News

Consultant confirms increased airplane noise, flight paths

City's aviation experts to present findings and recommendations for changes to FAA Select Committee

Hundreds if not thousands of airplanes from San Francisco International Airport pass over Palo Alto's residential neighborhoods on a daily basis. Now a study is proving just how impactful those flights can be.

City of Palo Alto's consultants, Freytag & Associates, presented a route analysis and noise assessment report to more than 100 residents at Cubberley Community Center on Wednesday night, confirming what local residents' group Sky Posse has maintained all along: that the number of flights has increased, the flight pattern has shifted more to the south over Palo Alto, and the decibel level has risen significantly.

The consultants will present the study on June 29 to the FAA Select Committee, a newly formed body that includes elected leaders from Santa Clara, San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties. The committee will discuss a proposal by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to lessen the noise.

City of Palo Alto officials are trying to find solutions that will work for all local cities and counties and sent a letter to the FAA on March 2 requesting the formation of a task force in addition to the Select Committee. The task force, made up of local government officials and staff from the aviation agencies, would make recommendations to the Select Committee and the San Mateo County-based SFO Roundtable. The FAA is looking to the Select Committee for proposals for changes to flight paths and altitude.

In April 2015, the FAA created a program to streamline flight efficiency throughout the nation, called NextGen. But since its implementation, communities have complained that noise levels and airplane frequency have increased dramatically, creating a superhighway in the sky over a narrower band.

In response to a surge of complaints, the FAA agreed to form the Select Committee, which is chaired by Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian. It also released last month its preliminary "feasibility study," which considers flight procedures and adjustments to flight speeds and altitudes.

Though the technical report is still being reviewed by elected officials, their consultants and other area stakeholders, some of its early conclusions are unlikely to please the critics. For example, the study indicates that it would not be feasible to raise the flight altitude at the nearby MENLO waypoint to 5,000 feet because doing so would create "too steep a descent gradient." The FAA also deemed that it would not be feasible to disperse flight tracks over a wider range, noting in the study that having more parallel routes "may be a source of confusion and could be unsafe."

Palo Alto's consultants are still evaluating the FAA's initial report, but on May 23, City Manager James Keene expressed some dismay at both the report's early conclusions and the fact that they were reached without any real outreach to the wider community.

"The fact that it appears in advance of the significant engagement process that we're launching into has generated a lot of understandable concern," Keene told the council.

The concern was evident at Wednesday night's meeting. Palo Alto resident Deanna Dickman said that noise over her home on the 900 block of Bryant Street has affected her health to the point that she is renting a house in Carmel to get away.

"Last July I came home from vacation and said, 'Is there a mistake?' I looked up and the belly of the plane is over our house at 3,000 feet. I counted 82 planes," she recalled. "I cannot be out on our deck. There are 100 planes a day, sometimes every two minutes. I cannot live in my house. I've lost my home," she said.

She and her spouse plan to stay in Carmel for a year, after which they hope the noise problem will be resolved and they can return to their home. But if not, they will have to sell their house, she said.

Consultant Jack Freytag said his company developed software to analyze SFO flight-arrival data obtained by Sky Posse. They also used FAA modeling programs to help create separate flight-track and noise-track assessments. Based on a comparison of data from July 10, 2008, and July 9, 2015, one of the busiest times of the year, their data confirmed the shift of flights, increased frequency directly over Palo Alto, and increase in noise levels.

"The FAA cares about increases in noise in terms of DNL (Day Night Average Level, the average noise over the course of a day)," consultant Randy Waldeck said, noting that the agency is concerned about significant impacts caused by large changes in levels. "They have to listen."

But Palo Alto's noise level, although significantly increased, is just at or below 45 decibels, the FAA threshold.

The consultants' analysis also showed that about half of the flights under the NextGen plan are stacked more closely than before, creating congestion that forces air-traffic controllers to put them in a holding pattern. That increases air emissions, noise and delays -- the exact problems that NextGen was designed to prevent, the consultants said.

The consultants will recommend that the FAA do more air-traffic-control coordination, organize incoming flights 200 to 300 miles farther out and stage departure times to prevent a backlog of flights.

The city is also proposing a number of flight-path changes as well as the creation of a different waypoint, a point used to help aircraft locate invisible routing paths. Currently one is at the Menlo Park/Palo Alto border. Moving the waypoint south of the San Francisco Bay would put the planes over the full length of the water at much higher altitudes.

Another proposed change would aim to bring planes in from the west at a higher elevation. It would also reduce the need to have planes in holding patterns at low altitudes. The carrot for the FAA in this proposal would be improved fuel efficiency, the consultants said.

The city is also recommending that the FAA review nighttime flights, as these have been among the most concerning to residents whose sleep is being disturbed. The consultants will also be conducting sleep interference, classroom disruption and property valuation studies, they said.

Palo Alto's study, the first and only one that will be presented to the FAA Select Committee on June 26, created a readily available tool utilizing the FAA's own modeling program. Noise impacts can now be objectively estimated for any changes by the FAA, Jennifer Landesmann, a Sky Posse member, said.

"We can measure relative impacts before any changes are signed off on as helpful or not," she stated in an email.

The noise evaluation conducted by the consultants "so far also demonstrates that even with the FAA's ... metrics, the noise levels in Palo Alto have almost hit, or are at the doorstep of 'significant impact,'" a term the FAA uses and listens to, she added.

But Landesmann said that much more work must be done. The FAA Select Committee is comprised of local groups from the region, and how they view a current FAA proposal for changes could have significant detrimental impacts for Palo Alto. If the rest of the regional committee members buy in on the FAA plan, the agency could take the position that it is in compliance with the community's wishes, she said. It would be hard for Palo Alto to make an argument against it on its own.

The June 29 Select Committee meeting is open to the public and will take place at 6 p.m. at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View.

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Comments

22 people like this
Posted by Jean
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 10, 2016 at 11:20 am

"For example, the study indicates that it would not be feasible to raise the flight altitude at the nearby MENLO waypoint to 5,000 feet because doing so would create "too steep a descent gradient."

How is it that for many years planes would fly over my house in Palo Alto at a much higher altitude than they do now. I remember watching them as they dropped down when they reached the Bay. Now, for some convoluted reason the FAA are saying it's "too steep a descent gradient." I think this is just an excuse not to cooperate and help the residents of Palo Alto with the higher noise levels of NextGen.



