News

Meeting on Surf Air route over Bay Wednesday

Surf Air has used route to avoid Midpeninsula in San Carlos-bound flights

The Federal Aviation Administration will hold a meeting this Wednesday night, Sept. 27, about an alternative air route that has allowed Surf Air's planes to avoid the Midpeninsula on their way to the San Carlos Airport. The meeting will be in San Jose.

The informational meeting, which will be from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Santa Clara County Government Center, Isaac Newton Senter Auditorium, will include presentations by the FAA, Encompass/Surf Air and the San Carlos Airport, plus a question-and-answer session.

The FAA allowed Surf Air to use what is called the Bayside Visual Approach, which takes planes over the Bay -- starting in Santa Clara County near Moffett Field -- as they descend toward the San Carlos Airport, for a six-month experimental period that ended in January.

The route was available only under visual flying conditions, when weather and air traffic allowed.

Although the test period has ended, Surf Air pilots have continued to use the route while the FAA studies the results under existing regulations that allow pilots to fly non-standard routes under visual flight conditions. When pilots use a non-standard route they, not air traffic controllers, are responsible for maintaining separation from other aircraft and obstacles, FAA spokesman Allen Kenitzer said.

FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said the FAA and Surf Air have "determined the route is viable," but it would not be available in low-visibility conditions.

Gregor said the FAA is currently conducting an environmental review of the trial route, including a noise analysis, which will include a look at all comments received. Depending on the outcome of the environmental review, the route could be implemented in 2018, he said.

The route was developed by Surf Air in cooperation with the FAA after Midpeninsula residents complained about the noisy Pilatus PC-12 turboprop planes the commuter airline uses.

Surf Air started using the San Carlos Airport in June 2013, and by July of this year had 228 flights a week arriving at or departing from San Carlos. Its customers pay a monthly fee for unlimited flights.

The FAA says comments will be taken on the Bayside approach for 30 days after the meeting. Email to 9-awp-sql-cvfp@faa.gov or mail to Noise Concerns, AJV-W25, FAA, 1601 Lind Ave. SW, Renton, WA 98057.

FAA spokeswoman Lynn Lunsford said the meeting is being held in San Jose because the FAA "typically hold(s) hearings across large areas. Planes flying to and from an airport fly over many communities with often varying interests and concerns."

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Comments

5 people like this
Posted by Evelyn Preston
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Sep 27, 2017 at 3:51 pm

Surf Air flying over the bay??? Not in So. P.A. they don't--all 228 seem to churn over my home near Greenmeadow at all hours of the day. And they're obvious--loud, low and slow. What a degrading counterpoint to the large whining commercial aircraft. Maybe some of these are private planes, but hard to tell because often both large and small planes are screeching and criss-crossing overhead from a variety of angles. Then there's San Jose flights making right turns overhead to fly downwind into Mineta. toss-up as to whether weekend or day/night flights win the numbers game. Noise pollution to the max!


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 27, 2017 at 4:32 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

As noted in the article the over-the-bay route experiment ENDED last January.


4 people like this
Posted by resident3
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 27, 2017 at 4:53 pm

resident3 is a registered user.

Also noted in the article,

"Although the test period has ended, Surf Air pilots have CONTINUED to use the route while the FAA studies the results under existing regulations that allow pilots to fly non-standard routes under visual flight conditions."


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 27, 2017 at 5:01 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

SurfAir and any other pilots who wish can always fly the non-standard route BUT "When pilots use a non-standard route they, not air traffic controllers, are responsible for maintaining separation from other aircraft and obstacles,".

Once the experiment ended last January the FAA no longer provided separation on the over-the-Bay approach.

Under those circumstances most pilots would prefer the standard IFR route.


2 people like this
Posted by resident3
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 27, 2017 at 5:24 pm

resident3 is a registered user.

"Under those circumstances most pilots would prefer the standard IFR route."

Does this mean that pilots prefer to not be responsible for maintaining separation?


5 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 27, 2017 at 5:39 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Does this mean that pilots prefer to not be responsible for maintaining separation?"

Absolutely! In the very congested Bay area airspace it is much safer to have ATC provide separation. A pilot flying without ATC separation must avoid other planes above, below, behind and in front of them - a difficult task.


1 person likes this
Posted by resident3
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 27, 2017 at 5:52 pm

resident3 is a registered user.

Airports and FAA say they have no control over pilots, pilots choose where to fly.

So this concept that pilots decide where to fly is basically not true. At least not in congested airspace when the pilots praise them "prefer" to play it safe and let some one else take the responsibility for separation.

Except at night, when nobody seems to be in control, oh except the pilots again and they choose to take the lowest loudest detours when there is no other jet around.



Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 27, 2017 at 5:56 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

ATC separation services are available 24/7/365.




6 people like this
Posted by resident3
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 27, 2017 at 6:09 pm

resident3 is a registered user.

Good, maybe we can get them to separate the night riders vertically away from people.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 27, 2017 at 6:18 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The IFR approach to San Carlos operates 24/7 and it has exactly the same vertical altitudes for day and night operations.


