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Plan would send planes flying over Palo Alto

Original post made on Jan 3, 2014

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.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, January 3, 2014, 9:40 AM

Comments (160)

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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 3, 2014 at 10:11 am

This is BS. We already have enough air traffic between SFO and PAO on a normal basis. Plus we get SJC when the wind changes. Besides the PA CC, who else do we go after?


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2014 at 10:11 am

These type of airlines are going to become more and more prolific, it is the way of the future. Palo Alto Airport should welcome them and Embarcadero Road should have businesses to attract those using them.


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Posted by JA3+
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 3, 2014 at 10:21 am

This particular aircraft -- the Pilatus PC-12 with (presumably) the stock propeller -- generates significant noise, materially above those of ready alternatives.

I strongly recommend the FAA condition approval, if any, of such alternative route on the use of noise-reduction throughout Surf's fleet, including, but not limited to, change-out of the stock propeller. For example, MT-Propeller in Atting, Germany offers a 5-blade Pilatus PC-12 propeller; with it, "aircraft noise level is reduced by four dB(A) compared to the standard metal propeller" [source: Web Link ].


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Posted by Enough!
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jan 3, 2014 at 10:21 am

Planes already fly over my mom's Community Center neighborhood. Directly over, many times a day. Now they want to add more?


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Posted by Robert
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2014 at 10:33 am

@Resident: YES! Why not have planes flying over Palo Alto 24/7?! Let's welcome them into our lives as we intrepid;y face the future on the way to the insane asylum. You thinking is classic: it's the wave of the future, so let's get on with adapting to it and make money off of it. You clearly attach no importance to human values and the quality of life. Who is guilty of raising you with such a nihilistic consciousness? Pathetic.


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Posted by Pa Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 3, 2014 at 10:58 am

It would be interesting to see if the city council voices a concern.


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Posted by Janet
a resident of University South
on Jan 3, 2014 at 11:10 am

I really hope they don't do this. Noise is a significant factor contributing the the stress of our urban lives.


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Posted by Silly
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 3, 2014 at 11:16 am

Add it to all the late-night and early morning flight noise.

EVERY NIGHT at 1:30 AM seems enough of a disruption to me. It's been going on for MONTHS.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 3, 2014 at 11:42 am

PA Weekly, please keep up right up to date on this issue. As a Duveneck/St. Francis resident, I would like to participate in opposing this "plan" to send more noisy air traffic over us. The notion that Atherton residents proposed this "plan" is also ridiculous - why should they have priority over us?! This is an issue for the Palo Alto City Council's immediate attention. Thank you.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2014 at 11:57 am

Robert (and others)

We live next to the Bay, of course we don't want them flying overhead, but having them fly over the Bay would make lots of sense.

This sort of business is going to be more and more popular, we can't sit and pretend it won't happen. We have an airport and we should see the advantages of having an airport. We should be promoting its use although granted along strict guidelines of approach paths using the Bay.

We live in a business area, we are going to have noise, the noise from 101 at present is loud, the sirens heard all over town are loud, the children playing in the schools at lunch time are loud, the noise from backing up trucks is loud, the noise from playing fields and swimming pools is loud, people having a backyard cookout are loud, etc. etc. etc. We have to put some common sense conditions on this business model, but the pluses outweigh the minuses sometimes. Let's work on the noise with strict conditions, but don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.


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Posted by Rupert of henzau
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 3, 2014 at 12:00 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by JA3+
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 3, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Looks like this proposal has been in works since early December; see the comments on the earlier post to the Almanac News here: Web Link

What is the next step? What input, if any, will residents of Palo Alto have in the FAA's consideration of this proposal? What role are City of Palo Alto staff playing in the FAA's process? What conditions will the FAA consider? Perhaps most importantly, what is the schedule for the FAA's consideration? Has the FAA considered Peter Carpenter's proposal for a change in Surf Air's vertical flight path into San Carlos Airport (see Peter's comments on the Almanac blog post, the link to which is given above)? What role will Santa Clara County supervisors take here (given the role clearly played earlier by San Mateo County Supervisors)? Finally, why does Surf Air fly PC-12s with stock propeller, when such set-up clearly creates more noise? Does a low-cost, stock propeller trump noise concerns of impacted residents? Should not all PC-12s be obligated to reduce noise when flying into and out of San Carlos Airport?


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Posted by PA Flight Path
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jan 3, 2014 at 12:58 pm

This is not the first time the Atherton community backed by members of their City Council have protested about flights going over their airspace. Last time airlines dealt with Atherton by directing flights to go over South Palo Alto - that's why we have so many flights come over Palo Alto.

Again, Atherton is complaining and Palo Alto is being used as an alternative flight path, because our City Council just lets this happen without getting involved.

Like Atherton we should be holding meetings with the airlines and protesting. We have nine members on our City Council who just sit on their hands, and do everything they can to avoid get involved.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jan 3, 2014 at 1:49 pm

I attended the community meeting in Atherton which was well run. The mayors of Menlo Park and Atherton expressed their concerns to the Surf Air representatives and FAA representatives. They took direct action to solve their noise problem. They are closer to San Carlos so the planes are lower at that point going directly over their yards. You can't blame them for taking well run, direct action on the considerations/problems that affect their communities.

I am concerned because where I live the blasted little planes fly north/south between Middlefield approximate to 101 approximate. They are very noisy at this point in the flight. The jet in question has an engine that is not airplane specific - but is really for a pump. It has a high, intense whine.

I went over to the PA Airport - they said their planes are required to stay between 101 and the bay, so the question is why aren't the San Carlos planes required to stay between 101 and the bay - or over the bay. They are lower than the incoming SFO at this juncture.

Note that Mr. Carpenter did not attend the community meeting and to my knowledge is not a direct contributor to the communities official response.
He is knowledgeable but an apologist for Surf Air - like a "closer", possible an investor. His idea was to have the flight path west of Stanford stadium - which is directly over the heart of the campus. Time to get Stanford involved as this is their airspace.

The correct people to address the FAA are the county supervisors and elected officials for the cities affected. The people who were running the meeting with the FAA are the people who should be, and are responsible for heading up this activity. Palo Alto City Council needs to be involved, and Joe Simitian, County Supervisor needs to be involved. He has the background and connections to work this issue with the Government representatives and agencies. We need designated representatives for the overall action if we are to exert any influence over the outcome. PA cannot sit on its hands while the rest of the cities are floating their own interest.

As to the PA airport it is currently bordered by the PA golf course that is undergoing upgrade, as well as the San Fransquito flood basin which is being remapped to prevent flooding. That whole area is in a change process.


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Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 3, 2014 at 2:53 pm

I dislike air traffic noise too, so I am annoyed by the hypocrisy of those who seek & solicit development & growth of the very lucrative businesses & influx of aspiring titans who are most likely to utilize small, lower-flying aircraft. Remember the fuss when Steve Jobs wanted to 'copter to Emeryville from Palo Alto & another ruckus over Ellison's planes? The folks who want to be in $10M+ houses here expect to avoid the inconvenience of scheduled flights on major airlines at SFO or SJC and the concurrent proximity to ordinary travelers. Even 1st Class isn't good enough because the proletariat must lumber past down the same aisles. I've heard people brag that they "never fly commercial". People who live in tract houses built in the '40s-'60s feel somehow elevated by living in the shadows of very rich yet demand freedom from noise or traffic generated by their more affluent neighbors. ("Too many cars around Castilleja." 50 extra students, @ 30K+ annual tuition = 1.5M) Eventually the air patterns will change again. Moffett Field's landing pattern in the '70s had nearly constant flights over south Los Altos, dumping excess fuel over lots of homes on the way in. Military downsizing took care of that problem.

SurfAir with a few daily flights (at nominal monthly cost) to 3rd tier airports isn't the issue. It's the culture of elitism bumping heads with vestigial middle-class communities with which the wishes of the new "haves" and hope-to-be's are not in alignment. Determine the aims, priorities, and financial alignments of your city councillors before you elect them.



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Posted by dtn resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 3, 2014 at 3:01 pm

Too bad they don't have high speed rail as a viable alternative.


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Posted by southbayresident
a resident of another community
on Jan 3, 2014 at 3:24 pm

@dtn resident,

that is exactly what I was thinking!

And thanks in part to the initiative of Palo Alto's (and Atherton's) residents it looks like high speed rail will never ever be allowed to serve as a viable transportation alternative for any community in California.


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Posted by senor blogger
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 3, 2014 at 3:24 pm

Why doesn't Palo Alto file a willy nilly lawsuit, like they did opposing the High Speed Rail?

Because there are too many affluent folks who are investors in it.


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Posted by Naphtali
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 3, 2014 at 4:39 pm

I'm okay with daytime flights. The 1AM and 4 AM flights in and out of SFO REALLY REALLY bother me (and wake me) even with good ear plugs.


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Posted by Resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jan 3, 2014 at 5:06 pm

Downtowner - Menlo Park - your mayor is part of the group that is coordinating this effort. He was at the original committee meeting in Atherton. He is a good guy - very capable. You are taking on your own mayor. And yes the topic is Surf Air and the noise level - first to the people in Atherton and Menlo Park - and to Palo Alto. You probably should attend the meetings on this topic that are taking place in Atherton and Menlo Park so you can share your point of view with them - I am sure that they will be overjoyed to have your in-sight and participation.


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Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 3, 2014 at 5:09 pm

This is already what happened some time in the mid 90s when SFO traffic that would cross over San Mateo county land was rerouted over Palo Alto. Before, SFO bound airplanes would bank over San Mateo County land to get over to the Bay. Since then, they've banked over Palo Alto mostly, and South Palo Alto (including Midtown) has taken the brunt of it since then.

SFO and other airplane traffic and noise over South Palo Alto has already been horrible for 20 years or so. Now, my big worry is that the big wigs in North Palo Alto will manage to have this new traffic go over South Palo Alto instead, and that neighborhoods such as Midtown will be even more clobbered.

Could ALL of Palo Alto please unite and fight airplane noise in the entirety of the city? Please, please, do don't send even more traffic on South Palo Alto. It actually needs to decrease here.


