News

Editorial: Eshoo's big challenge

With constituents upset over airplane noise, can Anna Eshoo get action from a resistant federal bureaucracy?

It is rare for a member of Congress to become a lightning rod for complaints about the local impacts of a federal agency's policies, mostly because those impacts are usually diffuse and relatively invisible.

But that's the position Rep. Anna Eshoo finds herself in, along with a handful of other members of Congress around the country who are dealing with constituents angry over the arrogance and heavy-handedness of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The FAA is rolling out a major new system for managing the flow of aircraft arrivals and departures in the busiest metropolitan areas around the nation, and there have been big changes locally in recent months that have raised the ire of many of Eshoo's constituents on the Peninsula.

The NextGen program's stated goals are to reduce aircraft fuel consumption, increase safety and capacity, and create standard flight paths that bring planes into airport landing approaches at proper spacing and on steady and gentle glide paths.

That all sounds beneficial, but in practice the program is shifting and concentrating flight paths -- which in the past had been dispersed over many cities -- over just a few communities.

Palo Alto and East Palo Alto in particular are facing a constant onslaught of planes bound for San Francisco Airport -- and, when the winds shift, planes destined for San Jose as well because the FAA has determined that the skies above Palo Alto will be the point of convergence for most inbound aircraft.

A growing, determined and organized group of citizens is pushing Eshoo and Santa Cruz-Monterey (where there are similar problems) Rep. Sam Farr to bring pressure to bear on the FAA. This week both the Palo Alto City Council and the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted resolutions urging action to address the problem.

The Palo Alto council also approved a study to collect and analyze aircraft and noise data in order to clearly document the changes and impacts, although the staff says it can't even award a contract for the work until early next year, making it a less-than-effective tool for achieving results in a reasonable time frame. An accelerated and regionally supported study would provide more leverage.

The real solution to fixing the problem, however, lies with Eshoo and other members of Congress in the Quiet Skies Caucus, formed by members of Congress representing impacted districts.

While Eshoo's current clout within the House of Representatives is diminished as a member of the minority Democratic party, the value of the strong relationship she has honed over many years with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and the Obama administration will now be put to the test.

After serving for 23 years in the Congress and 10 years as a San Mateo County Supervisor, Eshoo knows her way around political minefields and big egos, and she has a rare opportunity to demonstrate those skills by persuading the FAA to stand down and change the implementation of NextGen.

She has begun that process with several letters to the FAA challenging it to respond to public concerns and hold local hearings and to the House Transportation Committee urging that new legislation include a tightening of noise standards and requirements for environmental review of new flight paths.

Earlier federal legislation in 2012 authorizing the NextGen system, which Eshoo and most Democrats opposed, included exemptions from normal environmental review in order to fast track the roll-out of the badly needed technology improvements.

And last year, over objections made by Eshoo and others, the FAA made an administrative finding that the NextGen route changes in the Bay Area would have no significant noise impacts. That finding, now clearly in error, is the subject of a legal challenge by Portola Valley residents.

Neither the courts nor token FAA outreach meetings are the ideal way to achieve fairness and relief from the FAA on this issue. Eshoo is in the best position to lead this effort and must use all the political tools and resources at her disposal to forge a solution with the FAA. It is a major test of her clout and influence in Washington and of her ability to deliver a fair solution for her constituents.

Her efforts might include convening her own advisory panel of technical experts, using her influence to open up membership in the San Francisco Airport Roundtable to cities in Santa Clara County, developing a political strategy utilizing connected local Obama supporters; and taking steps to unify all Peninsula and Santa Cruz County communities behind one solution.

This is the time when having a congressional representative with 23 years of experience, of the same party as the Administration, and representing a district that has been a major campaign funding source for the President should pay dividends.

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Comments

6 people like this
Posted by optimistic
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 28, 2015 at 8:04 am

Local citizens have learned a lot about the problem in recent months and it is clear that this is a political issue more than technical.

Total operations for SFO in 1990 440,090
Total operations for SFO in 2014 431,966

It appears that technically at least we can be optimistic that this is a solvable problem.


8 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 28, 2015 at 8:07 am

YEAH!!!! We are on the right track. Everyone in Santa Clara County is behind Rep. Eshoo. Please include Joe Simitian since he has to interact with the Santa Clara County Supervisors which are heavily based in San Jose.

The San Jose Airport has additional problems in this mix. The reverse in their landing pattern which brings their arrivals over the whole of Palo Alto to the PAO is typified as a change in wind directions but reality says they are flying over our heads at less than 2,000 ft on a regular basis in beautiful weather with no wind.

We should also address the presence of the FAA at the PAO control tower since that may be some rationale for "training" purposes which explain strange flight patterns.

We should also include the Transportation Safety Board since all who follow the flight trackers are fully aware of erratic ATC directions to planes which constitute a safety issue. Since the FAA is "committed" to safety then they need to step up to the plate and be accountable for that stated position.

The only way to solve this problem is through political clout and we need to exercise political clout to the full extent possible. This should also go up to Governor Brown and Gavin Newsome since the Silicon Valley business base is a heavy contributor to the California economy.


20 people like this
Posted by Skywhisperer
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 28, 2015 at 8:38 am

Kudos to Anna Eshoo for her excellent work on this important issue! Lucky for us, there's a great solution. OVER THE BAY! No need to move the noise and air pollution on to our neighboring communities. We won the geographical jackpot! We have the bay.

Air traffic from the east doesn't currently fly over Palo Alto. Air traffic from Washington DC, New York, etc., already flies its last low 20 miles quietly over the bay, from the far south end of bay. Most jets COULD do this. Most of Palo Alto's current air traffic could easily be moved over the bay. There's lot of room there. There's already an SFO arrival route there.

Happily, we have a great solution to cleaning up the terrible noise and toxic air pollution from the hundreds of thundering and whining jets daily damaging our health, productivity, sleep, and livability. I'm looking forward to enjoying my backyard again. Move those jets OVER THE BAY!


9 people like this
Posted by anon
a resident of Monroe Park
on Aug 28, 2015 at 8:55 am

@skyw..

Occasionally even planes coming from the east manage to fly over PA.. a UAL flight from Chicago did just that earlier this morning.


12 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 28, 2015 at 8:56 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

There are two solutions to this problem. One involves using existing navigation points and approved approaches and one involves taking advantage of the real capabilities of NextGen.

The first:
1 - All SFO inbound traffic from the North and the East must use the RNAV (GPS) X RWY 28R approach and must enter that approach at the ANETE Initial Approach Fix (IAF) for which the minimum crossing altitude is 7000 ft,

Web Link

Alternatively these aircraft could us the ILS or LOC RWY 28R approach and must enter at ARCHI IAF for which the minimum crossing altitude is 7000 ft,

Web Link

2 - All SFO inbound traffic from the South and the West must use the RNAV (GPS) X RWY 28L approach and must enter that approach at the Faith IAF which has a minimum crossing altitude of 7000 ft.,

Web Link

Entry to this approach via MENLO intersection would not be permitted.

Alternatively these aircraft could us the ILS or LOC RWY 28L approach and must enter at the FAITH IAF for which the minimum crossing altitude is 7000 ft,

Web Link

Entry to this approach via MENLO intersection would not be permitted.


3 - SFO and SJC must be landing in the same direction unless the wind differential between them is greater than 1o knots.

These recommendations use existing and established procedures and do not impinge on the SJC airspace.
If these recommendations were to be adopted then Palo Alto's problem would go away. Some communities further to the South would see significant increases in overflights but these would be at higher altitudes.

The second, using NextGen technology is:
As a starting point I recommend the following report:

An AEF Report for HACAN on:
Approach Noise at Heathrow: Concentrating the Problem


Here are some highly relevant excerpts:

"And the solution that has been championed concerns air traffic manage
management, specifically the more
widespread use of Continuous Descent Approaches (CDAs). Traditional approach paths involved
aircraft descending through different blocks of airspace in a series of steps, using flaps and power
changes to manage speed. In CDAs, in contrast, aircraft descend into the airport at a steady 3
degrees; while there will still be some noise from the engine, additional noise from the aircraft itself
is reduced. This procedure, combined with the use of P‐RNAV and changes to the joining point for
final approach, have increased the concentration of aircraft along corridors. For pilots, this reduces
the number of factors having to be taken into account when landing. For Government, it helps to
satisfy the environmental objective of minimising the number of people affected by aircraft noise
when determining arrival and departure paths and airspace revisions.
Changes in the joining point to optimise Continuous Descent Approaches have produced as many
losers as winners: it has resulted in more concentration of flight paths many changes to manage speed. In CDAs, in contrast, aircraft descend into the airport at a steady 3
degrees; while there will still be some noise from the engine, additional noise from the aircraft itself
is reduced. This procedure, combined with the use of P‐RNAV and changes to the joining point for
final approach, have increased the concentration of aircraft along corridors. For pilots, this reduces
the number of factors having to be taken into account when landing. For Government, it helps to
satisfy the environmental objective of minimising the number of people affected by aircraft noise
when determining arrival and departure paths and airspace revisions.
Changes in the joining point to optimise Continuous Descent Approaches have produced as many
losers as winners: it has resulted in more concentration of flight paths many miles from the airport."

"But alternative approaches do exist…..a number of schemes are being trialled at airports around
the world or at least being assessed.

To deal with the issue of concentration of traffic, some airports have been trialling curved CDA
approaches. This gives the benefit of a continuous descent but allows air traffic controllers to have
several CDA approaches – more akin to the fanning effect of traditional approach paths – reducing
the number of overflights in any given place. Other airports have also looked at using curved CDA to
join the final straight approach at different points, effectively a herring bone pattern."

Here is a diagram of such a herring bone pattern:
Web Link

****************************
So using the concept of a herring bone pattern and Advanced (or curved) Controlled Descent Approachs (CDA'a) here is a Draft SFO Arrivals Protocol:

1 – Establish two 25 mile plus 284 degree radials form SFO – one as an extension of Runway 28 Right and the second as an extension of Runway 28 Left.

2 – Place intercept points on each of these 284 deg radials at ½ mile intervals starting 10 miles from SFO where the 3 degree glide path interception point would be at 3000 ft and continuing out to the 25 mile point for a total of 32 interception points on both radials.

3 – ATC to randomly assign Curving CDAs to airplanes from the North and East to the 16 interception points on 28 Right radial.

4 - ATC to randomly assign Curving CDAs to airplanes from the South and West to the 16 interception points on 28 Left radial.

5 – Between 2100 (9 PM) and 0600 (6 AM) aircraft would be randomly assigned to interceptions point no closer than 20 miles from SFO.

6 - Future improvements could be made when and if steeper glide paths ( greater than 3 degrees) are approved.





5 people like this
Posted by Mikey
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 28, 2015 at 8:56 am

Skywhisperer - how do the planes from Asia get to "OVER THE BAY?" Fly through the Golden Gate? Climb to 50,000 feet then come down like a roller coaster? Also, the bay isn't really that big considering the amount of airplanes and the spacing required for safety. So, SFO, OAK and SJC are all going to be jammed into the bay?

I actually think the FAA's goals are the ones I support: safety and fuel efficiency. You can barely hear the planes over all the construction noise (and the noise generated by non-stop complainers) anyway.


10 people like this
Posted by Geographical Jackpot
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 28, 2015 at 8:57 am

Yeah Anna Eshoo for taking a stand and fighting for her constituents. As I contemplate leaving Noisy Alto for a quieter and more peaceful place to live, I have some hope that Anna, joe simitian, City of Palo Alto and SkyPossee will be able to forge a regional arrivals route OVER the BAY. There is 20 ! Miles of bay that could be used for all the toxic noise and small particle exhaust that is currently being dumped on citizens and schoolchildren here in Palo Alto. SFO and the FAA should wake up to the fact that we are not going to accept their argument that they don't move noise. Let's use our geographical jackpot , the BAY!!!!


14 people like this
Posted by Amy C.
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 28, 2015 at 9:01 am

Thanks, for a great editorial. Anna Eshoo has stepped up to help and her constituents should be very grateful.

City Staff and Council are also committed to reaching out to other peninsula communities to engage them in devising a solution with more equitable, less impactful, commercial aircraft noise distribution. This would be facilitated by any effort Congressional Members and County Supervisors can make to bring everyone to the negotiating table. Together, peninsula communities can find a fair and data-enlightened solution.

The PA City study should be very useful in designing the approaches to major airports so that humans on the ground don't have their lives disrupted day and night by frequent low aircraft. However, it is only in the "Request for Proposals" stage and it is true the study will take months to complete, not weeks. But we must have hard data to make headway with the FAA. Anna Eshoo has said as much. The FAA supplied no transparency as to how their new routes were found to have no impact, and that is because they didn't actually use metrics that would find the impact. They did not wish to find the impact. Our emotional pleas and stories of sleepless nights and distracted students have no impact on the FAA.

We need noise monitors that are maintained not by those with an interest in increasing air traffic, but by those affected by aircraft noise. Palo Alto needs to purchase and control noise monitors so that the data is fairly analyzed and any "fixes" can be maintained well into the future.

If the Airline industry is correct in estimating growth in air travel over the coming decades, we are all going to suffer increased traffic overhead--even if it is more fairly distributed. We, the people, might also assume some responsibility for our carbon footprints and fly less than the airlines would hope. Perhaps the digital age will not require so much business travel. Perhaps airlines needn't fly several aircraft with empty seats between LAX and SFO each day. Perhaps, external costs of pollution and ground noise should also be part of the cost of a ticket --in the form of a federal tax that is used for research into quieter, less polluting aircraft. The aviation industry is just that: an industry in the sky. It needs environmental regulation just as power plants are regulated.




6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 28, 2015 at 9:02 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Let's use our geographical jackpot , the BAY!!!!"

PLEASE read the two proposals that I have posted that do exactly that.


12 people like this
Posted by where the watermelons grow
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 28, 2015 at 9:03 am

anon,

"Occasionally even planes coming from the east manage to fly over PA.. a UAL flight from Chicago did just that earlier this morning."

Waking up to airplane noise every single day, awoken every night, several times a night, 20 miles from an airport is brutal.

OVER THE BAY!


Like this comment
Posted by Old Steve
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Aug 28, 2015 at 9:56 am

What entitles us to a different expectation of noise 20 miles from SFO than San Bruno and Daly City 5 miles away under the direct departure route? San Jose (SJC) can land to the south when conditions indicate. That is far more noise than these SFO approaches. Thanks to the drought we have not had that many days of landing to the South lately.























































































8 people like this
Posted by Tom Rindfleisch
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 28, 2015 at 10:10 am

I want to commend Peter Carpenter for his earlier post about a set of concrete, thoughtful proposals for how to move toward a regional solution for minimizing aircraft noise intrusion. I have spent a fair amount of time recently trying to quantify aircraft overflight noise characteristics (see my preliminary report at Web Link). It seems to me that we can draw attention to the Palo Alto problem by lots of griping, but the only reasonable way forward to achieve a realistic working solution for everyone is for us regionally to come up with a plan that is acceptable to us and to the FAA (this is after all a "zero sum game"). This effort does need to be data driven, but the politics of moving forward requires community education and consensus building. Here is where Congresswoman Eshoo might contribute her valuable skills to facilitate this conversation.

Tom Rindfleisch


3 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 28, 2015 at 10:19 am

The theory that planes coming in from the east do not cross the peninsula is incorrect. Any one that is familiar with and views the trackers know that many large planes enter from the east side, cross over SFO at a high altitude, come down the peninsula, then rotate back to SFO. This is a common occurrence during the heavy commute hours in the morning and evening. Planes have to line up in a queue and during the heavy commute period there are more planes than spaces.

Many of these planes are international planes that have to land at the International gates so people can go through Passport Control procedures. That gets more complicated as they have to clear the baggage. The planes have to wait until their assigned gate is available before they land.

The more international planes you have the more they have to wait for an available gate at the International terminal.