10 people like this
Posted by Almanac Friend
a resident of another community
on Sep 28, 2017 at 11:44 am

It was a shame that San Mateo County and FAA designed this meeting format as if it was an academic study session, to the angry Sunnyvale residents who has been screwed up for so long.

Has to point out that Santa Clara Supervisor Joe Simitian has his fair share of the plot to screw Sunnyvale since the beginning.

Sunnyvale Mayor Glenn Hendricks offered to FAA with a location in Sunnyvale, since it's a matter affecting Sunnyvale and Cupertino, but FAA said NO, saying that County Supervisor Joe has helped them finding a good (only for FAA/SM Airport/Surf Air) location. Then Sunnyvale and Cupertino residents had to arrange their participation painfully to beat the heavy traffic all the way to San Jose. FAA and San Mateo might think that by arranging with such inconvenient location and time, they may have only a few audience. To their surprise, some 60 residents showed up with orange shirts, and banners, signs to protest their evil intention of establishing BVA over Sunnyvale and Cupertino. The message was clear: "No BVA over Sunnyvale", "No Noise Dumping Over Cupertino", "No BVA!"

They designed the format of the meeting as a 'breezeway', trying to split people into different tables, so they can push bucket conveniently without being questioned efficiently. Residents refused to be intelligence-insulted this way, and we united together staying in the hall until they agree to get on the stage for PUBLIC Q & A. What a shame! A community reach out event that does not allow public comment! What a shame! The residents had to fight for their chance to get their questions and answers heard publicly!!!

Yet, we residents did this. Four Sunnyvale council members attended the meeting and publicly opposed to the BVA, and the process that SM trying to push it into Sunnyvale without notice to the area. SM County Airport did it in such an despicable way, and they are full of lies even on the stage! Yesterday, they made the excuse of why refusing to answer questions on stage, saying FAA didn't allow them to. Yet, when asked publicly to FAA for verification, the shameless official jumped onto the stage before FAA lady even responded.

Enough is enough! San Mateo, please stop your tricks, we already said NO multiple times in public. There is no way that you can check mark this EIR for the BVA proposal. Wait until we protest in front your office and airports!

Joe Simitian, your day of selling us will be ended before your term end! You are going to be recalled! Get out of the office now!


Like this comment
Posted by Almanac Friend
a resident of another community
on Sep 28, 2017 at 11:53 am

[Post removed.]


5 people like this
Posted by Almanac Friend
a resident of another community
on Sep 28, 2017 at 11:55 am

[Post removed.]


4 people like this
Posted by Aimee
a resident of another community
on Sep 28, 2017 at 12:35 pm

Why there is no Sunnyvale choice? San Mateo County is dumping the airplane noise to Sunnyvale. BVA routine make a different life on Sunnyvale residents.
"No BVA over Sunnyvale", "No Noise Dumping Over Cupertino", "No BVA!"


Like this comment
Posted by Sammy
a resident of another community
on Sep 28, 2017 at 1:45 pm

Great job!


2 people like this
Posted by resident3
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 28, 2017 at 3:22 pm

resident3 is a registered user.

Almanac friend,

I do not buy your grievance that the meeting location needed to be in Sunnyvale. Going to San Jose was not even an option for those of us North of you, also impacted by Surf Air.

The bottom line is that there is no fair place to hold a meeting for a route that goes over many cities.

My recollection of this route is that Atherton residents got it going but there was a failure to include other communities in developing it, and so there is now a re-do of the process?

The real question is not the format of the meeting, or the location, but what "the public" got to see or hear or say.

The public is not Atherton or Sunnyvale, it's all of us in the middle too. We'll have to find a way to work together and maybe have at least 2-5 meetings?


2 people like this
Posted by resident3
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 28, 2017 at 4:28 pm

resident3 is a registered user.

Almanac friend,

"SM County Airport did it in such an despicable way, and they are full of lies even on the stage! Yesterday, they made the excuse of why refusing to answer questions on stage, saying FAA didn't allow them to. Yet, when asked publicly to FAA for verification, the shameless official jumped onto the stage before FAA lady even responded."

Probably the number of meetings won't matter though if the FAA is getting bossed around by San Mateo.


2 people like this
Posted by Derhaur Hsieh
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 28, 2017 at 4:34 pm

I am a Sunnyvale resident. FAA lady mentioned that safety is the key concerns. It is possibile that unhappy pilots see Apple Computer spaceship campus over Sunnyvale/Cupertino sky and decide to create top world news by hitting the campus. No BVA over Sunnyvale/Cupertino will reduce this kind of possibility and increase safety


7 people like this
Posted by Sky Doc
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 28, 2017 at 4:58 pm

No one wants airplane noise over their neighborhood. People who have little or no current noise are particularly sensitive to new noise.

If Surf Air flights are not routed over the Bay, they will fly over Palo Alto (at a lower altitude than they would fly over Cupertino and Sunnyvale). They are an unwelcome addition to the SERFR, West Pt Reyes and Oceanic SFO flights Palo Alto gets now.