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Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 3, 2014 at 5:57 pm

Resident 1 - I'm aware of my mayor's position & I'm not fighting him at all. My point is that 8am-9pm SurfAir flights, 6 per day now, aren't the problem that so many bandwagon-jumpers would like to make them. The MP mayor is trying to ameliorate the distress of certain areas of the town where people get noises from many other aviation sources. The noise from the weekend hobbyists flying over their own homes to dip wings at their waving children is pretty annoying too. Regulate DBs then on all small planes, increase licensing fees and regulate noise levels for flight schools, and whatever else anyone can come up with. I just don't think that targeting SA as the primary aural annoyance in our congested suburbs is the main problem. I know people who commute by air in their own planes from PA to HMB. Do those ever bother anyone below? Who knows? All the vitriol goes at SA, with which I have no association, and that appears to be the convenient target of the month.

If the PA council didn't give such outlandish financial benefits to business development & enforced parking requirements on new com'l construction, maybe the businesses who utilize SA would build their offices in Hawthorne or Stockton & there'd be plenty of time to fret about something else?


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 3, 2014 at 9:13 pm

As a "regular person" who would like to sell my home, I am outraged at the snarky comments asserting PA people are all rich gazillionnaires who have no right to "complain" about the noise increase from lowflying aircraft of various types. You are wrong. I would like to sell my home at a reasonable profit like my neighbors have done. I need to downsize. Instead I am supposed to take the fall. In recent times the air traffic has become ultra noisy and I fear this is now disclosable to potential buyers on real estate sales disclosure forms. It was NOT like this when we bought here and in most of the time I have lived here. I realize a bunch of PA sellers probably aren't honest and don't/won't disclose, but I would prefer that our area not be taken advantage of with outrageous excessive noise because Athertonians and Surf Air dictate this! I have double pane windows that worked well for 99% of noise including aircraft noise until very recently. And - why should Palo Alto have to be the flight path for these large aircraft coming to SFO from Asia also? - Perhaps the flight path should ROTATE quarterly per dictate by the FAA. Anyone up for that???


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Posted by PA Resident
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 3, 2014 at 9:16 pm

I'm a resident at Duveneck/St. Francis. I definitely against any plane flying over our neighborhood without our permission. Our city mayor and council members should take a firm stand opposing this plan for their constituents.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2014 at 10:27 pm

If you think commercial jet noise has increased in the last few months... you are correct. 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 approach routes. If you live under one of the "NextGen" approach routes, you better get used to it. 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 should reduce the noise emitted by an aircraft's engines, residents living under a "Nextgen" approach route will experience increased noise due to the lower altitude of the "NextGen" flight profile, the higher speed at which the aircraft are traveling, and the increased frequency of aircraft passing overhead.

"FAA plan seeks more direct air routes in Bay Area"
SF Gate ~ 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 Maybell neighbor
a resident of Green Acres
on Jan 4, 2014 at 1:37 am

"This is an issue for the Palo Alto City Council's immediate attention. Thank you."
@anonymous,

Then changing the City Council to get one for whom quality of life concerns of residents are important should be an issue for EVERYONE's immediate attention.


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Posted by Maybell neighbor
a resident of Green Acres
on Jan 4, 2014 at 1:41 am

"Why doesn't Palo Alto file a willy nilly lawsuit, like they did opposing the High Speed Rail?"

It's time we got a professional City Council, working full-time for us on a salary. We should have district representation, perhaps as few as 5 Councilmembers, and pay for it by cutting staff that would be redundant if Councilmembers were full-time. They essentially serve on essentially a volunteer basis now, which leaves out ordinary people and those not beholden to special interests. As it is, they mostly don't even reply to their phone and email messages.


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Posted by Bunyip
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jan 4, 2014 at 6:10 am

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jan 4, 2014 at 10:35 am

I attended the city meeting in Atherton. One of the main themes at the meeting was that in the re-direction of the flight path for Surf Air they did not want to redirect it over the San Mateo County cities east of 101. This point was made over and over. Note that the vice-mayor of Atherton ran this meeting making this point. The goal of the meeting was to redirect the Surf Air flight path and the end result is that it is now over PA - Santa Clara County.

Note that PA is on the SFO flight path moving west to east with the turn up north to SFO over the city and bay. So from where I am sitting I have the SFO traffic with high points in the morning and evening, however Surf Air is moving north/south in the same quadrant all day long. And they plan on increasing the number of flights to the San Carlos Airport. This whole dilemma can be averted if Surf Air comes in over the bay - or the east side of the bay in the Hayward path, then makes a turn over the bay to San Carlos. The fix is obvious and someone has to make that happen.

This is a logistical problem - it is not a political rant about rich versus poor. However - San Mateo County is definitely looking to protect their assets - tax base at the cost of Santa Clara County.


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Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 4, 2014 at 1:06 pm

@ Resident 1

What San Mateo County is doing today with Surf Air is what they successfully did in the early 90s with SFO traffic. I've never understood why Palo Alto accepted this without putting up more of a fight.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2014 at 1:23 pm

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.

SFBA approach and departure plan: Web Link


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Posted by Rob Tanner
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 4, 2014 at 2:06 pm

Last I checked this airport was built long before any of these people built their overpriced homes in Palo Alto and Atherton. You are all welcome to move somewhere else far from any existing airports and flight paths and enjoy your silence that way. Just because you are rich doesn't mean you can buy everything, like new flight paths over poorer neighborhoods or closing down job supporting airports.


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Posted by JA3+
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 4, 2014 at 3:59 pm

"I just don't think that targeting SA as the primary aural annoyance in our congested suburbs is the main problem."

Surf Air (SA), however, uses an aircraft noted for its high noise levels. In part, it's a function of the design of the aircraft, its power-plant and its propeller. Unlike other entities or individuals using such Pilates, SA is doing so in a unique fashion: flying frequent, daily trips.

The FAA should condition approval, if any, of such alternative flight path on SA's use of quieter propellers throughout SA's fleet of PC-12 aircraft.


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Posted by boscoli
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 4, 2014 at 5:25 pm

@Resident, I have to admit that your comments make be pessimistic about the future of the human race. Conflating terrible noise in residential areas with progress, conflating business profits with people's quality of life and happiness. This is really a 'what's good for General Motors is good for the country' kind of fallacy and moral bankruptcy. To use your logic, Why not build another freeway in the midst of Palo Alto in order to make Palo Alto an even more business friendly place? After all, business interests are supreme to everything else.

Allowing the Palo Alto airport to continue operations was a terrible mistake, allowing this travesty is even worse.


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Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 4, 2014 at 5:37 pm

@ Rob Tanner

I live in Midtown Palo Alto, just as you claim to do yourself. When I bought my house here, SFO airport was already around of course, but SFO bound traffic was NOT flying, doing U turns, above Palo Alto. I was flying basically entirely over San Mateo counties when making those low turns to the bay. Then, San Mateo County made a deal with the FAA in the early 90s so that those turns would not longer happen over their COunty, but above Palo Alto instead. That's when the egregious airplane noise started above PA (much worse than the occasional P3s we had before).

So, your point is entirely moot. When I bought my house in PA, I did it to be far away from SFO noise, and it was true at the time. Until this was changed in the 90s to please San Mateo County inhabitants who bought houses closer to SFO than I did. Go figure.

So, please, please, don't make this invalid point about Palo Alto. Thank you.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2014 at 6:27 pm

Palo Alto has the heaviest SFO arrival traffic of any community on the Peninsula, and is the least prepared to cope with the expected increase in traffic, brought on by the forthcoming "NextGen" roll-out, and newcomers like Surf Air.

Under the prevailing westerly winds, three out of five arrival routes for commercial aircraft bound for SFO, cross over Palo Alto on their way to SFO. Aircraft arriving from the north, west, and south all converge on Palo Alto to begin final approach for landing at SFO.

Several communities north of the San Mateo County border have preexisting FAA air traffic control policies in place, that will help limit any increase in commercial traffic over San Mateo County. For instance, in 2012 Anna Eshoo negotiated a policy agreement to limit commercial traffic over Woodside, to no less than 8,000' whenever possible (note: this policy is frequently ignored)

The SFO Noise Abatement Office has "peppered" the Peninsula, north and west of SFO, with 29 automated "noise monitoring stations" to continuously monitor aircraft noise. Menlo Park has one station. Palo Alto has none.

Website for SFO's noise monitoring system: Web Link

Map of SFO noise monitoring stations can be found here (see "Departure and Arrivals" map, click to enlarge): Web Link


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Posted by Roger
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 5, 2014 at 7:21 am

This is nothing. Just wait until the drones start flying over your homes 24/7.


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Posted by Regional Issue
a resident of another community
on Jan 5, 2014 at 10:51 am

This is a REGIONAL issue (safety, pollution, noise) . In two parts: The FAA policies / practices and the local airports ability to expand and accomodate more traffic with political consent.

I called SCA to ask how low SA was one day and he said 1200 feet. North Fair Oaks (just a regular mostly working class neighborhood full of Day Care Homes and schools) gets it the worst.


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Posted by Resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jan 5, 2014 at 11:42 am

If you look at the map you will see that the San Carlos Airport is hemmed in by main highways and the bay. It is at a major off ramp from 101 to Redwood Shores / Oracle. It does not have the capability to expand. It is bound by highways and the bay. Further - if you go up and watch you can see the SFO planes are in their descent / arrival path over the bay in the direct vicinity. San Carlos was never meant to be a major airport. It was a convenient place for small planes back in a time when SFO was not as fully developed as it is now. SFO is in the process of adding more airlines and further expanding so the air space in that vicinity is being further reduced.
The FAA needs to be confronted with the facts at hand - you cannot overload the airspace beyond the capability to manage is successfully within the general community.
The San Jose airport removed a major parking lot to provide hangers and space for private jets - so the airports are changing in the vicinity to re-allocate space where logistically available. Surf Air's major selling point is that you do not have to go through TSA search. The private side of the San Jose airport does not use TSA. They could do business out of San Jose more effectively with more resources at the airport. It is their choice as to how and where they want to conduct business.

