dishonest arguing. I am not lying or exaggerating, the plane noise is a nuisance. I am sitting here writing this in my office and in the space of writing this I have heard 3 planes flying overhead - right now.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 15, 2012 at 10:16 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Anon - sorry that you can't/won't deal with the actual data including the fact the just as many planes fly over Atherton as Palo Alto and at a lower altitude.


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Posted by Not Peter
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 15, 2012 at 10:27 pm

"Sorry that you can't/won't deal with the actual data including the fact the just as many planes fly over Atherton as Palo Alto and at a lower altitude."

Just plain wrong. My data showed nothing of the kind. I wish Carpenter would not make outlandish statements like this without any supporting data. I guess he can't handle the truth!


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 16, 2012 at 7:10 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" just as many planes fly over Atherton as Palo Alto and at a lower altitude."


This statement was based on actual flight path radar data from 1-4 PM yesterday.


Go run the tapes.

Interesting that I am the only poster that has actually posted real data with flight numbers and yet everyone else feels that their perceptions are more accurate than actual flight track data.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 16, 2012 at 7:24 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Use this tool

Web Link#

and you will see:

"The color-coded density plot represents the distribution of aircraft arrivals. ONE YEAR of radar flight tracks are averaged, and then color-coded to show the distribution of flights that use the given track."


This is all flights over an entire year. It is clear that Menlo Park and Atherton get as much traffic as Palo Alto. And because MP and Atherton are closer to SFO flights over those communities are lower than the ones over Palo Alto, i.e. planes descend when in the landing pattern.


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 16, 2012 at 7:40 am

Data for SFO only. Every time I come in to San Jose they end up flying over Palo Alto for some reason, are you just ignoring San Jose traffic?

The link you posted look very simplistic, who says this data is good. Data from what, the airport itself. You have to be kidding me.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 16, 2012 at 7:56 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Very little SJC traffic overflies Palo Alto EXCEPT when the winds are from the south and SJC planes are landing to the south ( and then SFO is also 'turned around'. ATC rules preclude mixing SFO and SJC traffic over Palo Alto - they would conflict with each other.

The link is not simplistic but a excellent visualization of the actual flight paths of all planes arriving SFO within a year. This is the same radar that guides the planes to the airport so I doubt that they are cheating - unless you are totally paranoid.


First you claim that there is no data, then that the data is wrong and then you claim the data is bogus -- why not just accept the fact that your perceptions are not confirmed by reality.


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 16, 2012 at 8:09 am

That link has virtually nothing to do with or say about noise over Palo Alto, and your dishonest lying ways to defend the airport around here are famous, and pretty pathetic. As I sit here again at my computer in my office I can hear another plane going over. The fact that this may not go on solidly for 24 hours is not some measure of my flippancy or exaggeration, it is a real annoyance. As soon as one plane stops another one can be heard approaching.

Your argument is basically it is nothing, and you point to a link that really is not relevant to the issue at all. As as I said every flight I have taken from San Jose flys up the peninsula and then turns around. I know they are going over Palo Alto because I can see the city below me. Who knows why. I don't appreciate being told I am lying or exaggerating or having my views discounted based on your useless charts.

As I prepare to hit submit on this yet another plane is overhead.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 16, 2012 at 8:12 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" I don't appreciate being told I am lying or exaggerating or having my views discounted based on your useless charts."

Those 'useless charts are reality. Your perceptions are just that.

Life is tough sometimes - get over it.


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 16, 2012 at 8:13 am

There is another plane now.


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 16, 2012 at 8:17 am

There is another plane now.

> Life is tough sometimes - get over it.

Yeah, so that's your bottom line, you really do not give a damn whatever the numbers are or what people say for some reason you have to troll these articles and attack people who say anything bad about airplanes.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 16, 2012 at 8:28 am

I care deeply about what the numbers are and I have learned to discount perceptions by people who gave become overly sensitized to certain stimuli .

Facts trump perceptions every time.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 16, 2012 at 10:40 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The original posting asks is there a problem with aircraft flights over Palo Alto.

Here is the data on noise complaints by community:

Monthly Calls by Community
Source: Airport Noise Monitoring System
San Francisco International Airport -- Director's Report
Monthly Noise Complaint Summary
Period: April 2012
Number of complaints and number of callers
Atherton 8 1
Brisbane 476 33
Burlingame 1 1
Foster City 3 2
Hillsborough 1 1
Pacifica 72 2
Portola Valley 22 2
San Bruno 1 1
San Francisco 32 11
San Mateo 6 2
South San Francisco 36 18
Woodside 1 1
Daly City 201 3
Oakland 2 1
Orinda 1 1
Palo Alto 9 2
Total 872 82

******************

Evidently there is not much of a problem in Palo Alto.


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Posted by Anna
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 16, 2012 at 1:26 pm

The SFO Noise Abatement site to which Peter Carpeter cited at one time had a function where a user could put in a time and date range and see simultaneously all the flight data for that time range. I did this a couple of years ago and it was plain that about half the SFO traffic was funneled over Palo Alto on a line running roughly from Foothill Park to the intersection of Middlefield and Embarcadero and then on to the bay where (as one poster described) it flew up the baylands coast to SFO. This was a marked and unmistakable pattern no matter what day one used data for. Nighttime there was less traffic (about 4-5 planes per hour during the 1am to 4pm time frame), but it still was funneled directly over the residential areas of Palo Alto. Other cities did not have this kind of constant assault on residential areas (though some areas of Redwood Shores and Foster City surely are affected by airplanes flying off the peninsula shoreline - even if they aren't directly overhead as they are in PA.

For some reason the SFO Noise Abatement discontinued the ability to access historical data. If one were conspiracy-minded, a case could be made that the graphic representation of the noisey overflights might be a political problem they wanted to avoid.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 16, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Anna, the historical data Is there.


Use this tool

Web Link#

Choose Overlays and then Density Arrivals

and you will see:

"The color-coded density plot represents the distribution of aircraft arrivals. ONE YEAR of radar flight tracks are averaged, and then color-coded to show the distribution of flights that use the given track."

This is all flights over an entire year. It is clear that Menlo Park and Atherton get as much traffic as Palo Alto. The primary path over the peninsula is across Stanford, then a pit of Pa and then Menlo park and a bit of Atherton. And because MP and Atherton are closer to SFO flights over those communities are lower than the ones over Palo Alto, i.e. planes descend when in the landing pattern.


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Posted by Bill Stewart
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 17, 2012 at 8:58 pm

I didn't realize the extent of the vitriol I would incite with my remarks. In looking at the takeoff and landing charts that a neighbor directed me to, there appears to be another approach to SFO from north to south that horseshoes from east to west over the bay as opposed to west to east over Palo Alto. If this approach were used then no traffic would circle over Palo Alto or Atherton, for that matter. Similarly, if the Moffet Airfield approach pattern were used for SFO, it would shift the traffic from the south over Moffet and eliminate a lot of the commuter traffic from LA and San Diego. Similarly, if the overseas traffic were routed further south before they turned into the landing pattern northwards into SFO or were routed north of the SFO and landed using the east to west horseshoe arrival flight path perhaps a lot of this traffic would avoid populated areas. It would seem to me that you could minimize overflight of populated areas and raise the elevations if a few air plane operations knowledgeable folks would put their collective gray matter to work with the goal of mitigating noise. How about objective comments.

Thanks

Bill


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 17, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Is it only a coincidence that every time I sit down to read or write these comments there is a plane flying overhead. One right now off to the south or Crescent Park.

I don't think the numbers tell the whole story, even if they are not cooked or massaged in some way. Also a plane does not have to go right over a place to be loud or annoying.

And there goes another one right now … really I am not making this up.


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 17, 2012 at 9:40 pm

Another thing those numbers above are totally bogus as usual.

Those are complaints to SFO. If I heard an airplane I would not know who to call about it and never had. How do I know where the plane is leaving or arriving from and why or where would I call SFO?

Of course the complaints spike right at the end of the SFO runway. This is all SFO-centric and not a good measure at all for the argument being made that there is not a lot of noise over Palo Alto.

Being familiar with the airplane system I guess gives on the quickness to manufacture and argument out of nothing if one so wants and is dishonest enough.


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 17, 2012 at 9:45 pm

> who gave become overly sensitized to certain stimuli .

I invite you to come to Palo Alto and relax with a video recorder in Eleanor Park and then sit and watch the sky for any random hour and count the planes passing overhead.

You are quite willing to grab those numbers from SFO, and who knows what those mean in terms of actual noise? I am sure you do not. The actual experience of being in Palo Alto is that we are subject to a lot of airplance noise.

It is slightly worse in the Baylands where planes are constantly making so much noise one cannot carry on a conversation.

And yes, there is another plane now going by as well, sounds like west to east.


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 17, 2012 at 9:45 pm

Another plane going by, sounds north to south.


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 17, 2012 at 9:50 pm

There was the rumble of another off in the distance, and now one coming up from the south, sounds like a small private plane.


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 17, 2012 at 9:54 pm

Another jet going over now.


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 17, 2012 at 9:57 pm

Another one, whiny jet engine heading south probably


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 17, 2012 at 10:00 pm

So this is pretty much a random sample kicked off by an email that Bill Stewart posted. I listed all the planes I heard since I am sitting at my computer. There has been about 1 every 4 minutes.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 18, 2012 at 7:30 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I actually had dinner last night outside at a friend's house in Palo Alto who lives near Middlefield and Embarcadero. I noted about 6 six planes per hour, only one of which was load enough to interrupt conversation.

Just my perceptions.


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Posted by David H
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 20, 2012 at 11:11 am

David H is a registered user.

Without in any way being dismissive of the sensitivity to noise that we all feel (yes, I regularly hear a jet over my house at 3:00am in the morning) I think it behoves us to also look at the bigger picture:
(1) Traffic has declined at Palo Alto Airport (KPAO) in recent years due to the economic situation in which we find ourselves.
(2) In years gone by there was an extensive waiting list for tie down spots at KPAO. Now there are at least 115 empty spots available.
(3) The airport is the home to many skilled businesses providing much needed employment, and flight training for student pilots.
(4) The airlines have publicly stated their concern for the future over the decline in the number of new pilots being trained (AOPA - the Aircraft Owner's and Pilot's Association) consider's reversing this decline a key priority
(5) Please take a look at the website of the Palo Alto Airport Association Web Link to learn more about KPAO
(6) The FAA has just issued a report entitled: General Aviation Airports: A National Asset. The link is on the front page of the PAAA website

Sincerely

David


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Posted by Whining
a resident of Walter Hays School
on Jul 20, 2012 at 11:31 am

Yo, Anon!

I just heard a dog bark.

A moment ago I heard a car drive by.

Dang, my neighbor's pool inlet pipe is splashing water while topping off her pool.

Yesterday morning, another neighbor had a radio on outside while clipping a tree (SF vs ATL, 9am start, we lost, bummer...)

The other day I heard a garbage truck AND a recycling truck.

What's that?!? Omigosh, a siren in the distance!

Shall i post every time I hear a train whistle?

PA whiners. Amzing. Just amazing.

"This is all flights over an entire year. It is clear that Menlo Park and Atherton get as much traffic as Palo Alto." And as PC points out, if anything, they aare lower at that point. Try Foster City for a couple hours.

Get a grip. Or move away.


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 20, 2012 at 11:56 am

> (1) Traffic has declined at Palo Alto Airport (KPAO) in recent years due to the economic situation in which we find ourselves.

Interesting, but you are bypassing all kinds of other considerations in order to make a general and I think unsupported logical claim that because there is or may be more "spots" at the PA airport that this is some kind of general and probably temporary trend worthy of extrapolating well into the future for your particular claim … in other words - propaganda.

Next you delve into how "job creators" must be given carte blanche in every aspect of their lives, extended to the airport or course or we will lose jobs. When is this illogical argument going to go away along. It should take with it the ridiculous and disproven by our last decade of experience, reasoning of how tax cuts create jobs.

And if those arguments are blown away, well, then consider the people who work at the PA airport themselves. We can fire a whole nation of manufacturing workers, but somehow Palo Alto airport workers should get more consideration than every other American worker.

Was it the "AIRLINES" were we talking or airplane noise over Palo Alto we were concerned abut here. If the airlines are concerned about pilots I am sure they will do like most other industries and cut training costs by letting other countries who invest in their economy train the world's pilots, at least until our own airlines corporations are forced to in house, which they will put off as long as possible. They could also pay pilots better and give them more job security. Ask Sully Sullenberger about a career in flying planes.

All other things being equal this is a question of airlines disregard for civilian noise they create, and how and why it is somehow cheaper for airlines to fly their planes over Palo Alto than other areas, preferably less populated areas and why there is no facility, no governmental or other agency to coordinate measurements and public opinion into changing things that are a problem.

It really is important that somehow corporations be made to change their charters so that they are incentivized not to act, and act dishonestly, for their own bottom line, and where is all these profits going really - to unknown, unnamed sources, the great accomplishment of sending a whole nation's money to unnamed sources that then take over the government. It all starts to crumble when local people get fed up of being ignored and cheated.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 20, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"his is a question of airlines disregard for civilian noise they create, and how and why it is somehow cheaper for airlines to fly their planes over Palo Alto than other areas, preferably less populated areas"

This is uninformed nonsense. The current flight paths were NOT chosen by the airlines but by the FAA with lots of community input. Every single one of these flights is monitored for compliance with flight paths and noise abatement.

"this is a question of airlines disregard for civilian noise they create, and how and why it is somehow cheaper for airlines to fly their planes over Palo Alto than other areas, preferably less populated areas"

This is also uninformed nonsense. The airlines are spending millons to buy FAA required quieter airplanes and both the FAA and the SFO Roundtable closely monitor the airlines operations.

"The Airport/Community Roundtable was established in 1981 as a voluntary committee to address community noise impacts from aircraft operations at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). The Roundtable monitors a performance-based noise mitigation program implemented by airport staff, interprets community concerns and attempts to achieve noise mitigation through a cooperative sharing of authority among the aviation industry, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), SFO management and local government.

The authority to control aircraft in flight and on the ground is vested exclusively in the FAA. The FAA, however, cannot control the number of flights nor the time of day of aircraft operations. Federal law preempts any local government agency from implementing any action that is intended to control the routes of aircraft in flight. Neither the Roundtable, local elected officials nor airport management can control the routes of aircraft in flight or on the ground."

"POLICY STATEMENT
The Airport/Community Roundtable reaffirms and memorializes its longstanding policy regarding the "shifting" of aircraft-generated noise, related to aircraft operations at San Francisco International Airport, as follows: "The Airport/Community Roundtable members, as a group, when considering and taking actions to mitigate noise, will not knowingly or deliberately support, encourage, or adopt actions, rules, regulations or policies,
that result in the "shifting" of aircraft noise from one community to another, when related to aircraft operations at San Francisco International Airport." (Source: Roundtable Resolution No. 93-01)"


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 20, 2012 at 1:48 pm

> Every single one of these flights is monitored for compliance with flight paths and noise abatement.

That's typical, "everything's fine, nothing to see here" … that is what is uninformed nonsense.

And yet again focused exclusively on SFO, more nonsense. There are 3 main sources that I know of for Palo Alto airplane noise, SFO, San Jose and the Palo Alto airport. Possible Moffet Field or San Carlos airport or others?

Something is broken in this plan, most likely put together by the SFO and the airlines. Are there any metrics, are their any fines, are there any consequences, and when was the last violation of these guidelines and what happened?

I am all for involved people contributing what information they have, but what I perceive we get on these community forums are PR, spokespeople or friends of the airport and airplane community - which is fine, except that numbers are consistently being cherry picked or misinterpreted it seems to me.

What are the variables here … I think one is that airplanes that fly higher generate less noise, but use more fuel. If there are measurements being taken, how are they checked?

To be fair as well, I mentioned many times when a plane was going overhead, there is not one now, although I hear something off in the distance over the yard trimmer and construction noise that sounds like a small plane.

And I don't think anyone is saying shift noise from one community to another, although why is that ruled out if the change would result in more equal burden of noise?

As we have seen in other areas of the government or enterprise most of the rules that everyone thought we in place and doing the job do not seem to be working, in a chronic and general way. Why is anything to do with planes any different?


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Posted by New World Order
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 20, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Anon:

Damn, you found out. We really thought we could keep it a secret, but you must have spied on the NWO for years, successfully infiltrating and discovering our vast conspiracy!

Curses!

Yes, indeed, our top plans do involve re-routing planes from all 5 airports to fly directly over Crescent Park.

Drats! Now you know!

Hold on a sec - HEY HONEY, TELL THOSE GARDENERS TO STOP WITH THE BLOWERS!!!

Now, where was I?


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Posted by Anna
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 20, 2012 at 2:26 pm

I think Anon. has the better of this argument. It may be true that airplanes are quieter than in the past and that the airlines are following all noise abatement standards and procedures. As the posts in this forum indicate, many still are bothered by airplane noise in Palo Alto. And other cities, which in the past were more proactive than Palo Alto, managed to convince SFO and the FAA to route planes away from their airspace. Why is it wrong for us to urge our representatives to do the same, and to start the process by pointing out the problem in forums like this?

It's also true that the airlines try to conserve fuel and that the fuel conserving practices can be at odds with minimization of ground noise. The airlines try to do what they can to save fuel dollars while playing within the rules of noise abatement and flight path restrictions. This doesn't mean that the flight paths can't be altered to avoid more people (or as Anon suggests, to share the burden), or that noise standards can't be changed to permit less noise.

All the nonsense posting about the value of the airport, or air commerce, or jobs at the airport, and about the economic necessity of airports and airplanes are misdirection. Aluminum smelting similarly is essential to the modern economy, but I'm sure P. Carpenter et. al could find reasons to complain if a smelter were built next door to them.

Similarly, the fact that there are other noise nuisances like barking dogs and sirens doesn't mean we can't do something about what many consider a greater harm. We restricted leaf blowers for this very reason.


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Posted by Anna
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 20, 2012 at 2:39 pm

It might also be pointed out that the "SFO Community Roundable" to which Peter Carpenter refers is a member organization composed of San Francisco and San Mateo Counties and virtually every city in San Mateo County. Is it any wonder that the results of negotiations between this group and SFO have resulted in a disproportionate fraction of airport noise being born by Palo Alto....the closest non-member city?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 20, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"As the posts in this forum indicate, many still are bothered by airplane noise in Palo Alto."

Actually less than 1/10th of 1 percent of the Palo Alto population has posted any concern about this issue - and that counts posters who may well be using multiple names.

This is simply not an issue to the vast majority of people who see this in the perspective that we llve in a populated area with a number of attendant benefits and costs.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 20, 2012 at 3:32 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"a disproportionate fraction of airport noise being born by Palo Alto."

Flights over Palo Alto at a higher elevation effect far fewer people than would those same flights at lower altitudes over cities closer to SFO. The sound footprint area at any given decible level changes logarithmically with distance - at half the altitude the impacted area is four times greater.


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Posted by Anna
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 23, 2012 at 11:03 am

Peter Carpenter's previous two posts are markedly silly and simply wrong respectively.

Any discussion on this forum is participated in by a tiny fraction of the population of Palo Alto. To suggest, as Carpenter does, that the participation on this forum represents the entirety of the population concerned with this issue - or with any and every topic on this forum - is beyond illogical. It's silly. There are a lot of people concerned with airport noise, or we wouldn't get the spontaneous response we see here. I should note that it is the participation by proponents of airplane related issues that is questionable in the sense that every time a subject related to the Palo Alto airport comes up, we hear from the Pilot's organizations' members statewide - responses obviously astroturfed by the email alerts put out by local members.


The agreement between SFO and San Mateo county provides that with few exceptions overflights of San Mateo County must be above 10,000 feet. (The exceptions are approach and take off flight paths immediately adjacent to the runways, and the area over the bay that skirts Foster City and Redwood Shores where the planes fly lower but adjacent to, not directly over residential areas.) By contrast, in Palo Alto, the overflights of residential areas on the approach paths to SFO are generally between 4,000 and 5,000 feet - which as Carpenter notes, result in much more noise. Thus, Carpenter is simply wrong when he contends that flights over Palo Alto are at higher altitudes than San Mateo County. They are not for the vast majority of affected residents.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 23, 2012 at 11:29 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Thus, Carpenter is simply wrong when he contends that flights over Palo Alto are at higher altitudes than San Mateo County. They are not for the vast majority of affected residents."

Look at the historical data of all flights over the populated areas of the peninsula - almost half of them are over Menlo Park and East Palo Alto and ALL of those are at lower altitudes than the flights over Palo Alto.


The original posting asks is there a problem with aircraft flights over Palo Alto.

Here is the data on noise complaints by community:

Monthly Calls by Community

Source: Airport Noise Monitoring System

San Francisco International Airport -- Director's Report

Monthly Noise Complaint Summary

Period: April 2012

Number of complaints and number of callers

Atherton 8 1

Brisbane 476 33

Burlingame 1 1

Foster City 3 2

Hillsborough 1 1

Pacifica 72 2

Portola Valley 22 2

San Bruno 1 1

San Francisco 32 11

San Mateo 6 2

South San Francisco 36 18

Woodside 1 1

Daly City 201 3

Oakland 2 1

Orinda 1 1

Palo Alto 9 calls from 2 callers

Total 872 82

******************

Evidently there is not much of a problem in Palo Alto.



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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 23, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Is it a Republican tactic to keep offering the same information when it has been discredited? Or, the other way to state that is if numbers are going to be offered they should be qualified and justified by the people involved. Do they really do that because it works or is that just the myth that I keep hoping it is?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 23, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

No one has either discredited the historical flight path data or the recorded noise complaints.

People ignore these facts simply because the facts conflict with their deeply held minority opinions.


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 23, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Your numbers do not prove or disprove your statement that his is a minority opinion Peter of Atherton. They are irrelvant, and if you were honest instead of trying to sell a bill of goods all the time you would either realize that or make a case why I should believe that the numbers of airplane complaints out of SFO has anything to do with Palo Alto airplane noise - because if you are honest that is an impossible case to make. You might claim there is some relationship between the two, but to what extent and how to scale that would be quite impossible. Your thought process is only to repeat your argument, not to think about it or prove it - prove it.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 23, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

SFO had Total 872 noise complaints in a recent month from 82 different people but only 9 calls from 2 callers in Palo Alto - that represents about 1 % of all the complaints. 1% is a very small minority.

