News

Rep. Anna Eshoo to send airplane-noise survey to Federal Aviation Administration

 

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 sfo.noise@flysfo.com.

The survey can be taken here.

Related content:

Residents hope to drown out airplane noise with complaints

Palo Alto may study airplane noise

Residents, city officials gear up to fight increased airplane noise

Comments

23 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2015 at 12:46 pm

Please complete the survey. It doesn't ask for absolute levels of noise or disruption but your perception of it. And really that what matters.


28 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 15, 2015 at 1:34 pm

Nayeli is a registered user.

I would argue that CalTrain and the freight trains are much, much louder than any plane. However, I doubt there are any surveys on CalTrain noise.


21 people like this
Posted by MV Resident
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 15, 2015 at 1:58 pm

Why should they take surveys on Caltrain's noise? Those tracks have been there for over 150 years, the trains were here before you or I.

It's not like you woke up one morning to find train tracks magically nearby. You knew as well as anyone else that there were train tracks when you moved in.

The issue with the airplane noise is that the routes and flight patterns have changed because of the NextGen system, which includes narrower and lower flight corridors which concentrate much of the airplane noise in a small area.

I live a few blocks from the Caltrain tracks myself as well as underneath the normal landing path to Moffett Air Station.

Caltrain is periodically measured for noise: Web Link

"Train horns are regulated by the Federal Railroad Administration, which stipulates the decibel level, the sequence of the blasts and when the horn must be used. The decibel level must be between 96 and 110 decibels. The engineer is required to sound two longs, one short and one long blast on the horn ¼ mile before entering a grade crossing. There are 55 crossings (including 11 stations with pedestrian crossings) between San Francisco and San Jose. There are other situations where the engineer is required to sound the horn; examples of this would be when he sees someone on the tracks or standing on the station platform. In these cases, one long blast is used to warn the people that the train is coming."


2 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 15, 2015 at 2:21 pm

@Nayeli, at bottom of survey is a comment box suitable for alternative viewpoints.

I'm unsure why the survey web-link goes to an anonymous version, but
at the bottom there's a "Click to open in a separate window" link that
takes me to the same survey asking for full contact information.

Do anonymous submissions get less weight? Any weight?


Like this comment
Posted by Johns
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 15, 2015 at 10:12 pm

Are we supposed to fill out the anonymous page or open the page in a separate browser where it asks for our name and city? Does it matter?


23 people like this
Posted by OPar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 15, 2015 at 10:46 pm

The jet noise really has gone up in the last few months--three jets flew overhead while I was filling out the survey. Between the lower elevations and the banking, the noise has had a real impact on hanging out in the backyard. Glad Eshoo is taking up the matter.


30 people like this
Posted by Stick to the Subject
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2015 at 11:03 pm

Nayeli said:

"I would argue that CalTrain and the freight trains are much, much louder than any plane."

You can argue anything you want, but your argument is completely irrelevant to this discussion.

Maybe you should start your own thread about train noise, or even better, join one of the many that have already been started. Hopefully, in the appropriate forum, you can discuss what the existing environment was when you (and others) purchased (not rented) your homes, and what it is now. If, in that forum, you see a significant negative difference, you should organize and write your congresswoman. In the mean time, please keep your comments in this forum focused on the appropriate topic, which is airplane noise.

Thank you.

P.S. I have heard five planes fly overhead in the time it took me to write this. I suspect this is where someone will leap in and cite flight paths, etc, but I don't care, because I'm citing my experience, not some artificial "record" of what I should have heard.


5 people like this
Posted by Neal
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 16, 2015 at 6:52 am

Nayeli makes a good point and it's not too far off the subject of noxious noise. The damaging effects of ambient noise is cumulative.


14 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 16, 2015 at 7:31 am

San Jose is now in it's reverse arrival pattern over Palo Alto. SWA 3322, Phx to SJC just went over at 2,000 ft on it way across town to the PAO - out over the bay and back in over the Googleplex.
ATC is like a Disney tourist attraction. Look everyone - there is the famous Google plex!
YES I Did file a complaint to SJC.

There is no need for ATC to direct these planes over the whole lower bay area - it is a needless waste of gasoline.


12 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 16, 2015 at 7:36 am

I have to agree with Stick to the Subject. Caltrain has many streams on this platform. As do leaf blowers. Nayeli can start their own stream on cumulative noise relative to Caltrain and leaf blowers and all of the Caltrain complainers can get on board that train and ride it. It has been there 150 years, - you knew that when you chose your residence.


22 people like this
Posted by Jason
a resident of another community
on Jul 16, 2015 at 7:37 am

Just an FYI, much of the technical information contained in the story is incorrect.

First off, NextGen and the narrow corridors described have little to do with making airspace available to drones or the military. The narrowing of corridors is a by-product of better precision and accuracy of the navigation systems used on-board aircraft (e.g. gps). The benefit there is more precise routing and better reliability which improves efficiency and more important, safety.

Second, the continuous descent approach does not increase engine noise or throttle, it reduces it. In a continuous descent, the engines are brought to near-idle reducing noise significantly and reducing emissions. The step-down approaches require throttling up when the aircraft levels-off. Those approaches are MUCH more noisy than the new continuous descent.

I wish reporters would check their facts before publishing!


12 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 16, 2015 at 8:23 am

So here is my theory - we currently have a legislative action concerning noise due to aircraft. So now SJC / ATC are turning their arrivals directly over PA - cross-town, over PAO, out over the bay for the rotation into San Jose.
We do not have noise monitors, San Jose does. So now you have mitigated the recorded noise in San Jose. That serves an interesting purpose.

We need noise monitors at PAO and other location in PA - suggest south PA, midtown and north PA.

ATC and the FAA are playing a game- game on.

Jason - as a courtesy you need to report what city you are referring to - All of the cities that surround OPA are identified on the location finder.
Your location then signifies your agenda. Assume everyone here has an agenda. Noise abatement and traffic patterns here are the agenda.


21 people like this
Posted by john & penny Doane
a resident of Woodside
on Jul 16, 2015 at 9:37 am


For one year we have tolerated noise from airplanes flying in a defined traffic lane over our home. We were told by Ara Balian, noise abatement specialist at SFO that the noise would stop when to runways were reopened last August. The noise not only didn't stop, it increased 10 fold and hasn't stopped since. The only quiet day we have had in a year was June 29th of this year. We thought the problem was solved only to have the planes resume again on June 30th.

I have lost count as to how many flights go over our home and we sometimes go out in the afternoon just to get away from the noise for awhile. If Nextgen means screw the people below, they are doing a magnificent job! I don't know what the answer is to this problem but if the EPA is involved, aren't they supposed to protect us in addition to the environment?

I hope this situation can be resolved and that our life can go back to the quiet we used to know and appreciate.

Thank you for helping us all - it is really appreciated.

John & Penny Doane


36 people like this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 16, 2015 at 9:40 am

Jason,

You are quoting theory, not practice. In practice "nextgen" is causing a dramatic increase in noise for the people living under the "nextgen" highways, and this is happening around airports all over the country.

A few months ago CBS this Morning did a four-minute piece on "nextgen" that might help you understand the problem (linked below). In Santa Clara County, "nextgen" is causing noise complaints as far away as Santa Cruz.