Bottom line is that the FAA changed their rules in the 90's, and are now at the breaking point where they need to change their rules again.
Surf Air needs to manage their flights over the bay and approach San Carlos from the bay side if that is where they want to do business. They can change to accommodate the overall community at large. The overall Community at large does not have to change to accommodate 1 small business.

Side note - I flew from/to San Diego over the holidays and there was turbulence, even though it was clear and dry. A 747 can gain altitude to alleviate turbulence. Do not count on the Surf Air to effectively deal with turbulence - that is a very bad ride for a plane that small. No bargain there. And if they think they will go to Tahoe in that plane than they are crazy - Truckee is one of the most difficult airports in the area with great turbulence.


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Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 5, 2014 at 1:12 pm

@ Regional Issue

"North Fair Oaks (just a regular mostly working class neighborhood full of Day Care Homes and schools) gets it the worst."

1) How do you know that North Fair Oaks gets it the worst since there are no airport noise monitors in Palo Alto? You don't.

2) Most SFO bound traffic crosses over Palo Alto and then flies over the bay, avoiding North Fair Oaks altogether.

3) What is your logic here? I am missing it.
Is it that if North Fair Oaks gets a lot of noise, it's OK to reroute San Carlos bound planes from turning over Atherton to turning over Palo Alto? How? Because Palo Alto is not as affluent as Atherton? That must be it, I guess. Great logic. Thank you. My logic is that people who bought houses farther away from San Carlos and from SFO should not be the dumping ground for people who bought homes closer to those 2 airports. However, that's what we have become here in Palo Alto, and in Midtown in particular.


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Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 5, 2014 at 1:22 pm

We had an "executive flight services", aka Surf Air, airplane coming from Hawthorne and bound for San Carlos fly overhead in Midtown and Palo Alto at 11:12 AM this morning. It was at 2600 feet. It was a PC12. Delightful.... NOT.


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Posted by Bill Glasson
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jan 5, 2014 at 2:02 pm

This whole discussion assumes that these planes are actually loud. Is 5 seconds of mild noise every few hours really that bad? Worse than the sound of cars going by constantly or an occasional train horn? Really folks? This passes for news? Look outside your bubble for some real problems that you could spend your mental energy on.


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Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 5, 2014 at 2:10 pm

@ Bill

It's not 5 seconds of mild noise every few hours. It's a lot of loud noise every few minutes for whole segments of the day, several times a day.

It is definitely louder than car traffic for me. I notice it much more.

That said, my spouse does not have as much of a problem with it.

However, why would we be asked to stop complaining about airplane noise while it would be legit to complain about car or, especially, train noise?

Airplane noise is a big problem for a lot of us. Witness Menlo Park that did something about it. It could not be much worse in MP than it is over PA, at least my neighborhood in PA. Yet Menlo Park did something about it. This means it's a big enough problem for a significant number of people, even if you are not included. So, it is a real problem.


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Posted by Rollin Hand
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 5, 2014 at 2:14 pm

Amen @Bill Glasson and @Roger.

If one sits around listening for a faint hum so that one can run outside to note the plane type and time, of course one is going to be aggravated. Relax - we live in a beautiful place - I hear as many birds chirping as airplanes humming - living in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Enjoy this time, when the skies are darkened by delivery drones you'll look back wistfully to these idyllic days. If you must complain about something, direct your ire at leaf blowers, the scourge of our modern eden.


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Posted by Creighton Borovsky
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 5, 2014 at 2:27 pm

2600 feet! If Midtowner can tell that from his backyard, he must have a highly calibrated eye, which may explain his highly sensitive hearing.


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Posted by LKniss
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jan 5, 2014 at 2:28 pm

I'm sure Liz will love how dynamic this makes our fair city. I remember when you used to go outside and hear nothing. Now we live in an exciting, vibrant place with airplane noise shaking the place up. Isn't it great ?


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Posted by Bob Kolb
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 5, 2014 at 2:29 pm

I find the Pilatus to be a beautiful looking, and sounding aircraft. It is a pleasure for me to hear one and to watch them move in the air.


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Posted by Rob Tanner
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 5, 2014 at 2:35 pm

I'm with Bob Kolb. Look at this picture, which recently was awarded second place in the Aviation Week and Space Technology annual photo issue. Beautiful indeed.
Web Link


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Posted by Resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jan 5, 2014 at 5:59 pm

Creighton - A number of people are tracking the planes via specific sites. SFO has a site where people can track planes coming in - time, altitude, location. If people go to the Almanac site on this same topic all of the sites are provided. Air traffic is tightly controlled and recorded.

Bob Kolb - the plane may be beautiful but your neighbors are the first to complain. The question on the table is not its beauty but its sound. It does not have an aviation engine - the engine is from some type of pump. Go to your Almanac site so you can view your neighbors / city politicians feelings on this matter. Since the plane has focused on the Middlefield route which is on the east side of Atherton then possibly you are more clear from what your neighbors are experiencing.

The problem is always location, location, location.


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Posted by SCARY
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 5, 2014 at 7:57 pm


Rob Tanner

"I'm with Bob Kolb. Look at this picture, which recently was awarded second place in the Aviation Week and Space Technology annual photo issue. Beautiful indeed."


These machines all look the same when they crash. They go up in smoke and kill. What is the liability these planes carry for flying over dense residential neighborhoods?

Didn't we just have a crash near Palo Alto airport?

No risk to them, all on us, sounds bad.


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Posted by Rob Tanner
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 5, 2014 at 8:13 pm

In response to "Scary", your comment is needless fear mongering. Flying in any form is statistically far safer than driving. People can have differences of opinion as to what is loud or beautiful, but when it comes to facts lets try and stick to the truth. Stoking fear by throwing out unfounded claims does nothing but undermine your credibility, not to mention hiding behind a fake screen name. For shame to "Scary".


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Posted by Doodle
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 5, 2014 at 8:16 pm

The Life Flight never bothered me, I always knew they were saving someone in a life-or-death situation, or delivering an organ or bone marrow for transplant.

The airplane noise here is NOTHING compared to many sections of SJ, especially the Rose Garde, where the huge aircraft come in LOW, like under 1000 ft, and shake your house to the foundation on the middle of the night, often violating curfew. Just try to sleep there!


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Posted by Rollin Hand
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 5, 2014 at 8:23 pm

@Rob Tanner - Couldn't have said it better myself.
@Scary - I'd venture to guess that all the beautiful cars that grace our streets look the same when they crash as well. Perhaps we should mandate that their owners park outside of residential areas and walk the remaining miles to their homes?


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Posted by SCARY
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 5, 2014 at 8:38 pm

Rob Tanner,

"Flying in any form is statistically far safer than driving"

As a pedestrian, you would evaluate walking on a highway differently than walking on a neighborhood street. Why do you think we have crossing guards at school intersections?

You have got to be kidding that the risks of increasing air traffic over a densely populated area are not being evaluated. That is scary.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 5, 2014 at 8:41 pm

@Res1, engine from some type of pump? Are you confusing a Pratt & Whitney PT6 with a Wacker Neuson PT6? The latter is indeed a pump model, but uses a diesel engine, and is a heckuva lot cheaper than an aircraft turbine. Pratt & Whitney, the very definition of Reliable Engines.

Parnelli Jones once raced at Indy with a PT6 under the hood. Quietest car on the track -- I was there.


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Posted by F. Schettino
a resident of Green Acres
on Jan 5, 2014 at 8:51 pm

Thank you @musical for clarifying only one of nearly endless misrepresentations of the truth. If our readers/commenters believe that an industrial pump can somehow power a state of the art aircraft, then they must certainly believe a lot of the other "statistics" and "reports" that are posted here to distort what amounts to a few noisy people (not airplanes) who wish to return to the pre-industrial age.


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Posted by Resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jan 5, 2014 at 9:50 pm

I attended the meeting in Atherton. Present at the meeting was the Surf general manager who described the airplane in that manner - some type of Swiss made pump for an industrial machine other than an aircraft. The general manager was in employment by Surf for 1 month. He was a retired pilot and is very knowledgeable. He is also a trainer for pilots. I have to assume he knows what he is talking about. He was addressing the safety concerns of the aircraft where this topic came up. He introduced the topic as part of his discussion of the plane.
If people have more interest they should look up Surf on Google - there are a number of publications cited in which the Surf Management is discussing their business strategy and business plan with Forbes, Huffington Post, etc. If you go to the source (Surf on Google) then you would be getting the information directly from the company in the manner they want to depict their company.
It should be noted that the point here is to find a way to adjust the flight path so the planes are coming in over the bay. If people could focus on the point here then maybe we can accomplish the goal.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 6, 2014 at 12:22 pm

Ah, thanks for the source of the pump reference. Someone misunderstood something somewhere. The PT6 is Canadian, and was developed in the late 1950s specifically to replace piston aircraft engines. So back to the matter at hand -- flight paths. Impossible to satisfy everyone. Like pedestrians, bicycles, cars, buses and trucks mixing it up on our roads, all trying to get where they want to go. Advantage of airspace is the third dimension of altitude, allowing separation of the different sizes and speeds, but they all need to climb from their takeoff and then descend at their destinations. I don't know anybody who doesn't make fairly frequent use of the airspace or has visitors use it to get here. Multiply that by a couple million people in the Bay Area.


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 6, 2014 at 12:38 pm

There's no practical way to move San Carlos arriving traffic from SoCal out over the bay. That puts it right in the middle of SFO landing traffic. A quick fix - if you want to solve flights over Palo Alto - is to lobby Surf Air to move their operations to Palo Alto airport. Arrivals and departures at Palo Alto for their type of operations (IFR flight plans) avoid residential areas.

Surf Air may need a few Palo Alto airport upgrades, but perhaps Woodside and Atherton can kick in to help. San Jose isn't a good alternative today, but may be in a couple years after they upgrade the general aviation facilities.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 6, 2014 at 1:06 pm

Anyone remember the regularly scheduled commercial air service we had at Palo Alto Airport in the 60s? When we still had a yacht harbor, bowling alleys, and the draft.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 6, 2014 at 1:16 pm

Palo Alto is about as far away from an airport, as you can get on the Peninsula (almost equal distant from SFO and SJC). Why do we have so much air traffic? Hint: the problem is political not technical.