4 people like this
Posted by optimistic
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 28, 2015 at 10:39 am

Does this problem really have to be seen as someone's gain is someone else's loss?

We are talking about SFO operations being below 1990 levels.


5 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 28, 2015 at 10:45 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Does this problem really have to be seen as someone's gain is someone else's loss?"

Unless the number of SFO flights is reduced then reducing the number that fly over any one community means increasing the number that fly over some other community, Flying at higher altitude can help but there are still some people in any community that object to overflights at any altitude. There is no way to get to the Bay that does not fly over other communities.

So Palo Alto should be prepared for pushback from other communities as it tries to solve its perceived problem.

And a s posted before here is the official SFO Roundtable policy:

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


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 28, 2015 at 10:48 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The theory that planes coming in from the east do not cross the peninsula is incorrect."

No one has stated that "theory".

What has been proposed are two different solutions which would preclude planes arriving from the East from flying over the peninsula.


6 people like this
Posted by grandmakk
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 28, 2015 at 11:03 am

I am surprised by the suggestions of flying over the Bay as something new. How do you think the planes arrived BEFORE this new pattern over Palo Alto?

For years, we watched the line of airplanes (and at night, their lights) approach in a long line over the Bay. They can do that again .....


5 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 28, 2015 at 11:08 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"I am surprised by the suggestions of flying over the Bay as something new. How do you think the planes arrived BEFORE this new pattern over Palo Alto? "

They flew over the peninsula - just in different locations and at different altitudes.

Planes CANNOT get to the Bay without flying over one or more communities.


Like this comment
Posted by LinksDoNotWork
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 28, 2015 at 11:10 am

Peter,
None of your Web Link entries are functional in my (Firefox or Chrome) browser. Did something happen to them? Can they be fixed?
Thanks!


4 people like this
Posted by optimistic
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 28, 2015 at 11:14 am

grandmakk,

So right, that's how it was before, and today there are fewer SFO operations than in the past.

I do not buy that this is a zero-sum game.


7 people like this
Posted by Barry
a resident of another community
on Aug 28, 2015 at 11:14 am

Kudos to Anna Eshoo. We must all remember that "Government" is how WE THE PEOPLE organize. It is not our enemy. The FAA may have become a captive organization of the industry they regulate due to the usual campaign corruption of $$$$ but we must take government back as our own. We do this by electing representatives who, Like Anna Eshoo, represent the PEOPLE not the corporations.


2 people like this
Posted by ThanksTom
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 28, 2015 at 11:14 am

Tom,
I have read your report and am both impressed and appreciative. I agree that data must drive our actions.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 28, 2015 at 11:18 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"None of your Web Link entries are functional in my (Firefox or Chrome) browser. Did something happen to them? Can they be fixed?"

They don't work because the Town Forum prohibit the importation of links from other Town Forum postings - go figure.

Here are the links ( and it is a huge pain to have to keep recreating them):

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 28, 2015 at 11:23 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"I do not buy that this is a zero-sum game. "

Then you are not looking at the data. .

1998 - 438,685
2014 - 431,633


Like this comment
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 28, 2015 at 11:37 am

I would appreciate it if my comments are not parsed. The whole of the entry is more than one parsed statement. I was responding to someone's comments which were incorrect.

And why we are at this does it occur to anyone that highly specific data concerning flight paths over a highly populated area that has a lot of international attention is probably not in anyone's best interest"?

This is like Ms. Clinton and her emails - go to point A for Benghazi.

Much of the highly specific data here may be viewed as not to be touted in public forums.


2 people like this
Posted by L
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 28, 2015 at 11:41 am

Thanks, Peter.
I've opened them all and will save them and then will spend some time trying to absorb them!


18 people like this
Posted by Angela
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 28, 2015 at 11:55 am

If you're relying on Eshoo to solve this problem, it's not going to get solved. She's one of the least effective members of Congress. She rarely gets any legislation passed. I think her last bill signed into law was to regulate the volume of TV commercials. She's been coasting for years. She gets re-elected because there's a D after her name, but nobody looks at her record. If you confront her on this, she'll say she's in the minority party. But even when Democrats were in the majority, she still couldn't get things done. In virtually every congressional district, you can find evidence of the positive things the local congressperson did. What do we have here to indicate Eshoo is "bringing home the bacon"? She doesn't have the clout to solve this problem. If the author if this editorial had been paying attention, he would have known that expecting something from Eshoo was a dead end. We Democrats need a more effective representative in Washington, not somebody who is coasting, like Eshoo. I wish somebody would challenge her in the next election, or that she would step aside and let Joe Simitian have this seat.


2 people like this
Posted by optimistic
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 28, 2015 at 12:02 pm

The broader point about traffic levels is that there have been a great amount of operations in the past. Looks like things are just now going back to the highs of the 90's.

Unless something has changed that makes the system incapable of handling this level of operations without making it a zero-sum game, then I remain optimistic. And maybe "game" would not be a good term.


Calendar Facility Total
Year Operations

1989 SFO 108,765
1990 SFO 440,090
1991 SFO 429,213
1992 SFO 423,437
1993 SFO 425,869
1994 SFO 433,072
1995 SFO 435,948
1996 SFO 441,834
1997 SFO 449,821
1998 SFO 432,046
1999 SFO 440,032
2000 SFO 430,554
2001 SFO 387,599
2002 SFO 351,453
2003 SFO 334,515
2004 SFO 354,073
2005 SFO 353,774
2006 SFO 359,415
2007 SFO 379,568
2008 SFO 388,104
2009 SFO 380,311
2010 SFO 388,758
2011 SFO 403,675
2012 SFO 423,322
2013 SFO 420,915
2014 SFO 431,966


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 28, 2015 at 12:20 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Unless something has changed that makes the system incapable of handling this level of operations without making it a zero-sum game, then I remain optimistic. And maybe "game" would not be a good term."

First, Game Theory is a very practical science that helps us to understand and solve problems involving distribution of resources:
"In game theory and economic theory, a zero-sum game is a mathematical representation of a situation in which each participant's gain (or loss) of utility is exactly balanced by the losses (or gains) of the utility of the other participant(s)."

Second, the zero sum nature of the current situation is that any flight that is moved away from one community must be moved someplace else. One community's loss/gain is another community's gain/loss, hence zero sum.


21 people like this
Posted by Just passing through
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 28, 2015 at 12:48 pm

Yep, planes are not more numerous at SFO than in the 90s. The difference is they used to fly above San Mateo county, including over Atherton. These latter communities managed to get rid of much of their noise pollution by sending the planes down to Palo Alto and vicinity instead, with the help of Anna Eshoo by the way. Now they say that planes cannot be moved. How cute of them.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 28, 2015 at 1:05 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Now they say that planes cannot be moved."

No one has said that the planes cannot be moved just that there are predictable consequences to such movements that need to be anticipated and understood.

Do you propose to take actions without considering their consequences?


26 people like this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 28, 2015 at 1:47 pm

Thank you to the Weekly for such a well written and comprehensive editorial, and thank you Anna Eshoo, for having the courage to take on this complex political issue.

Also, thank you Sky Posse. It is hard to imagine that any of the recent developments would have happened without the expertise, dedication, and hard work of Sky Posse.

Changing the SFO approach plan doesn't have to be a Malthusian "zero sum game" as some have suggested. Sky Posse's OVER-the-BAY solution can bring real noise relief to everyone under the approach routes, by routing aircraft over populated areas at much higher altitude, avoiding overflight of populated areas whenever possible, and performing the lowest, noisiest, portion of the approach OVER-the-BAY.

While there are a number of adjustments to the current plan that could bring some quick relief to local communities, with safety as the first priority, the design of a new approach plan for the Norcal Metroplex must be a very deliberate process, that will require the participation, of aviation experts, political leadership, savvy community organizations, and... the FAA.

Efforts by "lone wolves" to short circuit the process, jump to premature solutions, or marginalize, or diminish, the role of any of the participants in the process, are counterproductive.


8 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 28, 2015 at 2:01 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

My short term proposal using NOTHING but already approved FAA approaches.

Sad that people are willing to wait for an as yet unfunded Palo Alto study and then "a very deliberate process, that will require the participation, of aviation experts, political leadership, savvy community organizations, and... the FAA."


Why not make a positive proposal???


As I said, this is THE Palo Alto Process in spades.


Like this comment
Posted by Old Steve
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Aug 28, 2015 at 2:12 pm

Above it is indicated that Sky Posse has a plan. Their website is quoted below, but I did not see a "PLAN" anywhere? Over the Bay seems to ignore departure needs from SJC and Moffett.

>>Changing the SFO approach plan doesn't have to be a Malthusian "zero sum game" as some have suggested. Sky Posse's OVER-the-BAY solution can bring real noise relief to everyone under the approach routes, by routing aircraft over populated areas at much higher altitude, avoiding overflight of populated areas whenever possible, and performing the lowest, noisiest, portion of the approach OVER-the-BAY.


6 people like this
Posted by where the watermelons grow
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 28, 2015 at 2:13 pm

Mr. C.

It's not "sad" that people have to wait for a study. It's "sad" that it has never happened before.


1 person likes this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 28, 2015 at 2:15 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Keep looking backwards - it won't solve the problem.


11 people like this
Posted by OPar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 28, 2015 at 2:15 pm

Well said Jetman,

It's fun to bandy about "solutions" in the forum, but the solution isn't going to come from us. What Sky Posse's been doing is what we need to be doing--demonstrating quantifiably that there's a problem and pushing for a solution.

The triple convergence we have south of the Round Table communities strikes me as something that probably seemed politically expedient at the time, but it's not working. A better solution is probably a bit more conceptually difficult for the FAA, but will probably benefit all of us. Apart from the noise, I'm just not convinced that a triple convergence over a densely populated area is a good idea as far as safety goes. It's fine as long as everything goes according to plan, but if it doesn't . . .

Which makes me think of that Korean cargo plane that dropped to 700 feet at SFO, then rose again and looped Palo Alto a second time in the middle of the night. What kind of situation would that have caused at evening rush hour?

I think the herringbone suggestion is too complex for reality, but it does seem to me that we should have more than two flight paths into the bay. At the very least, the LAX flights should be coming along or near the Fremont corridor with the eastern domestic flights--particularly as the flights seem to come in over Fremont at a higher altitude.

It seems to me, also, that given SJC's curfew and the lack of traffic that SFO's late-night arrivals could have an arrival pattern that deliberately skirts populated areas at lower altitudes. That shouldn't even be that hard.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 28, 2015 at 2:17 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"but the solution isn't going to come from us."

Thank goodness Silicon Valley wasn't built on that principle.


3 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 28, 2015 at 2:27 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"It seems to me, also, that given SJC's curfew and the lack of traffic that SFO's late-night arrivals could have an arrival pattern that deliberately skirts populated areas at lower altitudes. That shouldn't even be that hard."

It isn't difficult and it is SOLVED by each of my two proposals.


10 people like this
Posted by where the watermelons grow
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 28, 2015 at 3:53 pm

By saying the solution won't come from us, I think it meant that the solution will come about the way Jetman explained.

Jetman
"While there are a number of adjustments to the current plan that could bring some quick relief to local communities, with safety as the first priority, the design of a new approach plan for the Norcal Metroplex must be a very deliberate process, that will require the participation, of aviation experts, political leadership, savvy community organizations, and... the FAA."

This is very reasonable.


1 person likes this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 28, 2015 at 4:22 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

""While there are a number of adjustments to the current plan that could bring some quick relief to local communities,'

And that is exactly what my simple proposal does:

There are two solutions to this problem. One involves using existing navigation points and approved approaches and one involves taking advantage of the real capabilities of NextGen.

The first:
1 - All SFO inbound traffic from the North and the East must use the RNAV (GPS) X RWY 28R approach and must enter that approach at the ANETE Initial Approach Fix (IAF) for which the minimum crossing altitude is 7000 ft,

Web Link

Alternatively these aircraft could us the ILS or LOC RWY 28R approach and must enter at ARCHI IAF for which the minimum crossing altitude is 7000 ft,

Web Link

2 - All SFO inbound traffic from the South and the West must use the RNAV (GPS) X RWY 28L approach and must enter that approach at the Faith IAF which has a minimum crossing altitude of 7000 ft.,

Web Link

Entry to this approach via MENLO intersection would not be permitted.

Alternatively these aircraft could us the ILS or LOC RWY 28L approach and must enter at the FAITH IAF for which the minimum crossing altitude is 7000 ft,

Web Link

Entry to this approach via MENLO intersection would not be permitted.


3 - SFO and SJC must be landing in the same direction unless the wind differential between them is greater than 1o knots.

These recommendations use existing and established procedures and do not impinge on the SJC airspace.
If these recommendations were to be adopted then Palo Alto's problem would go away. Some communities further to the South would see significant increases in overflights but these would be at higher altitudes.
********

This proposal was submitted to the FAA via Cong. Eshoo's good offices. It requires no new navigation points and no new approaches.

And as a former Federal regulator I can assure you that it was easier and quicker to solve problems when someone came not only with a problem but also with a proposed solution which used existing rules, procedures and regulations.


1 person likes this
Posted by where the watermelons grow
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 28, 2015 at 4:28 pm

Peter Carpenter,

"This proposal was submitted to the FAA via Cong. Eshoo's good offices. It requires no new navigation points and no new approaches.

And as a former Federal regulator I can assure you that it was easier and quicker to solve problems when someone came not only with a problem but also with a proposed solution which used existing rules, procedures and regulations."


No doubt it was easier and quicker.


9 people like this
Posted by OPar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 28, 2015 at 5:15 pm

Watermelons,

Yes, exactly. I was agreeing with Jetman's comment. The FAA has its own set of concerns, as do the airlines and other communities. There are a number of players here.


5 people like this
Posted by Little Ego
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 28, 2015 at 6:44 pm

Representative Eshoo has my full support on this. I am at my wits' end with the airplane noise. I really mean that.


5 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 28, 2015 at 6:44 pm

SFO and San Jose have a deluge of complaints. The personnel at SFO are long time employees, as are the ATC/FAA in the immediate area. Yes - we have many who live here. I cannot believe that they need some outside residents to advise them of the alternatives to the flight paths. They are working these issues every day, all day. I suspect that they are well informed of the complaints, know what they are doing - or not doing.

Hopefully working with those folks and an organized group of people who are acknowledged participants will result in a good outcome. The FAA and ATC personnel cannot sustain negative comments over the long haul. If the perception is growing on public safety not being observed then over the long haul this will become an overly publicized debacle.

We need to be part of the SFO Roundtable so that the changes we recommend can be discussed and processed with that group of people.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 28, 2015 at 6:53 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"We need to be part of the SFO Roundtable so that the changes we recommend can be discussed and processed with that group of people."

Yes, and exactly how has that "need" worked out?


7 people like this
Posted by roudtable
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 28, 2015 at 6:54 pm

To my knowledge, Palo Alto has been rejected three time trying to secure a seat at the RoundTable. Does anyone know what reasons were given for rejection?


5 people like this
Posted by optimistic
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 28, 2015 at 7:09 pm

People will have a different baseline to solve the problem. What works for one city may not work for another, and looking at the resolutions passed, it's not just Palo Alto.

We are still talking about an amount of traffic that is not that different from past levels so there must be something that can work, if nothing else - go back to the way things were before. Things were safe then too.


4 people like this
Posted by RoundTableOrg
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 28, 2015 at 7:15 pm

I did not know what the RoundTable was; now I do. See here if you want to know: Web Link


10 people like this
Posted by roudtable
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 28, 2015 at 7:20 pm

@RoundTableOrg

Thanks. They sure have done a pretty good darn job for the fellows in San Mateo county.


6 people like this
Posted by SuddenlyNothingHappened
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 28, 2015 at 7:36 pm

Rep Eschoo has faced few challenges in her wealthy in afflicted district, and has not really delivered much either.

