Unfriendly skies: Residents, city officials gear up to fight increased airplane noise | October 24, 2014 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Cover Story - October 24, 2014

Unfriendly skies: Residents, city officials gear up to fight increased airplane noise

by Sue Dremann

At a gathering in the Holbrook-Palmer Park Pavilion in Atherton last month, as a resident began to speak about the incessant and loud airplane noise blanketing his neighborhood, 150 other attendees from Atherton, Menlo Park, Portola Valley and Palo Alto suddenly looked skyward.

As if on cue, a large aircraft rumbled overhead.

"I can't hear you," the resident quipped.

The crowd applauded approvingly, but residents say that airplane noise over their neighborhoods is no laughing matter. In the 14 years since U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo and then-Palo Alto Mayor Gary Fazzino secured an agreement with San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to reduce plane noise by 41 percent, the 70 daily flights over Palo Alto have ballooned to as many as 200, according to charts on online flight-track maps.

Residents say the skies are turning into an aeronautic superhighway over Midpeninsula cities and that federal levels for acceptable noise, which date to the 1970s, are obsolete and need to be updated — pronto.

Compounding the issue, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is currently rolling out a plan in the Bay Area to make the airspace more efficient — a plan that residents say is making the noise problem earsplittingly worse. Called Next Generation Air Transportation System, or NextGen, the plan switches air-traffic control from a ground-based system to a satellite-based one, which the FAA claims will allow it to guide and track planes more precisely and facilitate an expected growth in air traffic.

As part of NextGen, commercial jetliners fly within a narrower band of airspace than before. They also descend using a continuous decrease in altitude rather than following a stepped descent, as previously done — but that increases noise as engines throttle for the decline, residents say.

The NextGen changes have alarmed communities across the nation where the program has rolled out. Starting in June 2012 over Queens, New York, planes began flying at low altitudes every 20 seconds to a minute from 6 a.m. to midnight, said Janet MacEneaney, president of Queens Quiet Skies. MacEneaney lives about 10 miles away from LaGuardia Airport.

"For the past 2.5 years, we've had an egregious amount of noise," she said.

Now, from Palo Alto to Brisbane, the issue is heating up. More than 900 Woodside, Portola Valley and Ladera residents signed a petition and letter to the FAA regarding the noise. Four Portola Valley and Woodside residents filed a petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Sept. 26 challenging the FAA's finding that its plans for optimizing future use of the Bay Area's airspace won't have any significant impact.

What's more, residents say, the fledgling Surf Air commuter line of propeller planes, which uses San Carlos Airport, is adding a layer of smaller, allegedly noisier commercial aircraft over neighborhood rooftops.

Citizens' groups are springing up along the Midpeninsula with the support of their city governments: Sky Posse Palo Alto; CalmTheSkies in Atherton and Menlo Park; and the Ad Hoc Citizens Committee on Airplane Noise Abatement for the South Bay in Portola Valley and Woodside.

The City of Palo Alto has sought to become a member of the SFO Community Roundtable — which addresses airport noise issues and represents every major city in San Mateo County — but has been denied membership because it's outside the county. But Palo Alto Mayor Nancy Shepherd and City Manager James Keene have both weighed in on NextGen's environmental-impact study, Shepherd said.

Palo Alto residents who are looking into the issue are seeking to form alliances with the established groups.

Stewart Carl, a member of Sky Posse Palo Alto, began noticing the flight and noise changes around the fall of 2013. From his third-story Palo Alto home office, he has heard the thunderous noise as he's worked late into the night and early morning.

"I've lived there for 18 years and it never bothered me. Now I'm hearing jet noise constantly. I started wondering, 'What is going on?'" he said.

Residents last week gathered in a Palo Alto office conference room to discuss strategies and share information. They considered an email from an SFO official in the Noise Abatement Office regarding changes in flight paths. He stated that there have been no changes in 2014, but a change did occur in 2013.

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, he noted.

The FAA has declined to comment on matters related to the SFO flights because of the pending litigation by the Portola Valley and Woodside residents. But numbers tell part of the story.

This year, 68 percent of flights have come overland from the south compared to 54 percent in 2010, according to SFO data.

For Palo Alto, 48 percent of flights came over land in 2014 compared to 45 percent in 2010.

Palo Alto residents believe the flight paths have shifted to the south. SFO spokesman Doug Yakel said that flight patterns may expand or contract based on increases or decreases in air traffic volume, but he did not specify how far or where the contractions and expansions have occurred.