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Posted by Resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jan 6, 2014 at 1:32 pm

anonymous - San Jose just upgraded their facilities. They took out the long term parking on the west side of the runways and replaced with private plane parking. Google now uses that airport as well as Oracle. Google has larger planes, as well as Oracle. If it is good enough for Google and Oracle then it should be okay for Surf Air. There is just more scrutiny at that airport. There are a lot of private planes there bigger than the Surf plane. You can see them all from the terminals on the east side of the runways.

Hayward has an executive airport that is significantly larger then San Carlos - the entry for that airport is on the east side of the bay which is relatively under populated due to bay regional parks. If Surf enters the bay area on the east side of the bay specific to Hayward then they can make a turn to San Carlos. Look where San Carlos is on the map - it is south of the HWY 92 bridge. SFO traffic is way higher at that juncture. The two paths are working at different altitude levels. This does not disqualify San Carlos for people who have a specific interest in that location. The air traffic from HMB is also in a traffic pattern that has been modified to fit the site as it is going to San Carlos.
A lot of modification has taken place already so some minor tweaks should not be that hard to accomplish.

SoCal traffic comes up the east side of the central valley - Hwy 99 side which is very dry - over San Andreas fault line so no population. They are already on the east side. I just flew that on Southwest. You have to actively change course o get in the Middlefield corridor.

As to the Palo Alto airport there is a lot of structural activity in process in the direct surrounding area. The golf course is being remapped to add soccer fields. The creek flood control project is going to expand the flood control at the north end of the runway. That is a multi-county funded activity supporting East Palo Alto. There is a giant flood control ditch at the north end of the runway. The runway cannot be extended due to the ditches already there and the lower flood control area beyond the ditches. Across the street they are talking about a new type of biodegradable structure to manage waste. I see the available land in that area being encroached upon by all of these city projects. In addition the airport is suppose to transfer from county control to city control. The available funding will be different for upgrades - probably non-existent.

This is doable right now. We just need the right people to interface with the government on this issue. Evidently the folks in Atherton have already figured this out. They know how to play their cards.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 6, 2014 at 1:34 pm

The FAA's drone plan, has been an active topic of discussion among private pilots, for several years now.

"Drones a Coming Crisis for General Avaition"
Flying Magazine ~ February 7, 2012 Web Link

"FAA Told to Make Room for Drones in U.S. Skies"
USA Today ~ February 7, 2012 Web Link


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Posted by Resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jan 6, 2014 at 3:05 pm

As to drones the state of California was not granted a place in the 6 state competition to develop drones - probably due to the existing high amount of air traffic. We need drones to monitor the federal and state parks for fire, encroachment and ruination due to pot growers, and generally monitor any activity that could produce problems.

I think Moffatt Field would be a good place for drones. It is currently in a clean-up mode as a super fund site but getting there. A lot of work still to be done.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 6, 2014 at 7:55 pm

I believe as far as the FAA is concerned, anyone can fly a drone in California or anywhere else in the US, non-commercially, in any uncontrolled airspace (Class G), which around here is generally up to 700 feet above the ground and greater than 5 miles from any operational airport, like west of Foothill Expressway. There may be local ordinances, like Palo Alto probably has for Foothills Park. I haven't investigated.


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Posted by Resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jan 6, 2014 at 10:38 pm

I think the US Cost Guard could use drones to help monitor the coastline for drug trade. There are many instances now where the cartels are using small boats to bring in drugs from mother ships. Examples are Manhattan Beach - beach side to Hawthorne Airport, Santa Cruz, HMB, etc. SF Chronicle is reporting on this. The US Cost Guard is asking people to report suspicious activity.

A proposition took place in Palo Alto to have a marijuana pot dispensary that was voted down. It will be interesting to see what other peninsula cities will be set up for this type activity. I noted people in Redwood City at the Friday night activities at Court House Square handing out flyers for a pot dispensary.
Start connecting the dots here.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 7, 2014 at 11:32 am

> "Drones a Coming Crisis for General Avaition"

Got to wonder in General Aviation is not going to be a problem for drones, rather than the other way around.

With collision avoidance radars, as well as better computer-based monitoring of flyways, medium-to-large scale drones should not be a problem. Personal, or small commercial-use drones, seems to be a kettle of fish that is yet understood.

Drones could be consolidated to their own airstrips, but given the vast sums spent by the FAA on General Aviation airstrips/airports for the small number of General Aviation pilots--it makes no sense not to allow this new form of aircraft to share the public's investment in facilities dedicated to flight.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 13, 2014 at 11:40 pm

Moffet might be a nice place from which to operate drones, but they will operate out of any, and every, airport they please (just like Surf Air). There is nothing that will limit drone operations to Moffet, and to believe otherwise, is just child-like magical thinking.

Will drones play a "role" in the latest chapter in the 45-year long failed "War on Drugs" fairytale? Of course they will, but the "war on Drugs" will never be won. There is simply too much money to be made, by keeping it going.

"Experts: Booming Opium Trade May Turn Afghanistan into Criminal State"
Edwin Mora ~ January 9, 2014 Web Link

"Outrageous HSBC Settlement Proves the Drug War is a Joke"
Matt Taibbi ~ December, 2013 Web Link



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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2014 at 10:35 pm

Why do commercial jets inbound to SFO from the north, fly all the way down to Palo Alto (25 miles south of SFO), make a 180 degree u-turn, and then fly 25 miles back north to land at SFO? Aircraft arriving from the north that take a route over the Bay, seem to be able to make a u-turn much further to the north, and still land comfortably at SFO.

Are aircraft purposely being diverted south to Palo Alto to relieve San Mateo County of the noise associated with these flights? If flights heading into SFO from the north made their u-turn further to the north, would Surf Air have more flexibility to route their flights in a manner that would reduce the impact of noise?

Map of arrival routes under prevailing westerly winds: Web Link


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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 16, 2014 at 10:18 am

re: SFO. You are failing to take into account the take-off pattern for SFO...which restricts air traffic coming down the bay as you suggest.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of another community
on Jan 16, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Cresent Park Dad:

I am not suggesting aircraft bound for SFO from the North, fly down the Bay (although if you review the map you will see that they already do). I am suggesting that the aircraft that arrive from the north (from over Marin) and fly down over the Peninsula (instead of the Bay), make their 108 degree u-turn north of the Dumbarton Bridge much like the flights that fly down from the North on the Bay side of SFO.

If San Mateo County is going to enjoy the benefits of having SFO in their County (tax revenues, etc), then San Mateo County should also shoulder the burden of the negative consequences.

Map of arrival routes under prevailing westerly winds: Web Link


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Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 16, 2014 at 2:14 pm

@ Jetman

"Are aircraft purposely being diverted south to Palo Alto to relieve San Mateo County of the noise associated with these flights?"

Yes, they are, under a deal made in the early 1990s between the FAA and San Mateo County authorities. It was not like that before the deal.


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 16, 2014 at 2:30 pm

It seems fairly clear from the discussion here, and the various links in the postings, that San Mateo County has been successful in diverting air traffic from San Mateo County to Palo Alto (the first city south of SM County).

This seems quite unfair. Even if air traffic must cross the Peninsula somewhere to get to the upwind landing path over the bay, there's no reason that only one city, Palo Alto, has to bear the entire burden. (I have a friend who lives in the south part of Atherton, and you can stand in his yard and watch planes in the distance to the south doing their turn over Palo Alto toward the bay. He says that 15 years ago, these planes flew over his house much more often. While you can hear the airplane noise from his yard now if you try, it's nothing like what we get here in PA where we're right under the flight path.)

So why don't our politicians - from Council Members to Anna Eshoo - lobby to reduce the number of SFO flights over our city as the San Mateo County politicians did for them? Isn't there something we can do to pressure them?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 16, 2014 at 4:16 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"He is knowledgeable but an apologist for Surf Air - like a "closer", possible an investor."

I have no relationship either as an investor or a customer with SurfAir.

" His idea was to have the flight path west of Stanford stadium - which is directly over the heart of the campus."

My objective is to minimize the ground level impact on everybody by having the approaches begin at a higher altitude and then use a gliding low power, low noise approach profile -
which they cannot do east of the Stanford stadium because of SFO Class B airspace restrictions limit the altitude there to below 2500 ft.


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Posted by curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 17, 2014 at 9:38 am

"My objective is to minimize the ground level impact on everybody..."

The solution is obvious and simple: approach over the bay and the marshes, then make a slight right turn to line up with the runway. Any commercial pilot could easily fly that. There is no necessity for the long straight final currently used.

And, most important, the world would not intrude on Atherton.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 17, 2014 at 9:42 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The solution is obvious and simple: approach over the bay and the marshes, then make a slight right turn to line up with the runway."

That flight path would conflict with both SFO arrivals and PAO arrivals and departures.


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Posted by curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 17, 2014 at 12:20 pm

"That flight path would conflict with both SFO arrivals and PAO arrivals and departures."

That's why they invented ATC. That path is well below SFO's approach, and PAO conflicts give more reasons to close PAO.

Or just leave the path where it is, overflying Atherton.


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Posted by Resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jan 17, 2014 at 4:00 pm

The San Carlos airport is south of the HWY 92 bridge by a couple of miles. All SFO traffic is required to fly over the highest level of the bridge. If Surf Air comes in over the bay and turns left to approach San Carlos they will be way under any SFO traffic. There is no conflict because there are different altitude requirements in that area for plane types and destinations.

