Acting on numerous complaints by her constituents regarding an increase in aircraft noise, Rep. Anna Eshoo has assembled a survey for residents, which she plans to take to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for possible changes to flight altitudes.
Residents in Palo Alto and other nearby cities say the noise level and airplane frequency have increased since the FAA rolled out its new NextGen flight system, which requires aircraft to travel within a narrower corridor to free up airspace for commercial and military drones. The FAA was required by U.S. Congress to devise the plan.
But throughout the country wherever NextGen has been implemented, residents are complaining that the noise and frequency of flights is deafening. Pilots have to descend using a continuous decrease in altitude rather than following a stepped descent, as previously done -- but that increases noise as engines throttle for the decline, residents say.
NextGen completed its rollout at San Francisco International Airport this spring, and Palo Alto residents reside under three flight paths that extend like superhighways over their neighborhoods.
Eshoo said she met with FAA Administrator Michael Huerta in May regarding the troubling increase in noise across her district, including communities in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties.
"I raised the concerns of the many constituents I've met with in my Palo Alto office with the administrator, and he agreed to reexamine flight altitudes passing over our region," she wrote in a letter to constituents. "He also agreed to have the FAA regional administrator hold a meeting with select community representatives in the near future. If we can bring the testimony of the people of the 18th Congressional District affected by this problem to the FAA, it will help demonstrate how urgent it is for the agency to address them.
"I ask you to please respond to the survey and consider passing it along to others in your community. Your concerns must be heard by the FAA in order for them to make the necessary changes to bring relief to my constituents."
Eshoo also encouraged residents to report any excessive aircraft noise to the SFO Noise Abatement Office.
"This is very important. Your call will become part of the official record and official documentation," she added.
The Noise Abatement Office can be reached at 650-821-4736 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The survey can be taken here.