Tina Nguyen, one of the plaintiffs challenging the FAA's finding of no significant impacts in its environmental review, said tracking the flights through the online airport Web Tracker confirms flights are coming in further south than before.

In addition, Southwest and Virgin America increased their traffic into SFO in 2007. The airport has compensated for it by sending many flights into a holding pattern over Woodside and Portola Valley, while they hold their place in the queue, she said. She verified the traffic patterns by studying the online SFO and San Jose flight trackers. All of these flights also pass over Palo Alto, she said.

Yakel confirmed that traffic around the three Bay Area airports is up about 2 percent compared to last year, mainly due to increases at SFO and San Jose. In August, SFO recorded 18,664 arrivals, he said. Of these, 7,470, or 40 percent, flew over Palo Alto at an altitude of 10,000 feet and lower.

Decibel levels and how they are measured are a major point of contention between the FAA, residents and congressional members.

When Eshoo and Fazzino made their agreement with SFO, the altitude for planes flying over the border of Menlo Park and Palo Alto was to be 5,000 feet rather than 4,000, according to a May 12, 2000, letter she wrote to members of UPROAR, a local airplane-noise group.

Eshoo wrote that the change was anticipated to reduce noise by one to two decibels at ground level.

SFO also agreed to install a permanent noise monitor at the Palo Alto and Menlo Park border to aid enforcement. But Bert Ganoung, SFO's manager of aircraft noise abatement, said the decibel monitor was never installed. When 9/11 and fears of SARS led to a drop in the number of people who were flying, airport revenues decreased, he said. The decreased number of flights also resulted in a lesser need to monitor noise levels, he added.

In 2002, a letter from the head of the noise office withdrew the offer of a decibel monitor. Cities were offered monitors if they paid for them, with SFO agreeing to do annual maintenance, but most no longer saw a need, he said.

An Eshoo spokesperson said the permanent decibel monitor was awaiting final permitting when 9/11 dried up air traffic and the funding for the site.

"At this time, cities can pursue a portable decibel monitor program at no cost," the spokesperson said in an email. "The State of California accepts this quarterly monitoring system as an acceptable substitute to permanent noise monitors under Title 21 — California Noise Standards. Again, it is incumbent upon cities to pursue this option, and they are encouraged to do so."

Nguyen's group hired its own aviation-noise expert, who conducted tests and found that between Aug. 26, 2013, and Sept. 11, 2013, 61 arrival flights had a peak noise level of 80 decibels near Skyline Boulevard in Woodside, she said.

The noise seems to stem from low-flying planes that are violating agreements SFO made in 1998 and 2000 to keep flights above Skyline above 8,000 feet and at the Palo Alto and Menlo Park border at 5,000 feet, Nguyen said. Data from the SFO Noise Abatement Office shows that more than 80 percent of arrival flights on a typical Sunday violated the 8,000-foot agreement, Nguyen said.

Data obtained from the FAA also showed that between Jan. 1 and May 31, 2013, 60.4 percent of flights arriving from the west were below 8,000 feet over Woodside — with more than half of those flying below 6,000 feet.

But Ganoung countered that planes fly at those altitudes only when weather is good.

The FAA has a 65-decibel Day-Night Average Sound Level standard, which has been in place since 1976 and is considered compatible with residential neighborhoods. But the standard is "outdated and disconnected from the real impact that air traffic noise is having on our constituents and should be lowered to a more reasonable standard of 55 decibel DNL," wrote 26 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, including Eshoo and Rep. Jackie Speier, in a Sept. 12 letter to the FAA. The letter demanded an update of national sound-level standards and that the agency expedite a five-year noise-level study the FAA has underway.

Most European countries have dropped the standard to 55 decibels, Carl pointed out.

Nguyen said the FAA's use of the day-night average is exactly that — an average. It doesn't note flights that exceed 65 decibels nor remove the night curfews when planes are not flying.

A better weighted analysis would be to study noise levels from single airplanes passing over homes, the residents contend. The U.S. First District Court of Appeal supported that contention in an opinion on an Aug. 30, 2001, lawsuit filed by the group Berkeley Keep Jets Over the Bay Committee against the Port of Oakland. In that case, the Port's Board of Commissioners had approved a plan to reconfigure and expand the Oakland International Airport to accommodate nearly double the number of flights between 1994 and 2010. The board had concluded there would not be significant noise and emissions problems based on the 65-decibel level, which is an average over a 24-hour period. But the environmental-impact study did not account for the disturbance of increased nighttime flights. The plaintiffs argued that the Port's reliance on the average provided a skewed representation of noise issues.