In the current situation they are crossing the SFO flight path in South PA which is moving west to east to make the turn north into the SFO arrival path. Surf is continually crossing in a north / south path over the Middlefield area. What ever argument you are making for SFO traffic is evident in South PA because they are crossing each other continually in this area. It is a freeway over South PA and they are all crossing each other. They seem to have worked this out so why not over the bay?
I think the only argument here is the turbulence which is predictable over Middlefield but not over the bay. Their plane may not be able to handle the turbulence very well - been there in that situation and there are no selling points that can solve that problem.
Sorry coming over Stanford air space is not going to win any points with anyone.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 17, 2014 at 4:26 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"It is a freeway over South PA and they are all crossing each other. They seem to have worked this out so why not over the bay?"

Over the Bay opposite San Carlos non-SFO planes must be below 1500 ft. whereas over Palo Alto the ceiling is 2500 ft. - that is a big difference.

Low planes are noisy planes - the best way to reduce the ground noise footprint is to keep them as high as possible.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jan 18, 2014 at 12:03 am

If the planes arriving to PAO are over the bay then San Carlos can be over the bay - it is the same relationship. If you put Surf higher over PA then it is in the same altitude zone as arriving SFO planes.
I am looking at these planes - they are all over the place. I can see that they are staggering their incoming path with the SFO traffic - they all know where each is at. Now that it is warmer the noise level is very obvious. That same level of attention can take place over the bay so the noise is mitigated.
I followed one plane down 101 to San Carlos - it was over 101 the whole way. It was not a Surf plane. I can see what other planes are doing here. Other planes are aware of keeping out of the residential areas.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 19, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" followed one plane down 101 to San Carlos - it was over 101 the whole way."
" Other planes are aware of keeping out of the residential areas."

101 is bounded by residential areas on both sides so following 101 at low altitudes is NOT a noise avoidance route. Palo Alto pilots were also encouraged by the JCRC to keep their approaches and departures east of 101.


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Posted by Resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jan 20, 2014 at 6:38 pm

The plane going down 101 was not a Surf Jet - did not hear a peep out of it. Very quiet. I followed it to San Carlos - just a small plane.

Check the SF Chronicle - good article on the private jet companies that are using SFO / private jet area. These are more expensive jets than Surf Air. That is an idea for Surf Air - move the operation to SFO and avoid the aggravation for everyone.
The other day at Stanford Shopping Center a small plane flew over the Macy's Men Store on it's way north. It was very low. I think the whole place is out of control.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 20, 2014 at 6:50 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The plane going down 101 was not a Surf Jet - did not hear a peep out of it."

When you are in a car on 101 you will almost never hear an airplane - you are surrounded by too much background noise.

" move the operation to SFO and avoid the aggravation for everyone."

San Carlos is designated as a "reliever airport" - guess what it relieves? SFO.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jan 21, 2014 at 12:20 am

I was making a point - SFO has a private section where there are charter companies. The SF Chronicle discusses that in todays edition. San Jose Airport has a large private airplane section. The planes are on large, well monitored flight lines with safety backup if needed.

United used to have a group of small planes that primarily transferred students - 6 land at once in a group and take off at once in a group - they were moving college students for Thanksgiving holiday - smaller cities like Chico, Redlands, Santa Barbara, etc. One group of students gets off, another group gets on so all students get moved to home base.
Note that Delta has a charter service out of SFO.
The point being that SFO has the capability to handle Surf Air and all charter companies and matrix it into their regular flight control system. Surf would be moved out of the current pattern it is flying in. Surf has lots of choices as to how it wants to conduct business.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 21, 2014 at 4:37 am

>> "I think the whole place is out of control."

Now there's a global generality I'll agree with.


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Posted by Resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jan 21, 2014 at 12:55 pm

San Carlos is not a overflow airport to SFO - it has a very limited runway. The San Carlos and Half Moon Bay airports are ancient airports under the direction of the San Mateo Public Works Department. They are for small, privately owned planes. San Carlos cannot grow beyond its current status because it is hemmed in by major highways and the bay marsh. SFO has no connection to the San Carlos Airport. I have talked to SFO about the San Carlos Airport - they make no claims of any knowledge as to what is going on there. And they would never land any plane at that airport that is scheduled to land at SFO. Any larger plane would overrun the runway and crash into the fence and highway which has a flood control ditch on the other side of the highway.

SFO is not under the management of San Mateo County - it is San Francisco County and federal government.

The Palo Alto Airport and Reid-Hillview Airport are under the direction of the Santa Clara County Department of Roads and Airports. Palo Alto has representatives from the FAA - US Federal Government in their control tower. That makes sense since Palo Alto is where trans-Pacific west/east air traffic transitions in to the northward bound SFO incoming routes. Palo Alto has limitations on growth because it has a major flood control diversion channel at the end of the runway. Beyond that is bay marsh - water changing with tide fluctuations. The length of the runway defines what planes can land at the airport.
All of the regional airports are for the support of privately owned, small aircraft, some flying clubs, and some charters. The Hayward Airport is much larger and calls itself an Executive Airport with longer runways. It was used in WWII as a major airport. It has better clearance in the surrounding area and could qualify as a back-up airport.

The Palo Alto Airport has had to fight a number of attempts to close it by the "green people" who want to convert everything back to the natural bay, except for the city dump which they want to convert to a high tech bio-dump.

As to Surf Air routes - I have seen west of the Stanford coliseum suggested as well as east of 101. That is all over the roadmap. Also flights at 2:30 in the morning to "move plains that were under repair" was brought up at the Atherton Community Meeting -that is a red flag. No one moves small planes at 2:30 in the morning over a residential area where there is contention - that is just bad judgment - or intentional for other purposes. The mayor of MP directed that has to stop.



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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 21, 2014 at 12:57 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The FAA's National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS) classifies San Carlos as a reliever airport for San Francisco International Airport."


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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 21, 2014 at 1:16 pm

Of course it is - for smaller aircraft. A 747 will be re-directed to Oakland, San Jose, Sacramento, Hamilton AFB, Moffett...

Sometimes the "gotcha" details and the back-atcha responses belong in the silly house.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 21, 2014 at 1:21 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

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

Sorry that some posters simply do not want to deal with the facts.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jan 21, 2014 at 2:20 pm

The length of the runway determines what plane will land at any airport. It has already been determined that San Carlos and Palo Alto have limitations on what type planes will land there. The runways are truncated by other limitations imposed because the definition of the requirements for the airports was previously determined. The limitations are cross traffic highways or bay / water control issues.
Those decisions were made because San Jose and San Francisco have the capability to handle any type plane. That is where they want major air traffic to be coordinated because they have the people and equipment to handle any type plane and coordinate traffic.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 21, 2014 at 2:36 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Reliever airports work by providing an alternate landing site for some planes rather than having those planes further congest large airports like SFO. Clearly some planes are too large to land at some reliever airports but that does not mean that those airports do not relieve traffic by smaller planes who can use the alternative airport. And because of separation requirements behind heavy planes and their lower approach speeds any small plane flying into SFO uses a lot of critical airspace. Without San Carlos and Palo Alto SFO would be a big mess.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jan 21, 2014 at 9:48 pm

I am sure that when the FAA wrote their specifications they were writing for the country in total. Picture the flatlands in the Midwest. The bay area is unique in that it is on bay fill with a lot of tidal issues.

Palo Alto Airport has a population of parked airplanes because they live in the vicinity. They have no need or desire to be anywhere else. Their planes are for recreation and personal use as needed. Likewise the small planes that are parked in San Carlos live there - they fit that airport. Their owners are in the vicinity.

SFO is a transition airport/hub for incoming and outgoing airplanes that have to be in motion to make money - that is why it is a commercial airport - not a regional airport. No one is making money if their planes are just living at an airport. SFO is not a parking lot for planes.
Surf Air has packaged itself as a private charter but is acting like a commercial venture. It's current flight path(s) are noisy and disruptive. It's business plan requires that it be in constant motion is it is going to break even. Big difference. That is why the folks in Atherton had their meeting - to complain about the disruption and noise.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 22, 2014 at 7:40 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"I am sure that when the FAA wrote their specifications they were writing for the country in total"

You are surely wrong.

The FAA designated San Carlos and Palo Alto as reliever airports not by generic definition but by name due to their proximity to SFO and SJC.


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Posted by Logeesteex
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 22, 2014 at 10:20 am

Has anyone considered the pollution from jet fuel that these jets drop on those of us under their path? I recall that in the aftermath of 9/11, the skies and air were more clear than in the last two centuries, reportedly, and the hole in the ozone had partially healed on that short time.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 22, 2014 at 10:25 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Has anyone considered the pollution from jet fuel that these jets drop on those of us under their path"

It is dramatically less than the pollution from the cars and trucks on the highways.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jan 23, 2014 at 11:52 am

Maybe someone could define what the biggest plane is that could land at San Carlos Airport. I have been there - it is a tiny airport with a defined landing area - very limited. Are you all thinking helicopters?

In the news today they discussed the training programs that are being conducted at SFO and San Jose airport - all airports - on identifying child trafficking which is a big issue in California and other major airports. The legislature is very on top of making sure that there are policies in place at the regular commercial airports. That is why they are trying to put all commercial traffic that is flying on a regular basis at the large commercial airports. The Surf disruption and noise at the San Carlos airport by the Atherton city council is the lead in to other issues looming on the horizon. Add in drug control. Any time someone is selling a service based on the avoidance of TSA scrutiny is raising a red flag. In todays marketplace you can by a pass for TSA, and when I fly I am coded as pre-checked and go in a different line. If your identity is already approved then you have no problems.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 23, 2014 at 12:01 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Surf Airlines Inc.
Travel with Surf Airlines Inc. ("Surf Air") is subject to the following terms and conditions, in addition to any terms and conditions printed on or in any ticket or ticket-less travel authorization, specified on Surf Air's website, or published in Surf Air's schedules (collectively, the "Agreement"). By accepting transportation from Surf Air, Surf Air passengers agree to be bound thereby.

1. Background Checks
Surf Air reserves the right to require the completion of, and may at any time perform, a background check before providing transportation to its passengers. You may be required to provide personal information such as a social security number in connection with the background check. Surf Air will protect the confidentiality of your personal information as required by law and industry standards. Background checks will be performed by a third party and in accordance with such third party's policies and procedures. Your acceptance of this agreement and delivery of your personal information shall constitute your consent to Surf Air performing a background check. Surf Air reserves the right to refuse service, at its sole discretion, to any passenger that does not comply with the request for a background check and/or based on the results of such background check.