I suspect we will see an underwhelming response: hot air & rhetoric, with no substantial results.

Wait for no delivery...you'll recognize it when you don't see it.


2 people like this
Posted by AlternateApproachPaths
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 28, 2015 at 10:27 pm

Peter,
I finally had a chance to read your proposal and to study the 28R/L charts you provided. If I understand correctly, your 4 points certainly appear to address many issues. But most significantly it would put both approach paths almost entirely along the Bay starting at 7000 feet, what many seem to be asking for.
I also agree that merely complaining without offering some reasonable solution or approach will most likely be viewed negatively. So I applaud your suggestion using existing approved approaches.

As to the second suggestion, I need to read and think a bit more, but if I understand correctly, CDA's have (significant?) advantages over traditional approach. Your suggestion seems to be to use curved CDA's with multiple entry points to spread out the incoming flights. I can partially visualize it, but if/when a diagram of such an approach space is available I would love to look at it.

Is there a short answer as to how NextGen and CDA's are related/intertwined?
Thanks again.

PS - is the herringbone web link available?


5 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of another community
on Aug 28, 2015 at 11:24 pm

At the risk of repeating myself and regarding nextgen

Surf Air has indicated they will order up to 50 more Pilatus planes.

How many flights in to San Carlos does that work out to.

If the folks of Palo Alto had known
Next Gen was not given much thought until it was implemented, It was in the planning stages for several years. Now it's probably too late for Palo Alto.

I think it's time to put some numbers to Surf Air's flights now not wait until it's too late .

50 Planes!!!!!!


Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 29, 2015 at 12:44 am

At the risk of repeating myself, new jobs for 100 pilots!!!!!!


7 people like this
Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 29, 2015 at 5:56 am

AlternativeApproachPaths

"Peter,
I finally had a chance to read your proposal and to study the 28R/L charts you provided. If I understand correctly, your 4 points certainly appear to address many issues. But most significantly it would put both approach paths almost entirely along the Bay starting at 7000 feet, what many seem to be asking for.
I also agree that merely complaining without offering some reasonable solution or approach will most likely be viewed negatively. So I applaud your suggestion using existing approved approaches"

Interesting to observe that Peter stopped pressing on the herringbone suggestion alone, which did not address altitudes. It seems that it was this week, after the City draft scope was published (and Peter did quite an interesting review), that he added his new suggestions which more closely meet the goals for alternatives, in the City scope - "to have fewer and less frequent flights below 8000 feet overland."

I join in commending Peter's effort to suggest solutions which more closely meets what is in the City scope. That is what happens when thoughtful and higher (no pun intended) standards for solutions are set. The City scope adds "a solution that steers flights at an altitude of about 10,000 feet at the South of the Bay should be evaluated."

The City scope also provides an excellent framework for measuring changes going forward. A glimpse of this type analysis has been on the Sky Posse website, such as looking at the evolution of traffic patterns, and there are other ways to evaluate impacts. While we can use Flight Track 24, It should be nice to count on more comprehensive analytics. Any community can and should benefit from this.

For those of us who are not insiders, it's a step forward from being told that what we are perceiving can only be measured by 1 number, a 24-hour average of decibel measures, and that our experts have us covered.

In fact, regular people do have a role, to press for higher standards, and it is to be commended that everyone has been complaining about the unprecedented frequency of low flying planes. Even the complaint systems will need to change - this is an interesting idea Web Link.

For now, complaints still need to be documented either by

Email SFO sfo.noise@flysfo.com

OR call the SFO complaint Hotline 650.821.4736

It has been stressed before, by all our officials, complaints matter.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 29, 2015 at 7:26 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Interesting to observe that Peter stopped pressing on the herringbone suggestion alone, which did not address altitudes."

Wrong. The herringbone approach has connections to the 3 deg glide slope and each such connection is at a higher altitude the further that connection is South of the first connection point at 3000 ft altitude point and continuing uniformly out and up from there. This approach would require the addition of about 28 new navigation points and hence would require more effort than my simpler approach but both proposals involve bringing planes in on the 3 deg glide path. This proposal does a great job of evenly distributing the planes throughout the South Bay.

My much simpler concentrates the entry of all of the planes at the far end of the 3 deg radial at 7000 ft, requires no new navigation points but does much less well on distributing the planes evenly over the South Bay.


The The City scope adds "a solution that steers flights at an altitude of about 10,000 feet at the South of the Bay should be evaluated." would place planes on a 5 degree glide slope - no US airport has such a steep glide slope and I suspect that passengers would find such a steep descent to be unacceptable..


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 29, 2015 at 7:38 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Is there a short answer as to how NextGen and CDA's are related/intertwined?
Thanks again."

In my opinion the addition of 28+ new navigation points for the intercepts on the 3 deg glide slope could be done easily using NextGen technology.

In my opinion the design of the 32 Advanced (curved) Controlled Descent approaches that connect with the 3 deg glide slope could only be done using NextGen technology.

PS - is the herringbone web link available?"

Here is a stylized example of a herringbone - this uses straight connections not curved ones but you can get the idea of multiple paths converging on both sides of the 284 radial:


Web Link

I also recommend reading the Hacan Report for an excellent discussion of the very issues we are facing in the Bay Area:

Web Link

This report is what stimulated my proposal for the herringbone approach with ACDAs to the 284 radial.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 29, 2015 at 7:57 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

A useful exercise when evaluating alternative proposals for changing the Bay Area flight patterns is that simplicity and equity are mortal enemies. The simpler a proposal is the more likely it is to be inequitable and the more equitable it is the more likely it is to be complex.

Hence the ACDA herringbone approach is complex but does an excellent jod of evenly distributing the incoming SFO flights over the entire Central and South Bay.

On the other hand the 284 deg approach with all entries at the Southern end is very simple but concentrates flight over a single path for a much longer distance. Its saving grace is that the entry altitude is sufficiently high, 7000 ft, that most (but not all)people will not be bothered by these flights.


10 people like this
Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 29, 2015 at 8:47 am

Distributing flights throughout the Bay is what used to happen before.

The former distribution seemed both simple and equitable. Not "mortal enemies"

Drawing a pattern of organization with people under a 3000 ft altitude point sounds like what we have now in Palo Alto, and that should not be recommended for any one, or for any point, unless it is an unpopulated area.

I have often wondered why airports don't invest in real estate themselves for these 3000 and under activities, especially now that noise patterns are being drawn so precisely.

So, it's very good that leadership is working towards what appears to be a consensus - what has long been said - that higher altitudes over the Bay are a better place to do the noisy descents which are inappropriately being carried out over people right now.

Skywhisperer says it well

"Kudos to Anna Eshoo for her excellent work on this important issue! Lucky for us, there's a great solution. OVER THE BAY! No need to move the noise and air pollution on to our neighboring communities. We won the geographical jackpot! We have the bay.

Air traffic from the east doesn't currently fly over Palo Alto. Air traffic from Washington DC, New York, etc., already flies its last low 20 miles quietly over the bay, from the far south end of bay. Most jets COULD do this. Most of Palo Alto's current air traffic could easily be moved over the bay. There's lot of room there. There's already an SFO arrival route there.

Happily, we have a great solution to cleaning up the terrible noise and toxic air pollution from the hundreds of thundering and whining jets daily damaging our health, productivity, sleep, and livability. I'm looking forward to enjoying my backyard again. Move those jets OVER THE BAY!"


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 29, 2015 at 8:57 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Drawing a pattern of organization with people under a 3000 ft altitude point sounds like what we have now in Palo Alto, and that should not be recommended for any one, or for any point, unless it is an unpopulated area. "

The proposed ACDA herringbone approach has 3000 ft intercepts only AT the 284 radial which is over the Bay at that point.

The closest ACDA intercepts could be moved back to 4000 ft but that would mean moving almost all the flights south of San Mateo County and I thought that that was what everybody was objecting to.

What is your priority - no flights below X altitude over populated areas or evenly distribute flights over the Central and South Bay?????

You cannot have your cake and eat it to.


11 people like this
Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 29, 2015 at 9:22 am

Peter,

Maybe you could review how things used to be, before the complaints started. What is your impression of what has caused the noise that is being perceived.

As many have stated, more flights used to be routed over the Bay before. Planes used to fly higher, and spread out.

When this was happening, was that having cake and eating it too?





6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 29, 2015 at 10:41 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Peter,

Maybe you could review how things used to be, before the complaints started. What is your impression of what has caused the noise that is being perceived."

My recollection is consistent with the work of Rindfleisch and Christel which demonstrate that the overall arrival patterns have changed.

And I think that the general awareness of this issue has increased the number of complaints - as is always to be expected when any issue is highlighted. That is not to diminish the importance of the complaints but simply to recognize the effect of publicity on awareness.

What concerns me is that a year from now we will probably still be waiting for the Palo Alto study and nothing will have changed. My preference is to be more proactive.


9 people like this
Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 29, 2015 at 12:22 pm

Peter,

"the general awareness of this issue has increased the number of complaints -"

The general awareness of this issue was raised by the noise.

As you suggest, the noise has been confirmed by the work of Rindfleisch and Christel "which demonstrate that the overall arrival patterns have changed."

The data for the Rindfleisch analysis was noise measurements. The data for the Christel analysis was obtained with a Freedom of Information Act request which Sky Posse pursued so that it would be ready and available for the City of Palo Alto study. Sky Posse pursued the FOIA data so that it would include all nearby communities, thus to benefit all interested communities. Analysis of this data is currently done on a volunteer basis.

Real change is mostly reliant on the FAA, and the various points made in this Editorial. The steps taken by the community so far have been very proactive.

Something that is still not measured is air pollution from the concentration of flight paths with low flying airplanes. It is something that should be done as well.



5 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 29, 2015 at 12:22 pm


When you talk about the 3,000 ft where exactly is that - a city relationship point?

When you talk about the 4,000 ft where exactly is that - a city relationship point.

I was checking the three Hawaii flights this morning - despite the noise they were running at a higher altitude. Maybe the message is getting in to SFO. Though a couple of the planes entered in the Woodside area and made southern turn to go down to the PAO for the rotation.

That is where the argument comes in - If they enter at the Woodside location on the bay then why not just proceed straight across to the bay. That is where the logic on this whole situation falls apart - there is no need to go southeast to the PAO at a time when there are no other planes in the vicinity. That is not a gas saving activity and their ability to reduce altitude for the Woodside point is okay.

They are creating an unneeded maneuver when no other planes are in the vicinity.

Unneeded maneuvers - a waste of time and gas. Not needed - Altitude is adjustable just fine from point of entry to mainland.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 29, 2015 at 12:43 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"When you talk about the 3,000 ft where exactly is that - a city relationship point?

When you talk about the 4,000 ft where exactly is that - a city relationship point."

I am indebted to a fellow poster who produced a very good graphic representation of my proposed herringbone interception points "

Web Link

The 10 miles dot is the first interception point which is at 3000 ft (opposite San Carlos/Redwood City) and the 6th interception point would be at 4000 ft. (near the Dumbarton Bridge).


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 29, 2015 at 12:46 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"That is where the argument comes in - If they enter at the Woodside location on the bay then why not just proceed straight across to the bay."

Because that have to cross Skyline at at least 6000 ft for terrain clearance and to go straight from there to the 284 radial would mean losing 3000 ft in a very short distance - probably a 6-7 deg descent. There leg to the SE and turn back to intercept the 284 radial is to lose altitude more gradually.


5 people like this
Posted by Stop Surf Air
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 29, 2015 at 12:53 pm

I am tired of Surf Airs overflights, There is a tone that Surf Air is willing to be a better corporate citizen. And to that I say, on occasion even Monsanto will support charitable causes.

Let's be honest Surf Air is a for profit corporation their only obligation is to their investors.

They are well aware of the complaints and the best way to temper them on a sliding scale. I'm quite sure they have staff that read these threads.

They will revert back to more frequent Ameby approaches which is quicker, cheaper, and easier as the complaint level allows. If I were an investor that's what I would what them to do. However I'm not, I'm a person that is bothered by their flights and they detract from my quality of life.

Similar to the suffering of people living in Palo Alto by nextgen but it is my intention to stay ahead of the curve.
My sympathies to them, but for anyone else who is affected by Surf Air flights get involved now. Unless they are willing to come to the table and compromise their flight numbers they will probably increase by 10 fold at some point.

San Carlos Airport Noise complaint line is 650-573-3700, to call Surf Air to complain the number is 571-438-
8001
Please leave out the Atherton remarks, The people suffering the most with the least representation and the most likely to stay silent suffer the worst in North Fair Oaks. Who speaks for them?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 29, 2015 at 12:59 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I have watched the Surf Air flights closely and they are doing exactly what the community asked them to do - spreading their approaches out laterally and fly clean (flaps and wheels up) as long as possible.

SurfAir is not going away and their current flight patterns are a commendable response to community input.

People who do not want any airplanes flying near their homes needs to pull up stakes and move to a very different place than the Bay Area.



8 people like this
Posted by Pilot
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 29, 2015 at 1:06 pm

" - probably a 6-7 deg descent. There [sic] leg to the SE and turn back to intercept the 284 radial is to lose altitude more gradually."

Easily executed by any GPS-capable flight director and control system built in the past 20 years. So get on with it.


2 people like this
Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 29, 2015 at 1:13 pm

Stop Surf Air,

On August 6th there was an update about a Surf Air meeting Web Link

Is the compromise with Surf Air that is refereed to by Peter the most recent compromise? It sounds like it would be from previous negotiations.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 29, 2015 at 1:17 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Easily executed by any GPS-capable flight director and control system built in the past 20 years"

Not by any pilot employed by a commercial airline to provide a smooth comfortable ride to their passengers.


9 people like this
Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 29, 2015 at 1:37 pm

resident 1,

"I was checking the three Hawaii flights this morning"

Saturday morning, a day of rest for families, and children who have recently started school.

The irony is that the Hawaii flights shuffle according to the times that make it there for drinks at sunset or something like that. This travel is likely packaged to suit the hotels, airlines, and of course us travelers.

In the same way, there are priorities like KAL shuffles in a hurry to get to make the curfew in Seoul.

All the more reason to pursue the OVER THE BAY solutions.


5 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 29, 2015 at 2:18 pm

The three Hawaiian flights do not duplicate their actions - but generally hit between Woodside and Portola Valley at about 7,500+/-, then descend and have to cross DUMBA at 4,000 ft.

UAL 396 was at 6,100 crossing HWY 101 in PA; UAL 1746 was at 5,100 in PA, crossing 101 at about 4,800. All are varying their descent but generally
if they went straight out over Atherton to the bay they would still have to cross DUMBA at 4,000 ft. If you figure that the section between Woodside and Portola Valley is about 7,500 it is all down hill after that. That is not a big descent.

My experience is that once they get clearance then they are in a very fast descent and people are happy - they know they have the go ahead so no big issue. People get very anxious is the plane is in a wait mode, the sense that they are drifting with no speed - that really upsets people - going fast says yes.
I will have to ask SFO what he strategy there is. Who is pulling whose chain so to speak.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 29, 2015 at 2:28 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"if they went straight out over Atherton to the bay they would still have to cross DUMBA at 4,000 ft. "

And they would have to have already turned to a heading of 284.

The combination of the descent AND the turn require that they first head to the SE.

If they crossed DUMBA on the heading that they were on from Woodside then they would penetrate into the area where SFO vectors inbound planes from the East as they made their about 200 deg turn.


5 people like this
Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 29, 2015 at 2:57 pm

Peter,

The turns over Palo Alto is something that was recognized in 2013, and even earlier, before Nextgen was rolled out.

What is your impression were the most significant changes in 2013 to cause noise to change as noticeably as it did. Were these same turns done over Palo Alto before 2013?

Why would they make noise now, and not as noticeably before?


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 29, 2015 at 3:07 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Were these same turns done over Palo Alto before 2013? "

I don't know.