"FAA's new Flight Paths spark Noise Complaints"
CBS This Morning ~ January 30, 2015 Web Link

Save Our Skies Santa Cruz Website: Web Link



15 people like this
Posted by jsun
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 16, 2015 at 10:17 am

jsun is a registered user.

please sign the online petition, we are close to reach the goal of 1,500 if we can keep the momentum going:

Web Link


22 people like this
Posted by Jeff
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 16, 2015 at 10:24 am

Aren't there bigger fish to fry.

Like getting the Cal Train crossings at Churchill, East Meadow, and Charleston fixed so they're not At Grade, which significantly impacts traffic congestion, especially as more high density housing and office goes up along the Cal Train corridor?

Airplane noise?


7 people like this
Posted by neighbor
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 16, 2015 at 10:40 am

Jeff -- sometimes there is more than one fish, and both are big. Not being able to sit in one's backyard and enjoy the quiet, and waking up to whining engines overhead at midnight qualify as "big fish". And I live a block away from the trains. All excessive, and unnecessary noise pollution needs to be addressed.


7 people like this
Posted by YSK
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 16, 2015 at 10:49 am

We live in Community Center and yes, there is air traffic, but it doesn't bother us. It's the small planes that fly lower and loud that are the issue.


8 people like this
Posted by Lila
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 16, 2015 at 11:15 am

I don't get it, is the desired outcome that they shift the corridor to be over a different community, say south, Mountain View or Sunnyvale? Or can they completely eliminate descending over our communities?


5 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 16, 2015 at 11:20 am

Jeff - I love the train noise - especially at night. Why don't you join the other people on the Caltrain site so you can complain to people specific to that problem. And Jeff - are they going to tear down houses in your neighborhood for more dense housing?

I think there are a group of people that want to mitigate the effect of airplane noise. Not going to happen.


17 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 16, 2015 at 11:27 am

Lila - they used to descend in San Mateo County - north for SFO. That would be Woodside to Atherton to the bay. Somehow that flight line shifted to the south - over Palo Alto. Do you get that? It is called political pressure. The people in a less dense population area complained and moved the flight line to a more dense population area.

There is no reason that the planes cannot come over HWY 84 and down to the bay.

The goal here is to move planes from higher populated areas to less populated areas. We are not just taking residential - also commercial properties - we are talking major Silicon Valley companies.

If the planes are at a higher altitude the noise can be mitigated.


34 people like this
Posted by Gethin
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 16, 2015 at 11:48 am

Gethin is a registered user.

I am glad to see that Eshoo is taking this seriously enough to pursue. My impression is that plane noise is getting worse in terms of volume, frequency and lower altitudes of small planes. Without a grassroots campaign and political support this will just keep getting worse and worse. Its time to act.


13 people like this
Posted by Nice Going, FAA
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 16, 2015 at 12:18 pm

"The benefit there is more precise routing and better reliability which improves efficiency and more important, safety."

Nexgen's narrow corridors are a boon to terrorists flying explosive-laden drones. Their targets are pre-concentrated for them. Nice going, FAA.


23 people like this
Posted by Kate
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 16, 2015 at 12:39 pm

So... what is the solution? Send plane noise over other communities? Palo Alto NIMBT-ness at its finest. I suggest people live their lives and stop sitting around listening for and tracking plane noise. This is a First World Problem.


10 people like this
Posted by MoneyTalks
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 16, 2015 at 12:40 pm

I liked what the congressman in the CBS segment linked above said, "it's not the Federal Arrogance Administration".

It's dumbfounding to me that NextGen was able to be "fast-tracked" and allowed to skip normal environmental impact reviews and public hearings. That's an example of good lobbying work for you. It's seems like it's going to take another act of congress to undue the damage it has already done by allowing the FAA apparent free rein with NextGen.

Good thing the air carriers profit margins are not tied to NextGen, oh wait...

Big business v individual citizens = vegas odds on this fight?


3 people like this
Posted by Kate
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 16, 2015 at 12:44 pm

oops -- NIMBY, not NIMBT. :)


12 people like this
Posted by Jean
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 16, 2015 at 12:51 pm

I can understand why Jeff from Community Center complains about the train noise and not low flying aircraft overhead. Jeff lives in north Palo Alto, under NexGen the planes are descending mainly over South Palo Alto and Midtown.

Not only has plane noise greatly increased over south Palo Alto but there has been a huge increase in flights. One day I heard a horrible screeching sound overhead and saw a small plane just manage to fly directly under a plane heading for SFO. This is an accident waiting to happen, so why have they lowered the altitude at which the large airliners fly over us.

We are surrounded by airports SFO, SJO, Moffett Field, Palo Alto, San Carlos, all these flights are going over us. It would make better sense if the airliners heading for SFO INCREASED not LOWERED the altitude at which they fly over us.


22 people like this
Posted by Some thoughts
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 16, 2015 at 12:55 pm

Since last night, the whole south east section of Palo Alto has been subjected to San Jose bound traffic. This is horrible too. A320s and B737s flying above even lower than SFO bound planes, at 2,000 to 3,000 feet.

Please everyone, remember it is not just an SFO problem. It is also an SJC problem.

We are not asking for it all to be moved to one neighborhing town. Let us remember, the planes were actually moved to Palo Alto from elsewhere in the first place. What we are asking for is for airplanes to be routed over unpopulated areas as much as possible and, when not possible, fanned out equitably over all communities, which is very far from what is currently happening.

It is not a first world problem or a NIMBY issue. The noise is so bad that it wakes us up at night. We cannot even have an uninterrupted night of sleep any longer. It is a quality of life issue, but ultimately also impacts everybody's health. I am not even mentioning the pollution from the exhaust either. Bad all around.


42 people like this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 16, 2015 at 1:01 pm

Kate,

There are solutions that do not involve passing the problem onto another community:

Higher - All aircraft on approach, should fly higher to reduce ground level noise impacts.

Share don't Shift - Aircraft noise should not be shifted from a larger number of people, and onto to a smaller number of people. That's not fair.

Curfew - There should be a sensible nighttime curfew that limits flights over populated areas and dwellings when people are sleeping.

Bay Approach - The FAA should transition to a plan where all aircraft approach SFO starting at the southern tip of the Bay, and don't fly over populated areas or dwelling at less than 10,000'.


You can find a lot more info on the websites of these local community groups:

Sky Posse Palo Alto: Web Link

Save Our Skies Santa Cruz: Web Link


17 people like this
Posted by joe giraffe
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 16, 2015 at 1:47 pm

At this website
Web Link

you can see flight tracks in almost real time. Click on a plane and you can get more info about it and see a line showing its path. So hear a noise, click the above link and you can usually see what plane is causing it.

At this website,
Web Link

you can see the same sort of data but it seems to be delayed 10-15 minutes.
But, this 2nd site has a historical tab when you can enter a date and time and then see a rerun of traffic starting then. And you can speed it up, eg 30x to get a better picture of which areas have the most traffic.

I agree that
- Palo Alto (at least where I live near the 'main' library) has more airplane noise than it used to. I have recorded about 45 flights in two hours. The other evening, I heard about a 3 minute gap between flights for something like 30 mins (and then I quit counting).
- Palo Alto/east Menlo Park/East Palo Alto has more overflights than other nearby communities. Seems obvious from the historical data on the 2nd link above.


14 people like this
Posted by litebug
a resident of another community
on Jul 16, 2015 at 2:10 pm

As a former resident of Palo Alto for 38 years, most of it spent up against the Embarcadero/Oregon Expressway/101 cloverleaf, not far from the P.A. airport, I can testify that the noise level had gotten pretty bad even before I moved to Oregon in 2008. The Stanford Univ. Hospital med-evac helicopter would make many trips right over our house, headed for refueling at the P.A. Airport, always at what appeared to be below legal height. It was habitually the worst offender in a location that was very noisy to begin with.