18 people like this
Posted by Plane Speaker
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 10, 2016 at 11:48 am

Jean asks ...

>> How is it that for many years planes would fly over my house in Palo Alto at a much higher altitude than they do now.

That is exactly my question. Decades ago planes would fly over Palo Alto at night high up in the sky and you could barely hear them - and I had better hearing back then as well. Now, virtually at every time of day and night larger planes are coming in lower and louder.

Presumably planes are
- more maneuverable,
- more automatic,
- safer,
- have more systems that tell them where they are
- and what to do,
- and how to avoid each other
- and how to land
- and supposed to be QUIETER

... so even though there are more planes things should be better. At least one would think.

Why is the noise so much worse ?


21 people like this
Posted by Abigail T
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 10, 2016 at 11:49 am

"The FAA Select Committee is comprised of local groups from the region, and how they view a current FAA proposal for changes could have significant detrimental impacts for Palo Alto. If the rest of the regional committee members buy in on the FAA plan, the agency could take the position that it is in compliance with the community's wishes, she said. It would be hard for Palo Alto to make an argument against it on its own."

This is the key passage in the story. NextGen has allowed the FAA to concentrate most noise producing flights over a narrow band: in this case Palo Alto. Previously, flights were more widely dispersed further north. Much of San Mateo County was affected. The various cities complained, organized - formed the SFO Roundtable noise group, and eventually got the FAA to move flights further south (i.e. to our city.) So now the FAA gets complaints from Palo Alto and Los Altos, but not from the much larger population of San Mateo County cities. For the FAA, this is a good trade-off. Is it any wonder that the FAA gives lip-service to Palo Alto complaints while making absolutely no effort to change things?

I doubt if we have enough political fire power to fight the FAA. Deanna Dickman who says she'll have to sell her house if things don't change might as well engage an agent while the market is good. Who knows what prices will do when it becomes more widely known that Palo Alto is a dumping ground for SFO noise?


20 people like this
Posted by Jean
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 10, 2016 at 12:15 pm

One of the reasons larger numbers of 'planes are coming in over Palo Alto is because we are in Santa Clara County.

San Francisco airport is in San Mateo County and has connections to that County for the privilege of having their airport there. San Francisco airport has no such connections to Santa Clara County so they fly over us with impunity.


19 people like this
Posted by Plane Speaker
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 10, 2016 at 12:47 pm

>> Who knows what prices will do when it becomes more widely known that Palo Alto is a dumping ground for SFO noise?

Yeah, many thanks for keeping that on the down-low! ;-)


18 people like this
Posted by Rene
a resident of another community
on Jun 10, 2016 at 12:54 pm

Visiting friends in Palo Alto and Menlo Park over the years, I have seen a huge uptick in loud and low flights over the area.

What amazes me are the brazen half-truth statements by FAA spokespeople, especially their claim that changing the flight paths over any portion of their NextGen derived changes from a radius of over 70 miles is not feasible because doing so makes descent angles too steep to fly.

The default NextGen arrival procedure is shallow angles (3 degrees), but they daily and nightly vector most flights to approach at far steeper descent angles when it suites the airports to increase their landing rates. See here for a real-time view: Web Link

It is demonstrably feasible to make flight route adjustments that reduce noise. They can fly higher with steeper descent angles *but* quieter as experienced by us all on the ground.

Yes, flying continuous descent approaches (CDA), now turned into the nuspeak phrase Optimized Descent Procedure (OPD) reduces emitted aircraft noise, but if the altitude of said aircraft is significantly lower than before, that negates the benefits and it significantly increases the noise on the ground. This is the FAA half-truth I speak about.


24 people like this
Posted by Plane Speaker
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 10, 2016 at 1:26 pm

I notice just about every night/morning from midnight to 1am there are one or more planes going directly over Palo Alto at a very low altitude. There was one last night and the whole area of flooded with noise so loud you cannot talk or hear say TV, radio, or was I was out walking cannot hear my Iphone with headphones. That is just unacceptable. And usually it is more than just one plane.

I keep hearing a lot about AI, and often mentioned is the airlines industry and how pilots fly on average something like 2% of a flight, the rest of it is automated by the AI autopilot. Is it not possible to automate these last points of a flight. From what I have heard said the autopilots do a better job than human pilots, or at the least AS good. Maybe these pilots are tired and lazy after a long flight, or maybe they do not really get enough practice so the landings are set up for them to be as simple as possible, where in the past an average pilot could easily navigate the skies to stay at altitude as they came in to land at SFO?

Or are the planes today just louder and not quieter as claimed. Or is the frequency of the engines different so that it travels differently through the air?


9 people like this
Posted by Kazu
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 10, 2016 at 1:29 pm

"How is it that for many years planes would fly over my house in Palo Alto at a much higher altitude than they do now. I remember watching them as they dropped down when they reached the Bay. Now, for some convoluted reason the FAA are saying it's "too steep a descent gradient.""

Could you please show us your calculations demonstrating that the FAA is wrong?

"I think this is just an excuse not to cooperate and help the residents of Palo Alto with the higher noise levels of NextGen."

Yes, I am sure they plan the flight paths just to annoy us. How remarkable that Palo Altans are important enough to merit such attention.


"San Francisco airport is in San Mateo County and has connections to that County for the privilege of having their airport there. San Francisco airport has no such connections to Santa Clara County so they fly over us with impunity."

And your hard evidence proving that assertion is... ?


20 people like this
Posted by Dean
a resident of another community
on Jun 10, 2016 at 1:34 pm

It is entirely possible for the flight path to move a few degrees, to reduce noise levels, but large changes are not easily done. The way I understand it, is that sound is similar to light in that it reduces intensity by the square of the distance involved. So small changes could reduce the sound levels.

I personally enjoy hearing aircraft and automobile sounds, they are comforting because those sounds mean the community is benefitting from productivity. An example is: compare the benefits derived from a pristine natural area where you can only hear birds and maybe a random animal, coyote or other animal, to a busy city. The benefits of the busy city are many and easy to quantify while the pristine area only provides the benefits of peace and quiet, which are at best difficult to quantify. Obviously the busy city is a necessity for mankind to live, while the pristine natural area is only good for relaxation, until too many people discover it and then it becomes intolerable to those who appreciate the peace and quiet.

If you may remember, I am in retirement and would rather be working for many reasons, not the least money.