2. Electronic Surveillance of Passengers and Baggage
Passengers and their baggage may be subject to inspection by Surf Air personnel or employees of the Transportation Security Agency (the "TSA"). Inspections may be conducted by hand or using electronic devices, with or without the passengers' consent or knowledge. Passengers failing to consent to searches requested by Surf Air or the TSA will be denied boarding."


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 23, 2014 at 12:07 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Maybe someone could define what the biggest plane is that could land at San Carlos Airport. I have been there - it is a tiny airport with a defined landing area - very limited."

Runway 30/12 is 2600' x 75' and contains VASI and REIL at each end.

A 2600 ft runway will accommodate almost all single engine and most twin engine airplanes.
It is probably too short for most jet engined aircraft which are designed for high speed operation and therefore usually have higher landing speeds.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jan 23, 2014 at 6:21 pm

There is no TSA at San Carlos Airport. A person is only checked - at Burbank for taking off, not landing. Anyone can board at San Carlos and get off anywhere else with no TSA check.
The rest of the legalize is a requirement to do business - they would not get off the ground if that was not there.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 23, 2014 at 7:35 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Resident 1 - How do you know what security SurfAir uses at San Carlos? Have you ever been a SurfAir customer? Or are you just blowing smoke?


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jan 23, 2014 at 8:04 pm

TSA is a government agency. San Carlos does not have TSA. It has no requirement to because it is not a commercial airport - it is a regional airport.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 23, 2014 at 8:24 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Resident 1 - How do you know what security SurfAir uses at San Carlos? Have you ever been a SurfAir customer? Or are you just blowing smoke?


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 23, 2014 at 10:17 pm

The pollution issue that was raised by Logeesteex is real. Our skies have been polluted for so long by commercial aircraft exhaust, that we have forgotten how clear, and blue, the skies used to be. When all aircraft were grounded for three days after 911, people were shocked to see how blue the skies really were. For the apologist that say cars make more pollution than planes... cars were not "grounded" after 911, just aircraft!

Each engines on commercial jet produces enough power to provide electricity for a small town. Can you imagine the environmental process that someone would have to go through to build a single new turbine power-plant in Palo Alto?

Yet we have hundreds of power plants flying over Palo Alto every day, and they are not using the clean burning natural-gas that would be used to fuel a ground based power plant. The the hundreds of jet (and turbo-prop) aircraft flying over Palo Alto everyday are burning jet fuel, which is essentially kerosene, which is basically diesel fuel.

Wikipedia on jet fuel (kerosene): Web Link




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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 23, 2014 at 10:31 pm

Jet Pollution Can Penetrate Brain and Lungs, Study Finds
Fox News ~ May 13, 2011 Web Link
"Researchers have discovered that drops of oil created by idling aircraft engines can over time turn into tiny particles that can easily penetrate the lungs and brain. The surprising discovery has been detailed in the latest edition of the Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Journal."

Under the newly implemented "NextGen" CDA (rolled out at SFO in January 2013) hundreds of commercial aircraft are now descending over Palo Alto with their engines at idle!!!


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 24, 2014 at 9:28 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Can you imagine the environmental process that someone would have to go through to build a single new turbine power-plant in Palo Alto?"

Actually aeroderivative gas turbines are commonly used, even in Palo Alto, as standby electrical generators and they are far less polluting than the diesel alternative.

"Under the newly implemented "NextGen" CDA (rolled out at SFO in January 2013) hundreds of commercial aircraft are now descending over Palo Alto with their engines at idle"

Finally jetman acknowledges that NextGen flight paths utilize low power approaches which therefore minimize the ground noise footprint.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 24, 2014 at 10:29 am

"NextGen" CDAs are LOUDER, because they are LOWER. The "NextGen" CDA begins final approach at 3,000-3,300, this is 2,000-1700' lower than the TIPPTOE visual approach which the "NextGen" CDA replaced. The reduction in engine noise does not make up for the reduction in altitude.

A good way to really reduce the noise footprint of aircraft approaching SFO would be to have them fly over sparsely populated Atherton, instead of the more densely populated Palo Alto. This would also reduce their fuel consumption by allowing them to fly a more direct route to SFO.

Since Atherton is in San Mateo County, and San Mateo County enjoys substantial tax benefits from having SFO in San Mateo County, I'm sure the citizens of Atherton would be happy to have the noisy "NextGen" CDAs overflying Atherton!


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 24, 2014 at 10:38 am

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, including a link to the study, can be found here: Web Link


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 24, 2014 at 10:43 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The reduction in engine noise does not make up for the reduction in altitude."

Wrong - the lower sound from the reduction in power more than makes up for the lower altitude.


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Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 24, 2014 at 12:22 pm

@ Peter Carpenter

Obviously, you are well versed in these technical topics. However, there is no hiding one basic truth:

Atherton, as well as other San Mateo towns, have managed to get rid of a very large portion of the airplanes that used to fly overhead in those communities, through an agreement with the FAA that has rerouted those planes over Santa Clara County, i.e. Palo Alto. When they come from the South airplanes turn over Palo Alto to reach the Bay, avoiding San Mateo county land altogether, or almost (East Palo Alto obviously gets noise). When they come from the west or north, planes follow the Santa Cruz Mountain rigde southward until, again, they turn above Palo Alto.

You talk about fairness and spreading the noise equally over everyone. NOT SO. You, as an Atherton resident, got rid of almost all airplane noise, and in my opinion that's all that probably counts for Atherton residents. What do they care if Palo Alto, and often much lower, 24 hours a day. When I moved to Palo Alto in 1990, I chose this town specifically to be far away from SFO and its noise. Little did I know that people who bought closer to SFO than I did would manage to dump SFO noise on us. And you talk about fairness and equity? BS.


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Posted by Midowner
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 24, 2014 at 12:31 pm

* What do they (Atherton residents) care if Palo Alto if Palo Alto has planes flying overhead at 5000 feet, and often much lower, 24 hours a day? *


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Posted by ridiculous
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 25, 2014 at 2:27 pm

It's Saturday 2:24 PM

THERE IS PRACTICALLY NON-STOP AIRPLANE NOISE.

Is everybody too busy to hear, or is everyone deaf. I have counted at least 8 airplanes, 9.10, 11!!! still going

Is this a joke?!!!

Midtowner,

How did Atherton re-route the airplanes to Palo Alto?

This is nuts, any group out there fighting this? I WANT TO SIGN UP

It's ridiculous


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2014 at 11:50 pm

Ridiculous:

The loud jets you hear are flying a new approach to SFO known as "NextGen". The FAA kicked-off the rollout of "NextGen" air-routes at SFO in January 2013, and Palo Alto slowly began to feel the effects in the fall of 2013. Under the "NextGen" plan, aircraft use newly installed precision navigation equipment to "coast" down from altitude at high speed along several very precisely navigated approach routes.

You can think of the "NextGen" approach routes as jet-highways in the sky.
Under the prevailing westerly winds, there are five of these jet-highways leading into SFO, and three of the five jet-highways cross over Palo Alto on their way to SFO.

It sounds like the FAA built one (or more) of these jet-highways over your home.

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

SFO arrival routes under prevailing westerly winds: Web Link


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2014 at 11:55 pm

Minneapolis is fighting back against noisy "NextGen" jet routes:

"Before the MAC vote last November, area residents quickly mobilized to collect 4,200 signatures last year on a petition asking that the proposal be blocked and in January formed the MSP FairSkies Coalition.
The Coalition has done its own research on the new navigation system and its impact and is sharing information and strategies with other communities across the nation that are waging similar battles against airport noise."

Full article here: Web Link


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Posted by ridiculous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2014 at 10:34 am

Jetman,

Thank you. I'm at least not going crazy.

Just about 5 minutes ago, a jet was so close, I may as well have been on a landing strip.

Would you know where I would have to take my petition?

In other words, what are the local politics that would get my complaint heard (especially since nobody else seems to hear anything!)

WHat authorities are responsible for this?

As I write this, another big one above. Aren't there OSHA standards that govern too?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 26, 2014 at 11:16 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Just about 5 minutes ago, a jet was so close, I may as well have been on a landing strip."

Jets inbound to SFO are never lower than 3000 ft over Palo Alto.

You can use this web site to verify the altitude since you know the time of your sighting:

Web Link


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 26, 2014 at 11:48 am

It has been unusually noisy it seems to me this Sunday AM (from multiple commercial aircraft noise overhead).


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 26, 2014 at 11:52 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"It has been unusually noisy it seems to me this Sunday AM"

You chose to buy a house near a number of airports, it is a beautifully clear Sunday and many of your neighbors are out recreating - golf, tennis, flying etc.


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 26, 2014 at 12:17 pm

"In other words, what are the local politics that would get my complaint heard (especially since nobody else seems to hear anything!)

WHat authorities are responsible for this?"

You're mistaken that "nobody else seems to hear anything". If you do a search of this forum, you'll find that the SFO noise complaints have been percolating for years. The activity on this thread seems to indicate that (especially with the NextJen jets that Jetman has described), the dissatisfaction may have reached some kind critical mass.

When San Mateo County was fed up enough to do something, residents got local politicians (think City Council, County Supervisors, etc) and local Congress members involved. It took a lot of perseverance and dedication as SFO and the FAA are formidable foes. But the result is that people like Peter Carpenter - who absent the San Mateo County/SFO agreement - can sit back and make snarky comments to those of us who are tormented by incessant din of airplanes intruding on our weekend mornings.

If we want to do something, I think the place to start is a petition directed toward the Palo Alto City Council and maybe towards Anna Eshoo, our Congress Member (who may be conflicted as a resident of Atherton).

I'd sign such a petition and I think so would a lot of others. Who's going to start it?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 26, 2014 at 12:30 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Actually, as I have repeatedly pointed out, the DATA on the flights into SFO show that those flights converge into a narrow stream as they pass the San Mateo County line and the ground noise impact of those more concentrated and lower flights is much greater in San Mateo County, particularly East Palo Alto and east Menlo park and Redwood Shores than it is in Palo Alto.