Here is a screen shot of flights sometime before April 2014 but I do not know the date or time period covered:

Web Link

"Why would they make noise now, and not as noticeably before?"

Probably because of increased awareness by ground observers to airplane noise. In general the aviation fleet is adding new planes which are quieter but there are still many older, nosier planes in the inventory - particularly those in use by the cargo carriers.


4 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 29, 2015 at 3:08 pm

There is no traffic at the period of the morning - they are it. There are no flights arriving from the east except fed-ex.

The only reason they would have to stretch out the flights is because the majority of United planes are departing at 6:00 AM +-. The number of United planes departing at 5-6 AM are limited. They have to have an open gate to go to in the United terminal. Since SFO is a United hub then that is where the planes need to be - in specific gates assigned to United.
It is a balancing act - if other planes are late, land late, then that gate is not available at the previously assigned time.

One time a flight to the big island had to leave from the international terminal because there was no other gate available at the time it arrived. It got stuck and people had to trek through the terminals to get to the right place.

On one flight from Portland (Alaska Airlines flies out of the International Terminal) the plane could not go to the terminal because someone was being removed on the plane in the assigned gate. So everyone was sitting on the tarmac until that plane resolved it's issues - one hour.

There is a balancing act above and beyond the engineering elements - there is the logistics element on the ground.
Will have to check with SFO on the Hawaiian flights - still does not look like a worthy extension of activity to go to the PAO - it is not open - no one there - supposedly.


10 people like this
Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 29, 2015 at 4:11 pm

Peter,

Thank you for your response.

By the way, I agree that relief alternatives should be explored sooner. I don't see how the City study precludes the testing of immediate relief options. More encouraging is that consensus has been built to pursue OVER THE BAY alternatives.


6 people like this
Posted by Stop Surf Air
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 29, 2015 at 4:29 pm

Peter,
"I have watched the Surf Air flights closely and they are doing exactly what the community asked them to do - spreading their approaches out laterally and fly clean (flaps and wheels up) as long as possible",

I've heard them promise other details in the past and not live up to them.

ie; at a meeting in Atherton, Dec. 2014, they will fly up to 18 flights a day, per one of the execs, My last count as per their own schedule posted online, they are up to 31, w/ up to 50 more planes to be ordered,

Are you really that naive to think that they won't go back to what drives their bottom line. This is business not wonderland.....


8 people like this
Posted by OPar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 29, 2015 at 4:44 pm

Don't see why United's departures would interfere with the Hawaii red-eyes from changing their arrival patterns to one that does not include flying low over densely populated areas. The plethora of low-flying planes during the day is annoying and disruptive, the night flights and early-morning flights interfere with sleep on a nightly basis are a health risk.

The Hawaii flights can just come in higher from the south and descend over the Bay--SJC is shut at that point, so air traffic's not a huge concern. We're talking a couple of minutes difference in flight times at most.

I agree with pilot that a steeper descent isn't going to bother people that much, but that route's not necessary.


3 people like this
Posted by Thoughtful
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 29, 2015 at 4:46 pm

Thoughtful is a registered user.

We need to view the big picture:

That is the correlation between the vest and weapons plant manufacturing plant coming to San Jose and the flight path revisions.

By narrowing the flight paths over primarily residential areas and creating large swaths of airspace for drones, the "family jewels", i.e., technology masters and now weapons creators, are protected.

I perceive that the air space is now being used like "moats" used to be that served the purposes of protecting the castles. Now drones with great surveillance, and other capabilities, will surround the precious Silicon Valley technology containers and new special weapons construction areas.

Terrorists and others with malicious intentions won't stand a chance when new methods of warfare are fully manufactured and in place. As global warming heats up more, refugees from climate change horrors and related violence can also be better observed unhindered by drones for control purposes.




13 people like this
Posted by easong
a resident of another community
on Aug 29, 2015 at 7:22 pm

I happen to live at the crest of the Santa Cruz Mountains, along State route 35 near Castle Rock, about 50 miles from SFO as the crow flies, or would fly if it needed to land at SFO. I moved up here to get peace and quiet, despite the inconveniences of a long commute to work, no gas or groceries within a half hour, power failures in the winter, and so forth. This is directly under the new flight approach path into SFO that extends from Soquel/Aptos on the Monterey Bay coast, through Scotts Valley, over the ridge into the Portola Valley hills, then directly over Mountain View and Palo Alto at low altitude as planes drop into the final approach. A typical morning or evening brings a low and noisy jet overhead every 3-4 minutes. The roaring and rumbling goes on for minutes, thanks to the mountain terrain. We used to hear birds, now just insane noise. Thanks FAA.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 29, 2015 at 8:54 pm

Thoughtful - what are you talking about? What weapons are you talking about?
Most companies that have weapons manufacturing have moved that segment of the business to other states or locations outside of populated areas.

Moffett is a superfund site - they are busy cleaning up the place to meet EPA standards. The Google people are very aware of that and are attending those meetings concerning the clean-up of toxic chemicals. The surrounding cities all are on board with the clean-up of the toxic chemicals.

The ballistic missiles are not produced in this area any more - that was a chemical issue. Given the state requirements it is not cost effective to produce those products in California - Santa Clara County.

Worry about the oil trains - that is a major terrorist target.

The planes are going over the Googleplex - that is a major terrorist target to have planes going over at 1,600 altitude. The Googleplex is not a weapons manufacturer.

Worry about Lawrence Livermore Labs - now that is a real worry.

Explain what you are talking about.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 29, 2015 at 9:38 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Wow - this thread has really gotten off topic!!


4 people like this
Posted by Thoughtful
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 29, 2015 at 9:46 pm

Thoughtful is a registered user.

Resident 1-

Why so rude?

Suggest reading Non Violent Communication by Marshall Rosenburg.

What I AM talking about is the new company coming to San Jose funded through Washington that will make high tech ultra thin vests for war--and tacked on to the press reports of this--=-says they will make weapons as well. This is all in the formation stage. But there is apparently an enormous amount of funding for this endeavor.

Focus on "facts" prevents one from seeing the connections between events that often leads to important and meaningful insights.

Suggest you read about the new company and get more information before attacking further.


10 people like this
Posted by Pilot
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 29, 2015 at 10:00 pm

"Not by any pilot employed by a commercial airline to provide a smooth comfortable ride to their passengers."

Man, it would be great to converse with another actual pilot on these threads. Instead, let's do some education.

A 6 degree descent is 10 feet down every 100 feet forward, aka a 10% grade. Everybody's driven those in their car.

Properly executed by an automated programmed flight control system or a reasonably skilled human, it is indisguishable by the passengers from a properly executed 3 degree descent. Tray tables need to be in the full upright and locked position, personal items need to be properly stowed, and seatbelts fastened during either.

As anybody who has flown knows, approach and landing are the most stressful flight phase. No experienced pilot promises a smooth flight at this point.


2 people like this
Posted by Thoughtful
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 29, 2015 at 10:18 pm

Thoughtful is a registered user.

more for Resident 1:
Web Link


4 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 29, 2015 at 10:27 pm

6 deg vs 3 deg is dissipating energy twice as fast. You get twice the vibrations, buffeting, cabin noise, etc. Passenger nerves scale exponentially, so you square the worries of those prone to anxiety. I'm not a commercial pilot, but I play one on the internet.


6 people like this
Posted by optimistic
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 29, 2015 at 11:10 pm


a whisper approach
Web Link


3 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 29, 2015 at 11:33 pm

Hey - I am not being rude - I am asking for information as to where you are coming from. Yes I am very aware of the technology strategy in the article. You will note that there is a giant network that extends through multiple universities and companies in other states. That is all in the article.

Santa Clara is the hub for technology - this is where it is at. Santa Clara County is a technology hub for thinking up ideas, developing concepts, and also producing satellites and other products which have a low threshold for toxic waste now - but not in the past. Now products which have a high toxic waste by product are moved to other counties, and states.

Tesla has moved their battery production to Nevada - they cannot do it here because they cannot meet the standards for California. Ballistic Missiles are in Arizona because the production process creates toxic waste.

Moffett field is a super fund site - they are trying to fix the toxic waste that is moving through the sewer system to Sunnyvale and Mountain View. Yes - the cities know that. They are represented at the meetings on this topic.

Treasure Island is a Super fund site. A lot of work with the EPA to fix that up so development can proceed. You cannot develop a site for housing or industry until the toxic waste is removed. Most US Government military sites which have been closed down have toxic waste issues - all of which are now being actively being worked by the government.

So no one is looking for ways to create anything other than "clean" industry. Santa Clara is clean industry. We may think up a way to bomb someone - but that is a mathematical concept that will be carried out in a different environment. Google is producing a drone over at Alameda Navy Base because they have huge hangers that are available for that purpose. But that drone is not there to bomb anyone.

So everything is in process but is being farmed out to many companies in many state and universities - not all in Santa Clara County. It is a giant funding pool.

What bothered me in your comments was that you indicated that there were castles and moats. What I am seeing on the flight trackers is that the planes are going over the most valuable assets we have in Santa Clara County - Stanford University, SLAC - then moving down over the Googolplex.
Who thinks this up? Who wants to drive planes over our most valuable assets on a regular basis? There is a nonsensical series of actions which are harmful and potentially dangerous. So why is the federal government operating in such a dangerous manner.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 30, 2015 at 12:55 am

Our truly most valuable assets are sitting in the seats on those planes.


1 person likes this
Posted by Thoughtful
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 30, 2015 at 7:56 am

Thoughtful is a registered user.

Thank you Resident 1,

Please accept my apology. I understand better now. Your point is excellent and most important-that is that the planes are coming over our most valuable assets.

I am however fully aware that manufacturing has been gone from Valley for awhile now.

My point of focus referred mainly to the creation of the drone super highway that is now in place. I can see many reasons why surveillance is high priority in this area not only for technology creators but also for the homes of those living in Palo Alto and environs that CEO's with fortunes.

Since the earliest man began creating theories to explain the origins of important events, perhaps I too may do the same in an effort to mitigate the horror I experience under these flight paths.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 30, 2015 at 8:41 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"As anybody who has flown knows, approach and landing are the most stressful flight phase. No experienced pilot promises a smooth flight at this point."

The real professionals do it all the time and they are flying "by the book" which is the mark of a professional pilot.

And currently 99% of all commercial approaches in the US are flown on 3 deg glide slope.

There is experimentation at Heathrow and Hamburg with steeper approaches but those have yet to be concluded.

And, as my NextGen proposal states, "6 - Future improvements could be made when and if steeper glide paths ( greater than 3 degrees) are approved."


3 people like this
Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 30, 2015 at 9:02 am

The real professionals do it all the time, but unfortunately not all pilots are the same, training and preparation standards vary from country to country. From personal experience, not all landings are smooth. This should be confirmed, but the glide slope for planes transiting over us to SFO is less than 3, 2.95? And again, please verify - SJC has one runway with a glide slope over 3.5.

Passenger comfort is understood, but if it is a cargo plane at 2 AM, I would think that is somewhat different.




3 people like this
Posted by Thoughtful
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 30, 2015 at 9:05 am

Thoughtful is a registered user.

Musical,

At what environmental costs? And and at what costs to the unfortunate ones below?


1 person likes this
Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 30, 2015 at 9:15 am

Having said that pilot preparation varies country to country, it could be that other countries have pilots with more experience flying steeper glide slopes, as has been pointed out - there is experimentation at Hamburg and Heathrow.
Web Link


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 30, 2015 at 9:20 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" it could be that other countries have pilots with more experience flying steeper glide slopes, as has been pointed out - there is experimentation at Hamburg and Heathrow."

Yes, experiments are going on but world wide the standard approach is 3 deg.

The standard could be changed BUT it would be unsafe to have pilots on the same approach flying different glide slopes.

And if you look at the Hamburg video you will see that they are also flying Advanced Controlled Descent Approaches that are tailor made to avoid high er populated areas - this is the POTENTIAL offered by the intelligent use if NextGen.


3 people like this
Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 30, 2015 at 9:28 am

"tailor made to avoid higher populated areas"

Tailor made, we need that.

A tailored approach OVER THE BAY, sounds ideal.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 30, 2015 at 9:35 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"A tailored approach OVER THE BAY, sounds ideal. "

I have posted above two such approaches - one using existing navigation points and technology and one using advanced technology and new navigation points.


3 people like this
Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 30, 2015 at 10:11 am

Peter,

The technical possibilities and potential are there. Sky Posse presented this on February 10th.

Because one wants to be mindful of the consequences that any action brings (for no community to have inequitable unhealthy amount of noise), it will be good to have a concerted action with all communities.

Jetman explained this well, and it sounds like you may agree

"the design of a new approach plan for the Norcal Metroplex must be a very deliberate process, that will require the participation, of aviation experts, political leadership, savvy community organizations, and... the FAA."


1 person likes this
Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 30, 2015 at 10:15 am

This being said, it can and should all happen quickly.


1 person likes this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 30, 2015 at 10:30 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Sky Posse presented this on February 10th.'

Sadly Sky Posse submitted complaints and a wish list - no concrete solutions.

And after all this complaining I am shocked that the complainers now hide behind "the design of a new approach plan for the Norcal Metroplex must be a very deliberate process, that will require the participation, of aviation experts, political leadership, savvy community organizations, and... the FAA."

As Doug Moran points out "Real power doesn't reside with those who make the final decision, but with those who decide what qualifies as the viable choices."

Our job as informed and concerned citizens is to produce viable choices. If we fail to do that then the solution will, as has already happened, be chosen from viable choices created by others who have different priorities.

The Palo Alto Process of doing a study, which will probably take a year and close to 1 M unbudgted dollars, followed by debate and discussion will probably end up recommending something very close to one of the alternatives that I have already proposed. There are so many real constraints to the Bay Area air traffic patterns that there are very few viable alternatives.

But then perhaps the objective is to simply continue to express displeasure and there really isn't an interest in a solution.


1 person likes this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 30, 2015 at 10:49 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

IF people are really interested in change/results then:

1 - Why hasn't the PA City Council passed a resolution demanding that the FAA return to the long standing practice of always coordinating landings at the Bay Area airports so that those landings are all in the same directions?

2 - Why hasn't the PA City Council called upon Korean Airlines to modify the approach path of their last night flight?

3 - Why hasn't the PA City Council called upon the carriers involved to modify the night time approaches of their flights from Hawaii?

etc. etc.etc.

In a democracy you get exactly the kind of government that you deserve.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 30, 2015 at 11:03 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here is what Sky Posse states:
"NextGen’s precision routing technologies could in fact dramatically improve the situation to the benefit of both the flying and the residential public. When used unwisely, as they are now, they dramatically worsen it. It’s misleading to call NextGen’s “net noise reduction” policy noise reduction when it reduces the aviation noise for some by severely increasing it for others. This unfair distribution of the noise burden calls for alternate designs that consider the population on the ground."


So why, given all the brilliant talent in Silicon Valley, hasn't Sky Posse actually proposed "alternate designs that consider the population on the ground."

Rindfleisch and Christel have produced the data to quantify the problem and I have have produced two proposed solutions that offer much smaller ground noise footprints.

So what is everybody waiting for???????


4 people like this
Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 30, 2015 at 11:27 am

Peter,

For some perspective, it is estimated that complaints to SFO for July will tally over 35,000 (thirty five thousand).

That is not just Palo Alto, and clearly this is truly a regional issue.

Thankfully Palo Alto has taken actions which are very important, including the approval of the draft scope you have reviewed (your review of this work below).

This study is complementary to the process of working together with other communities on the problem. And it does not preclude - as the Editorial suggests - to expedite certain actions.

Certainly expediting the commissioning of a tailored arrival OVER THE BAY is something that does not need to wait for the study, but it should still involve a concerted regional process.

What can be done now is to keep our communities moving forward and together.



"Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 26, 2015 at 7:13 pm
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I have reviewed the Draft RFP and here are my opinions:



1 - It IS comprehensive - "The Contractor shall propose a list of Regions and Cities for analysis. At a
minimum they should include Palo Alto and nearby cities between San Francisco and San Jose, and relevant areas with NorCal Metroplex traffic."



2 - Flight paths are to be based on actual radar data.



3 - Noise will be modeled rather than based on actual noise measurements - "Consultant shall model ground level noise effects of aircraft using the Aviation Environmental Design Tool (AEDT) or equivalent system to provide information about noise exposure to populations on the ground."



4 - CNEL levels will not be computed but rather DNL levels. All of the Federal and State legislation is based on using CNEL so the study may end up with an apples and oranges problem.



5. "Assessing Alternatives
Identify 'lesser used' airspace and/or routes and operational procedures
to eliminate low-altitude flights over Palo Alto and neighboring
communities; to have fewer and less frequent flights below 8,000 feet
overland, and these with a more equitable distribution. Seeking to
eliminate nighttime flights over residences, IFR procedures crossing
Menlo IAF and San Jose flights transiting below SFO traffic at 2000 feet.
Among specific alternatives, a solution that steers flights at an altitude of
about 10,000 feet at the South of the Bay should be evaluated."
************



On balance I think it is a well written and ambitious document."


12 people like this
Posted by who is peter carpenter
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 30, 2015 at 11:35 am

I am sorry, but who's this Peter Carpenter character? What are his credentials? why is he telling us what to and what not to do? Why does he think his proposed solutions are the best?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 30, 2015 at 11:38 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

As the Editorial notes " the staff says it can't even award a contract for the work until early next year, making it a less-than-effective tool for achieving results in a reasonable time frame."

And the Editorial does NOT call for specific easy, short term, cost free actions like returning to the old practice of coordinated landing directions between Bay Area airports, calling out specific problem air carriers or immediately adopting new sound optimized approaches using established navigation points and published approach procedures.


Oh well, it is the Palo Alto way...........


4 people like this
Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 30, 2015 at 11:45 am

Peter,

"So what is everybody waiting for???????"

One place to ask may be the airports.

While there is support for achieving solutions, there is the constraint to not "move noise."

As far as I can tell, the "can't move noise" is formalized North and South of the mid-Peninsula but it happens freely, to the mid-Peninsula, and within.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 30, 2015 at 11:48 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"I am sorry, but who's this Peter Carpenter character? What are his credentials? why is he telling us what to and what not to do? Why does he think his proposed solutions are the best?"

Clearly you are a newcomer to the Forum so at the recognized risk of boring the regular readers (who know the answers) here is some of my pertinent background:

I was born in San Francisco, lived in Palo Alto 1973-1982 and in Atherton since then, I was a Palo Alto Planning Commissioner for 4 1/2 years, I spent 19 years (ten as Chairman) as a City Council appointed member of the Palo Alto Airport Joint Community Relations Committee, and I am a three time elected Director of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District. I am a retired pilot who flew a Cessna 185 out of Palo Alto for many years with Private Pilot, Glider and Instrument ratings and lots of Bay Area airtime. I am also a US Forest Service rated Smokejumper and USAF Master Parachutist and a USMC Parachutist.

And I firmly believe that each citizen has the obligation to help SOLVE problems and not just complain about those problems.

Does that answer your question?


7 people like this
Posted by Complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 30, 2015 at 11:51 am

Noise is also being moved freely in most of the areas not specifically protected by airport compromises. Thus you have noise in many communities not represented by the airport roundtables.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 30, 2015 at 12:03 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The communities North and South of Palo Alto don't control the airspace - the FAA does.

What those communities have done is to propose policies which protect their interests.

1 - Why doesn't the PA City Council pass a resolution demanding that the FAA return to the long standing practice of always coordinating landings at the Bay Area airports so that those landings are all in the same directions?

2 - Why doesn't the PA City Council call upon Korean Airlines to modify the approach path of their last night flight?

3 - Why doesn't the PA City Council call upon the carriers involved to modify the night time approaches of their flights from Hawaii?

4 - Why doesn't the PA City Council insist that the FAA require all approaches to SFO to begin at either the ANETE Initial Approach Fix (IAF) or at the Faith IAF and use the currently published approaches from those fixes?


7 people like this
Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 30, 2015 at 12:52 pm

Peter,

Your very specific questions arise from documented complaints. Which is why complaints matter.

Potential technical solutions have been brought up before, and may continue to surface.

Pending are political solutions, as suggested by the Editorial.

Some good work ahead for everyone, and it is a very positive sign that mostly everyone agrees that the complaints need to be addressed and soon.



16 people like this
Posted by Mark L.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 30, 2015 at 2:39 pm

First of all, Peter Carpenter IMO does deserve credit for having turned the discussion, and his knowledge of the issues, towards solving the problem. To propose two solutions, which can help separately or in combination, does not diminish the credit Peter deservers for this turnaround.

It is also true that Tom's report and the Posse's reports prove that noise has been shifted to Palo Alto (the data, which was obtained by the Posse by way of a uniquely comprehensive Freedom of Information Act request, was preliminarily analyzed by Lee Christel and then by James Sun, as shown on the Posse website. This data is of course subject to further, more comprehensive analysis, which should not be excessively time or resource consuming.)

The noise shift is obviously a problem in itself, but I applaud those who recognize that the geographical jackpot allows for an Over-the-Bay approach, which stands to eliminate the great majority of the overall noise burden on the mid-Peninsula and elsewhere. If the overall noise of the crossings to the Bay can indeed by drastically reduced, distribution them becomes a secondary matter, but it of course has to be fair, to the extent possible (and repair the imbalance created by the unfair noise shift).

As far as action and implementation is concerned, it appears that the City of Palo Alto has, at least for the time being, determined that an independent study by a credentialed company that verifies the Posse's findings, and the viability and desirability of an Over-the-Bay approach is the best way to arrive at the desired result, despite the time that it takes. If a more rapid and less expensive implementation of the changes is possible based on past precedent and an understanding of the Federal decision-making process, that should be discussed and pursued by our community.

In the meantime, we need to continue making complaints, all of us, and as often as possible when flights cause disturbances, as these are indeed the major impetus for the problem's resolution.


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Posted by Paly Grad
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Aug 30, 2015 at 7:21 pm

Are there any restrictions on air speed for jets landing at SFO as the cross over into San Mateo County and cross the Dumbarton Bridge?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 30, 2015 at 8:06 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The max speed inside the Class B airspace is 250 knots however SFO approach and tower frequently require planes to fly slower than 250 knots in order to maintain spacing from the planes in front of them.


2 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 30, 2015 at 8:15 pm

Thoughtful has brought up an interesting spin here. The Santa Clara tech hub is teaming up with the Pentagon for new work. Rep Anna Eshoo is talking to Ashton Carter, Secretary of Defense on this project.
A perfect opportunity for trust building - does the Dept. of Defense trump the FAA.

Timing is everything. Rep Eshoo - here is your open door to further discussion of the welfare of the tech hub - aka Silicon Valley.
We need some trust building here which includes reformatting of the air space.


4 people like this
Posted by Oldster
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 30, 2015 at 8:22 pm

Mr. Carpenter, Thanks for the good solution suggestions and your 4-point punchlist for thing Palo Alto City Hall could do tomorrow. But, not sure I agree 100% with your statement, "The communities North and South of Palo Alto don't control the airspace - the FAA does" but do agree with your, "What those communities have done is to propose policies which protect their interests."

I'd argue Sunnyvale and Mountain View effectively threw more air traffic at us in the mid-Peninsula by voting a few years ago to keep Moffett closed to virtually all private and commercial aviation. I often wonder how many planes would go to Moffett instead of SJC, PAO, SQL and SFO but for Sunnyvale and Mountan View's NIMBYism.... added to that very fun history of SJC being able to have lengthened its runways by throwing out all general avaition from its southern land thanks to the County keeping open the general aviation nearby reliever airport Reid Hillview. The City of San Jose goes along keeping Moffett closed to avoid competition to its ego-promoting International airport.... with the delicious ironies of SJC being so jammed for land it is not as safe for passengers as Moffett would be... which has a light rail station while San Jose still requires a Kabuki dance to get to surface mass transit while SJC keeps nearby highrises lower thanks to the need for some attempt at safety for approaching planes.

It is always fun to raise the issue of Moffett and geography when dealing with any local politicians. How well I recall the last round of newspapaer articles with our local pols salivating over proposals to turn Moffett into all sorts of things - when its runways are some of the longest, safest, and best built runways left in the entire SF Bay Area. Too bad it's locked into a sweetheart deal with Google and that San Jose/Sunnyvale/Mountain View alliance to put it in play for truly regional solutions to our air traffic problems.


2 people like this
Posted by Paly Grad
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Aug 30, 2015 at 9:03 pm

KZ109/NCA109
JA11KZ
275 knots
7:00 am
I think this was Friday morning August 28th, but it might have been earlier in the week.

UA731/UAL731
N476UA
268 Knots
9:27 pm
I think this was Friday evening August 28th

Maybe someone can confirm the date?


2 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 30, 2015 at 10:13 pm

Nice catch, Paly Grad. Turns out the speed limit is given as "indicated airspeed." At altitudes above sea level, the speedometer reads low because the air is thinner. Initially about 2 percent for each thousand feet. So at 5000 feet a plane indicating 250 knots on the dashboard is actually doing 275.

At higher altitudes, stuff gets non-linear. Temperature is another complicating factor. And what gets reported on the websites is probably ground speed, which a pilot can read on the GPS.

Plus Peter didn't mention the loophole that planes may fly faster if required for safety. If the weather is choppy with chance of wind-shear, it's better to carry a little extra speed.


2 people like this
Posted by Stop Surf Air,
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 30, 2015 at 11:15 pm


Peter I think you're right, we are getting less Surf Air traffic overhead than before. They seem to be spreading out laterally. At a point that I would be willing to accept as bothersome but tolerable. I agree we do live in a aviation congested area. San Carlos Airport when the powers to be imagined and built it 60 years ago would not have accepted this type of airline. However things change and I am willing to compromise. I don't know what a solution would be for the less affluent and less represented N. Fair Oaks area?

Having been in business all my life I also know the value of having commitments in writing.

With 50 new planes in the pipeline it would seem obvious that flights will increase expenonentiously.
A comparison would be had everyone know that nextgen would have the powerful and disturbing effects on Palo Alto residents action would have been taken then and it would not have happened. I'm not sure people can picture 100-200 Surf Air flights a day into San Carlos from Surf Air.

We have an oppartunity now to work with Surf Air, San Carlos Airport, San Mateo County Supervisors,FAA, before their flights get out of control. Lets hope all parties are sincere.


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Posted by neighbor
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 30, 2015 at 11:54 pm

On another note, I read your bio, I never flew a c-185, a tail dragger as I recall. I did have a lot of fun in a cessna 206, If my memory is still working it seems it was around $15.00 wet tach time, I could get a 150 for fun and t&g's for $5.50 wet tach time. Av fuel was around .50. We used to go to Tahoe in the 206 out of Moffett over 200 miles of nothing but trees that all looked the same relying on a couple of vor's and a vfr chart. No gps in those days. Then hitting the ever present turbulance on landing.
Did you ever fly into Scotts Valley before they closed it down, Get a couple of old pilots together and I could go on for ever.
Getting my lessons was trial by fire I learned to fly being slotted between P3C's being told by tower to make a quick turn to final and take my first available left turn on touch down, as there was a p3 on 2 mile final. and i was following the wake turbuelance and wing tip vortices of the p3 just departed. All in an old c-150. Wouldn't trade it for anything.


2 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 30, 2015 at 11:58 pm

I was at the Cal Ave Farmers Market this morning (Sunday) and all four inbound Surf Air flights passed over within a block of the railroad tracks (between 11 and noon).


14 people like this
Posted by Zoning
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 31, 2015 at 7:56 am

after 21 years in the city I never thought I would wake up to find I now live next to an international airport with the main runway right over my house. These days you need to go around to all of your neighbors within a block of your house to get their blessing when you want to paint your house yet no notice to move all regional air traffic over our city. Clearly someone other than me was asleep.

Is there an app that would make my complaining easier? I want to send and email to our representatives and SFO as often as those planes fly over head.


5 people like this
Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 31, 2015 at 8:19 am

Zoning,

"Is there an app that would make my complaining easier? "

Yes, SPACEFROG Web Link

The first time you complain to SFO they give you a "caller code." Use that code with all your complaints. You can request a caller code by contacting SFO @ sfo.noise@flysfo.com.

A running list of all disturbances reported on an email count as individual complaints, if that is also convenient. Provide your caller code, and email your complaints to sfo.noise@flysfo.com.

Today August 31 - submit all complaints for August.

Encourage all your friends and neighbors to report offending flights, and to have a caller code.


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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Aug 31, 2015 at 11:16 pm

Zoning,

Nextgen was described 2 years ago as a problem coming in a blog complaining about surf air, nobody paid attention to it.

I mention surf air as the number of new planes and flights will be a another big problem people will say where did all these planes come from,

easier to address ahead of time than from behind


2 people like this
Posted by Stop Surf Air
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 1, 2015 at 12:21 am


"People who do not want any airplanes flying near their homes needs to pull up stakes and move to a very different place than the Bay Area."

Thanks for the advice Peter.

For one who espouses everything peninsula aviation, Where were you three years ago when Nextgen was in the planning stages and adjustments could have had a chance?

There may still be time to work with surf air or we will be right back where we are 2 years from now.


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Posted by Stop Surf Air
a resident of another community
on Sep 1, 2015 at 2:26 pm


Hi Zoning,

It showed up overnight but was 3 years in the planning. Lot's of people, I use the term loosely, beauracrats, FAA, political staffers, etc, all new it was coming but could you imagine the uproar if they warned you ahead of time.

Better to ask for forgivness than permission as they say.

Same thing is happening now with surf air, everyone wonders why I'm complaining now. Take their current traffic which is uncomfortable and multiply it by 10 or 20 later and try to work with them 2 years from now.

Better to inform the communities now than fight with surf air later.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 1, 2015 at 2:40 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

For anyone who thinks that managing the Bay area airspace is easy here is a good map of that airspace at ground level:

Web Link

And for more info on SQL here is an excellent report:

Web Link

Note:
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) plays several roles with respect to
airport/community land use compatibility and control of noise associated with aircraft operations.
 Implement and Enforce Aircraft Operational Procedures – The FAA's responsibilities
include ensuring pilot compliance with Air Traffic Control instructions, enforcing flight
restrictions, and monitoring careless and reckless operation of aircraft. Where and how
aircraft are operated is under the jurisdiction of the FAA and the pilot-in-command.
 Managing the Air Traffic Control and Airspace System – The FAA is responsible for
the control of navigable airspace and for reviewing all proposed alterations to airport flight
procedures proposed for noise abatement purposes. The FAA reviews proposed alterations
to flight procedures on the basis of safety of flight operations, safe and efficient use of
navigable airspace, effects on national security and defense, compliance with applicable
laws and regulations, and general management and control of national airspace and air
traffic control systems.
 Certification of Aircraft – the FAA sets noise level requirements for aircraft including
noise standards for new aircraft type certifications pursuant to Code of Federal Regulations,
Title 14, Part 36 "Noise Standards: Aircraft Type and Air Worthiness Certification".
 Pilot Certification/Licensing – the FAA has exclusive authority to certify pilots of aircraft
in the United States. Individuals licensed as pilots are trained under strict guidelines
focused on safety.
 Noise Compatibility Studies - In 1981, the FAA issued its Interim Rule on Federal
Aviation Regulations (FAR) Part 150, Airport Noise Compatibility Planning, which
became final in 1985.2 The FAR Part 150 regulations were issued in response to provisions
contained in the Aviation Safety and Noise Abatement Act of 1979, which allow airport
operators, on a voluntary basis, to prepare aircraft noise exposure maps and land use
compatibility programs. FAR Part 150 "prescribes the procedures, standards and
methodology governing the development, submissions, and review of airport noise maps
and airport noise compatibility programs, including the process for evaluating and
approving or disapproving those programs." FAR Part 150 is more comprehensive than
previous federal noise programs, and since its enactment, FAA grants can be applied to
implement noise programs in communities impacted by aircraft noise.