It seems for some reason I am predisposed to having to struggle throughout my lifetime. First to work as young as 7 1/2 years old, in order to have anything other than a pair of shoes a year, 2 pairs of pants, 2 changes of underwear, a moderately warm jacket for winter (some as cold as 40 degrees below zero) a bed to sleep in, and sharing food with 5 siblings. I did learn that you can't have many things and it makes me sick to hear people complaining about things that may be unavoidable.

I had to work to provide for my education, while I was married supporting my family (2 children). Nobody provided this for me, but I provided this for my EX and my two children, which is appreciated only by my daughter.

Now, in retirement, I have to struggle because those of you who want to complain about noise etc. keep the housing costs too high for a person on a fixed income to live comfortably.

When you decided to live in a high population density area with very limited land resources, you should have understood that some sacrifices were absolutely necessary. Me, too.

What do you want to do, drive 150 miles to the nearest airport? Like as not you would complain about that too! What I can understand about these groups complaining about the aircraft noise, is that they always have to have something to complain about. In other words they are habitual complainers! Just relax and enjoy life because when you complain, you just make yourself miserable, and the more you complain the more miserable you become.




.


18 people like this
Posted by Tom Rindfleisch
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 10, 2016 at 1:45 pm

First, thanks to Sue Dremann and Gennady Sheyner for their article. The issue of accurate measures of "noise level" is both extremely important and technically a bit complex. It is complex because noise levels are measured on a logarithmic scale of decibels (dB), for which a special kind of arithmetic has to be used. The total noise we hear on the ground is also a combination of ambient sounds (conversation, traffic, equipment, school kids playing, etc.) plus aircraft overflight noise. Each component can be measured in dB, but you don't just add those numbers together to get the total.

More importantly, the work that Freytag and Associates has done is very preliminary. They were under pressure to quickly show data, for which they ran historical FAA flight path data for a mix of standard aircraft types through an FAA simulation program to produce an estimate of aircraft-contributed (incremental) ground noise. They do not have actual data about how the aircraft were flown that affects how much noise they make (engine speed, air brake usage, flap usage, etc.), nor do they have any calibration as to whether or not their calculations accurately represent what is heard on the ground.

I have been measuring real ground noise in various parts of the Palo Alto vicinity for the past year and find much higher noise levels contributed by aircraft. A typical day-long noise record taken in March in north Palo Alto is shown in Figure 1 (see Web Link).

You can easily see that the sound level is generally above 50 dB and that the vertical spikes (aircraft overflight event noise) rise much higher (to 70 dB and more).

I have written a computer program that carefully separates out the aircraft noise peaks from the other background sounds (based on their shape and size characteristics). This is another complicated story, which I am glad to share with you if interested.

To make a long story short, the FAA (and Freytag) use a day-long average noise level measure called DNL (Day-Night average sound Level). For the sound record above, the following are the actual noise level measurements I made:

Noise Component -- DNL Level(dB)
Background (Aircraft Peaks Removed)-- 56.1 dB
Isolated Aircraft Peaks Only -- 58.3 dB
Total Sound Record -- 58.6 dB

Our noise levels are demonstrably well above the 45 dB level. This analysis is typical of my results, but sound levels vary from place to place. Clearly, the closer you are located to the airline arrival routes, the louder the noise. Also the day-long average of noise does not tell the real story very well, because when overflight peaks (often over 70 dB in height) interrupt concentration, studying, conversations, watching TV, etc., the effects on residents is quite substantial -- again varying from person to person. If you want to hear what overflight noise sounds like while you are trying to watch TV, visit my website at Web Link and play the recording about halfway down the page.

I hope this helps in clarifying this complex subject. We have to be very careful about throwing number around...

Tom Rindfleisch
31 Tevis Place


2 people like this
Posted by @Dean
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 10, 2016 at 1:49 pm

[Post removed.]


24 people like this
Posted by Tired of Cronyism
a resident of another community
on Jun 10, 2016 at 4:15 pm

Too many comments demonstrate an utter lack of awareness about the scope of the NextGen program’s 24/7 low altitude commercial flights (which coincided with an unleashing of low altitude GA and military flights) which have obliterated the former peace and quiet of countless communities across our nation. Furthermore, this is happening globally. The aviation industry is GLOBAL (held in a few powerful hands) and has begun its intense crop dusting of communities with air, noise, and visual pollution worldwide. It’s all about increasing CAPACITY and to hell with the rest.

I don’t know if the ignorance is willful or if people don’t venture much beyond their own neighborhood, and don’t bother to research other cities, counties, states, countries, etc. about these significant changes to our skies (a common resource that shouldn’t be high jacked for an industry’s profit). It doesn’t take much research to realize Palo Alto isn’t an exception. And just because this assault on our health and the environment has been generalized across the country by federal mandate doesn’t make it right or mean we should put up with it. Legal doesn’t equal just.

But being divisive, looking only at one’s own street, town, etc. plays right into our elected officials hands who to date have not put a stop to what they unleashed. Don’t forget, it was Congress that passed the legislation that stole our quality of life by allowing the FAA to implement this overnight on communities and file a categorical exclusion of impact on “the human environment” otherwise known as a finding of no significant impact (FONSI). The FAA is not answerable to the public by legislative design and focus on this agency is wearing people down. Relentless pressure must be placed on elected officials who are accountable. Hold meetings with them, if anyone, ask them what THEIR solutions are, if that are turning this around, taking action to ensure their constituents don’t continue to suffer this instead of selling us out for the aviation industry and to keep their political office.

Congress did this to us. The FAA is carrying it out. Congress needs to fix it, provide solutions, but they’ve got their constituents running around coming up with solutions and the FAA rubbing its chin at meetings, Hmm, feasible, maybe, not feasible, not feasible… Wake up. Communities should stand together and focus squarely on elected officials. Let them deal with the FAA. Instead communities are being divided, worn down, and if this continues, beaten. Hey, our elected officials and the FAA get paid while citizens run around in circles squabbling for crumbs, an adjustment here, an adjustment there. NO ONE ANYWHERE SHOULD SUFFER THESE LOW FLYING AIRCRAFT PERIOD! Here’s your solutions: raise the altitude so no one is impacted by unhealthful noise levels (on a real per event basis, not this DNL crap) (there are a ridiculous number of studies that demonstrate what is safe for human health); put caps on capacity (it’s not sustainable to keep packing more and more flights into our skies); enforce curfews—sleep is a basic human need (my dad lived adjacent to a major airport in the late 60s/early 70s and there were no flights from 11pm to 7am!—oh, but we’ve “progressed,” more like regressed, and for what to make airline CEOs and aviation industry shareholders richer than ever? Who’s really benefitting here? So let’s restore all the noise abatement procedures and environmental impact review processes and local control that Congress has been systematically obliterating in the name of “the economy.”