9 people like this
Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 16, 2015 at 2:15 pm

My comment is not at all to dismiss people's complaints about interrupted sleep. I'd just say that I sleep very well because I have an air purifier AND a dehumidifier running in my bedroom at night and have had these for years. I think that other kinds of gadgets that make white noise might mask the plane sounds. And, of course, I'm in favor of anything Anna Eshoo can do on our behalf for people bothered by the planes.


10 people like this
Posted by Jean
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 16, 2015 at 2:20 pm

You are correct many of the flights coming over south Palo Alto right now are bound for SJC. In fact I can sometimes see the planes turning right as they reach passed my house. I flew into SJC from Reno one time the 'plane went passed the runways at SJC to the south, then when they reached the hills turned right, then right again straight over my house to land at SJC from north to south.

If you look at a map of the NexGen incoming flights to SFO and SJC you will see they are all funneled right over south Palo Alto.


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Midtown

on Jul 16, 2015 at 3:14 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


6 people like this
Posted by PowerMax
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 16, 2015 at 6:13 pm

So glad to fill out the survey. I gladly indicated how low of a priority this is, and how airplane noise never bothers me. I was outside all day and didn't hear a single plane. Why don't the complainers take a little field trip to San Bruno and then we'll talk airplane noise.


5 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 16, 2015 at 6:21 pm

I appreciate that everyone is contributing to the subject of this stream.
Need to remind the Caltain people that this stream is specific to a particular government agency, specific set of airports, and funding specific to air travel in general. This is both a federal issue and a city / county issue.

Caltrain is funded by a different government agency, different points of contact, different timeline for activities - never the twain to meet with FAA issues. You cannot talk about these issues in the same context if you are trying to resolve issues. Please do not attempt to confuse these issues - we are not confused - you are.


25 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 16, 2015 at 6:46 pm

Nice to see a good number of people are interested in this subject.

I am sad to see that some people for some reason seem to be interested
in discounting other people's experiences and trying to take away from
any action that might help other people by telling us that this is not an
issue or a priority for them. Guess it takes all kinds.

I took this survey. I was not too impressed with the questions because
they were vague and not designed to yield any data about when, where,
how much and how bothersome the airplane noise is.

--

One thing that I think of is how people seem to discount airplane noise
as it they remember it from their childhood or some other time and place
and it would always be the same.

Perhaps think of this like as building a freeway that goes right by your
house - that you did not know about before you bought it, and that you
had to say it. Some people seem to just think tough luck, and they all
probably have their own reasons, from being hard of hearing to living in
other communities, so I think the negative comments are snarky and
useless.



- So, I hope this begins the process of doing something about airplane
noise. How bad do we want to let this get?


29 people like this
Posted by jsun
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 16, 2015 at 7:45 pm

jsun is a registered user.

"Why don't the complainers take a little field trip to San Bruno and then we'll talk airplane noise"

This argument sounds making sense on the surface. But please, choosing to live close to the airport at your free will is one thing, having the FAA shoving constant/loud aircraft noise down your ears in a formerly quiet community is another...


12 people like this
Posted by Kate
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 16, 2015 at 9:33 pm

Thanks, Jetman! :)


9 people like this
Posted by Johns
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 17, 2015 at 11:41 am

The survey from her official website

Web Link


22 people like this
Posted by Some thoughts
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 17, 2015 at 2:15 pm

Please, do not let any lull deceive you. Some days, the level of airplane noise in Palo Alto drops almost incomprehensibly below the usual constant roar. In my experience, these lulls have been only very temporary and they are exceedingly rare. However, they also mean that airplane noise above us can be lowered indeed.

Even on quieter days, we get some of the most egregious overflights. Every night, between midnight at one thirty AM, we get one or two B747s flying above Palo Alto into SFO. These are extremely loud cargo planes, and they fly above us most often at a very low altitude of about 4,500 feet, sometimes less. I know they wake us up or keep us from sleeping. And this is just an example. After four AM we start getting planes flying in from Hawaii. They also wake us up.

There is no reason that these planes fly above us and so low at such hours of very little plane traffic in the Bay Area. They ought to be made to fly elsewhere (above the Bay) and higher, or not at all (curfew). Maybe we can start with addressing these night flights.

Please, do take Anna Eshoo's survey. It is timely and welcome.


17 people like this
Posted by Anneke
a resident of Professorville
on Jul 18, 2015 at 7:35 am

Last evening at 7:00 P.M. I was in my garden, and for 30 minutes I paid attention to airplanes flying over our specific area. I counted a different airplane every 1 1/2 minute.

I am going to fill out the survey.


10 people like this
Posted by jsun
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 18, 2015 at 9:33 am

jsun is a registered user.

Palo Altans,

Last week I shared a link to Congresswoman Eshoo's survey. That link has a ID unique to me. So if you used that link, it would be counted toward me and probably be discarded as one person can only take the survey once.

Please go to this correct link to do the survey again:
Web Link


31 people like this
Posted by GoneOnTooLong
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 18, 2015 at 10:03 am

If this was an effort to reduce noise for all citizens, whether airplane, construction, train, leaf blower, or other, I would be supportive.

Unfortunately, this airplane focus is a NIMBY campaign by a few Palo Alto residents who
1. did not care when the airplanes (and their noise) flew over other peoples houses, and
2. would be perfectly happy to see the plane routes moved over Atherton or Woodside or San Jose or some other community.
3. Resist any effort to broaden the campaign to address all noise sources because it would threaten their own personal interest (airplane noise).


29 people like this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 18, 2015 at 10:52 am

Goneontoolong,

I really don't think Anna Eshoo wants to move the noise onto another community, Anna Eshoo is a member of the congressional "Quiet Skies" Caucus which is working on the aircraft noise problem nationwide.

It just doesn't make sense to move the noise to another community, when there are solution that do not involve shifting noise:

1. HIGHER - All aircraft on approach, should fly higher to reduce ground level noise impacts. Sound obeys the inverse square law, so distance has a dramatic effect on sound.

2. SHARE, DON'T SHIFT - Aircraft traffic and noise should not be shifted from one community to another, or from a larger number of people to to a smaller number of people. That's just not fair. Everyone should help share the burden.

3. CURFEW - There should be a sensible nighttime curfew that limits flights over populated areas and dwellings when people are sleeping. This should be easy to do, since there are only a handful of planes in the air between Midnight and 6:00am.

4. BAY APPROACH - The FAA should transition to a plan where all aircraft approach SFO starting at the southern tip of the Bay, and don't fly over populated areas or dwelling at less than 10,000'. This is done in other cities like Washington DC, where all approach routes fly along the Potomac River.


"Lawmakers form New Congressional Caucus for 'Quiet Skies'"
The Hill ~ October 2, 2014 Web Link


2 people like this
Posted by Johns
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 18, 2015 at 11:23 am

Does anyone know how long Anna Eshoo will provide the survey?


9 people like this
Posted by Johns
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 18, 2015 at 11:26 am

Jetman, please send your post above directly to Anna's email. It is spot on and I think she would appreciate your ideas on this issue.