The three-judge panel agreed.

"This conclusion is derived without any meaningful analysis of existing ambient noise levels, the number of additional nighttime flights that will occur ... the frequency of those flights, to what degree single overflights will increase noise levels over and above the existing ambient noise level at a given location, and the community reaction to aircraft noise," the judges wrote.

The members of Congress raised similar concerns in their letter to the FAA.

"It is imperative that the FAA properly balance emission and noise concerns. This includes variations of daily flight routes, continuous descent approaches and rapid ascents," they wrote regarding the NextGen program.

NextGen has been touted by the FAA as a necessary and long-overdue program that will modernize the nation's air-traffic operations systems and prepare for a future of increased sky traffic. The FAA's Aerospace Forecast projects that commercial air-traffic volume will nearly double over the next 20 years. SFO forecasts a 2 percent annual increase in air traffic, Yakel said.

"The airport can accommodate this rate without any adding runway capacity until about 2025-2030. At that point, airlines would have to start using larger aircraft, and/or the airport would have to expand runway capacity," Yakel said.

"To deal with the projected increases," Carl said, "the NextGen program will channel air traffic into a handful of narrow flight paths starting up to 200 miles from an airport and will allow air-traffic control to use much tighter aircraft-to-aircraft spacing.

"The net effect is all of the air-traffic and noise that was spread out over a large area is concentrated over a smaller population living under the handful of precision flight paths into an airport," he said.

Prior to NextGen, pilots charted their own course until 20 miles from the airport. This approach allowed for flight paths that were more spread out, and with them, the noise. Under NextGen, the flight paths will go directly on over particular neighborhoods, he said.

The plan is to have five paths into SFO. Three of the five come over Palo Alto, and the city is getting roughly half of the arrival traffic, Carl added.

Aircraft spacing, which is now about 6 miles between planes, will reduce to 1 mile or less, he said.

Higher noise levels over Palo Alto are projected under the FAA's plan, according to consultants ATAC Corporation. The greatest increase by 2019 is expected to be between 1 and 2.7 decibels in the Esther Clark Park neighborhood, west of Foothill Expressway. Residents under the flight path over Esther Clark, Green Acres, Barron Park, then heading north along Jordan Middle School, Walter Hays Elementary School and Eleanor Pardee Park are expected to experience an estimated 1.2-decibel increase, with an average of 45.9 decibels in noise, according to the report.

Palo Alto locations surveyed ranged between receiving 32 and 45.6 decibels of sound, with most falling in the 43- to 44-decibel range.

But overall, the environmental study concluded that NextGen would have no significant impacts on noise. Using radar data to examine routes to SFO, Oakland Metropolitan International Airport, Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport and Sacramento International Airport, ATAC Corporation's analysis found that the program would not result in a 1.5 decibel or higher increase in areas already at or above 65 decibels and would not result in 3-decibel increases or higher in areas now exposed to noise between 60 and 65 decibels. The air-traffic changes would also not result in increases of 5 decibels or higher in areas exposed to noise between 45 and 60 decibels, according to the report.

But residents pointed out that the study once again is based on the standard of average decibel levels and doesn't consider the noisiest flights. To alter that standard, however, change must happen at the federal level, said John Shordike, the attorney who represented the Berkeley group in the Oakland case.

"Unless there is new legal authority on the federal level under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), (the FAA) can continue to use this ridiculous and meaningless average," he said.

The FAA Modernization Act of 2012, which authorized $63.4 billion for the FAA modernization, including $11 billion for NextGen, alters National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review for any NextGen procedures, MacEneaney of Queens said.

Her organization is currently working to change that provision when the act comes before Congress for renewal in 2015, she said.

What will the FAA do with the newly opened territory outside the narrow jetliner routes created by NextGen?

The act requires the FAA to provide airspace to military, private and commercial drones by Sept. 30, 2015. The FAA has been hard pressed to find such space for these small, unmanned aircraft amid cargo planes, business jets and commercial airliners. But funneling jetliners into precise, pinpoint-accurate traffic lanes would free up the surrounding space. Currently, drones are restricted to small airspaces away from airports and at low altitudes away from cities.

Staff Writer Sue Dremann can be emailed at sdremann@paweekly.com.

Comments

13 people like this
Posted by IndieRhythm
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 24, 2014 at 8:12 am

A big round of applause to the Weekly (and Sue Dremann) for covering, in detail, this rapidly growing problem that many of us are experiencing - but having a difficult time understanding the various pieces.