How about people before profits? What a “backward” concept. We must “progress” you know, so screw your sleep, your home, your backyard, the outdoors, screw it all, hey, there’s money being made, some jobs created, yeah, because look around they’ve been using this excuse since the 2008 “crisis” now status quo and worsening.


10 people like this
Posted by Abigail T
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 10, 2016 at 4:28 pm

Great work, Tom R. Thank you for producing data that confirms what many of us have been experiencing for years now. Would that the FAA really cared about doing something about this problem. Sadly I don't think they do.

For Kuzu: The FAA didn't put the flight paths over PA to annoy us. They did it because previously the flight paths were dispersed over a broad area of San Mateo County. San Mateo County cities got together and organized leading to an agreement with SFO to limit overflights. You can read lots about the history of this with a Google search.

Similarly, it's easy to show that San Mateo County cities have pull with SFO and the FAA that Palo Alto does not. As part of the settlement described in the previous paragraph, SFO and the cities formed an organization called SFO Roundtable to monitor noise issues. This is the only organization of its type. Palo Alto tried to join a while back, but was rebuffed.

Having tamped down the complaints from San Mateo County's population, I don't think the FAA or SFO are eager to do anything to reignite an already organized polity. It's much easier for them to pretend that there's nothing that can be done to reduce aircraft noise in Palo Alto because now that they've concentrated the noise over our smaller population they can manage the politics much easier. I don't think we have the muscle to fight the FAA and SFO on this. As the article points out, SMC cities are likely to support keeping the flights concentrated over Palo Alto, so they can say they're following the public will by doing nothing. FAA spokesmen and public relations hacks know their job is to keep delaying and talking until the local complainers give up. SkyPosse has done a terrific job, but the FAA isn't taking them or us seriously


12 people like this
Posted by Dean
a resident of another community
on Jun 10, 2016 at 5:58 pm

Is Congress guilty? If that is true, then the people who continue to reelect those people in Congress are the real guilty parties. They only get elected to Congress when the sheep continue to vote them back into office. Therefore looking into the mirror shows you who is guilty. I personally have for the past 57 years voted against the incumbent, to try to help remove career politicians who have made a career out of what was intended to be a citizens duty, for no benefits. We have to look like fools to those career politicians, and I personally don't like their viewpoint.

Wake up and smell the roses!


16 people like this
Posted by Couch Revolution
a resident of another community
on Jun 10, 2016 at 6:05 pm

Don’t fly. Don’t ship by air. If everyone impacted by low altitude aircraft did this long enough to impact the bottom line, boom, this madness will vanish as quickly as it began. Hit the money, people. We defeat them by sitting on our butts instead of increasing aviation profits.


6 people like this
Posted by Baby Don't Like Noise
a resident of another community
on Jun 10, 2016 at 6:12 pm

Punch them the money sack!


3 people like this
Posted by P&M
a resident of another community
on Jun 10, 2016 at 6:38 pm

So the city want to move waypoint to South Palo Alto or Mountain View?

"The city is also proposing a number of flight-path changes as well as the creation of a different waypoint, a point used to help aircraft locate invisible routing paths. Currently one is at the Menlo Park/Palo Alto border. Moving the waypoint south of the San Francisco Bay would put the planes over the full length of the water at much higher altitudes. "

"But Landesmann said that much more work must be done. The FAA Select Committee is comprised of local groups from the region, and how they view a current FAA proposal for changes could have significant detrimental impacts for Palo Alto. If the rest of the regional committee members buy in on the FAA plan, the agency could take the position that it is in compliance with the community's wishes, she said. It would be hard for Palo Alto to make an argument against it on its own. "


7 people like this
Posted by Pants on fire
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 10, 2016 at 7:36 pm

[Post removed.]


7 people like this
Posted by gg
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 10, 2016 at 9:44 pm

Kazu,

"Could you please show us your calculations demonstrating that the FAA is wrong? "

I have a question for you, could you please show us your calculations demonstrating that the FAA is right?


17 people like this
Posted by neighbor
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 10, 2016 at 9:45 pm

If you've lived here awhile, you KNOW planes were re-routed right over us. It hasn't always been like this, there IS a choice where to live, I would NOT have purchased here if I had seen/heard this level of impact. It has been an outrageous change to the detriment of Palo Alto and it is UNFAIR to make this change.


1 person likes this
Posted by 747
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2016 at 6:54 am

[Post removed.]


13 people like this
Posted by Tom Rindfleisch
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 11, 2016 at 2:49 pm

This note is to correct a calculation error I made in the table posted previously for the "Isolated Aircraft Peaks Only" DNL value derived from my 3/25/16 noise measurement data. The previous value, 58.3 dB, was 3 dB too high. The correct value is below:

Noise Component -- DNL Level(dB)
Background (Aircraft Peaks Removed)-- 56.1 dB
Isolated Aircraft Peaks Only -- 55.3 dB
Total Sound Record -- 58.6 dB

To emphasize, "Isolated Aircraft Peaks Only" means there is NO background noise included in the calculation, per my understanding of the FAA definition of DNL used for their noise threshold criteria. I believe this is also the definition used by Freytag in their model calculations.

Despite my arithmetic error, our noise levels near the SERFR route are demonstrably well above the 45 dB value estimated by the Freytag calculations, meaning we have to work on calibrating their model calculations with measured ground truth.

Tom R.


8 people like this
Posted by nimby
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 12, 2016 at 2:08 pm

i love a parade. The march towards self-righteousness is alive and well in palo alto. No accommodation for others' viewpoints has become the norm...from getting rid of judges who give us highly offensive (but legal) opinions, to arguments over homework in kindergarten, to removing mobile homes, to complaints about noise in a community where home values have appreciated more than 10 fold in 20 years is as bizarre as it gets. You have choices, unlike others without the wealth of homeownership.

[Portion removed.]


4 people like this
Posted by Old Palo Altan
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 12, 2016 at 2:56 pm

[Post removed.]