11 people like this
Posted by Johns
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 18, 2015 at 11:41 am

Has anyone noticed that since Anna Eshoo has sent out the survey, the skies have been quieter and the planes have been flying higher? I'm noticing this on the Big Sur route. Many planes at 5,000 - 6,000 feet. Last weekend was horrible noise all day and night on the Big Sur route. I talked to the SFO noise abatement office and they are well aware of the survey and have been discussing it in their office. Kind of fishy.


2 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 18, 2015 at 1:10 pm

"Has anyone noticed that since Anna Eshoo has sent out the survey, the skies have been quieter and the planes have been flying higher?"

No. If anything, the opposite.


15 people like this
Posted by OPar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 18, 2015 at 2:41 pm

I noticed yesterday was quieter than usual--checked the map and, yep, PA was being avoided. Still got the usual 3 a.m. flyover though and getting plane noise today--some of which comes from small planes at the PA airport.

Jetman, share don't shift is right. While I was watching the air traffic map last night, I saw no flights go over Redwood City, Woodside, Atherton or San Mateo--those cities did bump the traffic down to the south. I actually saw some serious adjustments by planes to get down to the Mountain View border. If we spread the wealth a bit, we wouldn't have one group of people taking the brunt of the noise. The NIMBYism didn't start with us, but with the communities closer to the airport and then some of us ended up with an aerial freeway over our head.

There are few enough late-night arrivals that there's no reason for any of them to be flying low enough to hear inside at 3 a.m. 20 miles from the airport. (Indeed, this far from the airport noise shouldn't have become the problem it is.)


19 people like this
Posted by PalyGrad
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jul 18, 2015 at 5:03 pm

The small plane towing the GEICO insurance banner is very annoying!


22 people like this
Posted by JA3+
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 19, 2015 at 9:56 am

This morning, lots of large aircraft and lots of noise over Crescent Park. When will we find another means to route aircraft in a more equitable manner with a lower noise profile for all residents of all communities?


17 people like this
Posted by Leland Manor neighbour
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jul 19, 2015 at 10:46 am

Heavy non-stop airplane noise since early morning in the Leland Manor neighborhood.

I am just amazed how irresponsible, unprofessional and plain stupid FAA decision makers are. Why on earth those planes should fly so low? Why noise levels is not a major consideration when designing any plane traffic changes? In my opinion the person responsible for all the problems created for various Bay Area communities (as well as other parts of the country) should part with his job!!


14 people like this
Posted by Some thoughts
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 19, 2015 at 11:59 am

@ GoneOnTooLong

1) Could you please explain to us how Sky Posse or any other Palo Alto residents "did not care when the airplanes (and their noise) flew over other peoples houses"? I am at a loss to understand what you are talking about.

2) What you do not seem to realize (or more simply acknowledge) is that SFO bound traffic was actually re-routed from Atherton (and Woodside) to Palo Alto over the years. Now, three of the four incoming SFO routes converge above Palo Alto and Palo Alto is subjected to 200-300 SFO bound airplanes daily on most days. No one is asking for ALL of this to be shifted back to Atherton where it came from. We want it spread fairly above the whole region (and over the Bay for starters). What is wrong with that?

3) Where did you see that Sky Posse "resists any effort to broaden the campaign to address all noise sources"? Sky Posse was created fairly recently, specifically to address airplane noise problems, by a group of residents from all areas of Palo Alto, who are affected by the relentless airplane noise issue. Its goal is to focus on addressing airplane noise issues by fanning the traffic equitably, routing more planes above the bay, raising the altitudes, and hopefully obtaining a night curfew.

However, Sky Posse has never tried to stop anyone else from addressing other sources of noise in Palo Alto. Kudos to anyone who starts a campaign to fight other sources of noise.


15 people like this
Posted by Leland Manor neighbour
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jul 19, 2015 at 2:50 pm

As if the SFO-bound heavy plane noise were not enough, now we have more noise from a small plane dragging a realtor advertisement. Truly, sky is the limit for some people's greed. Some of us loose all decency, common sense and consideration for others. As if they are not making enough already. Personally, i will never use this realtor services and i will avoid any properties represented by this realty!!

The airborn advertisement should be banned!!!


16 people like this
Posted by ShareTrafficFairly
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 19, 2015 at 5:12 pm


It's easy to name-call and blame others for alerting the community about the unfair concentration and low-altitude of SFO arrivals over Palo Alto, when you don't live in a neighborhood or town particularly affected by the noise that this concentration generates. Let's be fair and avoid undercutting those, who have a genuine and valid concern, borne out by the data.


6 people like this
Posted by South Palo Altan
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jul 19, 2015 at 5:22 pm

I filled out the survey indicating that I am minimally impacted by aircraft noise since it is the honest truth.


2 people like this
Posted by South Palo Altan
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jul 19, 2015 at 5:28 pm

and note that the SFO arrivals make most of their turns to the north almost directly overhead of where I live.


13 people like this
Posted by Fill out the survey
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 20, 2015 at 11:49 am

Stop wasting your time on this venue and fill out the SURVEY! The key to effective advocacy is communicating with the key decision-makers in the right time and place.

Be polite. Be factual. Describe the problem, and offer possible solutions. Work with our elected leaders to effect change.


11 people like this
Posted by Some thoughts
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 20, 2015 at 12:57 pm

Click on the link below to be taken directly to Anna Eshoo's survey:

Web Link


2 people like this
Posted by OG
a resident of Ventura
on Jul 20, 2015 at 4:18 pm

I question how valid the results of the survey will be when people can complete the survey and remain anonymous. This allows people on all sides of the issue to fill out the survey multiple times.


19 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 20, 2015 at 4:35 pm

OG,

These types of surveys have their limitations, but they are an inexpensive way for Congressional Representatives to gauge constituent sentiment. Surveys are not the only way Reps gauge public sentiment, but the surveys are useful, and when you do them all of the time, you learn to make adjustments for some of the limitations.


19 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 20, 2015 at 4:38 pm

Take the survey AND follow the link from Rep. Eshoo's site to the SFO Noise Abatement office and email them your complaints at this address: sfo.noise@flysfo.com

I told them I was particularly unhappy with all the late night / early morning flights.


16 people like this
Posted by NIMBYs?
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 20, 2015 at 9:09 pm


We're not NIMBYs, we're N-10XM-IMBYs, [Not 10 Times More In My Backyard] (than in yours). That's what the survey is for, to distribute the noise equitably, and reverse the political ruses that have pushed so much traffic over Palo Alto and other communities.

Further, to actually solve the problem for all of us who live so far from SFO, by using the new much-fanfared PBN technology (Precision-Based-Navigation) to navigate planes precisely, having them descend over the Bay so as to cause the least damage to residents. The FAA can do this for us.


25 people like this
Posted by Fran
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 20, 2015 at 9:27 pm

Just took a evening walk by California Ave and I was surprised by the number of planes flying by that area. It seems like there's one flying over every few minutes, all heading north. It's crazy how noticeable the noise were.


24 people like this
Posted by Johns
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 20, 2015 at 10:17 pm

Yes Fran, for the residents under these flight paths we hear plane noise every 3-4 minutes. It's horrible and it has really affected our quality of life.


1 person likes this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 21, 2015 at 9:57 am

I spent some time observing planes today and many are flying further South than they used to. These are probably the ones that fly to San Jose. Of course, it's a long noisier over Mountain View since this survey was announced.


8 people like this
Posted by Fran
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 21, 2015 at 11:04 am

Seems like the NextGen changes are triggering complaints not just in the Peninsula but elsewhere in the US.