Look at the data:

Web Link


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 26, 2014 at 12:41 pm

I've looked at the data many times. And while Mr. Carpenter is correct that the bayside cities of San Mateo County (he could have included Foster City as well) - especially residents living closest to the Bay have significant noise impacts as aircraft travel up the Bay to SFO, the primary east-west flight path - where almost all planes cross the peninsula - is directly over Palo Alto. The bulk of San Mateo County residents - including particularly rich Atherton residents are protected by the San Mateo County/Sfo agreement that has been outlined in various posts in this (and other) threads.

Mr. Carpenter is protected from the noise he laughs at others for complaining about because his politicians have used their political clout to shield his town.

As others have pointed out, this isn't fair. But unless we complain, it will remain the case.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 26, 2014 at 12:45 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" the primary east-west flight path - where almost all planes cross the peninsula - is directly over Palo Alto."

These flights occur at a much higher altitude over Palo Alto than when they are over San Mateo county and hence the noise footprint over Palo Alto is substantially lower than it is over San Mateo county.


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 26, 2014 at 12:57 pm

"These flights occur at a much higher altitude over Palo Alto than when they are over San Mateo county and hence the noise footprint over Palo Alto is substantially lower than it is over San Mateo county."

Yeah, but these east/west flights don't occur AT ALL over Atherton, Hillsborough, or any of the Cities with the bulk of San Mateo County residents. While bayside residents of the County suffer some noise, with the exception of East Palo Alto, none of them get direct overflight - only planes over the bay that pass near, but not over residential areas.

Check out the average income figures of Atherton and East Palo Alto, respectively and see why East Palo suffers while Atherton residents can tell us to learn to eat cake.


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Posted by ridiculous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2014 at 1:30 pm

Mary Anne,

Do you have any suggestions as to where to best direct my complaints?





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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 26, 2014 at 1:31 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" none of them get direct overflight - only planes over the bay that pass near, but not over residential areas. "

Wrong the annual aggregated SFO flight path crosses into San Mateo county at Middlefield and residences in the Willows, Bayshore, East Palo Alto and east Menlo Park all get direct overflights at latitudes much lower than does Palo Alto.

Planes approaching SFO to land engage in a maneuver called "descending".


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 26, 2014 at 1:35 pm

"Willows, Bayshore, East Palo Alto and east Menlo Park all get direct overflights at latitudes much lower than does Palo Alto." (All lower-income areas)

How about Atherton?


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Posted by ridiculous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2014 at 1:37 pm

Peter Carpenter,

It's not like any of this cannot be recorded and filmed. They could be going up down or side ways, it's LOUD. Isn't there a bare minimum of conformity that is legal or illegal?




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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 26, 2014 at 1:46 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"How about Atherton?"

The eastern portion of Lindenwood in Atherton also experiences part of these direct overflights. I live there and frankly do not mind the noise - each flight's passage only last 60-90 seconds and the ground level noise is not, to me, objectionable.

Note that some Atherton residents are attempting to push SurfAir's flights into San Carlos to the east away from Atherton and I have publicly opposed such above:

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 7, 2013 at 1:08 pm
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.
Everyone should realize that just shifting the flight path to the East simply means moving the noise problem to someone else's neighborhood. In this case that means to East Palo Alto and Eastern Menlo Park. The articulate and more powerful residents of Lindenwood and NFO win but our neighbors to the East lose.

The best outcome is to change the vertical profile of the VFR flights and not just move the horizontal flight path somewhere else.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 26, 2014 at 2:31 pm

@Peter Carpenter, "...you chose to buy a house near (airports)..."
Well, I have lived in SFB Area for many, many years.
I am not stupid about aircraft patterns, Moffett Field, SFO, whatever.
Surf Air is a new twist.
Aside from that -
I have lived in this house for over 10 years. Initially, and I did check this out, there was not a problem with aircraft noise. I am crystal clear on that - at least for 8 years or so???
In fact, despite having double paned windows and wishing to enjoy my garden quite a bit I have not had issues until relatively recently. This was unexpected; therefore I cannot quote the exact moment I experienced loud lowflying aircraft - some appear to come from Asia (v large aircraft) but what I DO know is that there has indeed been a change - a negative change and I don't appreciate it that part of my neighborhood now bears the brunt of this offensive noise. It WAS NOT LIKE THIS BEFORE. Sorry if I offend you with my honest concerns and legitimate questions.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 26, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

We each live here for a variety of personal and different reasons. Those who want peace and quiet need to realize that there simply is less peace and quiet here than there was 200 or even 20 years ago. You now need to decide if the increased noise offsets the other values of living here - if it does then perhaps now is the time to leave. there are a lot of quieter places in the world - but none that have the many other attributes of the Bay Area in my opinion.

I spent an hour outside in Lindenwood for each of the last three days. On both the first and second day I heard two commercial planes and two general aviation planes - none loud or for longer than 60 seconds. Today I did not hear a single plane - i did hear a number of cars and 4 leaf blowers. All in all a very nice place to live.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 26, 2014 at 2:42 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

If you want to be someplace that is peaceful and quiet just move to one of the many dark spots on this new night image of the US. Don't expect to find a lot of places to buy groceries, get medical care or for culture but you will have a lot of peace and quiet.

Web Link


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 26, 2014 at 4:27 pm

There are many policies that would ameliorate the situation we now have on the Peninsula where a few communities (Palo Alto and the poorer neighborhoods of San Mateo County) suffer the majority of the noise from SFO bound aircraft.

For example, the agreement between San Mateo County and SFO could be voided so that SFO bound aircraft could cross the Peninsula east to west at multiple points rather than all being funneled over Palo Alto (and EPA and neighborhoods adjacent thereto) as they are now. Then we might all have the bearable "one or two commercial planes" a day overhead described by Peter Carpenter, and no one would have the constant conga line of planes overhead that PA now does.

Of course we'd have to fight the moneyed Atherton and Hillsborough crowd, but we'd have the issue of fairness on our side.

We need our politicians to fight for us on this issue as SMC residents got their politicians involved.

So who's starting the petition?


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2014 at 4:34 pm

Ridiculous:

You are not going crazy, there are a lot of people in Palo Alto who are very angry about the dramatic increase in jet noise since the FAA rolled out "NextGen" at SFO. I expect the issue to gain momentum as the weather warms, and more people are spending time outdoors. "NextGen" is not just causing problems in Palo Alto, it is happening all over the country... New York, Miami, Seattle, Minneapolis, Philadelphia...

Don't pay any attention to Peter Carpenter. He has his own agenda, and is just trying to "Gaslight" anyone who complains about the noise.

Momentum to fight the noise is building in Palo Alto. In the mean time, just keep making your voice heard on this forum, or if you can, write or speak to the City Council. Anyone can speak to the city council for two minutes usually before the formal city council agenda begins. You just fill out a card at the entrance to the council chambers. They will call your name, and you will be given two minutes to speak. City Council meetings are held at 7:00 p.m. on the first three Mondays of each month.

More on "Gaslighting" here: Web Link




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Posted by ridiculous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2014 at 4:51 pm

Mary Anne,

Thank you, I'd missed your suggestion to get a petition started.

All the plane noise today had me confused.

Jetman,

Thanks

If you or anyone know of a petition or resident initiative already going on, please post on a new thread as well. As if we had time with all the other issues with City Hall.

I agree Carpenter is posting to get the last word in.


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Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 26, 2014 at 4:55 pm

@ Peter Carpenter

Ha ha ha...

So easy to say for someone who's managed to get rid of almost all SFO noise, as well as San Carlos corporate jet noise, in his town of Atherton, while we, in Palo Alto, are subjected to relentless airplane noise, such as last night and today, that not even earplugs can suppress.

What hypocrisy. It's astounding


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Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 26, 2014 at 5:07 pm

@ ridiculous

The very loud airplane you heard around 10 or 11 AM this morning, I heard it too, was probably a Surf airline corporate jet flying into San Carlos. Contrary to what Mr Carpenter claims, that jet was probably flying at 1600 feet (I tracked one before at 1600 feet) to avoid the SFO bound planes that so "generously" (not) fly between 3000 and 5000 feet over our neighborhoods.

You wonder why this new noise over Palo Alto? You can again thank Mr. Carpenter and his fellow Atherton residents who have recently managed to have those San Carlos planes rerouted to make their turns over Palo Alto, instead of Atherton or other San Mateo County towns. So now, we have SFO bound AND San Carlos bound air traffic turning over Palo Alto instead of doing it over San Mateo County towns.

San Mateo County, you have to give it this, cares about its citizens and has gotten sweet deals from the FAA.

It's not just the NextGen deal that clobbers us.

It's also the agreements that San Mateo County has entered with the FAA since the 1990s to minimize noise over San Mateo County towns and have it instead concentrated over Palo Alto (the first town in Santa Clara county bordering San Mateo County).

Before the early to mid-1990s, Palo Alto was quiet save for a few P3s from Moffett Field, that were NOTHING compared to what we are getting today, believe me.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 26, 2014 at 5:07 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Midtowner - you are not paying attention:

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 11, 2013 at 11:06 am
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

And it is my opinion that shifting the perceived noise problem to less vocal and less wealthy communities is both selfish and wrong.


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Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 26, 2014 at 5:15 pm

@ Peter Carpenter

Oh, yes, I am paying attention. And I very well know what has been happening.

You can claim the moral higher ground, all you want, the bottom line is that you have managed to significantly reduce airplane noise over Atherton (and other wealthy communities) while dumping it upon Palo Alto. So, of course, now it's in your own interest to tell people that there is no problem for them, and it is in your interest to keep it the way it is, while invoking that you are on a moral higher ground. Tnere is no problem for you currently for sure. Sweet deal for you and Atherton while people suffer elsewhere with both SFO and San Carlos traffic over their heads at ridiculously low altitudes.

And please spare me that people right next to the airport have it even lower. They KNOWINGLY moved in right next to an airport unlike Palo Alto residents.