Exhibit 4.2 - Relevant 2035 noise contours do not come even close to Atherton.

Exhibit 4.5 Radar Flight tracks

Exhibit A-1 Effect of noise on people

Exhibit A-2 Sound Level Exposure Concept

Table A-5 Annual Average Day Operations - Future Conditions (2035)


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 1, 2015 at 3:20 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" Where were you three years ago when Nextgen was in the planning stages"

Right here. See my postings from years ago.

As an elected public official one of my biggest disappointment is that citizens do not pay attention to public notices and fail to participate in the process of policy development.

For example, Table A-5 above shows 18.25 PC-12 arrivals per day in 2035. The PC-12 is the aircraft the SurfAir flies.

Does anybody believe that SurfAir will only have 18.25 arrivals per day in 2035?
Has anybody commented on this draft report?
Why not?


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 1, 2015 at 4:12 pm

Looks like 19 daily Surf Air arrivals already (weekdays).

Yup, citizens are falling down on the job. But that's what gives the rest of us so much leverage, until we completely alienate the electorate.


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Posted by pepperkat
a resident of another community
on Sep 2, 2015 at 1:52 am

I'm sorry ... not trying to thread-jack here, but I keep coming back to this group of commenters because I keep gleaning so much useful news and information. (For example, it was thanks to this "group" that I learned about vortex generators and why those bloody A320s make that awful howling noise overhead!)

Anyway, where I live, here in the Santa Cruz Mountains, we're obviously affected by SERFR1 and "arriving" flights to SFO ... but in a 2- or 3-square-mile around me, we're also proximate to two other new super-concentrated NextGen routes. One is the Hawaii/Asia arrivals to and departures from SJC (on "BRIXX," I believe). The other is the south-facing DEPARTING flights from SFO (which sometimes includes departing flights from OAK as well).

Can anyone here tell me -- or tell me how to find out -- what route the DEPARTING flights from SFO (south-facing, e.g., to LAX) are on? Are these flights ALSO technically "on" SERFR1, even though the arrival and departure trajectories branch apart ... or is that south-facing path called something else? And if so, what?

I've pored through the EA and tried to find routes I can make head or tail of, but to no avail.

Thanks for any help.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 2, 2015 at 8:42 am

Gee Stop Surf Air - you are on this particular stream because it is about SFO air traffic that used to go over San Mateo and is now over Santa Clara.

And the Surf Air planes are over our head too. But we here are not in a position to make any "business" actions since the airport is in San Carlos. What do you expect us to do about it?

No - we are not going to take over Surf Air at the PAO - the PAO manager knows he would be toast if he did that - also the city manager and mayor.


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Posted by OPar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 2, 2015 at 3:05 pm

Yes, can we please separate the Surf Air posts and give that issue its own thread? It's not part of the NextGen/SFO issue and it really does kind of divert the discussion.

Pepperkat,

Others probably have better answers, but if it were me, I'd click onto Flightradar24.com, click on the offending plane and then its flight path should show--that should give you an idea what's happening.


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Posted by pepperkat
a resident of another community
on Sep 2, 2015 at 4:55 pm

Okay, so I'm told the south-facing departure flights from SFO are on "WESLA" or "SSTIK" and that Oakland's are on "CNDEL." But no one can tell me what distinguishes "WESLA" from "SSTIK."

Mr Carpenter -- or ANYONE who might have the expertise to answer this -- can you tell me if there is anywhere online that a layperson (i.e., someone who does not speak "pilot-ese," so the written instructions the FAA prepares for pilots aren't useful for this purpose) can go to view a diagram or some kind of easy-to-comprehend graphic depiction of a specific flight route as it relates to the ground?

Ideally, I'm looking just for a simple map, with a few landmark details, and the flight route drawn in to show what areas planes on that route actually fly over.

Does anything like this exist anywhere?


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Posted by pepperkat
a resident of another community
on Sep 2, 2015 at 5:14 pm

Thanks, OPar -- I'm not super-familiar with flightradar24 (I tend to use the SJC tracker), but I've just tried clicking on a couple of planes at flightradar24 to see if the resulting plane info would help me to identify the specific SFO flight route (or "path" or "track") being used (e.g., "SERFR1," "WESLA," etc.) ... and I don't see that information anywhere. Am I missing something? I see Altitude, Vertical Speed, Speed, Track (not sure what that is, but it's expressed as a number with a degree sign, not a name), a Latitude, a Longitude, and a "Radar" and "Squawk" field.

(Does the degree number under "Track" equate somehow to the name of a specific flight track? If so, where do I go to figure out which route means which number?)

It would be great if the trackers would tell me what named flight track/path/route the planes were on ... but in the absence of that, if I could at least see a diagram or graphic representation of a route laid over a simple map so that I could understand where it is and how far out from the airport it stretches (in this case, SFO's departing tracks WESLA and SSTIX), then I'd very easily be able to figure out which planes were on which path.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 2, 2015 at 6:10 pm

"Track" is the current direction of travel, clockwise from true north (not magnetic).


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 2, 2015 at 6:21 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here are all the published terminal arrival approaches, i.e. pre-landing approaches, to SFO:

Web Link

I do not have the ability to overlay them on a geographical map but perhaps some other Forum poster has that skill.

ATC also can route individual planes on terminal paths that are unique rather than using one of these published approaches. Usually published approaches are used because they are part of the incoming plane's original flight clearance which was given either prior to departure or prior to arriving in the Bay Area.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 2, 2015 at 6:40 pm

Here's a fun aviation chart resource that people might want to poke around.
Web Link
I haven't seen anyone here mention it yet.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 2, 2015 at 7:48 pm

For all of those people who are concerned about Surf Air their next possible airport could be Reid Hillview - check out their site - anything you want to know is there in their site.
So pushing everyone South in this case would be a good thing.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 2, 2015 at 7:52 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"For all of those people who are concerned about Surf Air their next possible airport could be Reid Hillview"

This is exactly what Reliever Airports like San Carlos and Reid Hillview were designed to do:

" 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. These may be publicly or privately-owned.."


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 2, 2015 at 9:21 pm

"NextGen Being Used to Justify Lower & Noisier Flying While Ignoring Impacts"
AIReform ~ August 26, 2015 Web Link


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Posted by Deep Throat
a resident of another community
on Sep 3, 2015 at 4:30 pm

Peter Carpenter does not have the ability to overly the chart of terminal arrival approaches on a geographical map because the map is not to scale but expects someone else to have the skill to overlay a chart that is not drawn to scale onto a geographical map that presumably is drawn to scale.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 3, 2015 at 4:41 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 3, 2015 at 4:44 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

This terminal approach chart is drawn to a scale and has some geographical boundaries shown but not all of those requested by the above poster;

file:///Users/petercarpenter/PFC%20Documents/Aircraft%20noise/SkyVector:%20Flight%20Planning%20:%20Aeronautical%20Charts.webarchive


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 3, 2015 at 6:07 pm

Can't access that file, Peter. Maybe need to Dropbox it or something.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 3, 2015 at 6:09 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Go here:

Web Link

Select SFO Area


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 3, 2015 at 6:22 pm

That's why I provided the link to SkyVector here yesterday, for those really interested in exploring aviation charts.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 3, 2015 at 9:29 pm

Some interesting routes, taken a minute or so apart. Again, lucky for us, they all still manage to go through Palo Alto, despite the detour north.
Web Link
Web Link
Web Link


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 3, 2015 at 9:34 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

As noted before each of these planes is flying a course which is necessary to intersect the SFO 284 radial on the 3 deg glide slope. They could not cross the peninsula further North and still be above 4000 ft over the peninsula. It is not a diabolical plot but rather simple geometry.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 3, 2015 at 9:49 pm

Yup, I can see exactly how they are flying. But other routes, entries, glides, etc are possible. For example, as you said: "my NextGen compatible proposal has 32 entry points [along the radial] so as to evenly distribute the flights over all of the surrounding cities".

Here are a couple more:
Web Link
Web Link (just skimming the border)

To give credit where it's due (esp to Sky Posse), here's an OVER THE BAY route. Yes, it could have gone down the east bay. But given it chose our happy side, on the plus side: it stayed at 6000 feet all the way over the residential areas, and entered pretty far south on the Bay. Hallelujah.

Web Link


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 4, 2015 at 9:55 am

At the rate we are going here there are few flights over San Mateo County - the land portion - at less that 7,500 - 6,000 feet. Most divert to Santa Clara near the 280 freeway and the Creek - border between two counties.

There was some wild plane the other day from Reno to SFO that was over the Woodside VOR at about 4,500 feet (N68452) - B739) - how did that get in to the mix and unnoticed by the ATC? That is further indication that someone is asleep at the ATC - they are out of control. Who is running this show?

So let's go back in time - there is a SFO Roundtable composed of San Mateo cities. Let's presume that the planes were going over those cities.

And given that the number of flights waxes and wanes over the years but has some predictable sameness then the number of flights has not materially changed.

What would be the altitude and glide slope of those planes? And what was their intersection point?

I believe the theory that planes need to be on a 3 degree slope to meet the 284 radial at 4,000 feet is a "wish list" proposition which does not serve the purposes of Santa Clara county and in fact is the root of the problem here.

Why don't the "Knowledgeable" people tell us what the standard altitude was over the San Mateo cities. The planes were doing just fine back then - they were happy to be close to their destination. But now they have to wander all over the place and go south when they really want to go north.

The more anyone looks at the flight status it becomes clear that almost all flights - land portion - are over Santa Clara County and most check-in with the PAO as part of that flight. Some then go visit the Don Edwards Preserve across the bay. This is the biggest waste of time and gas.

I used to like the PAO but am now thinking that El Nino could be a positive adventure in flight tracking of SFO and now San Jose planes.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 4, 2015 at 9:59 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"I believe the theory that planes need to be on a 3 degree slope to meet the 284 radial at 4,000 feet is a "wish list" proposition which does not serve the purposes of Santa Clara county and in fact is the root of the problem here."

Sorry, this is not a wish list but a requirement of all the approved SFO approaches that I have posted on this site many times.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 4, 2015 at 10:03 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"most check-in with the PAO as part of that flight."

NONE of the SFO inbound flights "check-in with the PAO" while enroute to SFO.

They are all above the airspace controlled by PAO.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 4, 2015 at 10:17 am

Sorry - do not buy that. The FAA is in the control tower at the PAO - if you go to the PAO web site on the City main web site it states that as a fact.

There is no reason to have a FAA office at the PAO or in it's control tower unless it is involved in something other than the private planes at the PAO.
And yes the planes use the PAO as a rotation point. I have been over there - the people who run the flight schools agree that is a fact.
And if you drive up to the back gate and turn around a black security van will be out to check you out.

The facts are in the obvious execution of the flights - no denying it.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 4, 2015 at 10:28 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Resident 1 -You are totally wrong about the FAA control tower's function at PAO.

That tower ONLY controls planes that are in its very limited airspace. It does not talk to or control planes in SFO's Class .

The PAO control tower is not a designated navigation point and it does not appear as such on any SFO approaches.

SFO inbound planes seldom fly over PAO - most SFO inbound planes are already over the Bay or cross over East Palo Alto rather than flying over the Palo Alto airport.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 4, 2015 at 10:46 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

This excellent map shows the very small area below 2000 ft (the dark blue semicircle above PAO) that the PAO FAA Tower controls:

Web Link


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Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 4, 2015 at 11:01 am

Peter,

Can you explain to everyone how the 4000 feet rule is for IFR. I have not seen a good explanation on these threads and maybe you can share your knowledge about this.

Altitudes have the 4000 limitation with IFR. My understanding is that ever since planes are being asked to fly mostly IFR over the Menlo waypoint, we have the lowest altitude flights.

The only way to change this is to use a different waypoint for final approach which is ideally OVER THE BAY and even better at altitudes that are not as low as 4000.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 4, 2015 at 11:01 am

Excuse me - you are totally wrong. Right now the San Jose planes are over the PAO - they are in the reverse landing path - a Friday "regular" day pattern we come come to accept. Nothing like the MD83, AL 2232 hanging out at the PAO at 1600.

And don't tell me that the San Jose tracker is misinformed as to where their planes are.

Get back to the way things used to be when the planes flew over the San Mateo cities - what was their altitude then?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 4, 2015 at 11:06 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

SFO or SJC bound planes are ABOVE the PAO airspace and the FAA Tower at PAO does not have any control over them - period.


Planes fly over Palo Alto City Hall - does that mean that those planes are being controlled by PA City Hall - absurd.


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Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 4, 2015 at 11:11 am

resident1,

All planes "check in" with the Menlo waypoint.

A location with an address in Menlo Park, but if you look at traffic patterns, the actual spot that planes "check in" at that point is unclear. The use of the Menlo waypoint with IFR, and the 4000 altitude limitation (which is a safety issue) impacts all of the mid-Peninsula.

As long as all planes are flying IFR at Menlo waypoint we will have this problem.

Better waypoints have been suggested, higher and OVER THE BAY.




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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 4, 2015 at 11:22 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Can you explain to everyone how the 4000 feet rule is for IFR."

When a plane is flying IFR it must fly a precise route which includes a very specific altitude. A typical IFR clearance with be to fly from point A to point B at x thousand feet. When cleared to leave one way point and to descend or climb to another point the clearance will be to pass point A at X thousand feet and go to point B at Y thousand feet.

Many IFR segments are pre packaged into published "paths". On those published paths the altitude that must be maintained at each navigation point is specified. The clearance would to to fly the XYZ approach which means fly the approach as published including the specified altitude for each segment of the approach.

Here is one of the many SFO approach charts:

Web Link

Here is an audio of a clearance:

Web Link

select PilotEdge - Full IFR Clearance

Does this answer your question?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 4, 2015 at 11:25 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"All planes "check in" with the Menlo waypoint. "

MENLO is a way point not an ATC communications or control facility. There is nobody at MENLO to check in with.

Planes that are arriving SFO via MENLO may notify ATC on their call up that they are at MENLO - this is simply to assist ATC in finding the plane calling them on their radar scope.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 4, 2015 at 11:35 am

Planes may "check-in" at the Menlo Way point but they are not flying near the Menlo way point. If you look at any map the creek defines the boundary between Santa Clara and San Mateo - the planes are not on the Menlo / San Mateo boundary - they are in Santa Clara County at the PAO then going out over the bay.

So "checking in" is a relative term - where they are flying at what altitude is what reality is all about.

When we started looking at this three years ago that may have been true but the transition to Santa Clara County is now complete. Check in wherever you want but they are flying to the PAO then out over the bay.

As you are all aware the PAO was going through a transition from a county owned to city owned facility. We were all cheering them on to be successful - it was not clear where that was all going.

I appreciate that there is a political move to provide "cover" to the FAA and their friends but they are turning into irresponsible people. They may think they have cover but everyone now is looking at this and what we are all seeing is total disregard for common sense.
It looks like a new generation of ATC people who were brought up on computer programs like dungeons and dragons - there is a balance of reality that is starting to disappear.


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Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 4, 2015 at 11:36 am

yes thank you,

some take aways for those who may be interested

IFR must fly a precise route (from waypoint to waypoint) -which includes a specific altitude.

For the Menlo waypoint, the IFR altitude requirement is 4000, as the lowest possible altitude.

As long as we have all or most of SFO arrivals required to fly IFR at the Menlo waypoint, we will have a problem.

All the planes appearing to "check in" here are in fact on final approach and the "packaged" path is the Menlo Waypoint.