Web Link
Web Link


9 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 21, 2015 at 6:27 pm

Article linked on Yahoo about sleep disruption and Alzheimer's:

Disrupted sleep may be one of the missing pieces in explaining how Alzheimer’s
starts its damage long before people have trouble with memory.

Web Link


13 people like this
Posted by Longing for quieter skies
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 22, 2015 at 7:15 am

Please encourage friends and neighbors to fill out the survey. If we each ask one neighbor we double the input. This is the time to make our voices heard. The ongoing noise from above disrupts our sleep which can affect our health and certainly our mood. I am woken at 5:30 in the morning on a regular basis.There are also planes we can hear that go over our homes in the middle of the night.

The flight noise is so loud and so constant it has sadly changed our lifestyle in Palo Alto. We used to enjoy nightly quiet dinners in our small backyard during the entire summer. Now when sitting in our yard it feels like we are sitting under an airport landing strip. One plane after another flying over our head. The noise is horrible. This change is sad and irritating and can affect the value of our homes eventually. We should join together now to fight for quieter skies.

As I am writing this note at 7AM (inside my home) I am hearing one plane after another flying overhead. There must be something we can do.


15 people like this
Posted by Beautiful PA, a facade
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 22, 2015 at 7:52 am

To longing for quieter skies:
I feel the same loss of quality of life as you do. For the last 10 years our family has enjoyed our summers sitting on the patio for every evening meal during the summer. This no longer can take place because of the constant stream of jets passing over our home every 2 minutes. It is no longer a desirable place to live. Many will say so what, you can sell your house for a $$$$. Well, I have lived here my whole life and have friends and family here. I would like to stay here, but not as a prisoner in my own home. Actually even inside I hear the plane noise. Noise pollution is the number one issue for my family here in Palo Alto. Wake up citizens and fight to keep the 3 skyways from starting their descent over our once lovely suburb.


5 people like this
Posted by Old Steve
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Jul 22, 2015 at 8:43 am

Too bad none of you lived in the northern part of Mtn View before the Navy moved out the P3 Squadrons! The P-3 patrols ran 24/7/365 so we got used to the noise. Modern jets produce much less noise at a much higher altitude (even with NexGen) than those old turbo props. Don't you think the folks in Woodside and Atherton (who really pay for peace & quiet) deserve a break from all the noise they have had since instruments were first used for approaches to SFO? The Air Rescue C-130's still fly over north Mtn View, but they don't disturb our outdoor living.


Like this comment
Posted by Fran
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 22, 2015 at 10:21 am

@Old Steve,

This doesn't seem like its an issue specific to our area. The noise complaints are spiking because of the FAA's decision to concentrate flights to a tighter path.

The city of Phoenix just launched a lawsuit on the FAA for the NextGen changes. I figure more cities will follow.

Web Link

Washington DC residents being affected by NextGen.

Web Link


5 people like this
Posted by jsun
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 22, 2015 at 10:54 am

jsun is a registered user.

In addition to health issues. It is highly likely there will be more lawsuits happening in future real estate transactions where the sellers not disclosing the airplane noise and PA can potentially have lots of unhappy buyers who spent $$$ only to find out these noise problems later thanks to FAA.


3 people like this
Posted by Old Steve
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Jul 22, 2015 at 11:16 am

@Fran,

No argument that people new to aircraft noise all over the country are upset. I just find it ironic that something started with little controversy to make our overall lives better and make flying greener, now makes folks so angry in a place where we are generally proud of being "agents of change"

Planes are quieter, NexGen makes approach patterns "greener"; but when they come over "YOUR House" they are a problem. I believe that is the classic definition of "Not Over My Back Yard" NOMBY!

I am also sure that none of those complaining ever benefit by having ready access to the Country's fifth busiest airport (SFO).


9 people like this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2015 at 11:55 am

I just read the WAMU News article posted by Fran, and it has me wondering if if "nextgen" is really delivering on its advertised technological capability?

For years Washington DC's Reagan Airport has had noise abatement air routes that fly along the Potomac River to reduce aircraft noise impacts on populated areas. Now, with the implementation of "nextgen" at Reagan, they no longer seem to be able to "safely" keep the planes over the river.

The FAA has spent over $40 billion on "nextgen". Most of this money went to aerospace defense contractors. Is this another case of defense contractors getting paid billions of dollars over a period of 10-15 years, and still not being able to deliver a system that performs to spec?


"Jet Noise From National Airport Pushes D.C. and VA Residents To Sound Off"
WAMU News ~ July 6, 2015 Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Johns
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 22, 2015 at 6:36 pm

The SFO directors report for June is now posted. Palo Alto has quite a few complaints recorded. I hope Anna Eshoo will take these numbers to Michael Huerta along with the survey results.

Web Link


10 people like this
Posted by Agenda
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2015 at 6:47 pm

So about 0.25% of the Palo Alto population complained, averaging about 15-20 complaints during the month. Which credence to my hypothesis That although this forum makes it sound like there widespread outrage in palo,alto over airplane noise, it really is coming from a very, very small vocal minority.


11 people like this
Posted by Some thoughts
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 22, 2015 at 7:26 pm

Another way to look at the stats, Agenda, is to acknowledge that, of all the communities from San Francisco to Santa Cruz, Palo Alto had by far the highest number of individual complainants in June, as well as the third highest number of complaints.

This means something to me. Relative to other communities, Palo Alto is heavily impacted. This shows in complaint statistics, and in traffic statistics. Why would a Palo Alto resident, even if not personally bothered by the noise, not be sympathetic, this just escapes me. It is only a matter of time before our (your) house values start plunging.


7 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 22, 2015 at 7:52 pm

Agenda is from "Another Palo Alto Community" which he refuses to identify. I picture him sitting between Foothill and 280 in some isolated closed off canyon. Or he sounds like another poster who lives in Atherton.

The airplane traffic is continuous in the morning and evening commute periods. And the planes whine as they progress across the traffic pattern.

Agenda - the name says it all.


11 people like this
Posted by Agenda
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2015 at 8:00 pm

Well, if we did not need further evidence that the complaints come from a very small, but vocal minority, we now have them based on resident 1s comment above. Instead of refuting my posting with facts or just stating, in a civil manner, that he disagrees with me, we get a panicked posting which is basically an attack on myself and my opinion.
I rest my case.


9 people like this
Posted by big data
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 22, 2015 at 8:22 pm

Agenda, Please reveal to us your real hidden agenda, DO NOT try to skew the numbers in your favor.

If you look at the complaints per unique caller:

Palo Alto = 2733/150 = 18
Santa Cruz = 3749/92 = 40
Los Gatos = 3553/89 = 40

Palo Alto definitely shows a more wide spread noise problem than other communities that are also suffering. It IS NOT just a small number of callers logging large number of complaints.



14 people like this
Posted by Agenda
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2015 at 8:32 pm

Big data-- I am not skewing any numbers. The population of Palo Alto is well over 60000 people. 150 callers is about 0.25% of the population. I clearly stated they were making 15-20 complaints per month. 18 is between 15 and 20. So which data am I skewing?
Why does someone that disagrees with you have a " hidden agenda"? Instead of launching these attacks on anyone that disagrees with your opinion, shouldn't you be providing us with FACTS-- I.e. Noise readings etc to bolster your claims.
I firmly believe that the " problem" is being over exaggerated by a very very very small number of very very very vocal residents.
These same residents have yet to come up with a viable solution to the problem.