There is a small working group in Palo Alto trying to create change to improve the quality of life here and in our neighboring communities, but we could really use some more manpower and unique skills that so many of you have. Please reach out to us here -- www.skypossepaloalto.org/contact/ -- At least share your personal experiences and get updates on the progress being made.

I’ve lived in my home for 17 years and specifically selected this neighborhood because it was far from train, automobile and aircraft noise. In the past 6-18 months the increasing aircraft noise has made it impossible to sleep uninterrupted during the night and has made working from my home office very difficult. I run in the neighborhood and see these jets flying extremely low – visually I know many of them are under 4000 feet. Combine that with the increasing traffic from the smaller planes at Palo Alto and San Carlos (and the terrible noise nuisance being caused by SurfAir), it sounds like a war zone here with out the actual bombs. It seems that more than one of these “superhighways in the air” are now directly over my home with flights coming in only minutes apart all day and all night. I’m so stunned that the FAA can make changes like this without any regard for the environmental hazards and health of our communities.


7 people like this
Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2014 at 9:46 am

Thank you Weekly for covering this problem, and all the citizen groups who are coming together to address these issues with the FAA.

I have lived in Palo Alto for over a decade in a variety of neighborhoods, lived here when I was a child, and airplanes were never part of the landscape, as they have become in the last year

There is no reason why growing traffic should litter over our trees, disproportionally, and cause the constant grumbling and sounds of doom over our schools. We are not close to SFO, and there is a better way to transit through our highly populated area.

I have been grateful to learn we can act to solve these problems. To contact the Palo Alto residents gathering to get relief, go to www.Skypossepaloalto.org


8 people like this
Posted by Mark Dinan
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 24, 2014 at 10:21 am

Mark Dinan is a registered user.

The Palo Alto Airport is also a repeat offender. Pilots are simply ignoring the noise abatement policies which dictate that planes bank right over the Bay, gain altitude, and then head West over the Peninsula. I am particularly aware of this due to living in East Palo Alto a short walk from the Airport. I don't object to the airport, but have real problems that now two in three airplanes ignore the noise abatement policies and fly wherever they want. I hardly notice the planes from SFO and Oakland, which are quiet in comparison.


6 people like this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2014 at 10:22 am

The extent to which commercial aircraft are blanketing Palo Alto, can be best understood by referring to the one-day flight-track maps linked below. On a typical day 250 aircraft transit Palo Alto airspace. 180-200 of these aircraft are SFO bound, and typically cross the border of northern Palo Alto and Menlo Park, at an altitude of between 3,800' and 4,200'.

One-day flight-track maps for Palo Alto area: Web Link


10 people like this
Posted by Kelly
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 24, 2014 at 10:23 am

Please include East Palo Alto also. I live right under the flight pattern. I hear and see the belly's of the planes by the hour. Large jets come down embarcadero and righ over the home depot area; headed east. Plus all the little planes, helicopters, students learning to fly over my home from the Palo Alto Airport. Not only are we sensative to the noise; I have not forgotten the plane that crashed onto a home and Beech Street in 2010.


3 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 24, 2014 at 10:38 am

Article today in the WSJ 10/24 - "Airlines Lifted by Falling Fuel Prices" - so happy that the airlines are experiencing a higher profit rate attributed to reduction in price of gas. No mention that the reduction in the amount of gas used is part of the "savings". No mention that the FAA is partnering in this "savings" by allowing a change in flight patterns that are lower in altitude and close in over the cities below.

No mention that the local legislative representatives partner in this activity as well as the local major airports and smaller airports. It looks to me that more pressure is needed to publicize this issue - we need to start with the PACC who was suppose to be on the local SFO roundtable. Can we please get clarification that issue? We need a noise monitor at the PAO that tracks all airline activity in the air - local area. What is the status on that issue?

Will the PA Weekly please do a follow-up on the airport and include this data? This is election time when people are ducking their heads on the hard technical issues in our lap because they do not have the skill set to deal with these technical issues. Or the desire to take on the bigger area if they have notions of higher office.
If they cannot deal with this issue then they do not qualify for higher office.


2 people like this
Posted by boscoli
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 24, 2014 at 11:01 am

The noise that the Palo Alto airport is responsible for is attributed to the fact that pilots are ignoring the noise abatement policies. Those pilots are not disciplined, but rather shielded by the airport management. A disciplinary action against an errant pilot means losing the right to use the vending machine for an entire week.