Facts are stubborn things - particularly if they conflict with your deeply held opinions.


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 23, 2012 at 2:58 pm

PC, do you understand an inverse square law? Prove it.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 23, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I have yet to see a single fact posted by the very small minority of people who 'feel' that there is an airplane noise problem over Palo Alto.

All the posted facts show the contrary.


****
"Sound is defined as any pressure variation that the human ear can detect, from barely perceptible sounds to sound levels that can cause hearing damage. The magnitude of the variations of the air pressure from the static⎯or normal⎯air pressure is a measure of the sound level. The number of cyclic pressure variations per second is the frequency of sound. When sounds are unpleasant, unwanted, or disturbingly loud, we tend to classify them as noise.
The "dB" measurement is a logarithmic conversion of air pressure level variations from Pascal to a unit of measure with a more convenient numbering system. This conversion not only allows for a more convenient scale, but is also a more accurate representation of how the human ear reacts to variations in air pressure. Measurements made using the decibel scale will be denoted dB.
The smallest noise level change that can be detected by the human ear is approximately 3 dB. A doubling in the static air pressure amounts to a change of 6 dB, and an increase of 10 dB is roughly equivalent to a doubling in the perceived sound level. Under free-field conditions, where there are no reflections or additional attenuation, sound is known to decrease at a rate of 6 dB for each doubling of distance. This is commonly known as the inverse square law. For example, a sound level of 70 dB at a distance of 100 feet would decrease to 64 dB at 200 feet, or 58 dB at 400 feet. "


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 23, 2012 at 4:13 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Anon - please prove that you understand the data:

Web Link#

Select overlays and then density arrivals.

The color-coded density plot represents the distribution of aircraft arrivals. One year of radar flight tracks are averaged, and then color-coded to show the distribution of flights that use the given track.


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Posted by Anna
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 23, 2012 at 4:47 pm

I looked at the site that Carpenter referenced. Looking at both density arrivals and flight tracks overlays, it is clear that a major approach to SFO goes right over Palo Alto and then (passing over EPA and East Menlo...a lot of which is industrial) to the bay where it heads to SFO mostly skirting any residential areas in the bayside cities of San Mateo County.

Palo Alto is getting the brunt of residential overflight noise on the peninsula by any measure available from the data in the charts.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 23, 2012 at 4:58 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Anna - look again the majority of the flights go over Palo Alto AND then the residential parts of Menlo Park and touch on the western most residential parts of East Palo Alto AND , and at a lower altitudes over EPA and Menlo Park.

Are you saying that the people in EPA and east Menlo Park are less important than the people in Palo Alto?


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 23, 2012 at 4:59 pm

I am really getting tired of the same old re-tread arguments and obfuscation PC.

I've worked with statistics in a corporate setting and I know most of what gets passed to the public is rarely raw honest data, it is a desired image to project. First you talk about complaints, then when I call you on that you turn around and switch to your pathetic lo-res graphs that could really mean anything - and again they do not track San Jose or Palo Alto airport traffic either.

None of those graphs tell the altitude, noise level, speed, duration of exposure, type of engine - all data that would really be needed to make any claims to counter first hand data of Palo Altans who experience the noise, first ear!

I also doubt many Palo Altans think to contact the SFO airport to complain about plane noise, and I also doubt there is as much exposure to noise as cities closer to SFO where SFO becomes more of a dominant factor. Also there is likely a discouragement function where people who live closer to SFO prefentially contact it more because they believe it will do something, whereas Palo Altans are more likely to think what is the point of making a complaint if it will not be listened to. These are three variables you cannot control for and do not even mention - except to dodge and shift your argument back and forth as you have been doing.

I just came in from working outdoors where I was talking to my neighbor who was about 8-10 feet away, and we were speaking in very loud voice to be heard over airplane traffic, so quit trying to tell me it doesn't exist.


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 23, 2012 at 5:03 pm

> Are you saying that the people in EPA and east Menlo Park are less important than the people in Palo Alto?

Where would you get that? What would possible cause you to make that silly statement? Anna has not made one single statement that would imply that is what she is talking about. Do you even bother trying to respond to people's real intent or so you just spend most of your time trying to spin and distort data and spin what people are saying?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 23, 2012 at 6:15 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"> Are you saying that the people in EPA and east Menlo Park are less important than the people in Palo Alto?

Where would you get that?"

Because the dominant flight paths goes over RESIDENTIAL areas of Menlo Park and East Palo Alto which Anne dismisses as " skirting ANY residential areas in the bayside cities of San Mateo County." Obviously Anne considers the most densely populated RESIDENTIAL areas of Menlo Park and East Palo Alto as 'industrial'.

Anon - you still haven't provided proof that you undertand the data.


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Posted by Anna
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 23, 2012 at 6:41 pm

I think I can speak for myself about the subject of what I meant, PC.

In fact the flight path under discussion goes for a much longer distance over Palo Alto than East Menlo Park or East Palo Alto. As you note the flight path "touches" the Westernmost part of EPA. And though some of the East Menlo portion of the flight path has residential areas, it's primarily over the industrial section - including the new Facebook campus.

The most amusing part of your contributions to this discussion are - as Anon. notes - your habit of ascribing to others something that could not reasonably inferred from their actual words and then going on a riff about how that person "thinks the people of EPA are less important than the people in PA," or other such diversionary nonsense.

This kind of failure to stick to the thread of the discussion is either a mark of intellectual incapacity or an admission that one is losing the argument and so must resort to distortion and diversion.

For the record, contrary to your ridiculous interpretation of my remarks I think EVERYONE who's affected by living under the flight paths to SFO ought to be upset - including the relatively fewer people living in EPA and East Menlo. It would even include those living in privileged places like Atherton if they didn't have the clout to see that the noise was funneled away from their tony estates.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 23, 2012 at 6:48 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" And though some of the East Menlo portion of the flight path has residential areas, it's primarily over the industrial section "

Wrong, the dominant flight path crosses the Palo Alto - Menlo Park border just north of Middlefield and traverses ENTIRELY residential areas until it crosses the Dumbarton rail line near 101 and the portion of East Palo Alto that the dominant flight path crosses is ENTIRELY residential.

I ask again - Are you saying that the people in EPA and East Menlo Park are less important than the people in Palo Alto?

I welcome facts to the contrary.


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Posted by Anna
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 23, 2012 at 7:37 pm

"I ask again - Are you saying that the people in EPA and East Menlo Park are less important than the people in Palo Alto?"

What I actually am saying is that people in Atherton appear to be more self important than almost any other people in the area. From the evidence available in this forum, they're certainly more dense than everybody else.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 23, 2012 at 7:44 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"including the relatively fewer people living in EPA and East Menlo."

I just went back and measured the length of the dominant flight path that crosses residential areas and the length in Palo Alto (not counting the industrial area of Stanford Research Park )is EXACTLY equal to the length in Melo Park (not counting the area east of the Dumbarton rail line) but the Menlo Park portion has a higher population density. The East Palo Alto portion is much shorter but is also a very high density residential area.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 23, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Anna - deal with the facts, don't attack the messenger. Unless you can't deal with the facts and then I guess attacking the messenger is your only alternative.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 23, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

My conclusion is that a number of peninsula communities are impacted by SFO aircraft noise but Palo Alto is not disproportionately impacted. In fact the biggest impact in on the shoreline communities further north where the planes are considerable lower.

I rest my case.

All of the necessary facts have been posted above - anyone who is seriously interested can review them and come to their own conclusion.


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Posted by Anon
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 20, 2012 at 4:33 pm

I have seen the data on the frequency and altitudes of airplanes descending into SFO, and clearly there is a trend towards increasing number of airplanes over Palo Alto and the vast majority of planes are flying above us at <5,500 feet. Of course, some people are bothered by certain types of noise more than others. Either Peter Carpenter is someone who is not bothered by aircraft noise at all or, as a resident of Atherton, he has a vested interest in airplanes to continue to fly over PA rather than over his neighborhood. Regardless, he should not be so inconsiderate in constantly dismissing PA residents whose genuine perception is that the noise problem has worsened over the years.


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Posted by Whining
a resident of Walter Hays School
on Aug 21, 2012 at 10:09 am

Spent the night in San Mateo; as is my choice, I sleep with the windows open most of the year.

3am, all the way down here in San Mateo, a thunderous rumble as a plane throttles up for takeoff. And now, I hear the planes near constantly and I can view them over the trees as they fly over the base of the bridge.

I continue with my point that PA is just hypersensitive. If you disagree, call the cops and have them do a sound measurement in front of your house, then do likewise in Foster City, Millbrae, San Bruno, South City, Burlingame, Hillsborough, Belmont, RWC, San Mateo or MP.

Whiners.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 21, 2012 at 11:02 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"I continue with my point that PA is just hypersensitive."

Yep, and now its mosquitoes. Perhaps Palo Alto should declare itself a NO FLY ZONE.


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Posted by Whining
a resident of Walter Hays School
on Aug 21, 2012 at 11:06 am

Peter: with all due respect, leave comedy to the professionals. You can only cause hurt...

;-)


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 21, 2012 at 11:24 am

Whiner, you don't make any sense. You say the plane wakes you up at all hours, but that saying anything about it is whining. If people realized how much their sleep is affected by these planes they would be whining too. I never realized how much noise these planes make until for a time I stayed up early in the morning programming, and then I really realized how often a plane goes by and wakes people up, but by the time they are awake the plane is gone and they do not really know what happened and then doze off to sleep.

You may say it is whining to want to have good uninterrupted sleep in one's own house the one pays the highest prices in the country for around here, but I don't consider it whining, in fact I consider you and Peter and those who condemn anyone who mentions a problem as somehow being wrong or inferior or just too sensitive.

I don't know what is wrong with you, but I suppose you are entitled to your opinions, I just do not think that is your sincere opinion, I think it is the psychological tactic of a certain kind of amoral anti-social personality.

Again as I write this a jet is flying over Crescent Park ... odd coincidence that the random sample time that I respond this thread most of them have a plane flying over.


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Posted by Whining
a resident of Walter Hays School
on Aug 21, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Anon: please reread my statement. At no point did I say it woke me up. At no point am I whining about the planes flying by the window here in San Mateo. It is an observation, about your whining.

Even you admit you were awake when you heard early morn planes.

Now you attempt to cast aspersions with "your sincere opinion, I think it is the psychological tactic of a certain kind of amoral anti-social personality."

Feel better now? Some sort of "amoral" superiority complex?

Want my sincere opinion?

The airport has been here longer than you. You made, and continue to make a free choice to live here. You have buyers remorse and are whining about it. Go ahead, take that apart with your anonymous amateur shrink wannabe personality.

All yours, PC.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 21, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"in fact I consider you and Peter and those who condemn anyone who mentions a problem as somehow being wrong or inferior or just too sensitive."

As usual, this sentence makes no sense.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 12, 2012 at 10:26 pm

Sentence makes sense to me (and other readers I am sure). As usual, Peter Carpenter is showing his insensitive to residents in neighboring cities.


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 12, 2012 at 10:41 pm

I just heard of a whole bunch of studies that are starting to show that all this noise is a cause of and aggravated high-blood pressure. Trucks, cars and particularly airplanes. People's blood pressure spikes when they are asleep and a plane goes overhead.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 13, 2012 at 6:21 am

Anon - data, facts or at least references to "a whole bunch of studies".


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 13, 2012 at 10:29 am

Do your own investigation, I'm not wasting my time spoon feeding someone who insults me so you can insult me some more. I'm just making people aware of the effort.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 13, 2012 at 11:09 am

Alleges facts and then declines to provide them - sounds like Romney.


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Posted by midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 27, 2012 at 3:16 pm

There is no question that the planes are flying lower, are louder, make a louder noise that lasts longer, and that there are more of them recently.

Is there a Midtown Neighborhood organization that we can leverage to start doing something about this?

Peter, I cannot get the website you've referenced to show information when accessing it via Firefox.

Web Link

But the planes are low and are turning, and provide essentially an almost continuous stream of airplane noise.

Many times, the noise is loud enough to disrupt a conversation inside a house with double-paned windows.

These are empirical facts as well. I'd be happy to look at your window onto the data to see why this information is not clearly represented there, if you point me to a working web page.


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Posted by exaggerated noise
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 27, 2012 at 6:27 pm

I live in midtown and do not hear any planes, most of the time. And when I do it is referent and not that Loud. But by all means, let's demand that SFO be closed. After all the world revolves around Palo alto and its needs.


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Posted by Downtown PA
a resident of University South
on Jan 3, 2013 at 9:23 pm

It seems like the air traffic has increased since I began living downtown 18 months ago. It is pretty regular and causes noise and vibrations. It is enough of an annoyance to make me search the Internet and find this thread. I've heard two planes fly over while writing this post.


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 3, 2013 at 9:38 pm

Hey downtown .... I told you and everyone here.

Somehow we seem to think if the pace of life is frenetic enough that people won't notice or will think it is OK or normal, but it is toxic to people.

And when you look at it, the only reply people have is to say stuff like the guy above you said "let's demand that SFO be closed". No one is asking for SFO to be closed ... planes to fly higher over residential areas, or avoid them by flying over the bay or taking other routes.

If we actually had calm fact-based discussions things would change ... and that is why smart asinine comments are made to oppose anything that seeks raise the quality of life.


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Posted by asharpe
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 14, 2013 at 8:48 pm

There really shouldn't be any argument. I'm surprised that there is so much disagreement about the number of planes that overfly Palo Alto. All I did was go to Web Link and choose a map view over Palo Alto, and show the flight tracks. I can't upload an image here, so I took a screen shot and uploaded to my web server: Web Link . Take a look.

If that doesn't show that the majority of planes are over Palo Alto, I don't know what does.


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 14, 2013 at 9:39 pm

Wow .... yet again Peter Carpenter's claims are diametrically opposed to reality.
Nice graph asharpe.
Why the hell is this ???


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 15, 2013 at 8:29 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

If you ONLY look at Palo Alto then you are only seeing part of the picture. Perhaps that is what you intend.

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton, on Jul 23, 2012 at 8:47 pm
Peter Carpenter is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online

My conclusion is that a number of peninsula communities are impacted by SFO aircraft noise but Palo Alto is not disproportionately impacted. In fact the biggest impact in on the shoreline communities further north where the planes are considerable lower.

I rest my case.

All of the necessary facts have been posted above - anyone who is seriously interested can review them and come to their own conclusion.


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Posted by Deep Throat
a resident of another community
on Feb 15, 2013 at 4:23 pm

You are right Peter. We should look at Atherton.


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Posted by asharpe
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 15, 2013 at 7:21 pm

Well, I lived in Redwood Shores for 4 years (near the end, on Baltic Circle, facing the bay), and while we could *see* many planes, we couldn't hear very many of them. In Palo Alto, I hear far more, at a much louder level than I ever did in Redwood Shores.

Just another data point.


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 15, 2013 at 8:39 pm

My girlfriend works in Redwood Shores/Foster City, where occasionally I drive her to work ... and the one thing anyone with ears can notice as soon as you drive into Redwood Shores and get out of your car is the how loud the airplane noise is. She comments on it, and I can hear it when she calls me on the phone from outside on pretty near every phone call.


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Posted by asharpe
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 15, 2013 at 9:38 pm

Well, ok, as I said, just another data point. But I would think that actually *living* there for four years would be a stronger statement than someone who simply works there. I'm not trying to discount your experiences, though.

We were worried about the possible noise when we were buying the place in Redwood Shores, but as I said, the noise just wasn't there. The planes are coming in very slowly there, much slower than going over Palo Alto. In fact, the small airplanes from San Carlos airport is probably what you were hearing (in Redwood Shores) more than the larger planes going to SFO. The planes going to SFO are *very* careful to come in over the bay, and not over homes, as opposed to Palo Alto, where they are over homes.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 16, 2013 at 9:03 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

SFO planes over Palo Alto are typically above 5000 ft while those over the bay opposite Redwood Shores are closer to 2000 feet. Since sound levels decrease with the square of the distance the noise footprint in decibles is much higher when the planes are at 2000 ft than when they are at 5000 feet.

Because planes going to SFO are descending they are lower over Menlo Park and Atherton than they are over Palo Alto and still lower over Redwood City and San Carlos - at which point the flight path move out over the bay at the lateral distance to inhabited areas increases.


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Posted by asharpe
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 16, 2013 at 2:15 pm

Sure. But what you are forgetting is the horizontal distance to the plane as well as its vertical altitude. Go to the end of Redwood Shores, and check it out. I think you'll be surprised. As I said, I have 4 years of experience here.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 16, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"But what you are forgetting is the horizontal distance to the plane as well as its vertical altitude"

read what I posted:"at which point the flight paths move out over the bay and the lateral distance to inhabited areas increases."


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Posted by asharpe
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 16, 2013 at 3:49 pm

So, we are agreeing. The lateral distance increases, and is no longer over houses, so the noise is less. It is clear, from the screenshot I linked to, that the airlines are using a corridor that goes directly over Palo Alto. This much is clear. Except for claiming that in 4 years in Redwood Shores, we heard very few planes, I am not claiming anything else about other communities. If you have plane noise issues in Atherton, I'd urge you to contact SFO and the FAA.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 16, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Because planes going to SFO are descending they are lower over Menlo Park and Atherton than they are over Palo Alto and still lower over Redwood City and San Carlos - at which point the flight paths move out over the bay and the lateral distance to inhabited areas increases."

Therefore the greatest noise impact from these flights on populated areas is on the communities north of Palo Alto and south of Foster City.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 28, 2014 at 6:36 pm

The problem of jet noise over Palo Alto, just keeps getting worse...

In August 2013 the South China Morning Post reported that the FAA, in response to the Asiana crash at SFO, had begun advising Foreign Airlines to stop using the 5,000' visual approach to SFO, and to only fly 3,000' GPS final approach routes. These overseas flights, which typically use older four-engined aircraft, are the jets rattling your windows, and vibrating your walls.

The smaller two-engined jets that emit a high pitched whistle are flying a new approach to SFO known as "NextGen" which the FAA began to roll-out at Bay Area airports in January 2013. Under "NextGen", aircraft "coast" down from altitude at high speed along several precisely navigated approaches. If you live under one of the "NextGen" approach routes, the noise will be relentless. The precision navigation used in the "Nextgen" system will channel air traffic into several narrow flight paths, and allow air traffic control to use much tighter aircraft-to-aircraft spacing. While the "Nextgen" approach may slightly reduce the engine noise of an individual aircraft, residents living under a "Nextgen" approach route will experience increased noise due to the greater number of aircraft passing overhead, the lower altitudes flown by "NextGen" approach routes, and the higher approach speeds, which produce more airframe noise.

"FAA Plan Seeks More Direct Air Routes in Bay Area"
SF Gate ~ Tuesday, January 15, 2013 Web Link

"New Technology Promises Less Noise from Jet Engines, but to Whose Ears?"
The Almanac ~ August 29, 2012 Web Link


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 28, 2014 at 7:07 pm

Under the prevailing westerly winds, there are five basic approach routes into SFO. Three of the five routes pass over Palo Alto. One route from the north flies over the bay, and one route from the East flies over Freemont.

For anyone unfamiliar with the airspace over the Peninsula, the diagram linked below illustrates the approach and departure plan for bay area airports under the prevailing westerly wind pattern. When flying a GPS approach, SFO bound arrivals should cross 101 in Palo Alto at 3,000'-3,300'. The quieter visual approach, which was "temporarily" banned by the FAA in August 2013, specifies an altitude of 5,000' for SFO bound arrivals at 101 in Palo Alto.

The GAO has criticized the FAA for forfeiting much of the fuel savings "NextGen" was supposed to realize, by simply overlaying the "NextGen" CDA over longer existing approach routes, instead of charting new shorter airport approach routes.

SFBA approach and departure plan: Web Link


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Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 28, 2014 at 9:04 pm

"The GAO has criticized the FAA for forfeiting much of the fuel savings "NextGen" was supposed to realize, by simply overlaying the "NextGen" CDA over longer existing approach routes, instead of charting new shorter airport approach routes."

Ha ha, but of course. Going for shorter approach routes would reroute planes currently crossing or turning over Palo Alto back up to San Mateo County where they used to be 20 + years ago. That's a no-no for Atherton and other Southern San Mateo County towns that have a lot of clout with the FAA through their Roundtable as well as with the vocal help of Anna Eshoo (to the point where I wonder why this latter person even represents Palo Alto. We should vote her out just on the grounds of airplane noise).


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 28, 2014 at 10:00 pm

Midtownwer:

We need to get together, and establish a network with like minded individuals outside of this forum. It is only a matter of time before the online brown-shirts show up to muddy the waters, and shut down the conversation.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 28, 2014 at 10:08 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 29, 2014 at 7:40 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 29, 2014 at 8:58 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

So you want to change the aircraft flight patterns:
What exactly do you intend to petition for?
Who are you going to petition?
As of today how many petitions have been drafted?
How many signatures have been collected?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 29, 2014 at 9:01 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

For those of you who actually want make an impact on this issue (rather than just posting comments and calling for petitions) you need to do some homework. First, understand the issues involving who controls the U.S. airspace and how best to influence aircraft flights paths I encourage you to start with the fact the FAA has sole control over what happens once an airplane leaves the ground. The FAA's primary concern is safety which means, among other things, ensuring the aircraft are properly separated from each other both horizontally and vertically. In the Bay area this separation is achieved by a very complex series of interlocking and non-overlapping coded airspaces centered on SFO, Oakland and San Jose airports.

"The Bay Area airspace is dominated by the 10,000-ft tall SFO Class B. Nestled against the underside of the Class B are two Class C's for Oakland and San Jose, and Class D's for San Carlos, Hayward, Palo Alto, and Moffett. Reid-Hillview's Class D lies 1 mile outside the 30-mile SFO Class C veil. Adding to the complexity are the coastal and Diablo mountain ranges that enclose the central portion of the Bay Area in a narrow V shape."

Local governments have virtually no control over how the FAA has designed these Class B and Class C airspaces and how the FAA moves traffic through those airspaces. Petitions aimed at changing these complex airspace control structures are, in my opinion, doomed to failure.