6 people like this
Posted by Tony Verreos Brisbane, CA
a resident of another community
on Jun 12, 2016 at 6:07 pm

The few people who have posted here on the research they've done have covered the subject very well. It literally took an act of Congress to infringe on, or damage our quality of life with aircraft noise, and pollution, and it will take another act of Congress to correct the problems so many communities are feeling across the nation.

We hear the FAA spokesperson will tell locals in the working group meetings:
"just tell us what you want, and we'll consider it." How can anyone tell the FAA what to change other than stop the noise? Respectful neighbors do not want to simply end our noise problems by making them worse for other cities!

The FAA's mandate is safety not pollution or noise control. The Airline's motivation is profit. Depending where you live, street or Hwy traffic noise may be as bad or worse than the aircraft, but so far I've only read one strange comment extolling the virtues of that noise.

The FAA's plan is divide and conquer, our health depends on all local cities
and counties working together with our Congressional reps. to solve this problem on a regional basis. IMO.


19 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jun 12, 2016 at 8:17 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"How can anyone tell the FAA what to change other than stop the noise? Respectful neighbors do not want to simply end our noise problems by making them worse for other cities! "

Here are two alternative proposals - the first minimizes the total ground noise foot print over all populated areas and the second distributes the noise equally among many communities:

First proposal:

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

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,

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.

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

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.

This proposal uses existing and established waypoints and procedures and does not impinge on the SJC airspace.

Second proposal:

Using the concept of a herring bone pattern and Advanced (or curved) Controlled Descent Approachs (CDAs) here is a Draft SFO Arrivals Protocol:

1 Establish two 25 mile plus 284 degree radials fro 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 half 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.

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

What are the specific problems with these two proposal?

How can they be improved?

Are they compatible with NextGen technology?

Are they simple?

Are they equitable?

PS. If readers are interested I will post the links for the IAFs and a link to a description of the herringbone pattern.


34 people like this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2016 at 10:18 pm

In Palo Alto we like to obsess on technology, and this obsession is reinforced by a continuous flow of information of finer, and finer, granularity.

The problem, and the solutions, have been discussed ad nauseam and are well understood, but the FAA isn't going to acknowledge the true extent of the problem, or implement any meaningful solution, because they can't.

Suggested solutions that are based on complex flight patterns, and sinuous descent profiles are based on a delusion informed by what "nextgen" was supposed to be, instead of what "nextgen" has become. The collection of technologies known as "nextgen" has fallen far short of its original promise. The "nextgen" that the FAA is implementing today cannot safely manage the the complex flight patterns, and descent profile envisioned at "nextgen's" inception 25+ years ago... and the FAA is NEVER going to even consider any changes that would demonstrate the failures of "nextgen", or bring attention to the $40+ billion the FAA has squandered on a system that doesn't work as promised.


"Congress moves closer to FAA funding"
AOPA ~ May 20, 2016 Web Link


5 people like this
Posted by RTCA
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 13, 2016 at 12:32 am

The promise is likely being delivered just fine to this group,

Web Link

Appendix C

Web Link
Operator Input to NorCal Initiative Plan

Appendix C: Members of the Western Regional Task Group

Rune Duke, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
Melissa McCaffrey, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
Lynae
Craig, Alaska Airlines
Toby Miller, American Airlines, Inc.
Michael O'Brien, American Airlines, Inc.
Brian Townsend, American Airlines, Inc.
Tim Stull, American Airlines, Inc.
Mark Hopkins, Delta Air Lines, Inc.
David Vogt, Delta Air Lines, Inc.
L.
A. "Jake" Bailey, Federal Aviation Administration
Joe Bert, Federal Aviation Administration
DeAnna Bridenback, Federal Aviation Administration
Tom Cawley, Federal Aviation Administration
Kenneth Fox, Federal Aviation Administration
Lenore Marentette,
Federal Aviation Administration
David Meeker, Federal Aviation Administration
William Ruggiero, Federal Aviation Administration
Kim Stover, Federal Aviation Administration
Warren Strickland, Federal Aviation Administration
James Taylor, Federal Aviati
on Administration
Adam Thorstensen, Federal Aviation Administration
Maclovia Varner, Federal Aviation Administration
Glen Wilhelm, Federal Aviation Administration
Dan Allen, FedEx Express
(Chair)
Phil Santos, FedEx Express
Kevin McKennon, Horizon Air
Jeffrey Miller, International Air Transport Association
Bill Murphy, International Air Transport Association
John Martin, JetBlue Airways
Sandra Park, Mesa Airlines
Mark Prestrude, National Air Traffic Controllers Association
Trin Mitra, RTCA, Inc.
Allan Lisonbee, SkyWest Airlines
Perry Clausen, Southwest Airlines
Kevin Coon, United Airlines, Inc.
Bill Cranor, United Airlines, Inc.
George Ingram, United Airlines, Inc.
Glenn Morse, United Airlines, Inc.
Jim Hamilton, United Parcel Service
Jay Warren, Virgin America


8 people like this
Posted by Data Digger
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Jun 13, 2016 at 8:50 am

From the article:

"Consultant Jack Freytag said his company developed software to analyze SFO flight-arrival data obtained by Sky Posse." (PA Daily spelling...not mine)

So...if I understand correctly, the basis of Frytag's analysis is a data set provided by "Sky Posse".

This calls into question the veracity of the data as it was not independently obtained.

I'm not saying that the analysis was flawed...but is does call into question any conclusion reached on the basis of the underlying data. As such, the analysis would likely be easily tossed out by any peer reviewed journal and certainly would not hold water in a court of law.

This is not to say that we don't have more air traffic over Palo Alto, but it does call into question the qualifications of the analyst.

The City of Palo Alto should challenge the consultant on this matter.


1 person likes this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 13, 2016 at 10:53 am

Curmudgeon is a registered user.

"So now the FAA gets complaints from Palo Alto and Los Altos, but not from the much larger population of San Mateo County cities."

Being at the remote tip of a bottom-heavy county has its disadvantages. So here's what we do:

Move the county line to Adobe Creek. If Los Altos wants in, it can propose an alternative boundary. We get San Mateo political clout, SamTrans instead of VTA, and we instantly eliminate inter-county wrangles over San Fran creek flood issues.


6 people like this
Posted by Details
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 13, 2016 at 11:13 am

Data digger,

The data used by the consultants was NOP data - National Offload Program which is data from the FAA. It was obtained by a Freedom of Information Act.