What a joke your arguments are.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 26, 2014 at 5:23 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"the bottom line is that you have managed to significantly reduce airplane noise over Atherton (and other wealthy communities) while dumping it upon Palo Alto. "

You give me far greater power than I possess; I have done nothing to change SFO air traffic patterns..

However in my decades long effort as a member and Chair of the Palo Alto Airport Joint Community Relations Committee I probably did more to REDUCE aircraft noise over Palo Alto than anyone else you know.

"They KNOWINGLY moved in right next to an airport unlike Palo Alto residents."
Why do you suggest that Palo Alto residents did not know that they were next to a number of airports?


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Posted by ridiculous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2014 at 5:46 pm

Peter Carpenter

"And it is my opinion that shifting the perceived noise problem to less vocal and less wealthy communities is both selfish and wrong."

I could not agree more, noise problems should not be shouldered by communities based on wealth.

AIRPLANE Noise levels should be lessened in higher density areas (where there are more people), and also reduced areas which already shoulder noise - for example- from 101.

If this is a sissy fight about who has more or less money, good lord.


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Posted by ridiculous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2014 at 6:07 pm

This thread should read

PLAN HAS ALREADY SENT PLANES FLYING OVER PALO ALTO NON-STOP


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Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 26, 2014 at 6:23 pm

@ Peter Carpenter

Some poor results you've had for Palo Alto, given that airplane noise has tremendously increased over Palo Alto in the last 20 years.

If you were serious about reducing noise for all, including Palo Alto, we would have seen a decrease in noise in Palo Alto. It's the opposite that's happened.

The fact that you fight tooth and nail on these forums to defend the status quo is very telling.

If there was any serious effort done to LESSEN airplane noise over Palo Alto, for one, we would have airplane noise monitors in Palo Alto, which we don't. Surprsingly (NOT), the airplane noise monitors stop at the San Mateo County Line.

Sir, you have done nothing that's reduced the noise over Palo Alto, quite the opposite.

Enjoy the quiet of Atherton all you want, but please, stop spreading disinformation on these threads in an effort to twarth anyone in Palo Alto who has a problem with the airplane noise in this community.

@ ridiculous

The issue is that San Mateo County (With the help of Mr Carpenter as he himself recognized) has worked to decrease noise over San Mateo County and that, we, in Palo Alto, have been paying the price for this for many years, and only increasingly so. We did not user to have regular SFO traffic overhead in Palo Alto, believe it or not.

It's not an issue of poor vs. affluent communities, it's an issue of San Mateo County dumping airplane noise unto Santa Clara County (i.e. Palo Alto) with the beneficiaries of these actions being mostly the affluent communities of San Mateo County, such as Atherton, where Mr. Carpenter lives.


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Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 26, 2014 at 7:56 pm

@ ridiculous

There are some sites where you can track where airplane traffic flies locally. One I like is this one:

Web Link

Take a look at it. See how much passenger jet traffic Palo Alto gets. Then, compare with most South San Mateo County towns, say Atherton, for example.

You'll understand, then, why Mr. Carpenter keeps clamoring that there is no problem: He's a resident of Atherton where he has it good.

I think to get this to change, we'd need to have the ear of our city council. I for one am willing to join in an effort to get this changed in Palo Alto. Our local elected officials, too, at the state and the federal level. Forget about Anna Eshoo though. She takes representing San Mateo County voters much more seriously than Palo Alto voters.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 26, 2014 at 8:05 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 27, 2014 at 11:47 am

If you want a partial answer as to why Atherton doesn't have big issues with airplane noise and Palo Alto does, check this story from December in the Almanac: Web Link

When a few new planes from Surf Air start flying over parts of Atherton, residents complain, a meeting is organized, Atherton Council members show up, as does the president of the offending airline... and it looks like a solution in favor of Atherton to the detriment of some surrounding communities is immediately in the works.

Here in PA....civic and governmental crickets chirp (though you'd never be able to hear them because of all the airplane noise).

Is this a problem with the infamous Palo Alto Process, a tin ear on the part of our Council Members, or something else?

I don't think all the posts on this forum, as legitimate and heartfelt as they obviously are will do much to solve Palo Alto's increasingly deteriorating quality of life caused by being a focus of air traffic on the peninsula.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 27, 2014 at 3:29 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"If you were serious about reducing noise for all, including Palo Alto, we would have seen a decrease in noise in Palo Alto. "

That is exactly what happened during my Chairmanship of the JCRC and we did it by had work and citizen involvement - things that are notably absent amongst the above posters.


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Posted by ridiculous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2014 at 5:20 pm

Peter Carpenter,

"If you want to be someplace that is peaceful and quiet just move to one of the many dark spots on this new night image of the US. Don't expect to find a lot of places to buy groceries, get medical care or for culture but you will have a lot of peace and quiet."

You mean all those dark spots in San Mateo county like Woodside?

All the places between here and SFO?





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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 27, 2014 at 5:24 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"You mean all those dark spots in San Mateo county like Woodside?

All the places between here and SFO?"

No, I mean places like northeastern California and northern Utah - very quiet and very far from all the services that Palo Alto residents demand.


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Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 27, 2014 at 6:58 pm

I suggest we stop engaging in a conversation with Peter Carpenter. There is something more than fishy when someone who does not live in Palo Alto spends so much time and energy arguing we don't have an airplane noise problem here, in the face of all the evidence that we do (and I can guarantee you the skies above PA were much quieter until it suddenly changed 20 years ago).

The only explanation I can find to him defending the status quo so vigorously is that it must be beneficial to him in ... Atherton, which is corroborated when you look at airplane traffic patterns online.

So, fellow Palo Alto residents, yes the airplane noise is horrendous in Palo Alto. Only discussing it here won't get much accomplished though, I am afraid. Let's get together and try and do something about it. Email address anyone?


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 27, 2014 at 7:28 pm

Just curious -- if all airplane noise magically went away, would we have utopia or would there be something else on our list of annoyances?


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2014 at 7:44 pm

For anyone opposed to jet noise in Palo Alto... [Portion removed.]
Please channel your anger, and energy at someone that might make a difference! Write to the City Council, or Anna Eshoo. At least she has some power. 90% of Eshoo's 18th district is in Santa Clara County. If she wants to get re-elected, she needs to start listening to Santa Clara County voters. Atherton has the money, but Santa Clara County has the votes!

To see Eshoo's district map, and/or write an email go here: Web Link

When you write to a politician... let us know what you had to say!



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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 27, 2014 at 7:46 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2014 at 8:01 pm

Midtowner:

I suggest we put together some sort of meet-up at a library, or cafe. I don't think anyone is going to want to let the argumentative trolls lurking on this site have an email address.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 27, 2014 at 8:11 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


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Posted by My real name is....
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 27, 2014 at 8:14 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2014 at 10:43 pm

From the Aviation Noise Law Website:

"In 1994 the consulting firm of Booz-Allen & Hamilton, Inc. prepared a report titled The Effect of Airport Noise on Housing Values: A Summary Report for the Federal Aviation Administration... the study found "an average 18.6 percent higher property value in the quiet neighborhood, or 1.33 percent per dB of additional quiet."

Aviation Noise Law Website: Web Link


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 28, 2014 at 12:10 pm

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 Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 28, 2014 at 1:29 pm

The idea that the FAA and SFO are immune to political pressure is fatuous misdirection that is belied by the history of the issue of airplane noise on the Peninsula. It's a red herring seemingly intended to thwart change to the status quo on this issue.

As described by several posters on this thread and elsewhere, Palo Alto had relatively little overhead jet traffic until a decade or so ago. Then San Mateo County and its constituent cities began a concerted campaign to alleviate the complaints of SMC residents about airplane noise. Politicians got involved and complained to SFO and the FAA. As a result almost all SFO bound traffic now crosses the Peninsula at Palo Alto (the northernmost city in Santa Clara County) before overflying East PA and adjacent poorer SMC neighborhoods before heading to SFO over the west side of the Bay. San Mateo skies are much quieter. Ours ...much noisier.

I lived in San Mateo and San Carlos before moving here 20+ years ago, and those cities had SFO airplane noise. Palo Alto did not - at least not to a noticeable degree.

There's no technical reason the bulk of air traffic could not cross the Peninsula further north: indeed it would save fuel for the many flights that now transit down the spine of the Peninsula at higher altitudes before turning across Palo Alto on the way to the Bayside approach to SFO. It is only political pressure that forced the change to Palo Alto for Peninsula crossing.

THis can work on other levels as well: even against the individual airlines involved and even at a local level. If you don't think that political pressure is effective, check out the article in the Almanac linked to above describing the (groveling?) way the CEO of surf air responded to political pressure in Atherton against overflights of his San Carlos bound regional jet traffic there.

Political pressure worked when SMC residents got fed enough with jet overflights to prod their politicians to act. The same thing can work for us. If you review this forum, you'll see numerous threads over the past few years about airplane noise in PA. This one seems to be the most durable, perhaps indicating that the problem is intolerable enough have reached a critical point where action will result.

As Jetman has pointed out, there is a poster here who seems bent on spouting the line that "there's not enough jet noise in Palo Alto to worry about" and now that "there's nothing you can do about it anyway". Isn't it odd that he lives in Atherton and benefits from the current SFO- SMC agreement...and would be negatively affected by changes that returned SFO jet traffic to overflying his bucolic wealthy enclave?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 28, 2014 at 2:13 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Mary Anne - being intimately familiar with the "Palo Alto Process" I predict that you will never mobilize sufficient support to change the current SFO traffic patterns. As of today how many petitions have been drafted? How many signatures have been obtained?

And feel free to keep attacking the messenger - which also accomplishes nothing.


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Posted by Mirror
a resident of another community
on Jan 28, 2014 at 3:57 pm

Peter Carpenter, please take your own advice and keep attacking the messenger, which accomplishes nothing. Maybe that's why you are doing it.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jan 28, 2014 at 4:18 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I challenge mirror to show one post where I have attacked the poster - I present facts and my opinion, period.


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