Smaller airports like Palo Alto, San Carlos and Hayward must operate, in general, beneath these Class B and C airspaces. While local governments own these smaller airports those local governments have no legal authority over aircraft flight paths once an airplane leaves the ground. The only proven way to impact the ground noise footprint of aircraft from these smaller airports is by working closely with the individual pilots involved - as has been done very successfully for over 20 years by the Palo Alto airport's Joint Community Relations Committee. So if you are concerned about non-SFO aircraft noise over Palo Alto then roll up your sleeves and get involved by attending a JCRC meeting. And recognize that the very best possible outcome will not involve closing these airports (that is not going to happen) or restricting particular types of aircraft or flights but in changing the sensitivity and behavior of individual pilots.


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Posted by Midowner
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 29, 2014 at 11:35 pm

I won't bother to read Peter Carpenter's messages. I'll only say that the San Mateo County Roundtable was completely able to obtain flight pattern changes from the FAA in the 1990s, which resulted in less SFO airplane noise over San Mateo County land, and more of it over Palo Alto. If they did it there is a way.

I believe Mr Carpenter is very worried Palo Alto residents are finally waking up to the SFO noise problem over our town, which is why he spends so much energy fighting us on these threads. But enough about him.

Jetman and anyone else interested in airplane noise issues in PA. here is an address if you want to get in touch with me so we can start some sort of group:

veroforyou - at - gmail - dot - com


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Posted by Resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jan 30, 2014 at 2:06 pm

Count me in on any meeting on this topic. Note that large two story planes are on their way - 4 engines, not two. As they become more prevalent then SFO, the logical destination for all trans pacific flights as a hub will be even more noisy.
Comments above on SFO planes over Atherton - at mile 13 they should be over the bay (water) not land. It is the Surf Air going to San Carlos that is the problem for Atherton.

Note that SFO is commercial flights under the control of the SFO tower, not to be confused with the San Carlos Regional airport that is under the control of the San Carlos tower.
Time for a Santa Clara County Roundtable to support our point of view. Time is wasting - we need to move out on this.
Palo Alto airport is not a concern here - they manage their planes over the bay.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 30, 2014 at 2:48 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Note the the 'two story' Airbus 380 is significantly quitter than a 747 and carries more passengers.

"Airbus' A380 is the quietest widebody jetliner flying today, generating 50 per cent less noise energy on departure than its nearest competitor, as well as three-to-four times less when landing – all while carrying 40 per cent more passengers."

***
"Comments above on SFO planes over Atherton - at mile 13 they should be over the bay (water) not land."

The annualized cumulative flight track for all aircraft approaching SFO from the south end of the bay shows the majority crossing the San Mateo county border near Middlefield Road. Some planes arriving from the east are over the bay while all planes arriving from the north, west and south are over Palo Alto and then southern san Mateo county.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 30, 2014 at 3:19 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here is a screenshot of the annual data:

Web Link


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 30, 2014 at 3:56 pm

"all planes arriving from the north, west and south are over Palo Alto and then southern san Mateo county."

This data confirms what people who live in Palo Alto have been saying in this and other related threads. Anyone who's lived here during the time period knows that sometime in the last dozen years or so, Palo Alto went from a town that rarely had jet traffic related to SFO to one that has it all the time.

And anyone who lives here now knows it's getting worse and worse - seemingly on a monthly basis.

San Mateo County (for the most part) does not have to deal with this incessant noise because they negotiated with SFO and the FAA to route cross-Peninsula traffic away from their cities and thus to Palo Alto.

It's only politics that has created this situation, and politics can relieve us of a lot of the noise we're suffering as a result of San Mateo County's bargain with the airport.

Midtowner (above) is collecting contact information to see if something can be started to address this. I've sent mine.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 30, 2014 at 4:27 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Mary Ann - PLEASE look at the facts:

Web Link
The annualized cumulative flight track for all aircraft approaching SFO from the south end of the bay shows the majority crossing the San Mateo county border near Middlefield Road. Some planes arriving from the east are over the bay while all planes arriving from the north, west and south are over Palo Alto and then southern San Mateo county.

These flights fly over Palo Alto and then proceed, at a lower altitude with a larger ground noise footprint, over Menlo Park and East Palo Alto.

What about these facts do you not understand?


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 30, 2014 at 8:50 pm

Large aircraft noise has been very frequent and bothersome tonight (Jan 30, 2014) over us in Duveneck/St. Francis.


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 30, 2014 at 10:33 pm

PC, what about THERE IS TOO MUCH AIRPLANE NOISE do you not understand, and why do you keep trying to contradict people who live in Palo Alto and know better than you.

I have lived in Palo Alto since the 70's and when I noticed there was more noise and started to say something about it some tried to ignore or disagree with me, yet anyone who is honest and knows can tell you the truth, there is both more noise from the local airport as well as passenger airliners that are constantly over our skies and often as a very low altitude.

I noticed that I was waking up in the middle of the night. At first I just thought I was waking up, but then I started to realize every time I woke up a plane had just gone by and all I was conscious of was the sound of it leaving.

As far as the Baylands the local air traffic is so bad I can barely hear music with earphones on out there anymore ... and this is a great place for people to stand outside and golf? Whacked!


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jan 31, 2014 at 12:00 am

I am trying to figure out why Mr. Carpenter has appointed himself the arbiter of Palo alto air traffic. What are the credentials we are looking at here? We need a Santa Clara group that is specific to our concerns on this matter. He is representing the San Mateo point of view.

As to the two story BOEING planes they are being tested at the Kona Kailua, Hawaii airport - one was there this week highlighted against a standard 747. That airport has a new control tower that is security specific - that is where commercial is these days - full capability to support all aspects of air travel, including military who use that airport as a training area. That is where Nancy Pelosi parks her 747 when she is at her home there.

I have been on an Airbus - noisy inside. I am not a fan of the Airbus

Side Note from news today - Jackie Spier is going to intercede with the national parks system on the problem of not enough dog parks. This is a result of her area complaining. Yes complaining on any topic works. Jackie works hard for her people and appears to get results. Time to get Anna Eshoo involved in airplane noise.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jan 31, 2014 at 12:47 am

Trivia - every airline has a magazine - United has Hemispheres - Fleet Facts - which devotes a write-up on the planes in their fleet including cruise speed. capacity, propulsion, wingspan. The specifics are available to anyone riding on the plane who cares to read their magazines. There is a diagram of all airports in the planes hubs.
There is also a section of Expedited Screening Through the U.S. Transportation and Security Administration (TSA). The requirements are also available on TSA.Gov.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 31, 2014 at 8:02 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" am trying to figure out why Mr. Carpenter has appointed himself the arbiter of Palo alto air traffic. What are the credentials we are looking at here?"

1 - Palo Alto resident for 12 years before moving to Atherton
2 - City of Palo Alto Planning Commissioner for 4 1/2 years
3 - City of Palo Alto representative on the Palo Alto Airport Joint Community Relations Committee for 18 years with 10 years as Chairman
4 - Pilot of a plane based at PAO from 1994 to 2006
5 - Project Officer for the ARPA development of the world's first silent airplane
6 - a concerned citizen who does not define my responsibilities in narrow geographical terms
7- a frequent poster who uses only his real name and who is willing to be held accountable for all of his postings


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 31, 2014 at 9:01 am

8. A resident of Atherton who benefits from the status quo regarding SFO related airplane noise and thus has reason to oppose changes to flight paths that would route more SFO traffic over San Mateo County as was the situation before the County agreement with the airport and SFO.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 31, 2014 at 9:25 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

As the annual flight track data shows I get as much SFO traffic over my Atherton house in Lindenwood as do most Palo Alto homes BUT the planes above my house are lower and hence their ground noise footprint is greater. So I am NOT getter any benefit from the current traffic pattern.

Web Link

Mary Ann - PLEASE look at the facts:

Web Link
The annualized cumulative flight track for all aircraft approaching SFO from the south end of the bay shows the majority crossing the San Mateo county border near Middlefield Road. Some planes arriving from the east are over the bay while all planes arriving from the north, west and south are over Palo Alto and then southern San Mateo county.

These flights fly over Palo Alto and then proceed, at a lower altitude with a larger ground noise footprint, over Menlo Park and East Palo Alto.

What about these facts do you not understand?


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 31, 2014 at 10:01 am

Below is an email I just sent to Anna Eshoo. I'll post any reply. Others interested in this issue might wish to write her as well. Here's the link to her site: Web Link

----------------------

Dear Congresswoman Eshoo,

I am writing you about an issue that's increasingly bothersome to many of us in Palo Alto: jet airplane noise from aircraft going to San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

This issue has been discussed in many threads in the Palo Alto Weekly's Online Forum, which you may wish to have one of your staff research.

Briefly, it appears that up until 10 or 15 years ago, most flights into SFO crossed the Peninsula in San Mateo County. Then an agreement was negotiated by various San Mateo County elected officials and SFO which restricted overflights in San Mateo County resulting in virtually all SFO bound flights overflying Palo Alto. You may wish to consult the image at this link, which shows the current pattern of aircraft traffic in the Bay Area: Web Link

I have lived in Palo Alto since 1984, and my observations support this description of the facts. When I moved to Palo Alto, there was virtually no jet noise except for occasional anti-submarine flights out of Moffet. Now the skies are filled with noise producing flights virtually all the day - including middle-of-the-night jumbo jets from Asia.

There's no technical reason that all flights have to go over one city on the Peninsula leaving the rest with much more peaceful environments. The only reason we have this unfair situation is that San Mateo County Officials were able to get a political deal for their constituents.

I'm writing you to ask that you investigate this issue and to see if you would be interested in intervening on the behalf of your Palo Alto constituents on this issue.

Thank you for your attention and for your service.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jan 31, 2014 at 10:42 am

Mary Anne - thank you very much. In the SF Chronicle today it reports that two runways at SFO will be closed for repairs during the summer months, mid-May through September. The biggest impact will be on arriving flights which will require a number of circling planes waiting for clearance to land. This is a duplicate of last August when planes were continually processing over the bay. Much of Palo Altos concerns started with the August flights which overwhelmed the system.

Add Surf Air to this situation then we will see and hear continual noise.

This is not going to get better - so organization will be the best approach.
I suggest that Joe Simitian get involved since he is our Santa Clara representative and former state senator.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 31, 2014 at 10:53 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Relax - planes will not be circling waiting to land but rather, via a well known and effective technique of ground holds at their airport of origin, will be metered in with distinct arrival times. Circling wastes fuel and leads to airspace congestion and it is generally avoided for those reasons.

The two runways that will be closed are normally used for departures so there will not be more arrivals from the south - those arrivals will all just need to be spaced more to allow many more departures from the same runways that they are landing on. In fact the airlines may reduce the number of flights simply because of the increased difficulty of getting arrival time slots.


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 31, 2014 at 11:08 am

Thanks for the tip, resident 1. I sent an email to Simitian too. Again, I'll post if he replies. Here's his website for others who wish to get involved. (It's as easy as posting on this forum... and arguably more effective. We'll see.)
Web Link


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2014 at 11:40 am

Looking for some info. I can't find any actual published information that anything has changed about SFO routes either this year or 15 years ago. No doubt there's more SFO traffic than a few years ago, but has anything else changed? I can't find any published new SFO arrival routes (Peter - is there a published RNP arrival for SFO with RF legs?). I also can't find any description of rerouting from 15 to 20 years ago. Not saying anyone is wrong, but it would be nice to know what the discussion is really about. Peter is correct in his descriptions of airspace design. Whether a jet is flying a visual, ILS or GPS approach, it's aiming for the same glideslope. If you turn jets farther north they'd need to stay high to get over Skyline and then dive to the SFO glideslope.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 31, 2014 at 11:48 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"I can't find any actual published information that anything has changed about SFO routes either this year or 15 years ago"

Neither can I - perhaps this change is an urban myth. The only change I am aware of was raising the crossing altitude at Woodside VOR.

What did happen in 1981 was the establishment of the SFO Roundtable - but its web site notes:
"The Airport/Community Roundtable was established in 1981 as a voluntary committee to address community noise impacts from aircraft operations at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). The Roundtable monitors a performance-based noise mitigation program implemented by airport staff, interprets community concerns and attempts to achieve noise mitigation through a cooperative sharing of authority among the aviation industry, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), SFO management and local government.

The authority to control aircraft in flight and on the ground is vested exclusively in the FAA. The FAA, however, cannot control the number of flights nor the time of day of aircraft operations. Federal law preempts any local government agency from implementing any action that is intended to control the routes of aircraft in flight. Neither the Roundtable, local elected officials nor airport management can control the routes of aircraft in flight or on the ground."


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Posted by David Hopkins
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 31, 2014 at 11:51 am

Mr Carpenter rightly points out the ground hold procedures. However, there are times when planes do have to circle (known as a hold in aviation terms). The vast majority of the time planes are requested by ATC to circle on a predefined hold - shown on the charts carried by pilots. For example, if airliners arrive from the South they may be asked to hold at SKUNK (an intersection that is approximately 40 miles south of SFO). The altitude on the arrivals chart tells inbound aircraft to expect to hold at 12,000ft. The airspace directly over Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton etc is totally unsuitable for "holds". The noise caused by circling aircraft is in fact no noise in our area


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jan 31, 2014 at 12:24 pm

Thank you to Mr. Carpenter for providing his data. I am sure that he derived a great deal of satisfaction in his pursuits. I am sure that the city benefited by his participation.

Based on the timetable of data provided I suspect that Mr. Carpenter is a senior citizen who may have a hearing impairment requiring a hearing aid. He does not register the same amount of noise that the rest of us are complaining about. It is of minimal interest in his discussions.

The level of traffic at SFO during his participation was not as heavily trafficked as it is now, and the planes were not as large. I have been in this house since 1978 and can see a marked increase in traffic and noise.

As to SFO's plans for how it will address the runway closures their plan is discussed in the SF Chronicle today, page D4. It reports that SFO has the capability of landing 60 arrivals per hour. Last summer it was processing 52 - 54 arrivals per hour. With two runways closed it will be limited to 45 - 46 arrivals per hour. SFO is working to re-schedule plan arrivals so they are spread out during the day vs. being concentrated in the 10:00 AM to noon and 6-8PM at night. Since SFO provided that data I will take it on faith as to accuracy. However I think that there is more traffic in the 7 AM to 10 AM period for the trans-pacific flights.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jan 31, 2014 at 12:32 pm

I am reading about the SKUNK being 40 miles south of SFO. The San Jose airport has to be processing arrivals that are arriving so that means that the noise has been shifted to the more southern communities. I am sure they are overjoyed by this.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 31, 2014 at 1:29 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

resident 1 - I understand and respect the fact that you and others object to the noise created by airplanes - sensitivity to noise is a personal and subjective matter.

My objective remains to try to help the community reach reasonable solutions - which requires understanding the operational, legal and regulatory facts.

Holding at SKUNK is always done above 12,000 ft and actually rarely occurs because FAA flow control prevents too many planes arriving at the same time.


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2014 at 2:00 pm

Holds are possible, but flow control and delay vectors (flying a dog leg for 5 or ten minutes) are way more common in modern air traffic control.

It would help this discussion if we had some pointers to documented changes in procedures that were the result of political pressure or community dialog. That would help frame what kind of future changes to ask for. Is the concern that there's just more SFO traffic? Peter's probably right there's not much to be done about that.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 31, 2014 at 2:25 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here is a fascinating historical document - clearly the residents of southern San Mateo County have already gotten Rep. Eshoo's attention to their cause:

Web Link

Excerpt:
"Congresswoman Eshoo's efforts resulted in a change to the FAA procedures manual for SFO and Oakland International stating that "all oceanic jet arrivals inbound from the west shall cross OSI [the navigational radio beacon located near the intersection of Skyline Boulevardand Highway 85] at or above 8,000 feet MSL," air traffic permitting"

It appears that Rep. Eshoo has more constituents in southern San Mateo County than she does in Palo Alto.
Web Link


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2014 at 3:01 pm

Just looked at some SFO oceanic arrivals on flightaware.com. Looks like they cross OSI at 7900 feet. Have to assume this is pretty typical oceanic routing.

I'm confused about the hubbub right now.

=====================
Here's an example
Woodside / OSI - 05:58PM 37.3997 -122.2590 64° Northeast 251 289 7,900
MENLO - 06:00PM 37.4751 -122.1310 31° Northeast 204 235 4,200

Web Link


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 31, 2014 at 3:17 pm

". . . intersection of Skyline Boulevard and Highway 85 (sic)"

FWIW, the original memo meant Hwy 84, just in case anyone is confused.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Feb 1, 2014 at 10:58 am

Anonymous - the planes are going directly over my house. Try a 747-400 with four Pratt & Whitney engines - 374 passengers. That is a big boy - more to come. That is just in the United fleet - more are in the international trans-Pacific fleets that land at the International terminal at SFO.

Mr. Carpenter - my suspicions are that you were one of the originators of the plan to move the planes over PA versus Atherton - that is why you moved from PA to Atherton way back when. You saw the writing on the wall.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 1, 2014 at 11:13 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Mr. Carpenter - my suspicions are that you were one of the originators of the plan to move the planes over PA versus Atherton "

No I was not and there is no evidence to support the urban myth that such a rerouting occurred - I would welcome evidence to the contrary.

"the planes are going directly over my house. " At an altitude of 3-4000 ft - the sun is also, at time, directly over your house.

"a 747-400 with four Pratt & Whitney engines - 374 passengers. That is a big boy - more to come" Actually newer planes are both quieter and, in some cases, carry more passengers. The existing 747 fleet is not fuel efficient is is being phased out in exchange for quieter and more fuel efficient aircraft.

"Lufthansa currently has about 20 of the older-model 747-400s in its fleet, with plans to gradually phase out those jets over the next decade."

"Air France will phase out its 747 fleet and rely on the 777"


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 1, 2014 at 11:38 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Mary Anne states:
"Thanks for the tip, resident 1. I sent an email to Simitian too"

Just as Rep Eshoo has more constituents in San Mateo county than she does in Palo Alto so too Simitian has long supported the San Carlos airport activities:

"As of January 1, 2004, residential property owners are required to disclose to prospective buyers that the property is in the "vicinity" of an airport (Assembly Bill 2776). This type of disclosure has long been a priority of pilot and airport lobbyists who believe that some type of formal notice to homeowners that their property is near an airport will preclude complaints or lawsuits by those residents. AB 2776 was authored by Assemblyman Joe Simitian (Dem., Palo Alto) on behalf of the San Carlos Pilots Association;"


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2014 at 11:43 am

@resident1 - No one is denying SFO air traffic flies over Palo Alto.

The question is if anything has changed about routing either horizontally or vertically recently - or even in the past 20 years. If the only thing that's changed is there's more air traffic when the economy is strong, that's a different complaint then saying "SM county has acted to shift traffic to other places." I'd like to know if there's any truth to that claim. There may be, but I can't find it. Can you point to some evidence that may have happened?


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 1, 2014 at 12:08 pm

I don't have documentation regarding the agreement that sent SFO traffic over Palo Alto. I'm not very good at finding things on the Internet, so maybe someone with better search skills could find such evidence.

Whatever the state of documentation, I know from personal experience that the flight patterns changed sometime after I moved here from further up the Peninsula. My spouse and I looked very hard for a place without the airplane noise that we had in our previous house. We even pulled out of a contract to buy a house in the Woodside Hills because of Jet noise. We bought our current house in Palo Alto after confirming that it was without significant jet aircraft noise. Some time fifteen years or so ago, the constant conga line of SFO bound airplanes that many others have complained about here appeared: Something changed - agreement or not!

Anyone who's even casually perused the various links in this thread can see that the major flight path for SFO bound planes from the West, North and South passes directly over Palo Alto before heading over the Bay toward SFO. (Planes from the East go over Fremont.) Cities in San Mateo County with the exception of the tiny corner where East PA and East Menlo Park sit are relatively blissfully free of the constant jet din we suffer here. This isn't fair.

There's no technical reason that planes couldn't cross the Peninsula over San Mateo County cities. We need to get our politicians involved. Anna Eshoo, according to one of the links above, did get involved on behalf of Southern San Mateo County on airplane noise a while back. If twenty people who comment on online forums are fed up with this situation, there are surely many others who don't look at forums who also might be interested in pressuring our politicians to address this unfair situation.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 1, 2014 at 12:23 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"There's no technical reason that planes couldn't cross the Peninsula over San Mateo County cities."

Actually there is a very good technical reason - the established descent angle for commercial approaches is 3 degrees. Since aircraft must cross the Woodside VOR at 8000 ft it is necessary to continue SE far enough so that the remaining distance to SFO is far enough to permit a 3 degree glide path. Turning earlier would require a much steeper and less comfortable and less safe decent angle.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Feb 1, 2014 at 12:27 pm

Hi Mary Anne - I am with you - we are just being gamed by the San Mateo crowd. I know from going to the Surf Air Atherton meeting on this subject that their main concern was that East PA would bear the brunt of the noise. NOISE was the subject - still is. Their priorities were clearly stated. Mr Carpenter indicated he was not present at the meeting so his input on that subject is his opinion only.


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Posted by what?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2014 at 12:32 pm



"the major flight path for SFO bound planes from the West, North and South passes directly over Palo Alto before heading over the Bay toward SFO."

Why would airplanes from the NORTH be coming through Palo Alto?????????


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Posted by what?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2014 at 12:32 pm



"the major flight path for SFO bound planes from the West, North and South passes directly over Palo Alto before heading over the Bay toward SFO."

Why would airplanes from the NORTH be coming through Palo Alto?????????


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 1, 2014 at 12:43 pm

"Why would airplanes from the NORTH be coming through Palo Alto?????????"

Planes need to approach SFO from the South/Southwest to land at SFO because of the prevailing winds and the runway configurations. If you review the links, you'll see that planes from the North travel down the spine of the Peninsula before crossing over to the Bay at Palo Alto for approach to SFO.

The 8000 foot limit at Woodside is a the result of a politically brokered flight path engineered in part by Anna Eshoo for the benefit of San Mateo County residents. Atherton residents in particular were active in the group that induced Eshoo to act on this. See details here: Web Link. To the degree that this 8000 foot limit forces planes further south for the comfort of passengers or for other reasons, it's political and not technical. If the Woodside limit were, say 5000 feet (higher than most planes fly over Palo Alto currently), they could comfortably fly over Atherton on their way to the bay with a very gentle glide path.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 1, 2014 at 12:46 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Why would airplanes from the NORTH be coming through Palo Alto?????????"