4 people like this
Posted by Not a NIMBY, but
a resident of Menlo Park
on Oct 24, 2014 at 11:06 am

This article does a good job of raising the complex issues around noise management for aircraft. The NIMBY noise complaints don't help the dialog but, there are a few areas to concentrate on:

1) Precision navigation has the potential to make the noise problem much much worse for some. Instead of the handful of planes going right over my house every hour, there is a risk of getting 60 an hour (and this would apply to anyone unfortunate enough to be under a planned approach) That takes a tolerable situation of occasional noisy interruption becoming an experience like living next to a freeway without a sound wall

2) There have been agreements/regulations but they are not being enforced. Is it time to bring in our federal reps (congress etc.) into the picture? Planes are flying too low and the monitors weren't installed


5 people like this
Posted by jared Bernstein
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 24, 2014 at 11:10 am

So glad for this excellent coverage with background and review of issues.
For me (6 blocks from the tracks on Tasso St) the Railroad noise is very minor compared to the airplane noise. It's commercial during the week and then the private planes from our own airport are added on the weekend.
If we can get up in arms about railroad noise and pay to sue somebody about it, we can certainly take action at the municipal level to abate the airplane noise. Let's do it.


1 person likes this
Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2014 at 11:14 am

No need for apologies about fighting airplane noise.

It's like the instructions you get on the plane to put on your oxygen mask first, before helping your child. By taking care of what is happening with our back yards, we will also help others. Guaranteed.


Like this comment
Posted by Business as usual
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2014 at 11:15 am

Went to the link that songbird posted and could not find the name of anyone associated with this website. You have to give your name if you want to contact them. I would beware of this website--an anonymous website, with no local names associated with it. Is it real???


Like this comment
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 24, 2014 at 11:16 am

If the airplanes are close enough to identify then provide the tail numbers. We can check on the flight tracker who is turning left instead of right and pick up the tail number and report to PAO. If you can see it and hear it you can report it by the tail number. We can get serious about this and name names.


Like this comment
Posted by Mark Dinan
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 24, 2014 at 11:19 am

Mark Dinan is a registered user.

Andrew Swanson is the administrator at the Palo Alto Airport. He has been responsive to noise complaints. Anyone who wants to contact him directly can reach him at Andrew.Swanson(at)cityofpaloalto.org.


7 people like this
Posted by Against_SFO_Trash_Bin
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 24, 2014 at 11:19 am


Palo Alto is not the beneficiary of the revenues and profits that San Francisco, and the airlines, generate. Why should we then be the main trash bin for the noise that the landings generate? Especially when there are much lower-density populated areas to reach the Bay. And the Bay itself would allow (thanks to NextGen, actually) descent paths that disrupt virtually no one, so that the final part of the descent can occur there. This would cost SFO and the airlines a few extra dollars of the billions NextGen is calculated to generate, and extend flight times by a few minutes. But these costs do not justify the destruction of the quality of life of so many residents in our town.


1 person likes this
Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2014 at 11:20 am

No need to beware,

The next meeting for Sky Posse Palo Alto is Wednesday November 5, 7 pm. Location tbd in Palo Alto.

Come and meet your neighbors engaging on this issue, face to face.

The website is focused on the issues, and that work will require everyone in town.Thousands of names.

Kelly from East Palo Alto, come join us too. We have neighbors from other areas as well. The resident voice is united on this one.


6 people like this
Posted by Julie
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Oct 24, 2014 at 11:20 am

Unfortunately, when Woodside, Portola Valley and Atherton complain about noise from airliners coming into SFO, the traffic controllers immediately direct planes to fly further South over south Palo Alto and Mountain View and that is exactly what has happened this morning with one plane after another coming over my house.

This is dangerous since we also have planes coming in and out of Moffett Field, San Jose International, San Carlos, and Palo Alto airports. I heard a screeching sound in the sky two days ago and saw a small plane traveling north almost collide with a low flying airliner going east to line up over the Bay to land at SFO.

The skies over south Palo Alto are now so crowded that they are dangerous.


Like this comment
Posted by mom
a resident of another community
on Oct 24, 2014 at 11:23 am

[Post removed.]


3 people like this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2014 at 11:59 am

SFO is a for-profit corporation owned and operated by the City and County of San Francisco. San Francisco operates this large industrial facility in San Mateo County, and dumps the undesirable waste products from that operation on Palo Alto, and other cities on the Peninsula.


Like this comment
Posted by dude
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 24, 2014 at 12:03 pm

Man, how do they stay up there?