A better tailored approach using a path and waypoints with higher altitudes OVER THE BAY would help greatly.


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Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 4, 2015 at 11:42 am

I'm sorry 4000 is the highest possible altitude for IFR for Menlo.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 4, 2015 at 11:43 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"As long as we have all or most of SFO arrivals required to fly IFR at the Menlo waypoint, we will have a problem."

I think less than 25% of SFO arrivals use the MENLO waypoint. Most of the planes using the MENLO waypoint appear to be the ones from the South.

About 45% of SFO arrivals come via Fremont and about 30 % arrive from the North, West or South and cross the peninsula lower than the MENLO waypoint.


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Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 4, 2015 at 11:45 am

and yes planes are flying lower than 4000 -

Peter,

What is the lowest they can fly at Menlo?

Target is 4000, but I wonder what the lowest flight has been yet.

Anyway the 4000 target at Menlo is the problem.

Too low for too many planes.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 4, 2015 at 11:46 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"So "checking in" is a relative term" - Not at all, in ATC communications "checking in" is a very precise term and it requires a specific location and a specific altitude.


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Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 4, 2015 at 11:51 am

European flights use the Menlo waypoint as well, and Asia

So, flights from the South, and international arrivals.

A good sign of what a difference the change to IFR 4000 Menlo can make is what happened with the Asiana crash.

In 2013 all international flights were routed IFR via Menlo.

That's when the noise started to be noticeable.

Would you know how many or what percentage of the Nextgen paths use the Menlo waypoint?

Clearly somebody is using the Menlo waypoint.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 4, 2015 at 11:52 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Peter,

What is the lowest they can fly at Menlo?"

When flying IFR and cleared to the MENLO intersection a plane MUST cross MENLO AT 4000 ft.

When flying VFR (visual flight rules) a plane simply must maintain 1000 ft above heavily populated areas and must remain clear of clouds and other aircraft. So on a clear day a plane flying VFR could legally cross MENLO below 4000 ft.. However the next intersection after MENLO is HEMAN which is on the SFO 284 radial and most pilots flying VFR will want to cross HEMAN (which is over the Bay) at 3100 ft because that places them on the 3 degree glad path for SFO.


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Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 4, 2015 at 11:55 am

Peter,

Would it be fair to say that all the flights crossing the mid-Peninsula are (relatively speaking) "checking in" with the Menlo waypoint?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 4, 2015 at 11:57 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Correction - here is a better example of a SFO approach using runway 28:

Web Link)


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Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 4, 2015 at 12:00 pm

Peter,

I missed what you are correcting, the link has a lot of other links.

If you can summarize in a few words will help.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 4, 2015 at 12:00 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Peter,

Would it be fair to say that all the flights crossing the mid-Peninsula are (relatively speaking) "checking in" with the Menlo waypoint?"

No, that would actually be quite incorrect. Most SFO arriving flights never fly over MENLO and therefore would not "check in" as being at the MENLO intersection.

As note above no one checks IN with the MENLO waypoint as it is a geographical point in space not a communications or control facility.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 4, 2015 at 12:02 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Many IFR segments are pre packaged into published "paths". On those published paths the altitude that must be maintained at each navigation point is specified. The clearance would to to fly the XYZ approach which means fly the approach as published including the specified altitude for each segment of the approach.

Here is one of the many SFO approach charts:

Web Link


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Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 4, 2015 at 12:06 pm


Understood that there is no physical check in.

Let's only count ARRIVALS into SFO.

Are you saying that these do not fly over Menlo?


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 4, 2015 at 12:11 pm

PAO tower is not talking directly to SFO or SJC airliners.

PAO tower does have direct phone lines to other facilities to coordinate air traffic. For instance Moffett tower often allows Palo Alto to use Moffett airspace. An incoming pilot under direction of PAO tower can fly over Moffett Field without contacting Moffett tower. Permission was given over land-lines.

Getting difficult to keep up with this thread.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 4, 2015 at 12:15 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Let's only count ARRIVALS into SFO.

Are you saying that these do not fly over Menlo?"

Menlo as the City of Menlo Park? - I would estimate about 40% do, some over western MP and most over eastern Menlo Park.


Menlo as MENLO intersection? - as I stated above "I think less than 25% of SFO arrivals use the MENLO waypoint."


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 4, 2015 at 12:22 pm

You can go right now and look at actual planes on arrival to SFO - they are crossing 280 at Sand Hill Road then going down to any point between Embarcadero and Oregon Expressway to the PAO then put to the bay.

Many are crossing 101 here at less than 4,000 ft - they are inching downward to a lower altitude.

The 4,000 foot requirement is the problem - in part. We started with a 5,000 ft requirement way back when but people are now starting to run that into the ground. And if planes ever went to Willow Road you can forget it - not near Willow Road.

PC - you still need to clarify "the way it was" when the planes arrived over San Mateo County - what was the altitude?
Where was the rotation point?

And CM - what does "over the bay" mean? How are the planes getting to the bay? At what point do they cross from the ocean, across land, to the bay?
What is the point of origin at which point that transaction takes place?

From where I can see there is no actual Menlo connection except up near SLAC. But they need to be about 6500 at SLAC. From hat point on there is no Menlo cross over. It is about a bunch of people talking on the radio but no actual fly over the location.


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Posted by Complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 4, 2015 at 12:53 pm

Over the Bay - at an entry to the Bay which is not forced to be so low as Menlo at 4000. As has been pointed out, Menlo may not be the exact place where all flights cross, but it is a target.

Options for entry to the Bay where the target is at higher altitudes and stll safely land at SFO would be better.

In not sure that only 25% of SFO arrivals are causing this much noise, as Peter suggests. Will be good to know more.






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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 4, 2015 at 1:06 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"PC - you still need to clarify "the way it was" when the planes arrived over San Mateo County - what was the altitude?
Where was the rotation point?"

I have no idea what you are talking about.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 4, 2015 at 1:08 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"You can go right now and look at actual planes on arrival to SFO - they are crossing 280 at Sand Hill Road "

That is Portola Valley and Menlo Park.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 4, 2015 at 1:15 pm

CM - that was a very unclear statement. Everyone is over the bay - they have to go over the bay to get up to SFO. You stated the obvious.

So explain at what point the Planes come in from the ocean - what piece of land are they crossing - and at what point they go over 101 to the bay. Visualize the path they are going on.

Right now they come in at San Gregorio - go to the VOR at +/- 7500 - make a turn to SLAC (border with San Mateo), cross 280 at _/+ 6500 and go to SU - then down between Embarcadero and Oregon to the PAO - at which point they go out to the bay for the rotation up to SFO - over the bay.

So what is changing in your scenario? And don't ask Peter - his vision is planes that go to Willow Road in Menlo Park. A lot of little planes are there but not SFO planes.

We are talking where the planes are physically - not what they say on the radio to check in. I think all that the "Menlo" intersection is doing is to see if these people are in the ball park and have not headed to San Jose to land - or Moffett. However - if you look at this parade it looks like they are all turning right to Mountain View and then they get jerked back to go north.

Just think - if they went to the VOR and turned left they would go down to RWC via HWY 84 and go out to the bay. How simple is that? We don't do simple here.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 4, 2015 at 1:22 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"And don't ask Peter - his vision is planes that go to Willow Road in Menlo Park."

Please don't speak for me - I stated "I think less than 25% of SFO arrivals use the MENLO waypoint." And I also noted that some planes cross eastern Menlo Park and East Palo Alto that do not cross MENLO.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 4, 2015 at 1:28 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"- if they went to the VOR and turned left they would go down to RWC via HWY 84 and go out to the bay. How simple is that? We don't do simple here."

We don't do simple because this simple would mean that planes would be arriving at the 284 SFO radial at about 3500 ft or lower which means crossing over Redwood City at less than 4000 ft..


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 4, 2015 at 1:31 pm

PC - The juncture of 280 and Sand Hill Road - the planes are at 6500 here. Does this constitute a noise problem? If so then 2,000 to 4,000 feet in Palo Alto is a bigger problem.

People need to look at the flight paths as they are happening - when in the hills high altitude - when going to the bay lower altitude.
We have already argued that a higher altitude produces less noise so what is the deal with West Menlo - only crossed at high altitude.

This gets less complicated as this whole scenario roles out - it is a predictable pattern - and that predictable pattern does not involve San Mateo - LAND to any great degree at the lower altitudes by the bay.

As to the SFO roundtable - the planes use to go straight to SFO upon entry to the mainland - they turned north - not south to Santa Clara. So when they turned north way back when what was their altitude?

Is that why you advise that PA not be involved with the roundtable?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 4, 2015 at 1:35 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"and that predictable pattern does not involve San Mateo - LAND to any great degree at the lower altitudes by the bay."

Please tell that gross misrepresentation to the residents of eastern Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, Redwood Shores, Foster City etc. - all in San Mateo County.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 4, 2015 at 1:37 pm

So let's see here - we would not want planes to cross RWC at less than 4,000 ft. BUT - they do cross PA at less than 4,000 feet. So in effect we end up with the same result but the problem was just shifted south.
So we still do not do simple - we think up ways to shift noise problems which then create mayhem since we also have to deal with the San Jose planes and the PAO planes. We went from simple to stupid.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 4, 2015 at 2:20 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"So let's see here - we would not want planes to cross RWC at less than 4,000 ft. BUT - they do cross PA at less than 4,000 feet."

resident 1 is trying very hard to create the fiction that most planes fly over Palo Alto at less than 4000 ft yet the excellent hard data provided by Christel shows that only 351 flights (less than 6%) out of 6017 that overflew Palo Alto in July 2014 did so below 4000 ft.

And we should all remember that sound is not gravity sensitive - a plane that is 2000 ft from a Foster city home is much closer and louder than a plane that is 4000 ft from a Palo Alto home.


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Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 4, 2015 at 2:52 pm

resident1.

I piped in about the question about where or how planes are "checking in" over here - which has been made clear is a relative term. So is the exact location of where planes are crossing when targeting a waypoint on the way to SFO.

What seems specific are IFR procedures, and the altitude limitations for Menlo IFR - 4000 feet. Other waypoints, would not have the same altitude ceilings (I'm sure there are better expert explanations).

Whether it's 25% of SFO arrivals from SFO (which is huge) that cross Palo Alto - or 10% - if most are aiming for 4000, over Menlo (or any point nearby), that does not seem to be working out, noise wise. What is not really very fair is to compare IFR and VOR traffic. It has been said that less experienced pilots are forced to fly IFR, and thus the changes after the Asiana crash.

These are the type of specifics that should be better explained to us non-experts, and not have to rely on TS to sort out.

Until then, Complaints are what count.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 4, 2015 at 3:35 pm

Anyone who is looking at the flight trackers can clearly see that the planes are now in Palo Alto after they clear the 280. It is not a debate - it is a fact. It is closer to 90% except for some of the go-arounds.

That does not include Surf Air or the multitude of small planes that seem to circle over Atherton in an incessant manner. What is that all about?

This is a substantial shift that has gradually been occurring but is now reached maximum volume. And the changing role of the PAO is a gradual shift - what ever any one thought before can rethink it. It is a city airport now and can change it's role however it wants. It is obvious that the role has changed.

And the magic number of 4,000 - that can also change. I have watched planes lower than 4,000 then rise up to 4,000 just to check in. So any thought that the majority of planes over PA are at 4,000 or above is an adjustment made once they reach that point. How they got to that point is another story.

Any absolute you put out there is a fiction - the pilots are doing very strange stuff and the air controllers are doing very strange stuff. It is like a bunch of children with a new toy. A growing concern is the lack of safety for the people on the ground.


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Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 4, 2015 at 4:32 pm

res1,

The "absolute" of waypoints, in theory, should have changed with Nextgen. Maybe someone is eating cake and having it too. When the safety call was made after Asiana - for all international carriers to fly IFR via the Menlo waypoint (over Palo Alto), that didn't sound so safe either. The solutions to use other waypoints to "line up" the planes before landing at SFO, over the water, sounds the best and safe too.


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Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 4, 2015 at 4:43 pm

the other way around having cake and eating it too :)


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 4, 2015 at 4:48 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"When the safety call was made after Asiana - for all international carriers to fly IFR via the Menlo waypoint (over Palo Alto)"

That is fiction - lots of international carriers never use MENLO.

" via the Menlo waypoint (over Palo Alto)"
that is also fiction - MENLO is called MENLO because, surprise, it is IN Menlo Park.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 4, 2015 at 4:56 pm

CM - the problem is the time they spend getting to the water - the bay. They are crossing land to get there. That is a huge piece of land that everyone is debating - no one can debate the water - water in non-negotiable.

Are they crossing in San Mateo County - or Santa Clara County? That is the issue. They used to cross in San Mateo County - now they are crossing in Santa Clara County. If the number they have to reach is 4,000 then it is the same if in San Mateo or Santa Clara.

Problem here is that Santa Clara has to deal with San Jose. San Jose flights do not cross San Mateo unless a very high altitude.
Bottom line is that Santa Clara is getting hit from both sides.

So who thinks this type of stuff up? People who think they are clever beyond belief.


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Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 4, 2015 at 8:30 pm

Peter,

What part about the Asiana call is fiction? The call made after Asiana (to re-route planes over the mid-Peninsula) was reported in the Weekly and the Post.

The Weekly reported on October 14, 2014 - article "Unfriendly Skies"
Web Link

"Prior to July 2013, arrivals were split between routes over land and over San Francisco Bay. But the FAA permanently directed international planes to fly over the Midpeninsula after the Asiana Airlines crash, when the pilot landed short of the runway"

The Post reported on May 15, 2015 - article "Noise complaints soaring SFO-bound airliners irk residents"

"SFO spokesman Doug Yagel told the Post that there were more flights passing over Palo Alto after the crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 in July 2013. For a period of time after the crash, the FAA temporarily required airliners to take another route that involved flying downwind over the Peninsula on their way to SFO."

Notice that the phrase "passing over Palo Alto" is used because to get to the Menlo waypoint, you pass over other communities. The planes don't just plop down from the sky only on Menlo Park.

It would be nice to know if it was first a permanent change, then became temporary, but it's really a stretch to now call it "fiction."


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 4, 2015 at 8:41 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Notice that the phrase "passing over Palo Alto" is used because to get to the Menlo waypoint, you pass over other communities. "

Your own words prove you wrong - there was no FAA directive for international planes to fly via the MENLO intersection. They may well have been told to fly IFR approaches to SFO and if so all but one of those 26 approaches does not include the MENLO intersection. Watch the fight tracker on any day and you will seldom see an international carrier flying via MENLO - almost all of them intercept the ILS course at DUMBA or further South.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 4, 2015 at 8:45 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Removal of an ambiguous double negative :

They may well have been told to fly IFR approaches to SFO. ONLY one of the 26 SFO approaches includes the MENLO intersection.


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Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 4, 2015 at 8:53 pm

Peter,

The Menlo is also called the Menlo IAF, Initial Approach Fix, which is for SFO?

Are you saying that the approach fix for SFO is DUMBA?


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Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 4, 2015 at 9:00 pm

Peter,

It could very well be that out of 26 approaches to SFO, only 1 is Menlo but if that 1 approach is used for all international flights, then at least for the period of time -when that 1 approach is used, it's significant.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 4, 2015 at 9:05 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

DUMBA, ARCHI, FAITH and MENLO are all IAFs for the ILS approaches to SFO.

Planes flying via MENLO are easily visible from my home and I seldom see international carriers crossing MENLO.

The approach that I have recommended would require that only ARCHI and FAITH be permissible IAFs.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 4, 2015 at 9:09 pm

You all keep talking about the Menlo intersection - but the planes only touch the city of West Menlo at the very top and are at 6,500 - 280 / SLAC. By the time they are at the bottom of the peninsula they are not crossing Menlo Park the city.

If you are making an argument about noise then do not confuse a designated location for reporting as the city. At the bottom of the bay they are going out the PAO to the bay. They are coming down the peninsula between Embarcadero and Oregon - or points further south to San Antonio.