Because prevailing winds in the Bay area require landings to be to the north and hence aircraft must first fly south of SFO in order to turn to a heading of 280 degrees for their final approach.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 1, 2014 at 12:55 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" If the Woodside limit were, say 5000 feet (higher than most planes fly over Palo Alto currently),"

The crossing altitude of 8000 ft at the Woodside VOR (elevation 2270 ft) means than at Skyline the planes are about 5700 above ground level. If the crossing altitude were reduced to 5000 ft then the planes would be only 2700 ft above the ground - very dangerous and very noisy.

"Mr Carpenter indicated he was not present at the meeting so his input on that subject is his opinion only." Correct, my opinions are just MY opinions but the facts that I have consistently presented are all well documented - in fact there seems to be almost no one else who presents documented facts. Shooting the messenger will not change the facts.


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 1, 2014 at 1:06 pm

The 8000 foot limit at Woodside was set to address the complaints that airplane noise was disturbing residents of Woodside, Portola Valley and adjacent areas. Atherton residents also were active in the politics of this matter. This is all made very clear here:Web Link. Clearly, our neighboring wealthy enclaves have been successful in making their neighborhoods more peaceful and quiet at the expense of us in Palo Alto. As Mr. Carpenter states, lowering the limit would make it very noisy for residents under the flight path.

I'm not suggesting ALL cross Peninsula traffic go over Atherton (although that would affect far fewer families than does the current path which crosses over much more densely populated areas in Palo Alto and East PA). But surely some sharing of the burden could be engineered so that we don't all suffer so richer neighborhoods can spend time in their yards, pools and tennis courts unmolested by the din that we put up with all the time.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 1, 2014 at 1:17 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"As Mr. Carpenter states, lowering the limit would make it very noisy for residents under the flight path. "
Was I stated was "If the crossing altitude were reduced to 5000 ft then the planes would be only 2700 ft above the ground - very dangerous and very noisy."

I would not want to be in a commercial flight crossing Skyline at 200 mph with only 2700 ft to spare - would you????

So far fewer than 20 unique individuals have proposed attempting to change the SFO approach paths - I do not see anything approaching a critical mass on this issue.
Who are you going to petition?
What are you going to petition them for?
How many petitions have been drafted?
How many signatures have been obtained?


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Posted by 6300 feet over skyline
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 1, 2014 at 1:34 pm

It looks like a crossing altitude of 6300 feet over skyline would put the planes at 4000 feet above the ground, a little higher than they are currently flying over midtown Palo Alto, and allow the planes to pretty much miss Palo Alto altogether.


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 1, 2014 at 1:37 pm

The 20 unique individuals who want to change the SFO approach far outnumber the 1 prolific poster who wants to keep the status quo. Of course he and the people he speaks for have more money than the rest of us, so that may explain why the status quo currently favors them at the expense of Palo Alto residents.

Again, the Woodside VOR 8000 foot limit is the result of political pressure put on SFO and the FAA by Anna Eshoo at the behest of her wealthy constituents in Woodside, Portola Valley and Atherton. See Web Link.

If the argument is that planes must fly over Palo Alto as a result of this 8000 foot limit, then it's clear that the cause of our airplane noise problem is political. And so is the solution. If we have 20 people upset enough at this to post on forums, then there certainly are many more who feel the same way who don't even know about this forum but might interested in changing the way things are. Obviously,by the example in the link, political pressure works.

Why would someone who's got a clear self-interest in the outcome spend so much time vehemently telling us there's no hope of changing things if he weren't kind of worried he might be wrong?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 1, 2014 at 1:47 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" Obviously,by the example in the link, political pressure works."

Well organized political pressure sometimes works but unorganized and unfocussed political pressure never works.

I welcome you attempting to prove me wrong but I know enough about the legal, technical and, particularly, Palo Alto process political issues to comfortably predict that you will be unsuccessful.

And frankly I would not be personally concerned about any changes even if they did impact me - I long ago accepted the fact the I am living in a dynamic urban area with all the pluses and minuses that come with the territory. And I am the only Atherton resident who has publicly spoken out against shifting a local noise problem to less outspoken and less wealthy neighbors.

Who are you going to petition?
What are you going to petition them for?
How many petitions have been drafted?
How many signatures have been obtained?

I cannot stop you from jumping over a cliff but I will tell you everything I know about the cliff and the dangers of jumping over it.


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2014 at 2:25 pm

@Mary Anne - if something changed 15 years ago it's written down somewhere and would have come out. Hard to say why we don't have evidence to back up your experience.

The 8000 foot crossing altitude over Woodside is only for oceanic flights.

Here's an example of a non-oceanic flight that stayed much lower and farther north: Web Link

If you can find examples of flights that you think are low over Palo Alto can you point a few out?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 1, 2014 at 3:05 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

As I continue to research this matter it is becoming clear that technology advances that will permit high efficiency, safe and low noise approaches to SFO have overtaken the concerns raised in this thread.

This Controlled Descent Approach concept was tested the Overseas Traffic Arrival (OTA) study in January 2007 with over a month long period using a United 777 inbound from Honolulu.

"The OTA route clearance consisted of the entire set of lateral and vertical constraints needed by the FMS for building an idle-thrust guidance trajectory. The OTA route clearance was developed iteratively, relying on extensive flight simulation with UAL and Boeing line pilots under various wind conditions and descent-speed assumptions.
The primary objective was to avoid leaving the airplane low on energy relative to the VNAV path, which would trigger undesired throttle inputs from the autopilot. The second objective was to avoid leaving the airplane high on energy relative to the VNAV path, which would require speed brakes, unusual flap settings, and/or steep descent segments - all of which can increase pilot workload and passenger discomfort, while compromising desired fuel, emissions, and noise benefits."

Field Evaluation of the Tailored Arrivals Concept for
Datalink-Enabled Continuous Descent Approach
Richard A. Coppenbarger*
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, 94035
Rob W. Mead†
The Boeing Company, Seattle, WA, 98124
and
Douglas N. Sweet‡
Sensis Corporation, Campbell, CA, 95008

These CDA approaches use less fuel and create less noise. By 2010 25% of SFO overseas arrivals were using this technique. As older jets are phased out and are replaced with newer ones with advanced navigational capabilities the ground noise footprint everywhere on the peninsula will be reduced - although some individuals who are particularly noise sensitive may still be disturbed.

My opinion is that any attempt to reroute SFO traffic will, to use a bad pun, fall on deaf ears as the noise problem is already being solved in better, more creative ways. One proof of this is that all of the complaints by the above posters that are aircraft specific cite the 747 as the source of the noise. The 747 is quickly being replaced by newer, more efficient, quieter airplanes with CDA capability.


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Posted by what?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2014 at 3:18 pm

Peter Carpenter,

What you just posted means that there is LESS reason to re-route flights from San Francisco and San Mateo to Palo Alto.

Whatever noise issues the airports are having can be solved WITHIN their neighborhoods.

It's obvious the "technology" is intended to deal with noise, and the technology is not working or they would not be extending their noise all the way out here.



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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 1, 2014 at 3:26 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"It's obvious the "technology" is intended to deal with noise, and the technology is not working or they would not be extending their noise all the way out here."

Please pay attention to what is being posted:

1 - As older jets are phased out and are replaced with newer ones with advanced navigational capabilities the ground noise footprint everywhere on the peninsula will be reduced.

2 - All of the complaints by the above posters that are aircraft specific cite the 747 as the source of the noise. The 747 is quickly being replaced by newer, more efficient, quieter airplanes with CDA capability. The 747 is the old technology and they will be going away.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Feb 1, 2014 at 3:26 pm

Thank you for your opinion. I do not believe that a 747 was specified by everyone. I just flew on a 757-200 - 142-213 people. The fact is that a 4 engine plane - 747-400, 374 people is significantly bigger than a two engine plane.

The exercise will be interesting - at least we will be on record for future fallout for this topic. Once we get the subject going it will gain some traction.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 1, 2014 at 4:53 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

SJO has a superb web tracking tool that actually covers the entire peninsula. It is particularly helpful in identifying which airline and type of aircraft is flying overhead and at what altitude - and it is Mac friendly which SFO's is not:

Web Link


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Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 1, 2014 at 5:16 pm

@ Anonymous

The decision to reroute SFO bound flights was made around 1990, when not much was posted on the Internet yet. I am going to keep looking for evidence of it. It is not made up. The SFO Community Roundtable (created in 1981) worked with the airport and the FAA at the time, and there was an agreement to change the flight routes. I remember full well reading about it at the time and I found it ironic then because the decision was made right after we relocated to Palo Alto from another Bay Area city in an attempt to get away from airplane noise. At the time, I was already following SFO noise issues quite closely.

Note also, that until the early 1990s, the airspace above Palo Alto was mostly used by the P3 military airplanes from Moffett Field, until they discontinued those flight and closed the Navy Air base there. Of course, we already had the Palo Alto airport traffic as well. At the time, I can guarantee you we had very little SFO bound traffic in PA, at least above Midtown PA.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 1, 2014 at 5:20 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The Airport/Community Roundtable was established in 1981 as a voluntary committee to address community noise impacts from aircraft operations at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). The Roundtable monitors a performance-based noise mitigation program implemented by airport staff, interprets community concerns and attempts to achieve noise mitigation through a cooperative sharing of authority among the aviation industry, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), SFO management and local government.

The authority to control aircraft in flight and on the ground is vested exclusively in the FAA. The FAA, however, cannot control the number of flights nor the time of day of aircraft operations. Federal law preempts any local government agency from implementing any action that is intended to control the routes of aircraft in flight. Neither the Roundtable, local elected officials nor airport management can control the routes of aircraft in flight or on the ground."


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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Feb 1, 2014 at 5:22 pm

What kind of journalism is it to resurrect an article for 2012 just to stimulate community antipathy?

This issue is a dead horse. We live in a geographically constrained metropolitan area with 3 international airports. Personally, I don't want to see one injury or fatality as a result of the unreasonable demands in Atherton.

This is a community that is currently fighting seating for it's Little League baseball diamond, because it claims the town lacks open space. Folks...Oakland lacks open space, not Atherton where most hopes are on multi-acre lots.


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Posted by Midowner
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 1, 2014 at 5:25 pm

@ Anonymous, 6300 feet over skyline, Peter Carpenter, etc.

SFO bound jets flying above Palo Alto regularly fly below 5000 feet, after crossing El Camino.

The other day, at 8:44 PM there was a Hawaiian Airline flight coming from Honolulu, flying into SFO, crossing over midtown at 4000 feet! That's just one example.

I saw one recently that was below 4000 feet just before reaching Highway 101 (and crossing over the Baylands, since many of those flights go around Menlo Park and East Palo Alto by crossing over the Baylands in South Palo Alto).

Everybody:

Please, start reporting the low flying, noisiest airplanes flying over PA to the SFO complaint system. We need to document the problem. The more people reporting airplanes the better.


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Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 1, 2014 at 5:28 pm

@ Peter Carpenter

That's what they say about the Roundtable NOW.

I know for a fact that in the early 1990s there was an agreement between San Mateo County, the City of San Francisco and SFO to change the approaches.

Just be patient. I will eventually track down evidence of this. No, I am not crazy. As I said, I have been following this for over 2 decades.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 1, 2014 at 5:28 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Watch the SJC radar web site - I have seen NO SFO flights over Palo Alto below 4000 ft.

Web Link


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Posted by Ya right
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 1, 2014 at 5:31 pm

Atherton is trying perhaps successfully to send ALL the planes over Palo Alto. Call your elected representatives and complain. LOUDLY!!
Atherton doesn't want it. Palo Alto doesn't want it.

Web Link


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Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 1, 2014 at 5:34 pm

@ neighbor

The current discussion is really about airplane noise above Palo Alto which has become really, really bad.

There is one Atherton resident only on this thread currently, who is fighting tooth and nail to convince us, Palo Alto residents, that there is no airplane noise problem in Palo Alto. Obviously, he is very wrong on this, and to us, Palo Alto residents, his motivations seem a bit suspicious. It seems he just wants to make sure airplanes keep skirting Atherton as much as they have. They do. Atherton gets much less traffic than Palo Alto does, and most of the traffic they get is smaller airplanes such as E120s, and very few of the big atrociously noisy Boeings and Airbuses we get over Palo ALto.

I hope this explanation helps.


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Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 1, 2014 at 5:37 pm

To all people distressed by airplane noise in Palo Alto:

We are trying to start a group of concerned citizens to fight airplane noise over Palo Alto (the whole city).

I have volunteered to gather contact info of people wanting to join the effort. If this is you, please e-mail me at:

veroforyou - at - gmail - dot - com


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 1, 2014 at 5:58 pm

Anonymous (and others) who made comments about the altitude of Palo Alto overflights, and about the hypothetical quieter planes that are coming soon, seem to be overlooking the primary complaint of those of us concerned about Palo Alto airplane noise. Right now, virtually all of the airport traffic that crosses the Peninsula (i.e., All flights into SFO from the East, South, and North) does so over Palo Alto.

While flights that fly at 5000 feet are quieter than those at 4000 feet and while some planes are quieter than others, there becomes a point where the frequency of overflights that is at issue. As some have pointed out, there are busy times when there are overflights every 3-5 minutes. That's hard to take even if they're above 4000 feet, which often they are not.

As Midtowner points out, years ago, we rarely had SFO bound traffic overhead. (Woodside, Portola Valley and Atherton as well as Redwood City and San Carlos did.). The flight path changed and we're now suffering far more than our fair share of airplane noise. This fact won't change if planes suddenly start staying a little higher or if planes get a little quieter. (And in any case, the increasing complaints about airplane noise from Palo Altans as demonstrated by the posters here indicates that the problem is getting worse, not better with time.)

While Peter Carpenter's kind advice to us that it's not worth fighting this is, I am sure, heartfelt and not related to the fact that Atherton would be disadvantaged by a change to the status quo on this issue, I'm with Midtowner. Let's organize and start doing something to address the unfairness here.


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Posted by read the links
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 1, 2014 at 6:57 pm

Yes the noise is too much andits going to get worse ! THanks Atherton

Plan would send planes flying over Palo Alto
Atherton residents propose Surf Air flights over Crescent Park, Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhoods

by Sue Dremann / Palo Alto Weekly

Palo Alto's Crescent Park and Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhoods could find themselves under the flight path of a relatively new airline, if a proposal to the Federal Aviation Administration is cleared for takeoff.

Surf Air, an airline that offers passengers unlimited flights on six-passenger planes for a monthly fee, started flying its turbine-powered Pilatus PC-12 planes in and out of San Carlos Airport in June. But it has rankled some Atherton residents, who have found the airplane noise overhead annoying. About 75 people attended a Dec. 9 community meeting about Surf Air, with many voicing their concerns, according to a Dec. 10 article in the Almanac, the Weekly's sister paper.

Surf Air's current FAA-mandated flight path is aligned above Middlefield Road through Atherton, Menlo Park, Palo Alto and Mountain View and flies over Palo Alto's Walter Hays Elementary School.

But a proposed additional path would take planes 10 degrees to the east, passing directly over the Willows neighborhood in Menlo Park and the Crescent Park, Duveneck/St. Francis, Triple El and eastern Midtown neighborhoods in Palo Alto before crossing above U.S. Highway 101 just south of the Palo Alto Animal Services Center. From there, the flights would travel over the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve and above the Shoreline Golf Links in Mountain View.

It would not replace the current flight path but would provide another option, Cory Cozzens, Surf Air's vice president of business development, stated in an email to the Weekly last week.

Surf Air currently serves 371 members with about 350 more waiting for new routes to their communities, Cozzens told the Almanac. About half of its members live in the Bay Area, and 31 reside in San Mateo County. The airline has 16 daily flights from 8:20 a.m. to 9 p.m. connecting San Carlos to Burbank, Santa Barbara and Hawthorne, Calif., according to its website.

Cozzens said the company does not have any immediate plans to add flights to San Carlos airport.

"However, our long-term plans have included as many as 20 daily flights to San Carlos. We plan to provide service to airports throughout California over the coming years, including Tahoe, San Diego, Palm Springs and more," he said.

The membership-based airline charges a flat rate of $1,350 per month, plus a $500 one-time initiation fee.

The new flight path was formally requested by a working group of Atherton residents, Cozzens said. Surf Air and the San Carlos Airport provided minimal technical and feasibility guidance, he said.

Cozzens defended Surf Air planes, which he said are not exceptionally noisy.

"Surf Air flights comprise only a small number of the total daily flights into San Carlos airport and is similar or smaller/quieter than many other aircraft that have long been operated from San Carlos, including 20 daily operations with identical aircraft (Pilatus PC-12s). Unfortunately noise from other operations, including louder Coast Guard operations, are often attributed to Surf Air. All of that said, we want to be welcome in the community, so we have made many changes to our operations to minimize our noise impact, and we continue to work with all concerned parties to obtain this goal," he said.

Crescent Park Neighborhood Association President Norman Beamer sent an email to City of Palo Alto officials requesting immediate action so that the proposed route does not materialize.

"It's certainly appropriate for people to weigh in on this with the City Council," he said, but he did not know what legal mechanisms might be in place to address the trans-Palo Alto flights.

"I'm hoping people will get organized and look into it," he said.

Palo Alto officials are looking into the matter, said city spokeswoman Claudia Keith.

"The city is aware of the issue. We are working to ensure that the city is able to participate in any discussions on potential changes that could impact our community and continue to monitor the situation to ensure that the city's position is adequately represented," she said.

Karen White, president of the Duveneck/St. Francis Neighborhood Association, said she has not heard the planes, but neighborhood concerns regarding aircraft are not new, she said.

"Many years ago there was an uproar over the noise of the LifeFlight helicopters, but those concerns subsided," she said.

White would be more concerned about the planes flying at a safe altitude.

"We need to wait and see what happens. Flights during the day are not as problematic as flights at 2 a.m. waking people up," she said.


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Posted by asdf
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 1, 2014 at 7:09 pm

Too bad Palo Alto is still fighting HSR. Maybe if that got built, some of the 2.3 million people flying between SFO and LAX and SAN would take the train instead, reducing the number of flights. But that would be too easy.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2014 at 9:31 pm

For those of you wondering what has changed in the past year...

The loud aircraft you hear are flying a new approach to SFO known as "NextGen" which the FAA started to roll-out at SFO in January 2013. Under "NextGen", aircraft "coast" down from altitude at high speed along several precisely navigated approaches. If you live under one of the "NextGen" approach routes, the noise will be relentless. The precision navigation used in the "Nextgen" system will channel air traffic into several narrow flight paths, and allow air traffic control to use tighter aircraft-to-aircraft spacing. While the "Nextgen" approach may reduce the engine noise emitted by an individual aircraft, residents living under a "Nextgen" approach route will experience increased noise due to the greater number of aircraft passing overhead, the lower altitudes flown by "NextGen" approach routes, and the higher approach speeds, which produce more airframe noise.

The noise problem is not unique to Palo Alto. "NextGen" approach routes are being implemented nation-wide, and people are complaining about increased noise everywhere it has been implemented.

"FAA Plan Seeks More Direct Air Routes in Bay Area"
SF Gate ~ Tuesday, January 15, 2013 Web Link

"New Technology Promises Less Noise from Jet Engines, but to Whose Ears?"
The Almanac ~ August 29, 2012 Web Link


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2014 at 10:26 pm

As bad as the "NextGen" noise is... the pollution may be worse.

Under the "NextGen" continuous-decent-approach (CDA), aircraft "coast" down from altitude with their engines at idle in a (failed) attempt to reduce noise. Idling jet engines do not burn fuel efficiently. At idle, jet engines spew microscopic droplets of unburned jet-fuel in their exhaust.

A study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University, and published in the Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Journal found that when the exhaust from idling jet engines was exposed to sunlight in a smog chamber, the unburned droplets in the exhaust broke down into microscopic particles that can penetrate the lungs, and blood-brain barrier.

The researchers were shocked to find that the quantity of particles produced by this process was 35 times the number of particles originally expelled by the engine.

"NextGen" CDAs should never have been implemented without an environmental impact study. The heavily trafficked southern approach route to SFO, flies directly over Palo Alto High School, all day long.

"Idling Jet Exhaust Exposed to Sun Produce 35 times More Particles"
News.cam.au ~ May 13, 2011
Web Link


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2014 at 11:18 pm

@Jetman - the only published "NextGen" procedure for SFO moves air traffic farther out over the bay. Web Link

It's called "RNAV (RNP) Y RWY 28R".

There may be other "NextGen" procedures under development, but they haven't been rolled out yet, and I doubt very many planes or crews are trained to use them.

There's no published "NextGen" approach over Palo Alto High School. There's also no peer corroboration for Allen Robinson's CMU study. He may be right, it's too early to say. The topic certainly merits more study.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 2, 2014 at 12:38 am

Anonymous:

There is not a lot of transparency associated with the "NextGen" roll-out, so no one really knows how the FAA, and SFO, are preceding with the roll-out. I suspect part of the "NextGen" roll-out consists of increased use of RNAV approaches, and less use of the higher visual approaches that were designed to minimize ground level noise.

The FAA is encountering opposition to noise from all over the country where "NextGen" has been launched, so the "NextGen" roll-out at SFO is not just a technical roll-out, it is also a carefully orchestrated PR roll-out.

The upper floor of my house is 150' above sea level, and I have a clear view over the trees, looking east toward the Bay. The noisy aircraft approaching from the north and executing a low descending 180-degree turn over Palo Alto are clearly flying a CDA, not the higher altitude stepped approach I used to typically see a year ago.

Smaller two-engined jets (Southwest, etc) arriving from the south are flying a VERY consistent (and lower) flight path that takes them directly over Paly all day long.

The changes we have seen (and heard) in the skies over Palo Alto are steps on the way to "NextGen" ATC, and the GAO has sharply criticized the FAA for simply overlaying "NextGen" routes over existing routes.

Palo Alto is a frog sitting in a pot of water, and the heat is being turned up ever so slowly, with the hope that few will notice the change.