16 people like this
Posted by OPar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 22, 2015 at 8:45 pm

Yep, the ratio of caller to complaints is actually relatively low for Palo Alto--but we have a larger number of people complaining--so the idea that it's just a few crank callers doesn't really wash. Of the 580 people who called to complain about airplane noise, 150 were from Palo Alto--or 25 percent of all complaints about noise to SFO. I think you'd have to have an anti-Palo Alto agenda to not acknowledge something was up--particularly when the record shows a bunch of planes banking and descending over Palo Alto.

Also, it would be an error to assume that there would be more than one caller per household--I think it's wiser to assume that each caller represents a household. You'd then further reduce the number of households by assuming that only those in certain areas are affected by air traffic--pretty clearly it's the areas east of El Camino and mostly east of Middlefield, though some of south Palo Alto west of Middlefield is affected (since a lot planes go east along the PA/MV border).

Anyway, we've clearly been heard with the result that Mountain View is now getting more flights--but really what's needed is wider distribution--I'm not surprised that we've had a certain number of posters from other communities try to downplay the issue because they know darn well that if we keep complaining the planes will fly over them instead.

I think we can guess as to whom the real NIMBYs are here. I'll just add that the members of the "Round Table Community"--SF and the Peninsula side of San Mateo--don't have a lot of complaints--clearly because they used their position to shove the traffic over the border.


12 people like this
Posted by big data
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 22, 2015 at 8:46 pm

Agenda,

You are missing the point here. In data analysis, we look at the rate of change instead of the static numbers. From May to June, the number of complaints per unique caller are:

Palo Alto: 4.5 times
Santa Cruz: 2.4 times
Los Gatos: 2.5 times

That means the rate of people becoming unhappy with the noise problem jumps in PA.

To be honest, this noise report system is very difficult to use, probably purposely designed so by SFO. Most of us all have our work/kids/chores that we need to work on. Much less to just sit there counting the planes, recording the times, and turning on computers, filling in the info... etc.

The other problem is awareness, I am sure if we make it easy to report and more Palo Altans know about this system, the complaints will be even way more wide spread.


Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 23, 2015 at 9:51 am

If someone posts the phone numbers and email addresses for logging noise complaints at SFO and SJO, we can fix any statistic Agenda cares to post.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 23, 2015 at 10:39 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Selection bias refers to the selection of individuals, groups or data for analysis such that proper randomization is not achieved, thereby ensuring that the sample obtained is not representative of the population intended to be analyzed."


6 people like this
Posted by big data
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 23, 2015 at 10:53 am

PC, funny you are talking about data randomization. What about your post on that noise measurement happened at one single address?

Web Link


5 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 23, 2015 at 2:02 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" What about your post on that noise measurement happened at one single address?"

That report included all of the event at that address for the entire report period - there was nothing biased about either the sample or the reporting of the data.

[Portion removed.]


14 people like this
Posted by Engineer
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 23, 2015 at 2:57 pm

"That report included all of the event at that address for the entire report period - there was nothing biased about either the sample or the reporting of the data."

You claim sampling over a time interval at one location is equivalent to sampling at multiple locations over a common time interval.

I beg to assure you it is not.

Get back to us after you take a course in data acquisition and statistics, no matter how elementary it may be.


5 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 23, 2015 at 4:40 pm

Where is the Air Traffic Control location? Pilots say that they have to follow instruction from ATC - as if they are not responsible for what they are doing.
We need to lock into ATC and figure out what is driving their agenda. After the survey came out I am seeing more blatant low traffic from San Jose in a reverse landing pattern which takes them over the whole of PA - down Embarcadero to the PAO, out over the bay and back in over the Googleplex.

Throw in a Jet Blue in the mix - it is like they are all flaunting some right of way.


5 people like this
Posted by Some thoughts
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 23, 2015 at 4:46 pm

Tracon is physically located in Rancho Cordova, east of Sacramento, unfortunately. Far from us and our reality. They do not seem to care much about the noise we experience on the ground.


1 person likes this
Posted by big data
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 23, 2015 at 6:36 pm

The online survey takes in 1,200 responses during the first 24 hours:

Web Link

For the people who are so addicted to using terms like "show me the facts", "small number of complainers", etc.. This ought to keep you quiet...


4 people like this
Posted by Agenda
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 23, 2015 at 7:00 pm

Big data- well first of all, it is 1200 surveys were submitted. That does not mean that 1200 individuals took the survey. The way the survey is set up, you can take it over and over again. If for example, someone thought that the complaints were being made by a very very very small vocal minority, then one could speculate that that very very very small minority submitted numerous surveys.
Then, you do not really know the results of the survey. So claiming to know what the response was to the survey is false.
Looks like you are trying to skew the numbers in your favor


9 people like this
Posted by Fran
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 23, 2015 at 7:36 pm

Does the report count online complaints? Seems like they only track people who call in. They should really track all sources of complaints.

For the reports, looking at numbers from Jan to June, we can see that the total # of complaints has increased over 6 fold, going from 2,685 to 17,564. So overall complaints has gone dramatically up rather than down. Maybe the numbers are seasonal but it seems to me Nextgen has made things worse when it was supposed to be better.


1 person likes this
Posted by Longing For Quieter Skies
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 23, 2015 at 8:03 pm

[Post removed; please don't use all CAPS]


14 people like this
Posted by OPar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 23, 2015 at 8:19 pm

Selection bias is irrelevant--or, rather, the point--if people are calling in to complain, then it's safe to assume they're unhappy with the noise. If more people call in from Palo Alto and the number of complaints has gone markedly up, it's safe to assume that people in Palo Alto are unhappier about airplane noise than their neighbors and that they are unhappier about the noise than they were last year.

The only kind of variations you might be able to work out would be along the lines of population density and total population--but our population density isn't that different from neighboring communities and we're not that different in size.

What we are is right over the border from cities that have been given special consideration--and it kind of sucks. For those who prattle on about the convenience of being near SFO, fact is we're *not* that close to SFO--we're 20 miles away; we're noticeably closer to San Jose. I've lived in Palo Alto for decades and airplane noise was never a major concern until recently.

SFO needs to straighten up its act and Peter Carpenter can quit pretending that our complaints aren't genuine. If he wants to put his money where his mouth is, I suggest that he petition SFO to increase the number of flights over Atherton.


7 people like this
Posted by Longing For Quieter Skies
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 23, 2015 at 9:48 pm

This list is for those who have found it difficult to locate the phone numbers to call and complain about airplane noise

Please use these numbers to call regularly. Some of the complaint lines count each call and some count the same person just one time each month.

SFO Airport complaint line: 877-206-8290
Palo Alto Airport: 650 329-2405
San Jose Airport: 408-392-3501
San Carlos Airport-Surf Air: 650 573-2666

THE FAA
San Jose: 408 291-7681
Oakland (This station covers SFO): 510 748-0122


1 person likes this
Posted by Johns
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 23, 2015 at 10:12 pm

Big Data - thanks for the web link to the news clip. Good information.


7 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 24, 2015 at 1:59 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"You claim sampling over a time interval at one location is equivalent to sampling at multiple locations over a common time interval."

Wrong - I was asked about the San mateo County noise study that was done in Atherton and I replied:"That report included all of the event at that address for the entire report period - there was nothing biased about either the sample or the reporting of the data."

I made no reference to the San Mateo County Atherton report being equivalent to sampling at multiple locations over a common time period.