Airports (SFO, SJC, OAK) have similar data readily available. If they are concerned about the data, two days from two different years should be easy enough to verify.



14 people like this
Posted by Jeez
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 13, 2016 at 1:59 pm

So, what is it, hundreds or thousands of daily flights... noted by paid consultants? All the same info can be obtained by logging onto the site maintained by the FAA and SFO website for noise abatement showing all incoming/departing aircraft. Hopefully more taxpayer money wasn't spent on this film flam report. Why more flights over PA then past years, well thanks to all after Moffett NAS closed and restricted military airspace opened up and thanks in part to all who complained about the Navy flying their P3 flights. Palo Altans love to complain and always use their #1 complaint as how can we make the maximum profit on our property. Shoving their conceived problems onto neighboring communities seems to satisfy all without any thought. The Bay Area has 6 million residents with 3 major airports. Sorry you are unable to understand the logistics of aircraft arriving and departing the most densely populated area in the U.S. The notion that we in live in a small country town seems to be lost on most.


10 people like this
Posted by Stewart
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 13, 2016 at 4:21 pm

There are three reasons that every citizen of Palo Alto and the surrounding area should be deeply concerned on how this plays out.

#1) Sound pollution is real pollution. Countless studies demonstrate that noise pollution of this type increases stress, decreases sleep, decreases overall health and happiness. Residents consistently complain about mid day noise, which is harmful in its own right, however the fact that the planes consistently walk up citizens at all hours of the night (2 3 4am) is incredibly destructive to the well being of the population.

#2) Particle pollution. The increase flights and decreased altitudes translate into increased pollutant emissions falling on our land, and going into our lungs, covering our plants, entering our water stream, etc.

#3) Financially speaking, noisy airplanes degrade a city's housing values. I have heard that real estate agents in near but much quieter cities are playing up the fact that it is downright noisy and highly disturbing to live in Palo Alto due to the changes, and directing buyers to other cities. Many locals are considering moving out of the area. Even a modest decrease for each home translates to many 10s or 100s of thousands of dollars, and collectively, the noise has the potential to decrease the collective net worth by millions of dollars.

It is beyond comprehension that the flight paths have been redesigned to now fly over the most dense part of the Bay Area. West of the 280, the population density is far less than Palo Alto by an estimated 100 to 1. And the population density over the Bay is zero!

We all benefit from having ample flight options in and out of the Bay Area. However it is common sense that the noise and pollution is not over the most dense part of the Bay, and needs to be rerouted asap. Calling on Palo Alto councilmen and other officials to step up and protect our city from a very real quality of life issue.




17 people like this
Posted by Pants on fire
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 13, 2016 at 4:42 pm

Jeez-- well stated. On most days the total number of flights at sfo are below or just above 2000 flights. So it is impossible to have " thousands of flights" over palo alto. And of course , as you point out, it is all about palo alto ONLY.


17 people like this
Posted by Misuse of studies
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 13, 2016 at 4:46 pm

Jetman put it right:
>The problem, and the solutions, have been discussed ad nauseum and are well understood, but the FAA isn't going to acknowledge the true extent of the problem, or implement any meaningful solution, because they can't.>

I smile when the collection of data and fine grained statistics are used to obstruct action. Spend millions of our dollars to prove the obvious. But the officials do not want to act so they commission yet another expensive study.

Same as the downtown parking glut. Is there any doubt that there is a big problem? No,there isn't. But commission another study and count count count to prove the OBVIOUS. But it keeps the solution out of sight.


6 people like this
Posted by RTCA
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 13, 2016 at 6:49 pm


Airports, airlines, or any related industry people do not want "collection of data and fine grained statistics" of their pollution.

They prefer to not have data about their waste - noise, or particle pollution.

They probably prefer to have Jeez and Pants on Fire as the source of information.


12 people like this
Posted by Pants on fire
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 13, 2016 at 7:13 pm

Rtca-you can go to flysfo.com and check the numbers I provided. Those are facts. It is unfortunate that once again the people that disagree with sky posse and/ or do not feel that palo alto has a major problem with airplane noise are subjected to negative comments.


33 people like this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 13, 2016 at 11:52 pm

The only way to get the FAA to act, is to threaten their funding.

To the FAA the biggest threat to their funding is exposure of the $40 billion "nextgen" boondoggle that is not technologically capable of delivering the benefits the FAA has been promising congress at every congressional budget hearing for the last 25+ years.

The FAA is not going to implement any changes that would challenge the technological capabilities of "nextgen" and risk precipitating a embarrassing public exposure its failings, unless they perceive a larger threat to their funding.


"Major Air Traffic Control Upgrade Broken, Again And Again, And..."
The Daily Caller ~ July 30, 2015 Web Link

"Lockheed Martin to review (sell?) its Air Traffic Management business"
Air Traffic Management ~ July 21, 2015 Web Link


4 people like this
Posted by ttkcm
a resident of Los Altos
on Jun 14, 2016 at 12:08 pm

There are many great comments in this thread. The next Select Committee meeting is tomorrow night. There is a public comment section at the end which, at the first SC meeting, was 90 seconds per speaker..

Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals Community Meeting
Wednesday, June 15, 2016, 6:00pm-9:00pm
Sequoia High School, Carrington Hall
1201 Brewster Avenue, Redwood City, CA 94062


10 people like this
Posted by pestocat
a resident of University South
on Jun 21, 2016 at 3:12 pm

pestocat is a registered user.

You guys that are complaining about airplane noise don't know what airplane noise can be. When I was growing up in Minneapolis MN in the late 1950's and early 1960's, we lived 2 miles from the MSP airport. Our house was about 200 feet south of the glide path for one of the runways. Incoming planes would be about a 100 feet above the ground at our place. One could see passengers in the windows. Mornings and evenings were very busy. If one was on the phone, we would tell the person on the other end to wait a few seconds. Now that was for the commercial flights. There was also an Air National Guard outfit at the airport too. I recall when those F-89 Thunder Jets took off, they would fly right over our house about 100 feet above us with full afterburners on, now that is real noise. That was exciting.

The 'heavies' coming in from the Pacific, like the 'red eyes' fly right over our house. We have no problem with that noise. All this complaining is just a waste of time and tax payer money. What do you want to do just send the planes and noise to some other neighborhood. There are more planes because the economy is better. Just live with it and be glad things are looking up (pardon the pun).
Gary


6 people like this
Posted by Mary
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 21, 2016 at 5:02 pm

Gary (pestocat), you kind of miss the point of Skyposse's complaints and the complaints of those of us objecting to SFO generated noise. Right now, three major flight paths into SFO converge over Palo Alto. As a result, the majority of planes crossing the peninsula to the typical SFO approach up the west side of the Bay go over Palo Alto.