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of another community
on Feb 2, 2014 at 6:56 am

There is no "CDA" from the north. Those planes are flying something called the "Point Reyes One" arrival with ATC assigned altitudes and an ATC assigned heading after Woodside. Non-oceanic traffic is generally assigned 6000 feet at Woodside and oceanic traffic is assigned 8000 feet. New procedures may be rolled out in the future, but they don't seem to be in use yet. What you're seeing from your upper floor is probably ATC handling more traffic from a strong economy and a busy airport.

There's no point in being alarmist before the fact. It may turn out that "NextGen" procedures improve the Palo Alto noise situation and it would be nice to know more about what's planned. It would be productive if someone can get draft versions of proposed new procedures for review.


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 2, 2014 at 9:27 am

Whether or not the NextGen are more or less noisy and whether or not they actually phase in NextGen jets, we will still have airplane problems in Palo Alto as long as the main flight approach path for most of the planes heading to SFO passes over our town. The constant din (if the jets are less noisy) or roar (if they are more noisy) affects our quality of life. And the noise and apparently the exhaust fumes also affect our health.

There's no reason ALL the cross Peninsula traffic has to go over Palo Alto except that San Mateo County residents have been more successful at getting their politicians to act on their behalf.

Jetman is right: if we just sit and do nothing, we'll have this problem forever and it's likely to get worse.


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 2, 2014 at 9:50 am

@Mary Anne - it is true that many SFO arrivals are routed over Palo Alto using the same procedures they've followed for many years. SFO traffic is up about 25% from 2003 to 2013. Web Link

What we have not seen evidence for:

o SM county caused this through political pressure in the past
o New procedures have changed flight paths in any way

There may be some efforts going on to add some new procedures, but it's not the cause of noise you hear today. This isn't meant to minimize the issue. But it doesn't help to lobby Anna Eshoo to undo an agreement that never happened.

You are correct there's more air traffic. Peter Carpenter is correct that it's hard and slow to do anything about it. Jetman has been misleading about what's going on, passing out plans and conjectures as facts.


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 2, 2014 at 10:00 am

You are quite wrong that there's no evidence that San Mateo County political pressure hasn't been effective in changing SFO air traffic procedures.

As detailed here, Web Link, political pressure was applied to keep air traffic at 8000 feet over Woodside. And as explained by Peter Carpenter, who whatever his deficiencies as an unbiased commenter seems to have knowledge of aviation procedures, this forced planes to fly further south -- and thus over Palo Alto rather than SMC cities -- to cross to the Bayside SFO approach.

Whether or not there is documentation for other understandings or agreements between SMC and SFO that reinforce the anti Palo Alto bias for air traffic, it's quite clear we're disadvantaged by the politics of this issue. There's no reason some (or all) of the traffic currently tormenting us in PA couldn't be routed over Atherton and other cities further north - other than politics. You can't read the linked piece above and conclude otherwise.


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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Feb 2, 2014 at 10:22 am

When times are slow and there are a paucity of real news stories, PA Online brings back stories/threads from several years ago to drum up some activity on the site.

This one is from 2012. I just saw a "story" with an interview with Ed McMahon on another "news" website and he's been dead for years. This is the new journalism -- has nothing to do with actual news. Will our local papers look like the National Enquirer soon? You betcha.

Another part of new journalism is censorship of opinions that point it out.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 2, 2014 at 10:32 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Mary Ann - as I have repeatedly stated there are technical reasons why aircraft arriving from the north, west and southwest MUST begin their north bound leg of their approach to SFO at or above 4000 ft in order to be on the required 3 degree glide path. In order to join the 3 deg glide path at or above 4000 ft the planes must be as far south as Palo Alto. If the crossed the peninsula further north they would either have to be dangerously close to the Skyline summit or they would have to make a steep dive to intercept the north bound 3 deg glide path.

What about this technical issue do you not understand?


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 2, 2014 at 10:42 am

The idea that aircraft in the Bay Area have to be above 8000 feet at Woodside is palpably false as is clearly outlined in the link above (Web Link). The whole point of contention outlined in the piece was that airlines were violating the 8000 foot previously politically agreed-upon limit - a limit that was imposed only to mollify Woodside and Portola Valley residents' noise complaints.

Were the limit at Woodside lower, planes could cross the Peninsula further north - avoiding Palo Alto, but flying over Peter Carpenter's house in Atherton - and still keep to a shallow glide path to SFO.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 2, 2014 at 10:44 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

AS noted above CDA approaches will be low power, low noise, high efficiency approaches. To achieve that objective these approaches will begin at higher altitudes and then glide down o the runway threshold. Current non-CDA approach involve flying level at higher power and then stepping down to a lower altitude and then flying level at higher power again - compare a skate board going down a slope to one going down a series of very wide steps.

Most of the airplanes being companied about over Palo Alto are doing non-CDA approaches because they generally older planes without the latest navigational equipment - these older planes also have noisier engines. And remember these same planes make twice as much noise when then pass over southern SM county than than do when they pass over Palo Alto because they are descending as they travel north.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 2, 2014 at 10:49 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Were the limit at Woodside lower, planes could cross the Peninsula further north

Mary Ann - PLEASE pay attention. As noted many times crossing over Woodside VOR at a significantly altitude lower becomes an increasingly unsafe procedure since the Skyline Ridge is a very hazardous and unforgiving fixed object.

The crossing altitude of 8000 ft at the Woodside VOR (elevation 2270 ft) means than at Skyline the planes are about 5700 above ground level. If the crossing altitude were reduced to 5000 ft then the planes would be only 2700 ft above the ground - very dangerous and very noisy.


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 2, 2014 at 10:53 am

It should also be pointed out that the 3 degree glide path isn't universal in the airline world, nor is it based on safety concerns. London Heathrow, for example, uses a 5.5 degree glide path specifically to ameliorate noise in surrounding residential areas. If someone on this forum is to pose as an aviation expert, he should be ethically bound to present technical facts in an unbiased manner.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 2, 2014 at 10:53 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"planes could cross the Peninsula further north - avoiding Palo Alto, but flying over Peter Carpenter's house in Atherton "

Actually if you look at the annualized flight path data the primary track is currently quite close to my home in Lindenwood:

Web Link


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 2, 2014 at 10:59 am

Don't listen to Peter Carpenter: as the linked piece clearly states, before the political pressure was applied to SFO by Anna Eshoo, the limit at Woodside was 6000 feet. It was changed solely to accomodate Woodside and PV residents noise complaints. [Portion removed.] Web Link

And the map he links to show only one thing: that the main flight path for SFO bound planes over the Peninsula goes directly over Palo Alto and EPA, not Lindenwood or any other Atherton neighborhood.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 2, 2014 at 11:01 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"London Heathrow, for example, uses a 5.5 degree glide path"

WRONG:

LONDON/HEATHROW
ILS/DME I-LL
RWY 27L
RECOMMENDED PROFILE GLIDE PATH 3°, 318FT/NM

"Aircraft landing over our Borough line up with the runway as far away as Greenwich using the Instrument Landing System (ILS). This is soon to be changed to the Microwave Landing System (MLS). By the time they reach Wandsworth, they are roughly at 3000 feet and then glide down on a 3 degree glide path to the runway (a descent of approximately 300ft per nautical mile). If this is done carefully using a low power / low drag approach (LP/LDA) and in a continuous descent approach (CDA) it reduces the noise.

Heathrow are trying to encourage more and more airlines to adopt this procedure."


Everyone is moving to CDA approaches as THE best way to control noise AND improve efficiency.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 2, 2014 at 11:05 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"And the map he links to show only one thing: that the main flight path for SFO bound planes over the Peninsula goes directly over Palo Alto and EPA, not Lindenwood or any other Atherton neighborhood."

Wrong - the map clearly show SFO bound planes go over Palo Alto and then, at a lower and noisier altitude, over Menlo Park and East Palo Alto and within 1/2 mile of my home.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 2, 2014 at 11:06 am

Maryanne:

Great link in your post above. Anybody interested in the jet noise issue should read Maryanne's link. Below is a link to a PDF version which is easier to read:

TOWN OF PORTOLA VALLEY MEMORANDUM, Re: Commercial Air Traffic over
Southern San Mateo County Web Link


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Posted by what?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 2, 2014 at 11:09 am

Peter Carpenter,

Can you provide more information on how far Wandsworth is?

London Heathrow allows planes at 3000 feet in residential neighborhoods?

I may give them a call and ask.

Mary Anne,

Woodside has 6000 feet limit, set by SFO and Palo Alto has 4000.

Can anyone explain what the reason is for a commercial business in San Francisco, SFO, to have this "latitude"?


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 2, 2014 at 11:10 am

Guess Again:

"The Noise Factors are used in calculating the number of aircraft movements - see our Airport Operations page. It will be noted that the arrangements for aircraft categorisation are to be reviewed.

Aircraft must also be capable of making an approach at 5.5 degrees or steeper - this compares with 3 degrees at most other airports. Helicopters and other vertical take off and landing (VTOL) aircraft, and aircraft with a single engine, are not permitted and flying for club or leisure purposes is prohibited." from
London City Airport Consultative Committee , Web Link. See also, e.g., Web Link

Frankfort is experimenting with a 4.5 degree flight path. Web Link

There's nothing magical about 3 degrees. Don't let aviation expert poseurs fool you.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 2, 2014 at 11:14 am

Maryanne:

Do you have access to "attachment 1" cited on page one of the "Commercial Air Traffic over Southern San Mateo County" memorandum?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 2, 2014 at 11:23 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" Anybody interested in the jet noise issue should read Maryanne's link"

Actually it was my link:
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton
on Jan 31, 2014 at 2:25 pm
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.
Here is a fascinating historical document - clearly the residents of southern San Mateo County have already gotten Rep. Eshoo's attention to their cause:

Web Link

Excerpt:
"Congresswoman Eshoo's efforts resulted in a change to the FAA procedures manual for SFO and Oakland International stating that "all oceanic jet arrivals inbound from the west shall cross OSI [the navigational radio beacon located near the intersection of Skyline Boulevardand Highway 85] at or above 8,000 feet MSL," air traffic permitting"

It appears that Rep. Eshoo has more constituents in southern San Mateo County than she does in Palo Alto.


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 2, 2014 at 11:25 am

Jetman, I don't, but Steve Toben, the author of the piece, is a recent former PV town council member. I wrote c/o PV to see if they will forward an email to him. Maybe he would be willing to provide us the attachment and more info.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 2, 2014 at 11:33 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here is the OFFICIAL Heathrow statement:
"The glideslope at Heathrow is set at 3°, which is the angle
recommended by the International Civil Aviation Organisation
(ICAO) for commercial aviation for safety reasons. Steeper angles
are generally only accepted if required to avoid obstacles. They
are not recommended for any other reason."

Web Link


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 2, 2014 at 11:39 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Mary Ann - Note that London City Airport Consultative Committee deals with the London City Airport which is NOT Heathrow Airport.

Wikipedia:
"London City Airport has a single 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) long runway, and a CAA Public Use Aerodrome Licence (Number P728) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flight training (but only for training necessary for the operation of aircraft at the airport).[3] Only multi-engine, fixed-wing aircraft with special aircraft and aircrew certification to fly 5.5° approaches are allowed to conduct operations at London City Airport.[4]"


Note Special AIRCRAFT and AIRCREW CERTIFICATION


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 2, 2014 at 11:42 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"There's nothing magical about 3 degrees. Don't let aviation expert poseurs fool you."

In fact:"The glideslope at Heathrow is set at 3°, which is the angle
RECOMMENDED BY by the International Civil Aviation Organisation
(ICAO) for commercial aviation for safety reasons."


aviation expert poseurs = someone who does not know the difference between London City Airport and Heathrow Airport.


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Posted by what?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 2, 2014 at 11:43 am

Peter Carpenter,

You have not answered about what regions that is applicable to.

Saying bla bla bla about something and make it "official" when i has no context is baloney.

What are you even talking about.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 2, 2014 at 11:48 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

What - please do your own homework - I have given you all the pointers that my patience permits.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 2, 2014 at 1:32 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The Bay area is seeing a low pressure system :

1 - Rain
2 -Winds from the South
3 - All of the Bay area airports are 'turned around' i.e. landings to the South into the wind
4 - NO commercials planes over Palo Alto
5 - Enjoy the Super Bowl


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Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 2, 2014 at 1:46 pm

Several points.

Ms Eshoo is a former resident of Atherton and now lives close by in Menlo Park. This, more than where her district lies, explains her bias.

The letter linked to by Mary Anne is interesting indeed. It shows several things. One, it confirms that flight path changes happened around the mid-nineties as I had mentioned. It confirms that political pressure has indeed had some impact in the past. BTW hasn't Atherton recently applied political pressure to reroute Surf Air flights? Of course they have. Finally, it unfortunately confirms that the FAA, like many other Federal Agencies, is in cahoots with the entities they are supposed to regulate, and could not care less about the lives of airport neighbors. There is probably a revolving door for jobs between airlines and the FAA.

[Portion removed.]

With Jetman and Mary Anne, we are inviting concerned PA residents to form a group. If interested, e-mail your contact info to:
Veroforyou at gmail dot com


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 2, 2014 at 1:52 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

So far you have a total of three people.
Who are you going to petition?
What are you going to petition them for?
How many petitions have been drafted?
How many signatures have been obtained?

My opinion is that any attempt to reroute SFO traffic will, to use a bad pun, fall on deaf ears as the noise problem is already being solved in better, more creative ways. One proof of this is that all of the complaints by the above posters that are aircraft specific cite the 747 as the source of the noise. The 747 is quickly being replaced by newer, more efficient, quieter airplanes with CDA capability.

I cannot stop you from jumping over a cliff but I will tell you everything I know about the cliff and the dangers and worthlessness of jumping over it.


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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Feb 2, 2014 at 2:38 pm

This thread is so out of control, just like it was when it began a couple of years ago and when it was resurrected last year. When it's a slow "news" time it gets resurrected.

Having moved here from Playa de Rey -- a community directly adjacent to LAX in Los Angeles (also with expensive homes) -- I can testify that the airport noise that I've witnessed here is NOTHING in comparison to LA, no matter what "Neighbor" and others say.

Being curious about the impassioned claims made on this thread, I went to several areas in Atherton and Menlo Park to listen. Plane noise is not constant and is short-lived to say the least.

We have THREE international airports and several general aviation facilities in the Bay Area -- lots of planes. Are you proposing to have the planes go over less affluent areas to spare you? Are you proposing safety compromises?

As this area grows, and hopefully prospers, you can expect more air traffic. If you find the airplane noise unbearable MOVE.


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 2, 2014 at 6:58 pm

Midtowner, the linked article also reveals that before political pressure was applied, the Woodside height limit was 6000 feet. This means that there is plenty of room to do the flight leg across the Peninsula through, say, Atherton rather than Palo Alto and still have plenty of room to do a gentle 3 degree glide path all the way to SFO. This is the way it was before the agreement to raise the limit to 8000 feet in the mid 90's... and it validates your experience (and mine) that jet noise in PA began around that time.

Additionally, while there are others on the forum who want to quibble about which London airport is using a 5.5 degree descent (and who don't even want to deal with the other airports like Frankfurt which are considering a 4.5 degree path), the salient point is that the 3 degree glide isn't written in stone. Other airports use steeper declines and so could SFO.

Thus the flight paths could be altered to relieve Palo ALto of carrying the burden of virtually ALL cross Peninsula traffic in myriad ways. (I.e., it could maintain the 3 degree glide path, but revert to the 6000 foot Woodside limit that prevailed before SMC got their politicians involved. Or it could alter the glide path angle for a steeper than 3 degree descent across Woodside and Atherton. Or it could do a combination of these.)

[Portion removed.] Politics can alter the flight paths again....


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 2, 2014 at 7:44 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

aviation expert poseurs = someone who does not know the difference between London City Airport and Heathrow Airport.

A huge difference - one has one 4900 ft runway and the other has two runways both longer than 11,000 ft.

[Portion removed.]


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Posted by what?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 2, 2014 at 7:54 pm

Peter Carpenter,

"So far you have a total of three people.
Who are you going to petition?
What are you going to petition them for?
How many petitions have been drafted?
How many signatures have been obtained?

My opinion is that any attempt to reroute SFO traffic will, to use a bad pun, fall on deaf ears as the noise problem is already being solved in better, more creative ways."

Peter, that depends; depends if the problem is actually "being solved in better, more creative ways." - depends on the noise levels people are perceiving.

So far, we just have Peter Carpenter telling us what the noise is, and what the facts are. That should change over the next months.

When petitions for no on D happened, getting the signatures went pretty fast.

People who understood the issues didn't need a lot of convincing.

This one has the added benefit of actual noise.



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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 2, 2014 at 9:44 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"People who understood the issues didn't need a lot of convincing. "

Who are you going to petition?
What are you going to petition them for?
How many petitions have been drafted?
How many signatures have been obtained?


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Posted by what?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 2, 2014 at 10:57 pm

Peter Carpenter

"Who are you going to petition?"

Palo Alto residents who are not hearing impaired.

"What are you going to petition them for?"

Whatever language gets SFO airplane noise out of here.

"How many signatures have been obtained?"

Nothing to sign yet, any suggestions on what would be an effective petition?

For example, could I petition for 6000 feet like Woodside? I mean if Woodside has 6000 feet with all the horses, open space, and empty houses out there, why does Palo Alto have to have any less.

Maybe EPA would want to get a petition going too.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 3, 2014 at 6:03 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" I mean if Woodside has 6000 feet with all the horses, open space, and empty houses out there, why does Palo Alto have to have any less.

Maybe EPA would want to get a petition going too."

And Redwood City, San Carlos, Foster City etc?

And then just shut down SFO and use trains for all transcontinental travel and ships for international travel - and call it progress.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 3, 2014 at 6:14 am

In the late sixties I was assured we'd be out of oil long before now. We'd go nuclear or back to coal, either way airplanes would be scarce. And the population wasn't supposed to reach 7 billion until 2025.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 3, 2014 at 7:14 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Why do they have (noise) sensors in the communities closer to SFO, if the only data that is needed is self-reported altitude?"

The noise monitoring folks follow the Willy Sutton Rule (Why do you rob banks? Because that is where the money is.) and place noise monitors in those communities which have both a significant number of overflights and at low enough altitudes to be able to create a level of ground noise that is considered to be potentially harmful.

Palo Alto has no such monitoring station BUT if it did what it would show is that Palo Alto gets less ground noise from overflights than do Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, Redwood City, Foster City etc because overnights over these communities are at a lower altitude.

Sometimes the data does not help those who claim their is a problem. and again, I understand and respect the fact that you and others object to the noise created by airplanes - sensitivity to noise is a personal and subjective matter.

My objective remains to try to help the community reach reasonable solutions - which requires understanding the operational, legal and regulatory facts.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 3, 2014 at 7:44 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Typos corrected:
"Why do they have (noise) sensors in the communities closer to SFO, if the only data that is needed is self-reported altitude?"

The noise monitoring folks follow the Willy Sutton Rule (Why do you rob banks? Because that is where the money is.) and place noise monitors in those communities which have both a significant number of overflights and at low enough altitudes to be able to create a level of ground noise that is considered to be potentially harmful.

Palo Alto has no such monitoring station BUT if it did what it would show is that Palo Alto gets less ground noise from overflights than do Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, Redwood City, Foster City etc because overflights over these communities are at a lower altitude.

Sometimes the data does not help those who claim that there is a noise problem. And again, I understand and respect the fact that you and others object to the noise created by airplanes - sensitivity to noise is a personal and subjective matter.

My objective remains to try to help the community reach reasonable solutions - which requires understanding the operational, legal and regulatory facts.


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Posted by Subtleties matter
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 3, 2014 at 8:41 am

The flights causing ground noise in Palo Alto are from large planes turning over quiet residential areas. They are louder and produce noise for a far longer period than planes that simply fly straight overhead. Further, the flight paths northwest of palo alto are mostly over water, not quiet residential neighborhoods.

Therefore the noise in midtown, which is no less objective than say, presence of cancer causing materials that impact different people differently, is more disturbing than noise caused by the planes in quiet residential areas of cities further northwest.

This is why there are complaints of constant or near constant noise; the disturbance of each flight is lasts longer and is that of a large, turning, commercial plane.

Denial of the noise, that it has gotten worse, that it is more disturbing here than in comparable residential neighborhoods three-ten miles miles northwest, or that decisions have been made resulting in this increasing disturbance in midtown has an unreal or surreal orwellian quality about it.

It's like pointing to the NOAA site to tell someone standing out in the rain that it is in fact dry. However helpful the site is for predicting weather, it is no match for reality.


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 3, 2014 at 8:47 am

"My objective remains to try to help the community reach reasonable solutions - which requires understanding the operational, legal and regulatory facts."

It's always nice to start one's morning with a good laugh.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 3, 2014 at 9:02 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Subtleties matter indeed and the laws of physics* are such that the measured ground noise levels in Palo Alto from a plane, even turning plane, at 4000 ft will be significantly less than the measured ground noise levels further north at 3000 ft.

*Sound intensity (energy) falls inversely proportional to the square of the distance 1/r2 from the sound source.

The number of people who are actually complaining about the alleged increase in level and duration of noise appears to be quite small. I predict that there is no sufficient political mass to do anything and certainly not enough to change anything. The beneficiaries of the aircraft activity far exceed those who complain and those who complain in Palo Alto are far fewer than those who complain in other cities closed to SFO.

"Further, the flight paths northwest of palo alto are mostly over water, not quiet residential neighborhoods" - Tell that to the Menlo Park and East Palo Alto residents who are directly below the even lower flight paths and the cities further north that are closer to the planes even though the planes are over the bay.

And again, I understand and respect the fact that you and others object to the noise created by airplanes - sensitivity to noise is a personal and subjective matter.


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 3, 2014 at 9:29 am

Subtitles Matter is quite right.

One of the most valuable aspects of this thread is that it has conclusively demonstrated that subjective observations and the objective facts point in the same direction: we have a significant SFO-related airplane noise problem in Palo Alto.

Virtually all of the posters who've commented on it who actually live in Palo Alto (rather than say, Atherton) have reported very similar observations about the noise with similar descriptions of its quality, time of occurrence and when it began.