1 person likes this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 24, 2014 at 12:04 pm

Good Article - failed to mention that both Bert Ganoung and Andrew Swanson - Manager of PAO - appeared at a scheduled PACC meeting on the topic of airplane noise. The PACC listened to every other topic they could - I left at 11:30 PM while these two gentlemen sat through this whole debacle before their topic was addressed. So the PACC did what it does when they don't like the topic - they make the people wait until the room is clear.
So why would city Mayor Shepherd and City Manager Keene not be accepted by the SFO panel? Because they are politically out of tune and technically not capable of discussing this topic. One other PACC member was irritated by the whole topic and voiced that opinion. I was embarrassed for the city that this happened the way it did. It is like the PACC was dissing it's own residents. The logical person to sit on that board was the manager of the PAO - Andrew Swanson.


3 people like this
Posted by enough!
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 24, 2014 at 12:08 pm

Just don't care. Yes, there is more air traffic. It can be a bit annoying at times. But, there are bigger problems than this, but those will never be dealt with because it would offend the PC Police.


1 person likes this
Posted by commonsense
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 24, 2014 at 12:13 pm

enough! Agreed - those with this much time on their hands should consider how fortunate you are to be where you are and work on solving some real problems. There are plenty. Besides, they are pretty fun to watch!


2 people like this
Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2014 at 12:15 pm

The Mayor has been supportive of the Palo Alto residents organizing to address this problem.

This problem is about the systemic missing community input in the decisions about airspace rationalization. All our elected officials can help us get that voice, and we need to make it happen.


4 people like this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2014 at 12:21 pm

Well... there are plenty of problems in the world, but that does not mean we should ignore the problems right in our own back yards.


1 person likes this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 24, 2014 at 12:22 pm

Enough and Commonsense - you are free to quit reading this stream and go smell the roses. Or go to some other stream that you can contribute to in a meaningful way.
The fact is that the PACC has no technical expertise at this point in time - which will be remedied in the next election. We need people that can work with the other cities on the peninsula on hard issues - and if you read the article this is a hard issue.


2 people like this
Posted by To Interested Residents
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2014 at 12:22 pm

Here is Sky Posse Palo Alto's contact page
Web Link

The Events page
Web Link

and here are the email addresses:

info@skypossepaloalto.org
join@skypossepaloalto.org


8 people like this
Posted by Glad I'm not crazy
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 24, 2014 at 12:27 pm

It's good to read confirmation of something many of us have long suspected: a) backyard noise levels have increased dramatically in recent years because of aircraft noise and b) the standards employed to monitor and measure noise levels are entirely useless. We might as well monitor the temperature as measure the "65-decibel Day-Night Average Sound Level." One correction: The accompanying chart notes that 80 decibels is "twice as loud as 70 dB." In fact, 80 decibels is 10 times as loud as 70 decibels. Every increment of 10 decibels represents a 10-fold increase in noise level. Thus, a 20-decibel increase represents a 100-fold increase in the sound level.


6 people like this
Posted by Tired of being a dumping ground
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 24, 2014 at 12:36 pm

Thank you Weekly for doing an in-depth article about the increase in airplane traffic and noise over Palo Alto. This creates the largest deterioration of the quality of life for my family here in Palo Alto. I no longer sit outside for some peace and quiet, too many loud rumbling jets. Even keeping our windows open for fresh air is problematic. The train noise is not as loud as constant airplanes rumbling overhead. I am a little unclear about why SFO can now make runway 28 so busy without any real recourse for Palo Alto and its neighbors. When major routes are designated/changed the public should have a voice in this. Also, not sure why sound monitoring is so difficult/expensive. This is definitely an area Ana Eshoo should be working on as well as our Senators.
On weekends there is a lot of noise from the Palo Alto Airport, why wasn't this discussed during our takeover from the County? Planes used to approach SFO from the SFBay......is this still occurring?
I am happy to join the group trying to change this out of control airplane highway + dumping ground from SFO.


Like this comment
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 24, 2014 at 12:39 pm

Sky Posse - your validation number requires use of both bold and regular feature. It is hard to go bold - suggest that you change up the feature. Let us know on this site where your meeting will be.


Like this comment
Posted by Business as usual
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2014 at 1:10 pm

The contact info for sky posse is just a generic e-mail address. Yet you have to provide your name and e-mail address if you want to contact them. The people who worked on the Measure D matter set up a website also, but you knew who the people behind it where--no secrecy,
I would be wary about sending any information to the sky posse website until the people behind it identify themselves. If this is such a major issue why don't the people who are pushing for change and claiming this is a major problem identify themselves


3 people like this
Posted by Shut-It-Down!
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2014 at 1:30 pm

> Andrew Swanson is the administrator at the Palo Alto Airport.
> He has been responsive to noise complaints.