At one time, these flights were more spread out over San Mateo County, which objected sending most flights over Palo Alto.

We don't demand that ALL the flights currently buzzing Palo Alto be redirected to other cities, but it does seem reasonable to ask for a more equitable sharing of burdens of the noise from SFO.


10 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jun 21, 2016 at 5:27 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"the majority of planes crossing the peninsula to the typical SFO approach up the west side of the Bay go over Palo Alto." AND go over Menlo Park, East Palo Alto and Atherton.


16 people like this
Posted by SuperSonic
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 22, 2016 at 11:53 am

pestocat ... your comments strike me as bizarre. Maybe so much jet noise in life
causes neurological problems.

The argument that "I had things so bad in my childhood and I survived
it so no one should ever complain about anything, and should be happy
that the economy is picking up" is the argument about something who
doesn't care about the subject or anyone else ... and probably has
ulterior motives as well.

There is just no getting around it, noise is pollution, toxic pollution and
must be regulated and minimized for the public good.

The problem with most complex questions is that there are more variables
affecting the issue, and the noise problem is such an issue. To understand
it one needs to be able to have access to specific data, and that data is
subject to confusion by those who want to ignore the issue.

As someone who has lived in Palo Alto since 1969 I can testify personally
that airplane noise back then was simply not an issue. I remember being
outside late and night and seeing planes going overhead and I could
barely hear them. They certainly did not wake me from sleep ... although
the train's horn at the time sometimes would. And I'm certain I had better
hearing 40 years ago.

So, for some reason planes are louder today than they were back then. I
am also excluding the Navy's P-3 anti-submarine planes which occasionally
overflew Palo Alto. People complained about them at the time but overall
I don't recall them being a chronic issue or ever as loud as what we have
today and they are not in the mix today.

I believe possible factors to be balanced here are:

1. The planes are louder. We are told the jets are engineered to be
quiet, but the reality doesn't seem to agree with that. The noise
distribution spectrum may be different, but all in all the planes today
going over Palo Alto have more sound and more vibration than anything
I can recall from the past. I never experienced any house vibrating from
a plane going by until relatively recently.

2. The planes are flying lower, at least over Palo Alto. It is hard to know
this for certain, but I believe it is true because of the magnitude of the
noise and we can see details in the planes today that we never could
in the past because they are so close. The planes today are larger, so
there is a bit of that illusion that something larger looks closer, but we
it's pretty clear the airliners are coming in low over Palo Alto. What is
this historical difference.

3. Is this a safety issue? Since the crash of the Korean airliner as SFO
which was pilot error, is the reality of the airlines industry that we cannot
expect pilots to be able to fly as well and as safely as they did for
many decades - and as a result the whole country is being subjected to
planes being routed lower and straighter to make up for incompetent and
less professional pilots that cannot fly as well and must be "babied" so
they do not endanger their passengers?

4. Is this an economic issue? Do the airlines save some time, money,
fuel or risk by flying the way they fly today? If so, what are the
numbers and how many people below the flight path must be made
miserable for how long per dollar saved by the airline industry that
is already working every way they can to charge their customers
more for less. Do they have to take our health too for a few more
bucks?

5. The kind of plane. In addition to the commercial air traffic today
there are many more private planes many of which fly much lower and
make much more noise than commercial planes. You can see this
in action at the Baylands any day ehen older or larger private planes
or helicopters land or take off the whole area is swamped with so
much noise you cannot hear music from your own earphones.

My conclusion is that the airline industry and the government seem to
want to pass this idea off that this is progress and we, regular citizens,
MUST live with it and like it. We hear this meme all over in the media,
which ignores that a lot of people either cannot or will not ignore airplane
noise, and will never like it.

The other meme is that we live in a city and a city has noise, and all of
us knew about noise in the city so therefore we do not have any right to
complain now. The reality is that all of use citizens and residents have
gotten to the point in this country that we should be able to count on
and demand CONTINUAL PROCESS IMPROVEMENT from every sector
of government and the economy. We should be expecting that anything
new that comes down the pike is BETTER, FASTER, CHEAPER, LESS
POLLUTING, SUSTAINABLE - and yet someone in old entrenched
industries we seem to get the same old entrenched attitude that we
take whatever is foisted upon us. If there is pushback from the public
is it just ignored for as long as possible, and even longer.

Instead of doing the right thing we just get this unrelenting BS in the
media, on discussion boards and in the bureaucracy to stall and
dismiss public concerns. Yet when people in the much more affluent
areas have a complaint, they get action - or better yet they don't have
the problems in the first place because the system is more considerate
to them from the get-go.


21 people like this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 22, 2016 at 6:36 pm

Supersonic,

I can help you out with a couple of your questions:

1. Yes, modern commercial jets can actually be noisier... at least on approach. For decades jet engine manufacturers have been working to reduce take-off noise which primarily comes from the back of the engine, by moving to "hi-bypass" jet engines. Modern high-bypass jet engines have huge bypass fans in the front of the engine that produce a high pitch whine that is directed slightly toward the ground (~3 degrees) on a typical approach profile.

Also some modern jets have aerodynamic flaws. The Airbus A320 series aircraft have two ~4" holes in the bottom of each wing that act like giant whistles at approach speeds.

2. Approach altitudes are lower, and the ground tracks have been concentrated over parts of Los Altos, Palo Alto, eastern Menlo Park, and East Palo Alto. The group Sky Posse did a FOIA request and obtained all of the digitized radar fight tracks for aircraft in the Bay Area over the last 8-10 years. Analysis of the data confirms lower altitudes, a shift of aircraft from other communities onto Palo Alto, and concentrations of the flights into narrow corridors. You can find a lot more information on this, at the Sky Posse website.

Sky Posse website: www.skypossepaloalto.org


Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 22, 2016 at 8:34 pm

"... directed slightly toward the ground (~3 degrees) on a typical approach profile."

Misunderstanding here between glideslope and pitch attitude. While glideslope may be 3 degrees toward the ground, at approach speeds a large jetliner is actually pitched upward away from the ground. A positive 2 to 3 degrees for a Boeing, and 4 to 5 degrees for an Airbus, depending on weights and flap settings. I'm not an ATP, so any data to the contrary is welcome. I believe a CRJ (regional jet) does pitch slightly down, due to lack of wing leading edge slats.