These subjective observations also jibe with the several links posted here showing graphically that the main overflight path across the Peninsula for flights from the North, South and West into SFO crosses directly over Palo Alto and EPA before turning up the Bay toward the airport - and not over any other Peninsula city.

The only poster disputing these established facts, as prolific and repetitive as he may be, lives in Atherton and thus has a clear bias against any changes to the current situation that might drive more Airplane traffic further north from PA.

There's also only one poster (who - again - doesn't live in Palo Alto) suggesting that there's nothing that can be done to relieve us of the noise we're suffering.

But the information people on this thread have pointed persuasively in another direction. It's been pretty clearly documented that SFO flight patterns have been altered in the fairly recent past as a result of political pressure generated by residents of other cities who complained to their representatives and organized - and also that it's possible to alter the distribution of airplane generated noise by such flight path alteration.

It's important not to get side-tracked by irrelevancies and misdirection by those who pose as knowledgeable, but have a clear self-interested bias on the matter.

For those who are interested, there appear to be stirrings of real efforts to do something about this. See the posts by Midtowner above and join the effort.


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 3, 2014 at 9:35 am

For what it's worth, the sensitivity to noise is anything but a subjective matter.Web Link

Money quote: "Boston, MA — Older people exposed to aircraft noise, especially at high levels, may face increased risk of being hospitalized for cardiovascular disease, according to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH). ..."

It's important not to get side-tracked by irrelevant red herrings posted here.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 3, 2014 at 10:01 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"the objective facts point in the same direction: we have a significant SFO-related airplane noise problem in Palo Alto."

Wrong - there is no DATA to support that assertion and if there was it would simply show that Palo Alto is better off than its more northerly neighbor.


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Posted by Subtleties Matter
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 3, 2014 at 10:01 am

Peter,

How much fuel is used by a large commercial plane during a turn vs. during straight flight measured by unit time?

W/r to the northwest quiet residential communities, the position that midtown residents don't know what airplane noise is experienced in those communities is untenable. We go there often; for coffee, meeting friends, shopping, library activities, swimming, sporting and cultural activities, etc.

It is disrespectful to simply dismiss such widespread observation as has been reported here.

Many residents here are also scientists with significant experience dealing with in-depth observation of long lasting and changing data. Medicine is not the only scientific training worthy of respect.

Is it impossible to imagine that someone else actually knows what they are talking about?


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 3, 2014 at 10:10 am

"there is no DATA to support that assertion and if there was it would simply show that Palo Alto is better off than its more northerly neighbor."

or in other words,"Who are you gonna believe: me or your lyin' ears?"


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 3, 2014 at 11:27 am

It's a well known fact that aircraft noise tends to increase during the winter and gets exacerbated by temperature inversions. When trees lose their leaves, the ground provides less sound dampening. Temperature inversions, which result in "Spare the Air Days" reflect aircraft noise down to the ground. We've had an unprecedented number of inversions this season, so both have certainly led to an increase in the aircraft noise level from SFO and SJC.

There's lots of information and resources available. For example, here's a community presentation for LAX: (Web Link) If the noise is bothersome, please be sure to file a complaint (Web Link). Maybe one of the first asks should be automated noise monitoring of SFO aircraft noise in our community.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 3, 2014 at 2:12 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"For what it's worth, the sensitivity to noise is anything but a subjective matter"

Mary Ann - It is always important to READ studies which you cite:
"Researchers found that, on average, zip codes with 10-decibel higher aircraft noise had a 3.5% higher cardiovascular hospital admission rate."

There is no way that Palo Alto has a 10-decibel higher noise level from aircraft noise.
***
"crosses directly over Palo Alto and EPA before turning up the Bay toward the airport - and not over any other Peninsula city."
Wrong -Tell that to the Menlo Park residents who are directly below the even lower flight paths and the cities further north that are closer to the planes even though the planes are over the bay.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 3, 2014 at 2:47 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Who are you gonna believe: me or your lyin' ears?""

No, noise is never measured by individual human perception but rather by carefully calibrated db meters.

*******************
"It is disrespectful to simply dismiss such widespread observation as has been reported here"
First - as I have repeatedly stated I understand and respect the fact that you and others object to the noise created by airplanes - sensitivity to noise is a personal and subjective matter.

Second - there is nothing 'widespread' about the observation reported in this thread. At most 10? unique, perhaps duplicative as well, individuals have made unquantified comments about airplane noise. This is from a community of 64,000 people. Perhaps these individuals are simply at the end of the bell shaped curve of sensitivity to noise.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Feb 3, 2014 at 2:59 pm

Last August I started a conversation with SFO concerning the plane that crashed - it came directly over the house and was too low, too slow, and wobbled in it's northbound turn. Why didn't they see that? Friends at Coyote Point have equipment that is tracking plane activity - they also saw the problem. I got answers from SFO.
Individual people can voice their concerns on the SFO website and get an answer. We do not need permission from Atherton to do that.
A valid concern that is coming up is that they will go from four to two runways starting May to implement some FAA requirements and upgrades. This was reported in the SF Chronicle. Start with that fact and then the concern as to staging of flights.
My concern - look at map of the peninsula - the section over PA is the widest - bay to ocean, and narrows down above Woodside, Redwood City. At this point they are slightly north of Dumbarton Bridge and the high electrical structures, also not over Stanford airspace and highly populated area. Just looking at the map that slight north adjustment reduces the time spent over highly populated area. Since EPA is south of Dumbarton Bridge this helps them out.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 3, 2014 at 3:24 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Last August I started a conversation with SFO concerning the plane that crashed - it came directly over the house and was too low, too slow, and wobbled in it's northbound turn."

This demonstrates the unreliability of eye witness accounts.

Here is the actual data on the 6 July 2013 Asiana 214"

Web Link

At 10 miles from SFO it was at 4000 ft and 220 knots - essentially right where it was supposed to be at that point. The deviation from the normal flight path did not occur until less than 1 mile from the runway (a long way distant from Adobe-Meadows).

Folks - facts are important. Personal observations are just that, not facts.


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 3, 2014 at 4:11 pm

It's important that those of us who are concerned about airplane noise in Palo Alto and who would like to do something about it not be distracted by people who don't even live in Palo Alto who fog this thread and every other thread dealing with airplane nouse with spurious remarks and the pretense of expertise.

There's an incipient organizational effort to form a Palo Alto group to combat SFO airplane noise in PA. If you're fed up with airplanes disrupting your life and your health, send an email to: Veroforyou at gmail dot com

If you've read through this forum, you know that the flight path that takes planes over PA is the result of successful political lobbying by San Mateo County cities. We need to counter this with some political activity of our own.


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 3, 2014 at 4:16 pm

Great point by resident 1. In addition to being narrower than the route over Palo Alto, the northward adjustment you describe seems to go over many less densely populated areas with large lots like Woodside and Atherton. All in all, it sure looks like fewer people would be affected by moving the flight path further north.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 3, 2014 at 4:25 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I look forward to following your organizational efforts. Please keep the Forum readers posted on:
1 - Who are you going to petition?

2 - What are you going to petition them for?

3 - Who will be adversely impacted by your proposals and how do you intend to address their concerns?

4 - How many petitions have been drafted?

5 - How many signatures have been obtained?

Citizen action is a wonderful thing but it seldom successful without a large base of support, smart leadership and clear goals. One of the particularly interesting aspects of citizen action in Palo Alto is getting a significant number of residents to agree on the same goals and the same wording for an petition or initiative.

Feel free to use the resources that I have identified for you to gather the information that you need.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 3, 2014 at 5:08 pm

Maryanne:

"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win." ~ Mahatma Gandhi

I do not want to draw any moral equivalent, but any time you challenge the status quo, the stages are the same. The fact that the jet-noise apologists have resorted to ridiculing your efforts, means they are afraid you are making progress, otherwise they would still be ignoring you.


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Posted by what?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 3, 2014 at 5:14 pm

resident 1

"Friends at Coyote Point have equipment that is tracking plane activity "

Can you please provide more information on this equipment.

Cost, where you buy it, who sells it,........


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 3, 2014 at 5:46 pm

Thanks, Joe, for the link to Aircraft Noise 101. Seems fairly authoritative. Quantitative measures get a little involved with dBA, CNEL (Community Noise Equivalent Level), DNL (Day-Night Average Sound Level), and INM (Integrated Noise Model), but those are the numbers this conversation is lacking.

I agree with, "We measure sound, not noise." A cause of complaints may be that "People are more sensitive to changes in exposure than the absolute level."

Also, "reducing the noise level may not eliminate your annoyance." I find my neighbor's air conditioner annoying on warm summer nights when I'd like to have my windows open.

A subtle distinction -- gradients in the atmosphere will refract sound, curving its path, rather than reflect sound like a wall does. Sort of the same result but interesting physics. Thus on occasion we hear loud and clear the throbbing beat from Shoreline Amphitheater. I hadn't thought about how that would spread the sound-footprint of an aircraft at 4000 feet.

@what, bottom-priced sound meter would be Extech model 407730 around $90 from various on-line vendors, or a little more at Grainger. I'd be skeptical of any even-cheaper brands. Professional equipment runs well over a kilobuck. You might be disappointed at how quiet most aircraft are, especially compared to a leaf blower or the garbage truck.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 3, 2014 at 5:55 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here is an example of how close you have to be to an airport to experience sound levels as high as the ones (65 db) cited in the Harvard School of Public Health study cited above:

Web Link

Answer: within 1-2 miles of the airport. Palo Alto would never experience levels above 60 db from airplanes enroute to SFO.

Some other useful info from SAC airport web site:
"NOISE 101
How is aircraft noise described, quantified, and managed?
Aircraft Noise Metrics
What is noise?
Noise is unwanted sound; what is music to one may be noise to another
By its very nature noise is subjective
Noise cannot be measured, only sound can be measured
Sound pressure ranges are very large, therefore expressed on a logarithmic scale
Logarithmic scale compresses the wide range in sound pressures to a more useable range
Standard unit of measurement is the decibel (dB), which is the basis for aircraft noise analysis"


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 3, 2014 at 6:05 pm

I think musical's points have a lot of merit. The technical issues are a little tough for me to follow, but it seems he's saying that the measured noise levels may not correspond to the annoyance - and presumably health - issues.

I think that the real issue is that right now - whatever the nature of the airplane noise on the Peninsula - Palo Alto (along with EPA, and a tiny sliver of MP) has virtually all of the overhead air traffic. The cross Peninsula traffic has been diverted from San Mateo County to a path that runs directly overhead in Palo Alto. No wonder people are complaining.

For me at least, the constant nature of the airplane - it's duration - is even more bothersome than the decibel level. It's one plane after another...every 3-5 minutes or more at busy times. Every plane into SFO from the West, North and South flys right over Palo Alto. That's why people report it's quieter when they visit friends in cities further north even though those cities are closer to SFO.

So whatever the nature of individual Palo Altans' complaints about airplane noise, they'd be lessened if the cross Peninsua flight traffic into SFO were more equitably distributed among Peninsula cities.

Right now, San Mateo County cities, with the tiny EPA, EMP exceptions cited above are insulated from the effects of direct overhead air traffic by a political agreement with SFO brokered by their politicians.

If you want to be a part of organizing to stop this, please join us:

Veroforyou at gmail dot com



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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 3, 2014 at 6:23 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here is another excellent resource:

Web Link

Note that talking at 3 feet generates 65 db.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 3, 2014 at 6:26 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here are the California State Standards:
""The level of noise acceptable to a reasonable person residing in the vicinity of an airport is a CNEL value of 65 dB. This criterion level has been chosen for reasonable persons residing in urban residential areas where houses are of typical California construction and may have windows partially open.."


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 3, 2014 at 6:40 pm

The faintest perceptible sound will raise your blood pressure if you find it bothersome, like a dripping faucet, ticking clock, someone drumming their fingers. Or even if the sound is not there but you fear it may occur at any time.

Trying not to take sides here, but is the bothersome aspect really the absolute noise level? Or the perception that adjacent communities are not getting their fair share of it?

Imagine living on the coast and having to listen to the surf crash on the beach every 12 seconds. Horrors. Some people pay good money for that.


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 3, 2014 at 6:47 pm

I think that, unlike the surf, most if not all people find jet airplane noise objectionable. People in Woodside and Atherton and other San Mateo County cities found it objectionable enough to complain and eventually to get the flight paths changed to their benefit (and Palo Alto's detriment).

We'd all like to have the benefit of living near an airport without having to put up with the noise. Right now, Palo Alto is unfairly bearing the brunt of cross-Peninsula noise because of an agreement SMC made with SFO.

If there has to be airplane noise from jets travelling across the Peninsula, then it should be spread more equally - as it was before the SMC political pressure.


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Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 3, 2014 at 7:41 pm

@ resident 1

I invite you to join our incipient mailing list. We are going start meeting over the issue of airplanes above Palo Alto. You are welcome to be part of this.

Veroforyou at gmail dot com


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Posted by Anony Mouse
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 3, 2014 at 8:08 pm

I love airplanes.
They are louder in the winter due to the temperature inversions.
This region - and specifically Palo Alto - derives tremendous economic benefit from our access to air travel; particularly our great SFO access to Asia and Europe. With that comes a cost. The planes are perceptible, you may see and hear them. It's a price that I am willing to pay since indirectly this has been increasing the prosperity of the region.
This whole kerfuffle reminds me of the Google bus controversy. We could ban the busses, ban intercontinental flights (how? I don't know) and then we'd show them! This place would be an empty husk of what it is today. Have you been to Buffalo? Cleveland? Rochester? Detroit? Dayton? Part of the dynamism of this region is MOVEMENT. Across nations, across cities, even over your house!


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Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 3, 2014 at 8:13 pm

"Palo Alto has no such monitoring station BUT if it did what it would show is that Palo Alto gets less ground noise from overflights than do Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, Redwood City, Foster City etc because overnights over these communities are at a lower altitude."

This statement has no validity whatsoever. How do you know what a monitor would show in Palo Alto if we don't have one? The person making the statement obviously does not have much experience of what the airplane noise level is in Palo Alto. We get almost all the large jets flying in from the north, west and south. I say let's put a couple monitors in Palo Alto. I am ready to bet that Mr Carpenter will be in for quite a surprise.

Redwood City and Foster City get very few flights above land. The planes by then are above water. So I doubt that residents of those cities are that impacted. As a matter of fact, I know someone who lives in Foster City and says airplane noise is not an issue there under the normal flight configuration (when the planes use the most commonly used runways for landings and take-offs).

Many of the planes flying over Palo Alto never even cross over Menlo Park or East Palo Alto, as they cross over 101 directly to the Bay over the Baylands in South Palo Alto. So, it's not a given that EPA and MP get more noise than PA. They certainly do not get all the planes that fly above Palo Alto.

Atherton gets very fewlarge jets, and rather gets traffic from smaller planes flying straight(I've seen a number SkyWest E120s flying over Atherton on the Webtrack site).

The large jets we have (be it Boeings or Airbuses), turn slowly and low (4000 feet are typical in Midtown and elsewhere in PA East of El Camino Real)and are very, very noisy, with the whole assortment of noises typically made by airplanes (rumbling, whistling sound,etc.).

I, for one, would welcome airport noise monitors in Palo Alto. Mr. Carpenter would you like to help us get some so that we have some definitive data?


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Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 3, 2014 at 8:22 pm

@ Anony Mounse

Good for you that you like airplanes. We sure get a whole lot of them above us in Palo Alto and they are very loud.

If they don't bother you, great. You need to know, however, that many people, including in your own neighborhood, Midtown, find them very bothersome, to say the least, and don't understand why Palo Alto should get such a disproportionate number of the SFO bound flights flying above our town, and why it is not more evenly shared with other communities. Not to mention the fact that not so many years ago, when this area was already very busy and prosperous, we had bascially no SFO traffic over our heads in PA. The traffic has been rerouted here.

Having air traffic should not mean that one town, ours, suffers disproportionately from airplane traffic compared to others.

If the noise does not bother you, and if the decrease in property value the noise brings to your house does not bother you, good for you.


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Posted by Anony Mouse
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 3, 2014 at 9:30 pm

So far, where is the evidence that traffic has increased? Has the number of flights increased? I'm not aware of any huge airline coming in and adding flights, are you?

Very loud? What does that mean? Perceptible? Noticable?

What is the acceptable number of widebody approaches you would be willing to handle over Palo Alto? None? 45 per day? Each one is VERY loud (according to you), so it sounds like the answer is Zero. How will the FAA apportion the VERY loud noise? Per capita? One approach per town and then start over again with the first one? Shall we have 75 different STAR approach charts for the airlines to follow? Does this seem safe and practical?

When was this time that we had basically no air traffic over our heads. Is there data to support the existence of this idyllic time?

As far as property value decreases - so far in the last 6 months, despite the VERY loud air traffic (your words), property values are going along quite nicely. Furthermore, since when do the FAA, Congress, Airlines, The Department of State (who negotiates bilateral airline access agreements), Anna Eschoo, Boeing and Airbus all have to run their actions solely through the prism of Midtown property values? Seems a little myopic don't you think?

Think of this in legal terms. You really can't have a lawsuit unless there are damages. I'm not seeing the harm, other than perceived VERY loud planes. No economic harm has occurred.

Nothing to see here.
Movement is vital to the strength of the region. There will be noise. There are no widebody planes coming into Rochester, Cleveland, Buffalo, Dayton etc.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 3, 2014 at 10:12 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" I say let's put a couple monitors in Palo Alto. I am ready to bet that Mr Carpenter will be in for quite a surprise."

I will take that bet. If Palo Alto get more noise than Menlo Park, East Palo Alto or Foster City I will pay you $1000, if not you pay me $1000.

OK?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 3, 2014 at 10:14 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"I, for one, would welcome airport noise monitors in Palo Alto. Mr. Carpenter would you like to help us get some so that we have some definitive data?"

You want, then you pay for it!!


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 3, 2014 at 10:29 pm

Anony Mouse misses the point. Nobody is suggesting we ban airplanes or SFO. If he'd read the entire thread, he'd know this. If he/she had read the entire thread, she/he would also see that the complaint is that ALL the cross Peninsula airplane traffic, which is a significant portion of the total traffic into SFO, crosses at Palo Alto, and that there is copious evidence (with citations) that this is the result of an agreement made after SM County put political pressure on SFO and the FAA. So read the thread to see that there's plenty of evidence and testimony of people who've lived in PA a long time that the jet noise wasn't always overhead here.

And so whatever the nature of the jet noise from cross-Peninsula flights, Palo Alto bears the brunt of it. That's not fair - especially since it was thrust upon us by a political deal between SMC and SFO. The various (N,S and W) flights already are combined into one conga line of SFO bound planes before they reach PA. There's no reason that some of the planes couldn't be directed further north before this combination took place.

In any event, a return to the status quo ante, prior to SMC's agreement with SFO doesn't seem too much to ask. Read the entire thread before jumping to conclusions either over the nature of our complaints or what we think (at this early point) might be a solution to them.

And plenty of neighborhoods across the USA have sought and won damages for airport-related noise. Even some here in the Bay Area near SJC and SFO also I believe.

A Mouse is right that there will be noise related to air travel. But how much noise and where it's targeted is very much something that can be discussed and altered. I don't understand how anyone, except one who's closed mind already is made up, can object to discussing a situation that many Palo Altans find unpalatable or worse.


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 3, 2014 at 10:41 pm

Midtowner, San Mateo County already a number of noise monitoring stations - all paid for by SFO. Seems reasonable that Palo Alto, the target of all sfo cross-Peninsula traffic should have a few also....We seem to have been shortchanged on more than one issue.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 4, 2014 at 12:58 am

SFO's noise abatement website says that they have four mobile noise monitoring stations. If the right pressure was put on SFO these could be set-up in Palo Alto in fairly short order.

As a response to noise complaints from residents of Woodside, and Portola Valley, SFO set up mobile noise monitoring stations in each town. Jet noise was monitored from March 6, 2012 through July 8, 2012, and SFO's noise abatement office issued a report in July 2012 entitled:

Technical Report
Aircraft Noise Analysis
Portola Valley and Woodside, CA
July 2012

(Sorry, I can not provide a link to the report. I put a copy on my HD, but can no longer find the report online)

As a side note... the report compared conventional arrivals to CDAs ("tailored Arrivals") and found the "tailored Arrivals" offered only a "slight" reduction in noise (1dB). Anyone dreaming about CDAs, ushering in an era of significantly quieter skies, is going to be very disappointed.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 4, 2014 at 1:12 am

Note: 65dB is the sound level of a normal conversation, and that is why 65dB is a typical noise limit standard, because another 65dB source will interrupt a normal conversation.

Since a constant 65dB source will prevent normal conversation, many standards are transitioning to 55dB as a limit for frequent or continuous noise.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 4, 2014 at 11:25 am

If 65dB is the guy over there yakking on his cellphone, then I understand how people can call this level bothersome.


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Posted by Britta
a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 4, 2014 at 3:46 pm

I find the possible dangerous air pollution from the new landing methods more worrisome than the noise issue. For those who missed it, I copy the info here:

The "NextGen" CDA has aircraft "coasting" down from altitude along a continuously descending path with their engines at idle to conserve fuel (and according to the FAA's PR to reduce! noise).

The new and very serious problem is... jet engines do not operate efficiently at idle and emit fine droplets of uncombusted jet fuel.

Three of the five approach routes to SFO under the prevailing westerly winds, fly directly over Palo Alto. The hundreds of jets flying the "NextGen" CDA over Palo Alto every day, are spraying the city with fine droplets of uncombusted jet fuel, and under the "NextGen" CDA they are flying 2,000' lower at the starting point for final approach than the older visual approach which started final approach at 5,000'.

To make matters worse... a study published in the Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Journal, and conducted by scientists at Carnegie Mellon University found:

"When the jet operated at full power the emissions were composed of mainly solid particles, however when it idled on the runway they took on a different form – microscopic droplets. The magnitude and composition of these emissions strongly depend on engine load, with much higher emissions at low engine loads, the study said. However when the exhaust was exposed to sunlight in a smog-chamber a chemical reaction took place that saw the formation of toxic particles from the interaction between the oil and gases. It was found that sunlight can generate 35 times more particles than were originally emitted from the jet's engine and 10 times what had typically been predicted. These particles can include compounds such as benzene and toluene, which are known to impact health."