I have long advocated that there be sampling at multiple locations over a common time interval but so far no one has undertaken that effort. Until such a study is done there is no factual basis for claiming that Palo Alto is exposed to more ground level noise from aircraft than are other communities that are closer to SFO.

I also stated that the comments posted on this Forum are, by definition, not a random sample and that the respondents to the Eshoo survey are not a random sample and hence both results suffer from selection bias. Asking all unhappy people in one community to respond to a question tells you nothing about the percentage of people who are unhappy in a particular population and certainly provides no comparative information regarding people in other communities.


5 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 24, 2015 at 9:13 am

Good article on this topic in the Daily News today. See there is an advocacy group in Menlo Park and Atherton called Calm the Skies.

Is it safe to assume that PC is heading up the Atherton / Menlo Park Calm the Skies group? There is also a Santa Cruz Save our Skies Group.

And of course Sky Posse here in PA.

Lots of people involved in this. FAA is in a "see no evil, hear no evil" mode of operation. From their point of view everything is hunky dory.


3 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 24, 2015 at 9:24 am

I suspect the reason that we do not have noise monitors is because the FAA cannot afford to be proven wrong - they have too much invested in their point of view.

Time to push back - but they are sitting over at the PAO so maybe some pressure being put on the city. Would they do that? Looks like it to me.


5 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 24, 2015 at 9:29 am

>> I suspect the reason that we do not have noise monitors is because the FAA cannot afford to be proven wrong - they have too much invested in their point of view.

Well, once they develop a metric or some noise protocol, then they have to listen to it, abide by it, follow it and do something about complaints or problems. Realistically that would add a whole other layer and action to their responsibilities. It is much easier to stall, ignore, and oil the squeaky wheel when it finally squeaks too much.


5 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 24, 2015 at 9:48 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"I suspect the reason that we do not have noise monitors is because the FAA cannot afford to be proven wrong"

The FAA and SFO are just following the physical science facts - ground level noise is inversely proportional to the altitude of the planes involved. The planes over Palo Alto are at a higher altitude than those planes are as they get closer to SFO. The well documented 65 CNEL db curves surrounding SFO are almost 18 miles from Palo Alto.

And there are no noise monitors in East Palo Alto, eastern Menlo Park, or Redwood Shores.

Noise monitors are quite properly placed where the real noise is, not where the complaints are.

Similarly there is no Shot Finder system in Palo Alto simply because there are so few gunshots in Palo Alto.


4 people like this
Posted by Stick to the Subject
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 24, 2015 at 9:50 am

>> [Post removed; please don't use all CAPS]

Really? A post was removed just for using all caps?


12 people like this
Posted by Johns
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 24, 2015 at 11:03 am

Last night at 10:39pm I was awaken by two planes flying over my home side by side at the same time. One was United and the other was Southwest. They were at different altitudes. I could not believe my eyes. Now they are coming in over Palo Alto for a double runway landing instead of coupling up over the Bay prior to landing. Double the assault, double the noise. This is getting out of control.


3 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 24, 2015 at 11:20 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Last night at 10:39pm I was awaken by two planes flying over my home side by side at the same time."

The flight were UA 1600 at 4600 ft and SW 48 at 5900 ft and they were 3000 ft apart horizontally for a total separation of almost 5000 ft.

Facts are important.


7 people like this
Posted by Engineer
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 24, 2015 at 11:52 am

"I made no reference to the San Mateo County Atherton report being equivalent to sampling at multiple locations over a common time period."

Of course you didn't. You coluldn't have; you have no perception of the concept. That is why I challenge you to learn something about data acquisition and analysis. Chop-chop, now.



"The flight were UA 1600 at 4600 ft and SW 48 at 5900 ft and they were 3000 ft apart horizontally for a total separation of almost 5000 ft."

And their respective speeds and position tracks relative to the observer were ___ ? We need these to re-create the event in the observer's frame of reference.

"Facts are important."

Indeed they are. ALL the facts, man, ALL the facts. Not just a glossed-over subset.


5 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 24, 2015 at 3:30 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"We need these to re-create the event in the observer's frame of reference."

Wrong. The observer's perceptions do not change the facts that the two flights were UA 1600 at 4600 ft and SW 48 at 5900 ft for a vertical separation of 1300 ft. and that they were 3000 ft apart horizontally.

A fundamental problem with many of the postings on this topic is that they attempt to treat perceptions and opinions as facts. Fortunately, as in this case, the facts have been carefully recorded.


3 people like this
Posted by Herb Borock
a resident of Professorville
on Jul 24, 2015 at 5:17 pm

Does anybody know the status of Portola Valley residents threat to file a lawsuit in federal court against the FAA?

Almanac story (print version): Web Link

Change.org petition: Web Link


5 people like this
Posted by Engineer
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 24, 2015 at 6:00 pm

"Wrong. The observer's perceptions do not change the facts that the two flights were UA 1600 at 4600 ft and SW 48 at 5900 ft for a vertical separation of 1300 ft. and that they were 3000 ft apart horizontally."

But can you understand that observation posts in the SF peninsula might hear those planes differently from a simultaneous observation post in, say, Modesto?

I don't believe you can. Don't worry, it's a brain thing. It happens to [Portion removed.]

Therefore you cannot understand that two peninsula observers may hear those planes dissimilarly, depending on their position relative to the aircraft tracks.

I write this not to argue with PC, but to use him as an illustration in order to educate our sentient citizens on the role of where one listens to aircraft noise, especially multiple aircraft that happen to be within hearing simultaneously.


4 people like this
Posted by Some thoughts
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 24, 2015 at 6:28 pm

Another question:

What did the FAA officials have to say at today's meeting in Palo Alto? A short summary here would be welcome. Not everyone can attend the upcoming Sky Posse meeting.


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 25, 2015 at 1:03 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Sound public policy is based on factual information and comparative data.

As someone who dealt with airplane noise complaints for years as the Chair of the Palo Alto Airport Joint Community Relations Committee I am well aware that perceptions do not equal reality and that a very small number of very noise sensitivity individuals contribute the vast majority of noise complaints. In addition there is a herd mentality that stimulates additional complaints based on how much visibility can be created about the issue even in the absence of any change in the facts. I recall many months in which over 95% of the noise complaints received by PAO came from the same single individual.

The most useful feature of a noise complaint system is to alert the appropriate responsible agencies that there may be an unexpected change in the condition being monitored so that updated quantitative information can be obtained to verify the actual facts.

[Portion removed.]


7 people like this
Posted by Outdated
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2015 at 10:02 am

Peter Carpenter,

If you can't trust a complaint system, what's your suggestion?