I am beginning to think that the Menlo Intersection is going by the boards - it looks like it is transferring to the PAO location. If the Menlo is radar then that may be a good reason to transfer to a GPS / satellite click point.

I think that they are making attempts to transfer how they are interacting with the flight paths.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 4, 2015 at 9:20 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

MENLO is a GPS navigation point.

KPAO is not and never has been a GPS navigation point except as a destination airport.


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Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 4, 2015 at 9:28 pm

Peter,

So, out of the 26 approaches, there are 4 which can be used as IAFs for the ILS approaches to SFO?

Just to keep track, "An instrument approach procedure chart (or 'approach plate') is published for each ILS approach to provide the information needed to fly an ILS approach during instrument flight rules (IFR) operations. "Web Link

WHen planes are being directed to fly IFR, it matters then how heavily the MENLO approach is used. Unlike DUMBA (over the water?) MENLO is close to residential neighborhoods.

WHich is why I thought it relevant to bring up IFR at MENLO.

And will be good to see what exactly the directive was after Asiana.


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Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 4, 2015 at 10:04 pm

res1,

The GPS point of MENLO could very well be in Palo Alto. It has been brought up before in these threads.

It's an imaginary point and planes are aiming there (not actually touching something).

I think you can get the exact address of the MENLO location, it's supposed to be somewhere near Willow and 101 intersection? Get the exact location of the MENLO, and check if the planes are all going over that point. Probably not.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 5, 2015 at 5:17 am

MENLO is supposedly at 37° 27' 49.27" N, 122° 9' 13.17" W -- Web Link
That's about 0.36 mile south of Willow at 101.
Closest streetcorner is Laurel Avenue and O'Keefe Street.

In the good old days before GPS, you could navigate to it on the 040 degree radial from the Woodside VOR. MENLO is where you'd cross the 117 degree radial from the SFO airport VOR. (VORs are ground-based radio beacons that broadcast signals which allow aircraft to determine their azimuth.) Imagine being above or in clouds. If you can read the dials accurate to 1 degree, you'll know when you cross MENLO within a quarter mile, within a few seconds of flight time.

Yeah, nobody knows how to use a sextant anymore either.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 5, 2015 at 5:51 am

Oh-oh. Looks like the FAA technical description of MENLO is where the Woodside 038.00 radial crosses the Oakland 151.00 radial -- Web Link -- (search for MENLO)

My point was that navigation existed before GPS, and that MENLO was defined relative to other locations, not a random pin stuck in the map.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 5, 2015 at 7:10 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Musical is correct - MENLO intersection was originally defined as the "intersect" of two specific VOR radials.

When GPS came in use the old VOR defined intersection were also given their GPS coordinates - but the geographical location did not change.

So MENLO is a geographical point defined by the intersection of two specific VOR radials and also by its GPS coordinates,


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Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 5, 2015 at 9:42 am

resident 1,

On page 53 on this SKy Posse presentation link there is a possible Menlo IAF address is 716 Laurel Web Link

that sounds not too far from where musical has it.

Maybe you can find the plates of the other flights you are observing here Web Link. What I understand is that the flights that are flying higher over Menlo, and obviously the ones that don't even touch Menlo are not the Menlo IFR flights.

The IFR flights over Menlo are the ones aiming for 4000, at Menlo. Would be good to know if those are aiming for 716 Laurel, or a place in Palo Alto. It would also be good to know if after the Asiana crash, the international carriers were re-routed to other places (as Peter suggests - not Menlo IAF), or to the Menlo IAF.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 5, 2015 at 10:41 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The IFR flights over Menlo are the ones aiming for 4000, at Menlo. Would be good to know if those are aiming for 716 Laurel, or a place in Palo Alto."

IFR flights which are routed via MENLO MUST fly over that exact point and they may be no lower than 4000 ft when crossing MENLO.

MENLO is in Menlo Park - not Palo Alto.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 5, 2015 at 10:50 am

Yup, 716 Laurel if Google and the FAA use the same coordinate system. WGS84?

I have to say the FAA is listing ridiculous precision.
37-27-49.2700N 122-09-13.1700W
But if the computers take that many figures, I guess something must go in.
At least they rounded to the nearest foot.

Way off-topic... I'm wondering, will MENLO move with magnetic field drift?
It could be in the neighbor's yard already.


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Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 5, 2015 at 11:53 am

resident 1,

Looks like your perception that the lowest altitude planes are "checking in" in Palo Alto (not at the MENLO point in Menlo Park) could be correct.

The lowest altitude planes that "must" hit that precise point (wherever it is) are likely the IFR flights. By lowest altitude planes I mean the ones with a 4000 feet ceiling, required for IFR procedure.

SFO Yakel's comments about the changes in 2013 coincide with the increase in noise that residents started reporting in 2103. That is when the KAL and the freighters started making noise too - are they routed IFR over Menlo? Were those made permanent re-routes.

Wonder if there is precision in permanent vs temporary.

Reported by The Post on May 15, 2015 - article "Noise complaints soaring SFO-bound airliners irk residents"

"SFO spokesman Doug Yagel told the Post that there were more flights passing over Palo Alto after the crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 in July 2013. For a period of time after the crash, the FAA temporarily required airliners to take another route that involved flying downwind over the Peninsula on their way to SFO."


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Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 5, 2015 at 11:55 am

noise that residents started reporting in 2013

this problem has been going on since then


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Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 5, 2015 at 12:46 pm

Peter,

"IFR flights which are routed via MENLO MUST fly over that exact point and they may be no lower than 4000 ft when crossing MENLO. "

As you pointed out, just in July 2014, 351 flights,out of 6017 overflew Palo Alto below 4000 and that's not over the exact MENLO point.

More planes in July 2014 could have been below 4000 at the coordinate called Menlo. And if the planes are hitting a precise point in Palo Alto (referred to as Menlo), they likely go straight to the Bay instead of bothering Menlo Park.

The higher altitude flights resident 1 observes flying over Menlo Park are not the MENLO IFR flights are they?. The MENLO IFR flights have the 4000 feet ceiling, at MENLO, a precise point which is so far unclear exactly where it is.

Do you think the MENLO point could actually be in Palo Alto?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 5, 2015 at 12:48 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Way off-topic... I'm wondering, will MENLO move with magnetic field drift?"

Maps and GPS use the actual North and South poles and the Prime Meridian as theie absolute reference points, not the magnetic North pole.

The location of MENLO as determined by its map location and GPS location will not change as the magnetic North pole changes.

The locations of the Woodside and Oakland VOR's ,which also define the location of MENLO, do not change (except for the very small relative movement of the Pacific Plate which the Woodside VOR sits on vs the North American Plate which the Oakland VOR sits on) and therefore the VOR intersection which is MENLO will not move perceptively - until the next big San Andreas earthquake.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 5, 2015 at 12:49 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Do you think the MENLO point could actually be in Palo Alto?"

No, no, no.

See Musical's post above:
"MENLO is supposedly at 37° 27' 49.27" N, 122° 9' 13.17" W -- Web Link
That's about 0.36 mile south of Willow at 101.
Closest streetcorner is Laurel Avenue and O'Keefe Street. "


2 people like this
Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 5, 2015 at 1:08 pm

Peter,

"No, no, no. "

OK, but musical also says "I have to say the FAA is listing ridiculous precision"

Just like there is imprecision about altitudes (some planes below 4000), there could be imprecision about the exact location of the Menlo waypoint which IFR flights are routed over.

Before SFO puts noise monitors at the Menlo IAF, 736 Laurel Ave in Menlo Park I would kind of want to find out if there is potential imprecision about the location of the Menlo IAF.

How would you suggest finding out?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 5, 2015 at 1:11 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" there could be imprecision about the exact location of the Menlo waypoint which IFR flights are routed over."

No there is not any imprecision about the location of MENLO.

Musical notes that the FAA is listing it with extremely correct, accurate precision, not imprecision.


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Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 5, 2015 at 1:28 pm

Peter,

I guess then, that there would be no chance that a plane routed over MENLO IFR would fly past Palo Alto without passing 736 Laurel.

So the planes not flying IFR past Palo Alto are just flying lower than the planes that fly over Menlo Park at higher altitudes (to get to SFO) because?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 5, 2015 at 1:37 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"So the planes not flying IFR past Palo Alto are just flying lower than the planes that fly over Menlo Park at higher altitudes (to get to SFO) because?"


Some planes flying IFR and are routed via MENLO.

Some planes flying IFR are given different routings including over Fremont, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Menlo Park and East Palo Alto.

Some planes flying VFR fly over any/many of the above communities.

VFR and IFR altitude restrictions were explained above.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 5, 2015 at 1:54 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here is an inbound SFO flight that was vectored over MENLO and it NEVER flew over Palo Alto:

Web Link


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 5, 2015 at 1:56 pm

Way off-topic... the 151.00 and 038.00 radials are magnetic.

OAK*C*151.00/16.07 OSI*C*038.00/7.44 37-27-49.2700N 122-09-13.1700W

Something in the MENLO definition will become over-constrained, I'd think.

Don't know what the *C* means. Maybe that's a key.

(The 16.07 and 7.44 are nautical miles from the VORs.)


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Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 5, 2015 at 2:00 pm

Peter,

There are restrictions to not fly below a certain altitude for example in San Mateo - would you know what that floor is? Could that be the reason for the higher approaches from communities North of Palo Alto?



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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 5, 2015 at 2:04 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

And here is a small single engine plane clearly breaking the rules by flying under 1000 ft over a residential area:

Web Link

Clearly the pilot knew he/she was breaking the rules because just after this screen shot the plane's transponder was turned off.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 5, 2015 at 2:10 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Busy day over San Mateo County - another SFO inbound that never touches Palo Alto:

Web Link


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 5, 2015 at 2:25 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

This has been going on all day - two more SFO inbounds, one from HNL and one from JFK - both big, over Atherton and Menlo Park. They never touched Palo Alto:

Web Link


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 5, 2015 at 2:31 pm

@Peter, maybe that 800-ft guy was being overly conservative under the conflicting Cessna Cardinal crossing right to left at 1700 feet. And got too low to be picked up on the radar? Nah.

He did show up again 2.5min later over La Honda Rd at 3600 feet. (1800-ft terrain)


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Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 5, 2015 at 2:37 pm

Peter,

It's an art -to turn the conversation from 1 approach to 26 approaches; from thousands of noisy flights over two years, to 1-2 flights that did not pass over Palo Alto (today); from IFR at 1 waypoint point - to a mix of VFR and IFR at other point. The reference to 1 GA flight below 1000 feet by Atherton must follow the question about altitude floors for San Mateo.

The altitude floors in San Mateo for SFO bound flights are pretty high, 10,000 feet?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 5, 2015 at 2:46 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The altitude floors in San Mateo for SFO bound flights are pretty high, 10,000 feet?"

Wrong - look at all the flights I posted today. Some were below 4000 ft over San Mateo County.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 5, 2015 at 2:48 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"@Peter, maybe that 800-ft guy was being overly conservative under the conflicting Cessna Cardinal crossing right to left at 1700 feet. And got too low to be picked up on the radar? Nah.

He did show up again 2.5min later over La Honda Rd at 3600 feet. (1800-ft terrain)"

Musical good catch.

He flew all the way across the Bay at 1000 ft - no excuse for going lower. The Cardinal went higher to avoid him.


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Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 5, 2015 at 2:54 pm

Peter,

"Some were below 4000 ft over San Mateo County."

That's interesting, that there are no longer any altitude restrictions for SFO bound planes in San Mateo.

Is that after Nextgen?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 5, 2015 at 3:32 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"That's interesting, that there are no longer any altitude restrictions for SFO bound planes in San Mateo. "

IFR and VFR altitude restrictions were clearly posted above -PLEASE read them.

And "complaints matter" why do your and other posters complaints matter but you insist on dismissing mine?
Is it just Palo Alto complaints that matter???


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 5, 2015 at 4:23 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Musical provides this useful info re the VOR radials that define MENLO "the 151.00 and 038.00 radials are magnetic. "

Years ago the runway numbers at PAO had to be changed because of magnetic changes. I suspect that the FAA will simply change the radials that define MENLO as the magnetic direction changes but allowing the geographical position of MENLO, like that of the PAO runways, to remain the same.


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Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 5, 2015 at 4:30 pm

Peter,

My complaints, your complaints all count at SFO.

My questions about IFR at Menlo, restrictions with IFR at Menlo, and the exact location of the Menlo point were questions to possibly address Resident1's post about the precise GPS location which flights use when passing Palo Alto.

BTW I don't complain about flights observed on the flight tracker. I complain when a flight is very loud, very low, flights which disturb my sleep or my family's sleep. I complain about the flights I can hear from inside my house. The flights that scare my dog, and the flights which prevent me from staying outside in my back yard for very long.

Funny that I thought that maybe you were dismissing my concerns about the Menlo waypoint, and it turns out that you have complaints too.


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Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 5, 2015 at 4:43 pm

Peter,

"Years ago the runway numbers at PAO had to be changed because of magnetic changes. I suspect that the FAA will simply change the radials that define MENLO as the magnetic direction changes but allowing the geographical position of MENLO"

Could the geographical position have changed then?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 5, 2015 at 4:57 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Could the geographical position have changed then?"

No the PAO runways are in exactly the same place they were before their magnetic "numbers" were changed.

"I thought that maybe you were dismissing my concerns about the Menlo waypoint,"

Hardly, I have devoted considerable time and effort to attempting to answer your questions.


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Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 5, 2015 at 5:24 pm

Peter,

You do take time to respond and some of your answers brings up more questions.

Last one here,

Your recent response was that the PAO runways are "exactly in the same place" as is the geographic location called the Menlo waypoint, 716 Laurel. Unclear why you brought up that years ago there were some changes, and you "suppose" that the MENLO position was allowed to remain the same.

What year were the changes?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 5, 2015 at 5:28 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Your recent response was that the PAO runways are "exactly in the same place" as is the geographic location called the Menlo waypoint, 716 Laurel."


That is NOT what I said:
"Years ago the runway numbers at PAO had to be changed because of magnetic changes. I suspect that the FAA will simply change the radials that define MENLO as the magnetic direction changes but allowing the geographical position of MENLO, like that of the PAO runways, to remain the same."

Please understand if I simply ignore any further questions from you.


3 people like this
Posted by complaints matter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 5, 2015 at 5:50 pm

Understood.

I would have the question which is why this was even brought up in the first place (when the discussion was about the precise location of the MENLO point), missed the reason why it was brought up.

Peter Carpenter,
"Years ago the runway numbers at PAO had to be changed because of magnetic changes. I suspect that the FAA will simply change the radials that define MENLO as the magnetic direction changes but allowing the geographical position of MENLO, like that of the PAO runways, to remain the same."


1 person likes this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 6, 2015 at 5:07 am

I think, except for the die-hards, we've just about exhausted this thread...

When the question of MENLO's "precise" location came up, I chimed in with the current official precise coordinates, and an explanation that historically it was defined much less precisely as the intersection of radials from two VOR radio-beacons several miles away.

Thus arose my off-topic technical question about which set of coordinates the FAA will update when the magnetic field drifts a sufficiently significant amount, since VOR radials are defined relative to magnetic north.

Palo Alto's runway 31 is so-named because its magnetic heading is 308 degrees. I have references from late-1999 calling it runway 30. Peter mentioned this as an illustration of the drifting magnetic coordinates. San Carlos runway 30 is now 304.3 degrees, and will probably be renamed runway 31 within 8 years.

I agree with Peter, suspecting that MENLO and other such intersections will stay put at their current physical locations, and the FAA will fuss with magnetic radial numbers or abandon the VOR definitions entirely. Last I heard, half the VOR beacons will be removed in the next 5 years, and the remaining skeleton will be retained as a backup for when the GPS satellite constellation goes kerflooey.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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