An article, which includes a link to the actual study, can be found at the link below:
Web Link

Environmental impact studies should have been completed before "NextGen" CDAs were implemented.


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Posted by what?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 4, 2014 at 6:21 pm

Jetman

"SFO's noise abatement website says that they have four mobile noise monitoring stations. If the right pressure was put on SFO these could be set-up in Palo Alto in fairly short order."

Setting up our own noise monitoring devices is critical. Would we trust SFO to do it? Almost better if we got them set up.

We could do both. Video also could work. You can see the planes all over Palo Alto and EPA, and wonders of wonders, nothing North of us until the airport!


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 4, 2014 at 6:27 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"and wonders of wonders, nothing North of us until the airport!"

Actually if you watch the radar track every plane coming from the north crosses over western Menlo Park then PA and then eastern Menlo Park and EPA.

Every plane coming from the south crosses over PA and then eastern Menlo Park and EPA.

Much more impact on MP and EPA than on PA.


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Posted by what?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 4, 2014 at 6:43 pm

Carpenter,

Oh I forgot, the other dumping area - the less ritzy parts of Menlo Park.




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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 4, 2014 at 6:52 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" Oh I forgot" Yes, that seems to be the habit of those of you who are PA centric. You simply refuse to accept the fact that other people are more impacted by SFO traffic than you are.


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 4, 2014 at 7:23 pm

Fortunately, moving more (or all) of the SFO traffic further north, as has been suggested here, would have the felicitous effect of ameliorating the traffic over EPA and East Menlo Park as well as PA. Note that all the areas of San Mateo County benefited when the flight paths were changed mostly at the urging of Woodside, Portola Vally and Atherton with the exception of the poorer areas of EPA and East Menlo.

One might say that literally, the wealthy of San Mateo County threw their poorer neighbors under the Airbus.

To me this gives us even more incentive to push to have the flight paths moved further north. In relieving ourselves of unfairly bearing all the burden of cross-Peninsula traffic, we can help our neighbors who have been oppressed by the wealthy in their own county. This is one of those rare instances where we really can do good by doing well, so to speak.


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Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 4, 2014 at 7:24 pm

I don't know what Mr. Carpenter calls East Palo Alto. Once again, a number of planes flying above Palo Alto, cross over the Baylands to the Bay and then fly around East Palo Alto and East Menlo Park above water. It's easily verifiable by looking at the Webtrack site.

If Baylands and water are part of East Palo Alto or East Menlo Park, maybe the air planes are technically flying above Palo Alto, but those planes are not flying above housing, unlike they do when crossing Palo Alto.

So, in the end, it is a true statement to say that East Palo Alto and East Menlo Park (built areas) do not get all the planes than Palo Alto gets. As to West Menlo Park, it does not get what flies above Woodside, and additionally, the plane are flying higher there than in PA and not turning over West Menlo Park as they do in PA.

I like the idea of setting up a couple monitors in PA to get measurements of the noise here.


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Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 4, 2014 at 7:27 pm

correction to the above:

... maybe the planes are technically flying above EAST Palo Alto (and East Menlo Park)...

I apologize for the mistakes in my post above. I posted it too quickly, without proof-reading it enough. Sorry.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 4, 2014 at 7:42 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 4, 2014 at 8:19 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here are the facts - the planes fly over MP housing and over EPA housing:

Web Link


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Posted by what?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 4, 2014 at 8:24 pm

Midtowner,

"I like the idea of setting up a couple monitors in PA to get measurements of the noise here."

I found this interesting article on monitors, Web Link.

It talks about how airport managers basically find a way to get people off their backs by saying their hands are tied.

Too convenient.

SFO's hands apparently have not been tied to send all their airplanes over here.

Those monitors are from 1980?? There must be something better.

Heck, we can have a noise monitoring party one day. We all stand at different points of the South Bay and see who has the most noise and airplane sightings.










That means that Airport Managers


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Posted by what?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 4, 2014 at 8:27 pm

oops, meant to earlier say that Airport Managers do not need to have our interests in mind, and they will have not much to say.


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 4, 2014 at 8:38 pm

While it might be interesting to see what noise monitors show in Palo Alto, I'm somewhat skeptical whether they would be of use in our quest to reduce the amount of overhead air traffic in Palo Alto. Even if the data is accurate (and as Jetman implies, there's plenty of reason to think it wouldn't be), it will consist of noise levels. This has plenty of potential to reduce the argument about decibel levels and what is a reasonable, or safe level of sound.

The more salient point (at least to me), is the number of airplanes that fly overhead daily. Some are excruciatingly loud as has been reported here, some are high pitched whines, and some are annoying drones. It's plane after plane after plane all day long. The real question is, no matter what the nature of the noise produced by them, why does Palo Alto (and epa and emp) have to bear almost the entire burden of cross-Peninsula aircraft noise? There should be a more fair sharing of the burden.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Feb 4, 2014 at 9:15 pm

South Palo Alto is 23 miles to SFO. Atherton is 17.4 miles to SFO. RWC is 14.4 miles to SFO - all according to Google. According to documentation provided by SFO in August 2013 relative to the crash all planes are suppose to be in the established queue in the northbound landing pattern by 13 miles - that is directly over the bay. There was extensive coverage of where the planes are suppose to be in preparation to landing, regardless of where they start their entry into the bay area. Measurements on performance are starting at the 13 mile marker.
Having large wide-bodied planes and longer, newer planes making their turns north at the 23-20 mile marker at the widest part of the peninsula is a reasonable challenge, especially since half of the land is mountainous- the other half highly populated. At this point they have to negotiate the Dumbarton Bridge and the power grid with very high structures that are in that location. Does not make sense.
On Monday between 4:30 and 5:00 AM there were three red eye planes, very large, arriving low due to fog and cloud cover. The more cloud cover the lower they are. Yes - they were visible.
Luckily I am not deaf and blind.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 4, 2014 at 9:30 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" there were three red eye planes, very large, arriving low due to fog and cloud cover. The more cloud cover the lower they are. Yes - they were visible."

Wrong - when there is fog and cloud cover they MUST be on an instrument flight plan and that means that they have to be at or above 4000 ft until they reach ROKME which is at the Dumbarton bridge.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 4, 2014 at 9:38 pm

What?:

There is a decibel-meter app for the iPhone. A friend of mine who is pretty serious about noise measurement says it works pretty well if you calibrate it.

Maybe some sort of aircraft noise crowd sourcing might be possible if the decibel-meter and the iPhone's GPS unit could be tied into a reporting database. Somebody in Palo Alto should know how to do that!


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Posted by what?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 4, 2014 at 9:39 pm

Peter,

I think we need you to come and live in Palo Alto for a spell. That way, you won't tell us what we can see or cannot see; or what we should be able to see online, to see what it is that we can or cannot see.

Mary Anne, you're absolutely right about the quantity of planes. Imagine if SFO decided to expand?! We could start with video. Let's get simple surveillance cameras on our windows, and coordinate. May as well include sound, but the visuals are actually better.




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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 4, 2014 at 10:03 pm

What?:

SFO is expanding. They are currently wining a battle to steal flights away from Oakland, and "NextGen" ATC will allow them to cram more aircraft into and out of SFO, without building additional runways.


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Posted by what?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 4, 2014 at 10:10 pm

Jetman,

"SFO is expanding. They are currently wining a battle to steal flights away from Oakland, and "NextGen" ATC will allow them to cram more aircraft into and out of SFO, without building additional runways"

OK, SFO control desk, we have a problem.

I realize it takes time, but we need to get our cameras installed.

What about the cameras they have for giving traffic tickets? That with some sound?


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Feb 5, 2014 at 12:47 am

Go to the SFO arrival sites, incoming from Hawaii, etc 12 AM to 6AM. Unbelievable number of flights all supposedly arriving at the same time - even shows same gate. They all cannot be coming in on the same flight path. What a crowded time period for the trans-pacific. Look at the flight tracker portion. That assumes you are up at that time and tracking where all of the planes are entering the SFO incoming space - huge amount of traffic at this time.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 5, 2014 at 6:36 am

Holy cow, you're right! Honolulu to SFO -- United 396, Air China 7232, Lufthansa 9139, Air New Zealand 9340, US Air 6022 -- all five of these 777's arrivals scheduled at 4:52am, and all into gate 82! How do you explain that?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 5, 2014 at 6:40 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"all five of these 777's arrivals scheduled at 4:52am, and all into gate 82! How do you explain that?"

Simple - people hear and see what they want to hear and do not wish to be confused with the facts - like code sharing and radar tracks which both show that this is ONE plane.


PS The radar tracking site allows you go go back to an earlier time - you do not have to only view in in almost real time (it is about 10 min delayed for security purposes).


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 5, 2014 at 6:45 am

Peter, you're not letting me have any fun...


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 5, 2014 at 6:48 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Musical - OK - all five of those planes fly over PA at exactly the same time!! How noisy and unsafe that must be........


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 5, 2014 at 8:13 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here is the ACTUAL flight track of those 'five' flights from Honolulu to SFO this morning:

Web Link

Note that this single plane (which had multiple code share flight numbers) flew over Stanford, then Palo Alto, then Menlo Park and then East Palo Alto. It was above 4000 ft over Palo Alto and had descended to 3700 ft by the time it was over East Palo Alto.

Facts are such troubling things when they don't support your perception -"Unbelievable number of flights all supposedly arriving at the same time - even shows same gate. They all cannot be coming in on the same flight path. What a crowded time period for the trans-pacific."


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 5, 2014 at 8:23 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Correction:

Note that this single plane (which had multiple code share flight numbers) flew over western Menlo Park, then Stanford, then Palo Alto, then eastern Menlo Park and then East Palo Alto. It was above 4000 ft over Palo Alto and had descended to 3700 ft by the time it was over East Palo Alto.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 5, 2014 at 8:45 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

UAL 1724 also flew over Woodside and Portola Valley at 7100 ft:

Web Link


Lots of sharing the load here between Woodside, Portola Valley, Stanford, Palo Alto, Menlo Park and East Palo Alto - a total of 90 seconds of flight time and less than 20 seconds was over Palo Alto.

Facts are such annoying things!


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 5, 2014 at 9:10 am

It would be useful not to get caught up in arguments about particular flights or differences in decibel levels here.

While some planes may stray from time-to-time away from the predominate PA flight path into other adjacent areas (including gasp! Atherton), the fact remains that the vast majority of flights fly over Palo Alto (and a tiny sliver of East Menlo/EPA).

This link Web Link shows the density of aircraft arrivals averaged over a one year period. It shows what we have been saying here: the main flight path across the Peninsula goes directly over Palo Alto. Note that in the upper portion of the map, the other direct approach to SFO, which goes over Fremont, is shown. Its less intense coloring indicates that the number of flights over Palo Alto is significantly greater than Fremont. The likely conclusion is that Palo Alto, along with EMP have the greatest number of overflights in the Bay Area from arriving traffic.

It's true that the flights descend as they pass over East Menlo and EPA so that their problem is worse than ours for the affected families. That's an even stronger reason to push for policies that would relieve our area from the constant stream of planes flying overhead.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 5, 2014 at 9:20 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Mary Anne - "and a tiny sliver of East Menlo/EPA)" - the web link shows a flight path length (time) over Palo Alto almost identical to the flight path length (time) over Menlo Park. And the flight levels over Menlo Park are lower than over Palo Alto.
More recent data suggests that the planes are turning earlier, like today's UA 1724 and spending much more time over San Mateo County than over Palo Alto.
I think the closer you look at the facts the weaker is the case that Palo Alto is bearing a bigger burden than other communities. And I have not noticed a single new individual posting a complaint on this thread in weeks.


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 5, 2014 at 9:35 am

It's easy for people to look at the map (Web Link), and to draw their own conclusions about the density of airplane traffic over PA compared to other communities. Anyone interested in the facts should do so.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 5, 2014 at 9:46 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Mary Anne - That web link was one I took in June 2012. As I noted more recent data suggests that the planes are turning earlier, like today's UA 1724 and spending much more time over San Mateo County than over Palo Alto. The closer you look at the facts the weaker is the case that Palo Alto is bearing a bigger burden than other communities.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Feb 5, 2014 at 1:16 pm

SFO is a commercial business and a Hub. It is required to demonstrate that it can get people landed on time so that they can make connections to other flights. It gets evaluated on that in comparison to other airports. The biggest problem they have had is having more planes since the east coast is cancelling flights. When I recently flew they had to find a plane for the amount of flyers booked, many from Canada who spend time in Hawaii, also big group from Oregon. We left an hour late waiting for a plane to land. They have to also wait for a qualified crew if planes are cancelled at their origins.

On arrivals they have people who have to make other flights to get home.
Landing the plane is the priority.

Between 4:16 and 4:47 Am you have 10 flights arriving from the Hawaiian Islands - all on time. That is quiet a feat but they got help from a storm system that is pushing them west. A big storm system occurred in the islands and is now moving into the bay area. Imagine 10 flights in such a short time - SFO trying to juggle them into the queue for landing ON TIME.
Given the amount of traffic on any one day and requirement to have enough planes available to conduct flights a big juggling act has to take place. A lot of decisions are made on a day to day, moment to moment basis to accommodate both weather and number of travelers at any one time. Every day is different.

It is obvious that many choices put them over PA since they have other planes coming from the east coast that are staging their arrivals. It is a big chess board.

That is like Surf Air flying in a plane at 2:30 AM because it needed repair in SOCAL and had to make a schedule - that was a topic at the Atherton meeting - why 2:30 AM? People were very mad about that.

Second guessing air control systems is not worth the time - if you go to the SFO site they acknowledge a noise problem and indicate they are doing the best they can.

I am assuming that Mr. Carpenter is not managing the air control system from his home in Atherton, and he is not providing direction to the air controllers on a hour to hour, day to day basis. He is probably calling them up and reading the rule book to them.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 5, 2014 at 1:43 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Resident 1 - please list each of the ten flights you refer to and indicate which of them are discreet flights and which are simply code shares.


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Posted by Resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Feb 5, 2014 at 2:05 pm

You can go to the SFO in flight tracker and see them = do your own homework


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 5, 2014 at 2:14 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I looked at the radar tracks and there are NOT ten separate flights in that time block..

You are conflating code shares with individual planes.

Ps. Why are you so willing to take advantage of my research and so unwilling to also contribute to this "place for sharing community information"?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 5, 2014 at 3:25 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Between 4:16 and 4:47 Am you have 10 flights arriving from the Hawaiian Islands - all on time. "

WRONG. In fact there are only TWO HNL-SFO flights during the 4:17 - 4:447 time period - UAL 396 and UAL 1724. Both are code shares and each code share is listed as a separate arrival but there were only TWP flights from HNL during that period.

People need to start reading posting regarding how to use the radar tracking and to understand what code sharing is before posting inaccurate and misleading information.

BTW, I am please to share these facts with others - that what the Forum is designed for, " a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion".


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Feb 5, 2014 at 4:25 pm

Peter - I did not specify Honolulu (HNL) - I said the Hawaiian Islands. There are 4 separate flights from Honolulu - UA, CA NZ, US, LH; 2 flights from Kona (KOA) - UA, US; and three flights from Kahului ( Maui) UA, LH, US. Those are separate airlines. The planes got to those locations by different routes - they turn around as soon as they are processed. If you are looking at the SFO arrivals tracker it is very clear.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 5, 2014 at 4:41 pm

This is interesting... Micheal Huerta (current head of the FAA) has very little experience in the airline industry, but lots of experience in the toll road racket. Who knew there was a Toll Roads News...

Michael Huerta replaced by Dave Amoriell at ACS Transportation
Toll Roads News ~ March 9, 2009 Web Link
"Huerta has been active in IBTTA and is one of the toll industry's best known and liked characters.
ACS is the dominant contractor for back office operations for electronic toll collection. They manage E-ZPass accounts in some of the largest toll states such as New York and New Jersey. They also run the Bay Area FasTrak center in California. They also do front-end toll collection on a number of tollroads. The group is a 1990s spinoff of Lockheed Martin and has its head offices in Washington DC."


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 5, 2014 at 4:56 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"If you are looking at the SFO arrivals tracker it is very clear."

In fact looking at the tracker there are only THREE Hawaii-SFO flights during the 4:17 - 4:47 time period - UAL 338, UAL 396 and UAL 1724. All are code shares and each code share is listed as a separate arrival but there were only TWP flights from Hawaii during that period.

" 4 separate flights from Honolulu - UA, CA NZ, US, LH" = One code shared flight
"three flights from Kahului ( Maui) UA, LH, US" = one code shared flight
" 2 flights from Kona (KOA) - UA, US" = one code shared flight

It does protesters no good to either post false information or to post information which they do not understand.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 5, 2014 at 5:00 pm

FAA head Micheal Huerta replaced Randy Babbitt who resigned after he was arrested in Virginia for drunk driving in 2011.

"Babbitt was a former airline captain and internationally recognized expert in aviation and labor relations when Obama tapped him in 2009 to head the FAA. He was a pilot for now-defunct Eastern Airlines for 25 years and had served as president of the Air Line Pilots Association in the 1990s. As head of pilots association, he championed the "one level of safety" initiative".

The arresting officer claimed that Babbit was driving on the wrong side of the road. Babbit was later acquitted of the charges when video from the arresting officer's car proved Bobbitt was not on the wrong side of the road, and tests revealed his blood alcohol was below the legal limit in Virginia.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 5, 2014 at 5:08 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Editor - why are you permitting off topic postings?


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Feb 5, 2014 at 6:18 pm

Let's just agree to disagree. I will interpret data on the SFO website as it is presented. Anyone can go to the official SFO web site and track arrivals, departures, and policy information. All you talked about was UAL flights, there is also Chinese CA, US Air, New Zealand Air, and Lufthansa. Those are all separate airlines and they are moving their planes to SFO for other flights. I know UAL and US Air are separate airlines because they arrived on the islands separately.
Editor - it is time for you to do a follow-up in the PA Weekly so that we can wrap up this topic.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 5, 2014 at 6:25 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I repeat - during the time period 4:17 - 4:47 time period - UAL 338, UAL 396 and UAL 1724 were the only arrivals into SFO from Hawaii. I reviewed the radar tracks for that entire interval.

If resident has times and flight number for other alleged flights I will research the radar tapes and report back. I am pleased to share facts with others - that what the Forum is designed for, " a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion".


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 5, 2014 at 6:36 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"US Air, New Zealand Air, and Lufthansa." These are all United 's Alliance code share partners and they all were assigned as code shares to the UA planes.

Here is what resident seems to be looking at (rather than the radar tracks):

View21:55HNL04:52SFOCA 7232*Air China77704hrs 57 minsView
21:55HNL04:52SFONZ 9340*Air New Zealand77704hrs 57 minsView
21:55HNL04:52SFOLH 9387*Lufthansa German Airlines77704hrs 57 minsView
21:55HNL04:52SFOUA 396United Airlines77704hrs 57 mins - See more at: Web Link

Clearly these are all one single aircraft with multiple code share designations.

It does the protesters' cause no good to either post false information or to post information which they do not understand.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 5, 2014 at 6:52 pm

How safe are CDA's?..

This evening I had a very interesting conversation with a retired airline pilot with 20+ years experience flying multi-engine aircraft for the airline industry.

About CDA's he said: "under any emergency event scenario I can imagine, I would rather be flying straight and level under power, than in a corkscrew descent with the engines near idle.

This is very concerning considering poor manual flying skills revealed by the recent Asiana crash at SFO.

NTSB Says Poor Pilot Training Caused Asiana Jet Crash
NBC News ~ December 10, 2013 Web Link

"The so-called automation addiction by modern pilots is a major concern at the NTSB, and Nance says this crash should be a major wake up call that something is wrong with airline training today, which is turning out systems operators rather than pilots who can actually fly planes."



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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 5, 2014 at 7:34 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

What has more credibility
a "conversation with a (anonymous) retired airline pilot"

Or the position of the International Civil Aviation Organization?

"In ICAO Document 9931, the 'Continuous Descent Operations Manual', CDO is defined
as "an aircraft operating technique aided by appropriate airspace and procedure design
and appropriate ATC clearances enabling the execution of a flight profile optimized to the
operating capability of the aircraft, with low engine thrust settings and, where possible,
a low drag configuration, thereby reducing fuel burn and emissions during descent.
The optimum vertical profile takes the form of a continuously descending path, with a
minimum of level flight segments only as needed to decelerate and configure the aircraft
or to establish on a landing guidance system (e.g. ILS)."


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 5, 2014 at 8:34 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Having watched radar tracks of flights arriving SFO for a couple of days I have noted that:

1 - flights from the north and west are overflying Woodside, Portola Valley, western Menlo Park, Stanford, a small portion of Palo Alto, eastern Menlo Park and East Palo Alto,

2 - flights from the south are flying all the way across Palo Alto and then eastern Menlo Park and East Palo Alto.

The majority of minutes of aircraft time over Palo Alto are from flights arriving from the south.

Therefore, turning the flights arriving from the north and the west towards the bay earlier will have little impact on the total minutes of aircraft time over Palo Alto.

Lesson - it is important to understand the facts before deciding what is the proper solution.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 5, 2014 at 9:10 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here is an excellent example of two incoming flights from the north and west which avoid Palo Alto entirely and one which flies over south Palo Alto after flying over Menlo Park and Stanford:

Web Link

Lesson - the problem is not turning inbound flights from the west and both further north - that is already happening.


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 6, 2014 at 11:07 am

resident 1 - Discussing individual flights tends to obscure the main point: that the vast majority of cross-Peninsula traffic into SFO passes over Palo Alto (along with EPA and East Menlo). Whether there's one flight from Hawaii into SFO per hour or fifty, the likelihood is that we'll be disturbed by them.

Similarly, while a small percentage of airplanes may deviate from the cross Palo Alto flight path, this does not alter the fact that the FAA directs virtually all flights from the N, S and E over Palo Alto.