Unless all of the complaints appear on the Palo Alto government web site, with the names/tailcodes (where available) of those being accussed of some violation/offense/annoyance--then this man is not being "responsive" to the public.

Historically, airports have been very unwilling to name the offenders of various violations. This has happened at the Palo Alto airport when planes have crashed, or landed in the marshlands. Requests for the names of the pilots, and the aircraft owners, have been ignored by airport management. In one case that happened a couple years ago--the pilot was not injured, but when asked what his name and home city might be--he walked off and refused to identify himself, and the plane's owner(s).

There are a lot of public policy issues involved in running an airport. You can make bet that the City Council will avoid talking to the public about any of the City's obligations to the public records laws here in California, or even the City's obligations to insure that the airport is operated in as safe a manner as possible. The crash of the Telsa employee's plane a couple of years ago should have been the most cautionary tale as to how irresponsible PAO pilots can be. This crash, by the way, occurred because the City Council allowed IFR take-offs/landings in the mid-'80s. They have yet to openly review this decision, in the light of this crash that knocked out the power in Palo Alto for a full business day!

It's very hard to believe that any Airport Manager will be responsive to public records requests about this airport, the people using it, and the actual costs of operating the facility. We'll give him a chance--but when he fails to provide the transparency demanded by the law, there will no doubt be scores of airport supporters who will claim: "the law doesn't apply to us", or some similar craziness.



3 people like this
Posted by two ears
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 24, 2014 at 1:53 pm

"but has been denied membership because it's outside the county"

Interesting - I had never known that noise stops at county lines. How accommodating of it.


1 person likes this
Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2014 at 2:13 pm

Business as usual,

I would invite you to delve into the three articles on this topic to find the reasons why this is a major problem for Palo Alto.

There is an informative FAQ on the Sky Posse Palo Alto website as well.

Web Link

To meet us personally, please come to our next event, Wednesday November 5th, 7 PM location tbd.


Like this comment
Posted by What?
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 24, 2014 at 2:18 pm

Total Fictional issue.

Nothing to see (or hear) here folks. These planes are much quieter than the hundreds of planes running through SFO on a daily basis.

This issue is utter balderdash. Much as asking the trains to stop blowing their whistle at at grade crossings in expensive neighborhoods. Just because you are rich does not make you a GOD.

Time for you to spend your time on something more important...like the marginal tax rates.


3 people like this
Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2014 at 2:41 pm

Surf Air is an example of how low the standards are for aircraft today. It's new but a public nuisance.

Airplanes are quietest the farther away they are from the ground. Even Surf Air may be "quiet" at the appropriate distance. It's all relative.


Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Oct 24, 2014 at 2:49 pm

Thank you for your comment Mr./Ms "What"

The complaints are bizarre -- just so much squawking from people who realize that they WAY OVERPAID for their actually-very-modest houses and now they at least expect some clout for their money.

But they -- and we -- all bought into living in an urban area. All Peninsula communities have noise from freeways, airplanes, trains, traffic, but the rest of the Peninsula (including communities NEXT to SFO) just deals with it.

Palo Alto residents can't exclude themselves from the normal noises of urban life by exporting them to eastward to neighboring communities.

If some residents don't like urban life in Palo Alto, they should move.


2 people like this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2014 at 3:03 pm

The "who was here first argument" is silly. Palo Alto was established by Leland Stanford Sr. when he founded Stanford University, and the city was incorporated in 1894... years before the Wright brothers even made their first flight in 1903.


4 people like this
Posted by Jolie
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 24, 2014 at 3:23 pm

Great article! Slowly this topic is gaining ground and people are becoming more aware of this serious issue affecting many Palo Alto residents quality of life.

Check out this tracker and see how many planes fly over Palo Alto. It's disproportionate, and with the roll out of Next Gen we will get 3 flight paths over Palo Alto out of 5 flight paths in total arriving to SFO. Really bad news for Palo Alto.

Web Link

You need Adobe Flash player for the program to run.


1 person likes this
Posted by good_neighbor
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 24, 2014 at 3:26 pm

[Portion removed.] The concern is that Palo Alto residents are DISPROPORTIONALLY affected by the increasing noise that SFO landings create (relative, for instance, to San Francisco itself), not that it is part of what you call an "urban" environment. We have been shut out of the process of communicating with the FAA on this issue. Real Estate prices are not the concern; they have risen by approximately 50% over the last 2 years.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 24, 2014 at 3:38 pm

Neighbor from another community - 3 miles up the road (Atherton) always accesses airplane sites and tells everyone to go out and smell the roses. The problem at hand is that the FAA is pushing the Altitude down so that the planes are flying lower. This is happening all over the US and people all over the US are complaining. It is not just PA, or Atherton who complains about Surf Air - it is a safety and security issue across the US.