The *only* solution to this problem is one approaching equitable distribution - in which everyone gets a little noise but no community gets a disproportionate share. One can argue about how to measure "equitable" or how close an approximation can be reached but we (and the FAA) need to acknowledge this principle.

The Next Gen technology can and should be used to facilitate this in a safe manner. Environmental responsibility has not been part of the FAA's mandate. It would be helpful if Congress considered this in the FAA reauthorization bill.


1 person likes this
Posted by resident3
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 28, 2017 at 5:20 pm

resident3 is a registered user.

Derhaur,

San Francisco Airport also says the reason they have to cross over Palo Alto (and not San Mateo) is safety. Never mind that planes have crossed Palo Alto safely for decades at higher altitudes, but now they are practically half as low.

They can safely go over San Mateo.

As long as San Mateo is the boss of the FAA, we'll be waiting in the hall way.





Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Sep 28, 2017 at 7:21 pm

We are back to this random set of conditions in which no one seems to be in control. Surf Air appears to go where it wants and the comments above are getting scary. Is it time for a law suit? San Jose is adding flights on a regular basis and is competing with SFO. We have our hands full between SJX and SFO. Between major airports that are adding flights and the other Oakland flights that are headed west ward it is time to say enough to San Carlos. It is time that Surf Air realign it's flights to the private side of SJX or SFO. In that case they will be monitored by either air control location and be forced out over the bay. Or they can switch to Hayward which could use some business.


2 people like this
Posted by Sammy
a resident of another community
on Sep 28, 2017 at 8:35 pm

I was at the meeting too. The majority of the participants were from Sunnyvale and Cupertino in orange shirts. I hope that FAA will clearly see whose daily lives are heavily impacted by the new route.


3 people like this
Posted by Almanac Friend
a resident of another community
on Sep 29, 2017 at 9:53 am

to resident3,

"a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
"I do not buy your grievance that the meeting location needed to be in Sunnyvale. Going to San Jose was not even an option for those of us North of you, also impacted by Surf Air. "
"

A BVA discussion meeting affecting Sunnyvale and Cupertino should be located where local people can easily access. Otherwise, why not discuss it in New York? in DC?

A community reach out without the real attention of really reaching out is both suspicious and intelligence-insulting. You certainly do not need to attend this meeting, because you have already met your goal of pushing the noise all the way to Sunnyvale, and you would like to avoid the angry faces from us for 'safety'.

Yes, it's a regional problem, and it takes time to resolve it. Great, let's revert the BVA route to where it was, and let's discuss it for years then! Sunnyvale will NEVER put up with this kind of cheating on us!


1 person likes this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Sep 29, 2017 at 1:13 pm

Article in SJM today that Alaska Air has reduced ticket prices in competition with Southwest. Back to the continual growth of flights at SJX to compete with other airlines and SFO is creating a total blanket of planes in the air at an increasing number and reduced altitude. Someone needs to come up with some risk factor that allows Surf Air to run the gauntlet through this mess at the time they are increasing their number of flights. I was up at Kaiser in RWC and a Surf Air came over the parking lot at minimal altitude and maximum noise. At some point the legalities of San Carlos allowing this rampant activity in an area that also has rampant activity from SFO and SJX no longer makes sense. We are no longer a little group of peninsula towns that have open land. We are fully populated and growing and we are not the wild west. The Surf Air planes need to work with SFO and SJX to set up a flight plan for use of their private plane section and also Hayward which does not have the same volume of planes that we do. It is time to push back on this issue and if nothing else use the risk factor associated with the lack of control over this whole air traffic problem. I know we are suppose to "follow the money" but we need to push back on the financial risk to make this happen. At this time the Marsh Road area is building up with hotels and businesses in high rise buildings along with Kaiser and SU hospital which realigns the Surf Air area for their flights - one would hope.


6 people like this
Posted by resident3
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 29, 2017 at 1:43 pm

resident3 is a registered user.

Almanac friend,

Your accusation that "we" have met a "goal" to push the noise all the way to Sunnyvale makes all your comments suspect.

Some things to keep straight:

The Surf Air San Carlos Airport/San Mateo/ deals are handled by Atherton

The SFO issues/Select Committee were not "our" idea, it seemed that that "goal"was to help Santa Cruz County. As you know they wear red t-shirts to object to the SFO tracks.

I'm in agreement with Sky Doc as it makes sense that nobody wants airplane noise,

"The *only* solution to this problem is one approaching equitable distribution - in which everyone gets a little noise but no community gets a disproportionate share. One can argue about how to measure "equitable" or how close an approximation can be reached but we (and the FAA) need to acknowledge this principle."

As I mentioned, we have previously had a lot of traffic but at higher altitudes. When the planes are higher they are not loud. What we all object to is too low, too loud, too many.

[Portion removed.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 29, 2017 at 3:53 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

There is only one approved IFR approach into San Carlos Airport - the AMEBYY approach.

Web Link

That is the safest approach into San Carlos because pilots flying that approach under ATC control are guaranteed clearance from obstacles/terrain and separation from all other aircraft including flights into SFO and SJC.

However, if all pilots select the safest approach then all of those planes are concentrated over the same area - an interesting ethical dilemma.


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

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