9 people like this
Posted by PV resident
a resident of Portola Valley
on Jul 25, 2015 at 10:23 am

The lawsuit is actually an appeal of the FAA's finding of no significant impact due to the implementation of Nextgen even with the concentration of flights over communities, lower altitudes, a projected increase in SFO traffic of at least 21% by 2019, and a continued to need to vector planes over Palo Alto, Portola Valley and neighboring communities which is known to be a big contributor of noise. If the lawsuit is decided in favor of the petitioners, the FAA would have to complete a full environmental impact study for not just Portola Valley but the entire Nor Cal region i.e. all communities negatively impacted by the parade of aircraft would benefit from a resssessment. For more information about the lawsuit, email ahcnoiseabatement@gmail.com


6 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 25, 2015 at 10:25 am

Great articles in the papers today - Saturday.
My take on this:
1. The FAA has taken a position and is in process of implementing it. It is projecting a see no evil - hear no evil position to protect their current implementation of their plan.
2, They are in a tight spot - a large number of qualified pilots are due to forced retirement and they do not have a good number of younger pilots to replace them.
3. Likewise they do not have a good number of qualified air controllers to manage the huge leap in air travel and number of planes in the air.
4. Their fall back decision is to put the air control process on satellites versus people.
5. Given what we know today about the lack of training in Asian airline pilots and upcoming US pilots that is a recipe for disaster. Between the satellite control, lack of training for pilots, and older planes that may not have the most current required systems (freight that flies at night to avoid scrutiny) it will be a out-of-control situation.
6. The government has a problem with projected plans versus the implementation of plans that are not full-proof. We see that in the papers every day.
7. We are sitting under this massive movement of air power that is crisscrossing our skies on a continual basis. Any look at the sky tracking systems show planes going out of their way and choosing routes that could be over lower population areas - or no population areas (the mountains, the bay) but instead they are choosing the higher population areas to cross over.
And they are doing that at reduced altitude requirements. They are blatantly pushing themselves in our face.

Bottom line is they can no longer resist the noise monitors at various key locations across the lower peninsula. They have an overabundance in San Jose - spread existing monitors out to the San Mateo County line so that Santa Clara County is fully covered. Their is no excuse now for that not to happen.

San Jose Airport has a different set of problems - but SFO as a large international airport has to implement better control over the airspace and altitude levels. No excuse for this not to happen.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 25, 2015 at 10:30 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Peter Carpenter,

If you can't trust a complaint system, what's your suggestion?"

You can trust a complaint system to focus attention on a possible problem but a complaint system is not a reliable source of information on actual ground level noise levels. If you want reliable ground level noise measurements then you have to invest in a properly calibrated noise monitoring system - Palo Alto has chosen not to make such an investment.


1 person likes this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 25, 2015 at 10:41 am

PC - I think you have adequately described the Menlo Park - Atherton Air Calming group - of which I am sure you are a part. Each area is driven by self interest. Given what we know today about all of the statistics in the paper and current newspaper articles describing the FAA and SFO's approach they override your personal takes on this situation.

The FAA, SFO, and the legislative actions are going to drive this situation - it is a GO.

Your time at the PAO was not recent and was probably relative to the PAO personal planes. This is new world now and we are dealing with the situation as it is today. Your group is actively working the Surf Air situation with vigor. We will work our situation with vigor.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 25, 2015 at 10:53 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"PC - I think you have adequately described the Menlo Park - Atherton Air Calming group - of which I am sure you are a part."

I am not part of the Menlo Park - Atherton Air Calming group
- as I have repeatedly posted.

[Portion removed.]


7 people like this
Posted by big data
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 25, 2015 at 10:56 am

PC,

"If you want reliable ground level noise measurements then you have to invest in a properly calibrated noise monitoring system". Well said.

So before a monitoring system is in place, please refrain from saying that the complaints are only from a small number of people !!


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 25, 2015 at 11:46 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


5 people like this
Posted by big data
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 25, 2015 at 12:01 pm

PC - Wait, but didn't you say that the complaint system is not trustworthy?

"but a complaint system is not a reliable source of information on actual ground level noise levels"


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 25, 2015 at 12:13 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"PC - Wait, but didn't you say that the complaint system is not trustworthy?"

No, please read what I posted:

You can trust a complaint system to focus attention on a possible problem but a complaint system is not a reliable source of information on actual ground level noise levels. If you want reliable ground level noise measurements then you have to invest in a properly calibrated noise monitoring system - Palo Alto has chosen not to make such an investment.


5 people like this
Posted by big data
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 25, 2015 at 12:21 pm

PC - NO. If you google "selection bias", you will find exactly what you are doing now.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 25, 2015 at 1:18 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I am not engaging in selection bias - the selection here is being done by the posters, not by me.

"Selection bias refers to the selection of individuals, groups or data for analysis such that proper randomization is not achieved, thereby ensuring that the sample obtained is not representative of the population intended to be analyzed."

How many posters have stated that airplane noise is not a problem?


8 people like this
Posted by Mike Anson
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 25, 2015 at 1:42 pm

"And it would be useful in this exchange to stop the childish, snide remarks like"I don't believe you can. Don't worry, it's a brain thing" which contribute nothing to the understanding of the issue."

I would submit these remarks summarize the heart of the issue, namely, the FAA and its apologists are unable or unwilling to understand the problem. Their dismissive, condescending attitude to those seeking redress of grievance is typical of a bureaucracy structurally disconnected from its mission and constituents.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 25, 2015 at 2:36 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"I would submit these remarks summarize the heart of the issue, namely, the FAA and its apologists are unable or unwilling to understand the problem."

There is nothing dismissive in my remarks - those who believe that Palo Alto suffers a disproportionate ground level airplane noise problem have consistently and repeatedly failed to provide any comparative data to support their assertion. I would welcome any data that supports their claim.

I have repeatedly and consistently acknowledged that some people are aware of, sensitized to and bothered by airplane noise. I have also challenged anybody to provide data that proves that Palo Alto is disproportionately impacted by airplane noise compared to other communities.


2 people like this
Posted by what noise
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 25, 2015 at 6:54 pm

[Post removed.]


7 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 25, 2015 at 8:44 pm

Thank you to Air Posse for a great meeting today to recap the meeting with the FAA and Anna Eshoo. A lot of time and effort by a lot of people - thank you.


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Posted by what noise
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 25, 2015 at 9:49 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Fran
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 25, 2015 at 10:36 pm

Here's a link to the Mercury News article about the FAA meeting if anyone missed it.

Palo Alto: FAA official receptive to group's concerns about aircraft noise
Web Link


4 people like this
Posted by FlyHigher
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 25, 2015 at 11:40 pm


Peter C.,

I find it strange that you say that "Palo Alto has not chosen to make (...) an investment [in noise monitors]", when it was SFO, which has for years explained that it had deployed the noise monitoring system for SFO-arriving flights, and that IT would be in charge of monitoring noise. So PA is supposed to monitor the noise that is spilled onto PA by SFO, but SFO and San Mateo make the revenues of the noise-creating and environment-polluting flights?


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 26, 2015 at 12:13 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

SFO pays for and deploys noise monitors in those areas where there is a pattern of flights at low enough altitudes to potentially create a significant ground sound level problem. All of the SFO and SJC sound monitors are located within a few miles of their respective runways. As noted many time Palo Alto is at least 18 miles away from the nearest 65 CNEL db curve. So the FAA monitors noise where there is significant noise - and not in Palo Alto or Menlo Park or Redwood Shores.

I suggest that IF the City of Palo Alto thinks that it has a ground level airplane noise problem that the city should contract with a competent and reputable company to install and operate a properly calibrated monitoring station.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 26, 2015 at 1:49 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

A comment by Eshoo demonstrates a proper appreciation that this is a regional issue:

"Eshoo said any fixes would have to take the entire region into account and asked the FAA to develop short- and long-term strategies."


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Posted by note
a resident of Professorville
on Jul 26, 2015 at 12:41 pm

This article uses oddly subjective and leading language for something in the "News" section, e.g., "extend like superhighways over their neighborhoods"---seriously? Not to mention the strange assertions about increased throttling noise and military drone traffic. Let's keep these kinds of pieces in the "Opinion" section.


1 person likes this
Posted by what plane noise?
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 28, 2015 at 11:34 pm


I hear more trains than planes anyday.


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