Anyone doubting this fact need only to examine this map which shows the density flight arrivals into sfo averaged over an entire year.Web Link The path over PA shows up bright and clear. There's not enough stray non-PA traffic to show up on the map.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 6, 2014 at 11:21 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" that the vast majority of cross-Peninsula traffic into SFO passes over Palo Alto"

No it does not - look at the data.
1 - flights from the north and west are overflying Woodside, Portola Valley, western Menlo Park, Stanford, a small portion of Palo Alto, eastern Menlo Park and East Palo Alto,

2 - flights from the south are flying all the way across Palo Alto and then eastern Menlo Park and East Palo Alto.


"Similarly, while a small percentage of airplanes may deviate from the cross Palo Alto flight path, this does not alter the fact that the FAA directs virtually all flights from the N, S and E over Palo Alto."

The data does not support your assertion and if you campaign on the basis of your misunderstanding your complaints will be properly dismissed.

"Anyone doubting this fact need only to examine this map which shows the density flight arrivals into sfo averaged over an entire year.Web Link The path over PA shows up bright and clear. There's not enough stray non-PA traffic to show up on the map"

I was the one who created and posted that map almost 2 years ago - the current patterns, as I have shown above have CHANGED.


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 6, 2014 at 12:13 pm

I would like to point out for people interested in the matter of aircraft noise over Palo Alto that Peter Carpenter - in this very thread a week ago on Jan 31 at 9:25am - linked with no disclaimer about its accuracy - to the very same map he now disparages as out of date with the following comments:

"The annualized cumulative flight track for all aircraft approaching SFO from the south end of the bay shows the majority crossing the San Mateo county border near Middlefield Road. Some planes arriving from the east are over the bay while all planes arriving from the north, west and south are over Palo Alto and then southern San Mateo county.

These flights fly over Palo Alto and then proceed, at a lower altitude with a larger ground noise footprint, over Menlo Park and East Palo Alto."

Mr. Carpenter - clearly an expert in these matters - has repeated this with identical language in several other posts on this thread - again without any disclaimer about the accuracy of the linked map.

That "all planes arriving from the north, west and south are over Palo Alto and then southern San Mateo county..." is, of course, exactly what we have been complaining about as unfair.

It's time that Palo Alto and "southern San Mateo County (i.e. East Palo Alto and East Menlo - where because of the flight altitudes, the problem is worse) stop being the sole dumping ground for inbound SFO aircraft noise on the Peninsula.




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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 6, 2014 at 12:19 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

What do you not understand about "I was the one who created and posted that map almost 2 years ago - the current patterns, as I have shown above have CHANGED."


The map was created on 16 July 2012 at 7.36 AM.

All of the flight track I have posted above were created within the last ten days and each has the date and time on it.

Most of the aircraft flight time over Palo Alto is created by planes coming from the south, not by planes from the north or west. If you campaign on the basis of your misunderstanding then your complaints will be properly dismissed.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 6, 2014 at 12:45 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Another example of an inbound SFO plane, this one from JFK, that never touches Palo Alto and makes its entire approach over San MateoCounty:

Web Link

PLEASE start paying attention to the facts.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 6, 2014 at 12:49 pm

SFO is a for-profit corporation owned and operated by the City and County of San Francisco. Profits from the operations of this industrial facility (SFO) go into the City and County of San Francisco's general fund, and the toxic waste products (noise and air pollution) get dumped on Palo Alto, and Eastern Menlo Park which adsorb a huge portion of the SFO arrival traffic. Other cities closer to SFO are used as dumping grounds for the toxic waste from departures.

What if Palo Alto and Menlo Park decided to save money by not processing their sewage, and instead just dumped it on San Francisco?

About SFO: Web Link


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 6, 2014 at 1:05 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

These are the flights that are flying over Palo Alto - the ones from the south - and they are not being diverted from someplace in San Mateo County:

Web Link


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 6, 2014 at 3:11 pm

This link: Web Link shows one hour of flights across the Peninsula on Feb 4, 2014.

As you can verify, it shows that the majority of flights cross the Peninsula at Palo Alto, with a few straggling off the main flight path over other areas, which is just what we have been saying, and exactly what all the data shows.

You can always cherry pick a few individual flights that don't follow this path. But any honest aggregation will show that Palo Alto (and EPA and EMP) bear an unfair burden.

(The online program only permits one to capture an hour's worth of flights at a time.)


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 6, 2014 at 3:27 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Mary Anne - Thanks. Very helpful to have data like that. Which web site are you using?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 6, 2014 at 4:35 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Mary Anne - the one hour you captured is very helpful
It shows that almost all of the planes overflying Palo Alto during that hour are coming from the south. Two of the three flights coming from the west or north turn before Palo Alto and cross over Menlo Park and Atherton while the third crosses over Menlo Park and East Palo Alto. None of the inbound flights from the west or north ever touch Palo Alto.

The 8 AM hour is obviously no representative of the whole day as it includes primarily flights from the south; flights from overseas and the east coast do not arrive until later in the day.

Your data confirms that Palo Alto overflights, at least during this time period, are almost entirely from the south and none are from the west or the north. Therefore any petition to reroute these inbound flights from the west and the north away from Palo Alto would seem to be irrelevant. Your focus needs to be on the flights from the south.


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 6, 2014 at 6:43 pm

The flight information is from the sfo tracker. You need to run Java to use it. You can get it from the SFO website. Web Link

It is manifestly not true that only flights from the south go over Palo Alto,

In reviewing a 3 hour period on Feb 4, there were flights from Sydney, Tokyo Narita, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Honolulu, Peking, Kansai (Japan), Seattle, Medford OR Aukland and even one from JFK in New York - in additon to copious flights from Southern California and Arizona cities - all travelling over Palo Alto. The flights crossing the Peninsula passing over Palo Alto (and thus over EPA and EMP) outnumber those passing over any other Peninsula city by at least a 10-1 ratio over any reasonably representative period of observation.

Anyone who wishes can play around with the SFO flight tracker at the link above and verify this information. Palo Alto gets the vast majority of cross-peninsula traffic into SFO.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 6, 2014 at 7:42 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

IF you only look at Palo Alto then the only planes you see will be those that fly over Palo Alto.


Post some 1 hr shots of the entire South Bay.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Feb 6, 2014 at 8:40 pm

Peter is correct in the code sharing - I read the SFO top of page which discusses that and the policy information which is provided in the web site. There is one plane per island which have direct fights to SFO - one plane per island non-stop. I only fly non-stop so know that.
Last night I was at an event at Lucie Stern on Middlefield and three large planes were overhead traveling north on Middlefield around 7:00 PM. When I came out at 9 PM there more traveling north.
This morning the tracker was showing planes (blue) departing down the peninsula over Palo Alto. There must be a lot of juggling going on for incoming and departing on an hourly basis since some periods in the day are very high traffic but other times in the day with less traffic. No one hour in that day represents the total picture.
The whole peninsula is getting both incoming and outgoing through out the day. This is a general observation.

Comment on above - the whole group at the Atherton meeting was concerned with shifting noise to EPA and east Atherton - that is not specific to Peter.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 6, 2014 at 8:45 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"This morning the tracker was showing planes (blue) departing down the peninsula over Palo Alto"

The wind changed and landings were to the South and departures were to the South. It happens about 5-10% of the time.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Feb 6, 2014 at 8:46 pm

The tracker right now 8:44 PM shows four planes from Hawaii separately identified arriving as separate yellow figures on the grid.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 6, 2014 at 9:29 pm

Nonstop jet noise tonight since 7:00pm. They are coming from the north, west, and South. I have a view from 150 feet above sea-level, looking east over the Palo Alto tree line, and they are obviously flying the three arrival routes that converge on Palo Alto, which are shown on the plan below in pink. Westerly Plan: Web Link

The Planes from the north are flying over the western part of the Stanford Campus, and then executing a u-turn over Palo Alto to hit the Menlo IAF for final approach.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 6, 2014 at 9:33 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

This is one plane and it is code shared which 'shows' four flights
1st plane:
UnitedHonolulu/Oahu6639:05 AM9:05 AMOn Time3ViewKorean Air

Operated by United (UA) Flight #663Honolulu/Oahu22559:05 AM9:05 AMOn Time3ViewAir New Zealand

Operated by United (UA) Flight #663Honolulu/Oahu92859:05 AM9:05 AMOn Time3ViewUS Airways

Operated by United (UA) Flight #663Honolulu/Oahu66449:05 AM9:05 AMOn Time3 -

Here is the radar track:

Web Link


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 6, 2014 at 9:44 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" they are obviously flying the three arrival routes that converge on Palo Alto, "

Nope, some are going across the peninsula north of Palo Alto and some are going up the Bay from Newark:

Web Link


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Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 6, 2014 at 9:47 pm

Airplanes were a bit quieter over Midtown the last 3 or 4 days. Tonight they are back in full force.

Palo Alto residents concerned by SFO air traffic over Palo Alto, please join us to fight it, by contacting us at:

Veroforyou at gmail dot com


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Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 6, 2014 at 10:01 pm

Mr Carpenter's screenshot shows two smaller planes crossing over Atherton. They are probably Turbo-props. Atherton gets such smaller planes and very few big jets. The biggest, noisiest, loudest jets (Boeing, Airbus) are mostly routed over Palo Alto.

Also Mr Carpenter's screenshot is only one data point in time which does not say much about the actual overall situation. We need global agregate data over time of where the planes fly. We also need airport noise monitors in PA.

Palo Alto residents concerned by SFO air traffic over Palo Alto, please join us to fight it, by contacting us at:

Veroforyou at gmail dot com


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Feb 6, 2014 at 10:57 pm

If we are using the official SFO web site as the point of reference then it is clear what the total picture is for SFO traffic - both arriving and departing. Thank you Jet Man for providing your diagram - it helps point out the planes from the north that have to circle south to get in position to land. It also helps in clearing up how San Jose Airport operates within this whole conflagration.
Peter - you don't need to challenge everyone with your messages- I don't know what the point is on your message above. You have flights from Kona (KOA - (Big Island), Maui, Honolulu, and one from Kauai. They are all separate - don't argue about it.
Will get back to you on the other site.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 7, 2014 at 5:10 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" We need global agregate data over time of where the planes fly. "

I agree and that includes all of the arrival routes to SFO, not just looking at Palo Alto, so that the true distribution can be determined.

" You have flights from Kona (KOA - (Big Island), Maui, Honolulu, and one from Kauai. They are all separate - don't argue about it." There are a lot of misperceptions and incorrect interpretations being posted on this thread and the only way to get to the truth is to post the facts. Saying that there are four different planes at exactly the same time is different that explicitly identifying the individual flight numbers and showing that they are a code share of a single aircraft.
They are all the same plane from Oahu -

UnitedHonolulu/Oahu6639:05 AM9:05 AMOn Time3ViewKorean Air

Operated by United (UA) Flight #663Honolulu/Oahu22559:05 AM9:05 AMOn Time3ViewAir New Zealand

Operated by United (UA) Flight #663Honolulu/Oahu92859:05 AM9:05 AMOn Time3ViewUS Airways

Operated by United (UA) Flight #663Honolulu/Oahu66449:05 AM9:05 AMOn Time3


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 7, 2014 at 8:39 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Atherton gets such smaller planes and very few big jets. The biggest, noisiest, loudest jets (Boeing, Airbus) are mostly routed over Palo Alto."

Nope - here is a 747 right over my Atherton home - and it never flies over Palo Alto.


Web Link


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 7, 2014 at 9:01 am

It is abundantly clear from the evidence that what we have been saying is so: the majority of cross Peninsula traffic for SFO arrivals go over Palo Alto (and on to EPA and EMP).

The evidence is so clear that it's fair to label those who dispute as Airplane Noise Deniers.

They cherry pick evidence of single flights as if that contradicts the overwhelming proof that on an aggregate level, most flights go over Palo Alto.

They say that the general traffic map for sfo air traffic is too general.

They say that a map of actual traffic density into sfo (that they themselves posted) is out of date.

They say that a map of recent traffic into SFO doesn't cover a large enough map area, or that it doesn't cover a suitable time period.

Like Science Deniers everywhere, they have no real argument, only argumentativeness.

The SFO website referenced above (Web Link) has a very useful tracking tool on which you can plot historical traffic by the hour. It covers a very long series of data.

So I have a challenge to the Airplane Noise Deniers: specify for us any 24 hour period, where SFO is operating normally and not closed or operating on other than its usual flight patterns for weather or other reasons, when the following is not true:.

"The majority of SFO flight arrivals crossing the Peninsula fly over Palo Alto."

You've got months or years of data to choose from: you should be able to find at least ONE day where most planes don't go over Palo Alto.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 7, 2014 at 9:35 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"It is abundantly clear from the evidence that what we have been saying is so: the majority of cross Peninsula traffic for SFO arrivals go over Palo Alto (and on to EPA and EMP). "

When you have the numerator but not the denominator then you cannot compute the percentage. IF you only look at Palo Alto then the only planes you see will be those that fly over Palo Alto.

And the majority of the traffic over Palo Alto comes from planes inbound from the south, not from inbound planes from the north or the west.

Look at 1 hr aggregations for 24 hrs the entire peninsula including Newark and you will see a different picture than if you only look at Palo Alto.

Convincing others requires an unbiased and comprehensive analysis otherwise your petition for change will be dismissed as self centric and self serving.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 7, 2014 at 9:38 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The SFO website referenced above (Web Link) has a very useful tracking tool on which you can plot historical traffic by the hour. It covers a very long series of data."

And that is exactly what the petitioners need to do - you are the ones that have to prove your case. I am certainly not the 'decider' but I can assure you that whoever decides will want to see an unbiased and comprehensive analysis otherwise your petition for change will be dismissed as self centric and self serving.


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 7, 2014 at 11:32 am

Airplane Noise Deniers can quibble, can carp, and put up all kinds of spurious "objections" as we've seen.

Is there any doubt in anyone's mind that were we provide even more data that showed what is already obvious: that the majority of cross-Peninsula air traffic into SFO flys over Palo Alto, that the Deniers would hedge and dodge as they've done here.

There is a simple way for the Deniers to show that their case have some merit. The data is there and available to all. But they don't. They can't.

They can only twist and squirm and ask for more proof beyond the already obvious conclusion about Palo Alto's airplane traffic and noise.

What they cannot do is to point out any 24 hour period in which the majority of SFO-bound traffic crossing the Peninsula does not pass over Palo Alto. The data is all there for anyone, including the Deniers, to examine. The Deniers can't specify such a period because such a period doesn't exist.

Honorable people wouldn't embarrass themselves by continuing to assert what has been clearly demonstrated otherwise.

I invite anyone to examine the SFO flight tracking information and prove what we've been saying is wrong - not for all time, but only for any 24 hour period of your choosing.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Feb 7, 2014 at 11:34 am

Peter - again you are focusing in your message on Honolulu. Yes - there is one plane for Honolulu. But there is a separate plane for the big island, one for Maui, and one for Kauai. I Know the people that manage those flights - separate planes with a whole load of passengers. Lots from Canada. They fly direct, non-stop if you pick the right flight.
Possibly we are confusing two different problems here:
1. SFO commercial flights - we can track those on the SFO web site;
2. Non-commercial planes flying to regional airports - Peter was into the Surf Air problem over Atherton - that is what the Atherton folks were up in arms about. That is the regional San Carlos Airport. SFO has nothing to do with San Carlos - two different set of guidelines. Also Palo Alto Airport - it is regional - nothing to do with SFO as relates to classification and responsibility.

The two problems have to be addressed separately.
Right now we are focusing on the SFO planes.


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 7, 2014 at 11:38 am

By the way, for anyone stepping up to the challenge above offered: don't be misled by misdirection from Deniers - Newark isn't on the Peninsula.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 7, 2014 at 11:43 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Is there any doubt in anyone's mind that were we provide even more data that showed what is already obvious: that the majority of cross-Peninsula air traffic into SFO flys over Palo Alto,"
Yes, because you have not provided the denominator by looking at all arriving SFO traffic.

As a former Federal regulator I would never have considered a case in which 1) only one side of the case was presented and 2) the impact of the proposed solution on non-petitioners was not carefully evaluated.

The current protesters don't have to prove anything to me but there is no way that they will even get a hearing by only presenting one side of the case and by not providing details of the impact on others of their proposed remedy.

As for scientific deniers that is a case of someone questioning a proven fact and the analogy does not apply in this case because there has been no presentation of proven facts - lots of opinions, lots of limited view snapshots, but no unbiased and comprehensive analysis.

I am neither your enemy nor your denier but rather someone who is trying very hard to HELP you see the reality of what a petitioner must present in order to even get a hearing.


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 7, 2014 at 11:51 am

The Airplane Noise Deniers are able to come up with lots of data and maps and flight paths when they think it supports their case that most SFO bound air traffic on the Peninsula doesn't fly over Palo Alto.

Is there any doubt in anyone's mind that were there such data, we'd see it now?

We don't because:

There is no 24 hour period during which the majority of cross Peninsula SFO bound air traffic does not pass over Palo Alto.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 7, 2014 at 11:59 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Is there any doubt in anyone's mind that were there such data, we'd see it now?"

No, because you are simply arguing with yourselves and have yet to present either an unbiased and comprehensive analysis for inbound SFO traffic nor have you presented a proposed remedy which will shift that impact to other people - that it when you will hear from others. In the meantime the silence simply means that no one is listening. I am trying to be a responsible critic but you just don't want to hear anything except your own words.


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 7, 2014 at 12:07 pm

We only want to know if there is even one day where the majority of SFO bound traffic crossing over the Peninsula does not pass over Palo Alto.

You just supply the date and I'll do the work. I'll show maps from the official SFO website that cover the entire Peninsula for each hour in any 24 hour period the Deniers choose. If we chose the date, you'd say we rigged it. So you rig it any way you want and we'll show that there's not such a period.

Whether or not there is a 24 hour time frame in which the majority of flights into SFO that cross the Peninsula don't overfly Palo Alto is an eminently testable proposition.

So what's the date?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 7, 2014 at 12:13 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"So what's the date?"

The date when you meet with the agency that you intend to petition - that will be your moment of truth.

I hope by then you have done an unbiased and comprehensive analysis for inbound SFO traffic and have a proposed remedy which will shift that impact to other people and you have evaluated the impact of the proposed remedy on those other people.

As for me, I do not care what you say here because this Forum is not the place where any change will occur. I do note that the four of you have gained zero additional support since this thread was reopened in Jan 2014 - I wonder why no one else thinks that this is an important problem?


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 7, 2014 at 12:21 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by CrecentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 7, 2014 at 12:22 pm

> I am neither your enemy nor your denier but rather someone who is trying very hard to HELP you see the reality of what a petitioner must present in order to even get a hearing.

What an peculiar claim? In this and other discussions you have done nothing but refute, deny, dismiss and even name call to put off Palo Altan's claims that there is too much noise from airplanes in our city ... and you do not even live here.

Indeed this whole discussion is about you contradicting everything everyone has said about airplane noise - for years now since this began in 2012.

You claim to be an honest experienced broker in facts, yet you have been found out distorting those facts in some discussions where you use your authority as an argument.

I don't need you to back up or verify that something has changed about airplane traffic over Palo Alto. At certain times of the day there are lines of plane after plane flying over Crescent Park loud enough to disrupt conversation outside. I can't remember that ever used to happen let along be a problem in Palo Alto until recently, say the last decade.

Enough is enough, first thing is to verify and validate that it really is a problem and not just a few grumps complaining, or a few others just calling those who complain isolated grumps. The other thing is that to me it doesn't matter if we bought houses knowing there was plane traffic overhead or not, the issue is does it interfere with the property rights of Palo Altans, and I believe it does.

I know back when they expanded of put in the San Jose airport there were a lot of legal problems that resulted in the City of San Jose having to compensate homeowners living in the area. I don't want compensation, I just want reasonable peace and quiet. The best thing about Crescent Park is the lack of train or freeway noise, and now we have all kinds of airplanes buzzing us overhead.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 7, 2014 at 12:28 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" first thing is to verify and validate that it really is a problem and not just a few grumps complaining,"

Good idea. And then come up with a remedy that does not simply shift any such problem to someone else's community.


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 7, 2014 at 12:41 pm

"As for me, I do not care what you say here ...."

What an odd statement coming from the one person who has - by an order of magnitude - been the most prolific poster on this forum for the past two years.

This person has offered all kinds of data, maps, charts, flight path pictures - all sorts of "evidence" when he says it supports his position.

But when challenged to provide a single date - any date of his choosing - where most of the sfo bound traffic crossing the Peninsula doesn't fly over PA, he's strangely interested only in petitions and process matters.

I think it's clear that if there were any day in which PA didn't suffer the majority of flight traffic into SFO, we'd know what that day is by now.

The fact that we don't speaks volumes in my opinion: both about the posters who deny PA has an airplane noise problem and the state of their evidence.

And by the way, the statement that "And then come up with a remedy that does not simply shift any such problem to someone else's community..." seems to confirm what many here have said about posters from other communities trying to refute that Palo Alto has a noise problem. They're just afraid that any solution will intrude on their peace and quiet. You can judge for yourselves whether there's bias involved in these posters' "facts".


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 7, 2014 at 12:49 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Good luck with your petition.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Feb 7, 2014 at 1:19 pm

During the Surf Air discussions the whole of Atherton, including Peter, were highly concerned that the eastern San Mateo cities did not get the fly over for moved air traffic - this was Surf Air landing in San Carlos - a highly irritating, whiney plane. That is the consensus of the Atherton residents. That is a plane that is going up and down Middlefield posing as a private charter. Charging a lot of money to land in San Carlos - WOW - coming from SOCAL. Peter has much to say on the Almanac - Menlo Parks version of On-Line. I also posted there promoting that Surf Air move over the bay vs being inland
This whole topic has morphed into SFO traffic and rightly so.
If it rains enough the San Carlos airport will flood. Palo Alto Airport is also on a flood plain. Peter has a long list of comments on the Menlo Park Almanac - their version of On-line.
Shifting problems to other people's communities is what this is all about.


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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Feb 7, 2014 at 4:34 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Deniers?
a resident of another community
on Feb 7, 2014 at 4:47 pm

Mary Anne,

There is only one denier and his name is peter. please stop using the plural "Deniers" and simply write "Denier", or just stop feeding the troll.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 7, 2014 at 4:47 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

[Portion removed.] I am sorry that I had to repeat myself so often but I was hopeful that I could help people understand the facts and the challenge of trying to change the status quo. Sadly, I failed.


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