10 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Stanford
on Jun 24, 2016 at 1:34 pm

In an attempt to reduce takeoff noise, jet engine manufacturers have been optimizing exhaust noise at the expense of intake noise. Intake noise has a much greater impact at ground level, along long shallow approach paths, than along short steep departure paths.

To quibble about whether approaching aircraft are two degrees nose up, or two degrees nose down, is to fail to see the forest for the trees.


Like this comment
Posted by Mary
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 24, 2016 at 4:47 pm

Actually, the forest overlooked is that whether noise is intake or exhaust, from a plane that's gliding at 3 degrees or 0 degrees, whether Airbusses have 4 inch holes or 4 inch protrusions, we still are plagued with an unacceptable level of overflight noise in much of Palo Alto and absolutely nothing is being done to address it by the "authorities".

Skyposse has done seemingly great work in organizing, data gathering and generally creating awareness of the problem. But where has it gotten us? The FAA and SFO still pat us on the head and more or less tell us to go away. We can't even join the local noise mitigation organization that most of San Mateo County uses to pressure SFO on noise. Skyposse is the most active and informed organization on this issue in the area, but Palo Alto doesn't even get a seat on the committees looking at SFO noise.

Atherton complained about a few daily SurfAir overflights for six months and already they're getting action. (I know San Carlos Airport isn't SFO,....but still).

So what's to be done? This isn't an unsolvable technical problem: it's a political problem. Are we doomed to have this number (and perhaps more) of SFO bound airplanes droning overhead forever? Does anyone - perhaps some Skyposse person - have anything optimistic to offer?


Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 24, 2016 at 5:01 pm

"... optimizing exhaust noise at the expense of intake noise"

Still looking for evidence of this. I always understood high bypass ratios as an effort to increase fuel efficiency. Reducing exhaust noise is a secondary effect. A significant amount of engineering does go into engine noise reduction.

For those interested, here's a short Rolls-Royce primer on the subject: Web Link

I regard the dependability of modern jet engines as a miracle of technology.

But as Mary just noted, a solution to the current problem cannot rely on incremental improvements of aircraft design, but on route redistribution and traffic reduction. Maybe the EU will fall apart bringing down the world economy and things will get peaceful again. There's optimism for you.


2 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 24, 2016 at 6:23 pm

@Mary - if you misdiagnose the cause and over prescribe the solution you're right: you're unlikely to make progress. Whoever the "Sky Posse" principals are, they will not accomplish much beyond getting more people agitated. Welcome to more Donald Trump-style problem-solving.

Short of reducing flights into SFO there are limits to what can be done, particularly in cloudy weather and during busy times of day. Getting agitated about low level noise, jet exhaust, etc puts you in the same scientific category as tinfoil hat WiFi worriers, birthers and climate-change deniers. All nice people but a little exhausting.

I predict a big FAA announcement next year about Bay Area airspace redesign. It won't be Peter Carpenter's "herringbone approach" with random distribution on arrival corridors since everyone eventually needs to converge on the same final runway courses. Some night time rerouting over the Bay should be relatively easy to accomplish.

What would be good is for someone to lay out attainable goals and steps toward achieving them. It's nice to see how the city council has doubled down on fighting something that's way outside their jurisdiction.

For what it's worth, there would be a lot less Surf Air overflight in Palo Alto if they operated out of Palo Alto Airport instead of San Carlos. I'm not holding my breath for "Sky Posse" advocacy to invite Surf Air to reconsider Palo Alto.


Like this comment
Posted by Problem solving
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 24, 2016 at 7:50 pm

Anonymous,

Trump-style problem solving meets FAA problem solving.

Web Link


5 people like this
Posted by Mary
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 24, 2016 at 9:43 pm

I've seen the maps where most flights that cross the Peninsula on the way to SFO go over Palo Alto (perhaps someone can repost a link) taken from the SFO flight tracker. I've lived in Palo Alto long enough to know that it was not always this way: it's only in recent years that Palo Alto has been inundated with airplane noise.

Not one of the aircraft noise deniers has made a cogent case that there is a technical reason why most planes now go over Palo Alto when they did not do so only a few years ago (so I don't really understand Anonymous's comment that "there are limits to what can be done" if that's meant to apply to the current Palo Alto-centric flight path.)

So that's why I say the issue seems to me to be a political one. Atherton certainly got attention paid to its SurfAir complaints and seems to have had some hand in having the flights over southern San Mateo County shifted further south to Palo Alto when our noise problems started.

Perhaps Anonymous is correct that Skyposse will only succeed in getting people agitated: they certainly haven't had a lot of effect so far on airplane noise. But as I understand it, that's not because there's no technical solution to be had: it's rather because our political muscle isn't strong enough to push back against the FAA, SFO and the cities of San Mateo County.

I'd certainly still like to see someone from Skyposse or someone else provide some evidence to hope for something different, although I'm in some despair about that possibility. The problem isn't technical however: it's political.


Like this comment
Posted by Miss Mouse
a resident of another community
on Sep 7, 2016 at 8:00 pm

A Republican Congress is behind this NextGen debacle, and a Republican Congress allows it to continue. I hope everyone remembers that on Election Day.


3 people like this
Posted by another mouse
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 8, 2016 at 6:26 am

Nextgen itself is not the debacle but the way it has turned out to be implemented in some areas, the Bay Area one of the notorious debacles.

How local congress people are addressing Nextgen in their own districts should be something to also keep in mind.


3 people like this
Posted by True, that
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 8, 2016 at 8:10 am

I agree.

It's a political problem.

It's only gotten worse in the last year or so.

For those under the concentrated paths, it is a huge problem. I mean, how important is sleep, anyway? How important is a quiet back yard?

Has anyone tested the ground under these concentrated flight paths for cumulative build up of pollutants?

I think we have been thrown under the bus. Our politicians have barely addressed this. It's the kind of problem for which they should build political clout in order to address, a huge opportunity to really help residents. But no politician is stepping up.

How much funding of Palo Alto politicians is sourced from Atherton?


Like this comment
Posted by AlexDeLarge
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 8, 2016 at 1:57 pm

Check out www.planefinder.net You'll get all the real time data on those pesky aircraft.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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