2 people like this
Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2014 at 3:38 pm

This issue is not just Palo Alto, it is happening across the country.

The appeal from Portola Valley speaks to how impacts from concentrating aviation traffic are being set aside. Aviation commerce and noise abatement don't have to be mutually exclusive.

Pitting communities against each other is part of the dysfunction. No need to go there. Let's work on it together.


3 people like this
Posted by skydoc
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 24, 2014 at 3:39 pm

There is a British Medical Journal article (BMJ 2013;347:f5432 doi: 10.1136/bmj.f5432) that reports a linear, graded, statistically significant increase in hospital admission for heart attack and stroke as airport noise increases. At noise levels of 63dB, they report a 20 - 30% increase in admissions for heart disease.

The FAA uses 65 dB as their threshold for excess noise, higher than considered in this study. The Brits are pressing for a threshold of 55 dB.

Of course association does not prove causation but this sort of association is concerning.


1 person likes this
Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Oct 24, 2014 at 3:43 pm

To: "Good Neighbor" from "Neighbor" (who is also a good neighbor)

Foster City, San Mateo, Millbrae, and South SF are disproportionately affected by airplane noise --- NOT Palo Alto. Palo Alto just seems to feel entitled and very special......about almost everything.


Like this comment
Posted by Alphonso
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Oct 24, 2014 at 3:43 pm

Seems quiet compared to the early 60's when fighter groups were stationed at Moffet Field - A4's and various other jets practicing around the area. Seems to me that freeway noise and train noise are more significant.


1 person likes this
Posted by For-The-Record
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2014 at 3:56 pm

> Palo Alto was established by Leland Stanford Sr. when he
> founded Stanford University, and the city was incorporated in 1894.

Not exactly true. Construction on Stanford U. started arounnd 1885, with the first classes enrolling in 1892. Timothy Hopkins, Stanford's associate, platted out about 800 acres of land that was to be used for both commercial and residential owners around 1892, calling it University Park. The name Palo Alto was adopted about the time the City was incorporated, in 1894.

Stanford was influential, but not the actual creator of orginal Palo Alto.


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Posted by For-The-Record
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2014 at 4:07 pm

Opps .. first classes at Stanford 1891.


2 people like this
Posted by Brian F. Will
a resident of another community
on Oct 24, 2014 at 4:23 pm

I live in Queens but follow the issue elsewhere. Some of the posters above like "Enough" are the same who stalk the Queens Quiet Skies movement in New York.

The aviation industry is expanding aggressively throughout the country.Formerly thriving areas, both near and far from airports, will be severely impacted by the changes outlines above.

Note that the industry and FAA are selling NextGen as an environmentally responsible, emissions reducing program. The emissions reductions are based on "per flight" data only. There will be no overall reduction in emissions for the industry. The growth of the aviation industry achieved through NextGen will far outpace any efficiency improvements.

It boils down to the simple principle: Cities want to grow and remain economically viable. In order to do it, they need the aviation industry to grow. But aviation growth requires lots of land, which cities don't have.

So they are going to take land. Is it an acceptable sacrifice? Take a small chunk every American city for the greater good?


1 person likes this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2014 at 5:00 pm

Brian,

Thank you for posting, and filling us in on the situation in New York.

While the aviation industry may have ambitious plans for expansion, there are many skeptics who believe this is just wishful thinking, or hype, on the part of the aviation industry. Out here in the SFBA we have seen very little expansion in the total air traffic at SFO since the year 2000. SFO only just returned to pre-911 levels of traffic in the last two years.

The dramatic increase in noise seems to correspond to the emerging roll-out of NextGen which was launched in the SFBA Metroplex, in January 2013. Since the NextGen rolled-out began, aircraft have been flying lower, and consolidating their flight paths over an increasingly smaller population of people, who live under the "nominal" routes.


"FAA’s ATC Traffic Continues Well Below Peak Year 2000"
Aviation Impact Reform June 29, 2014 Web Link


2 people like this
Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2014 at 5:01 pm

Welcome to Palo Alto Brian. Our skies have been really quiet today, this must have registered as a top line complaint somewhere. I often wonder how the patterns get set. It's not the weather today, I don't think.


4 people like this
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 24, 2014 at 5:24 pm

It isn't a matter of objecting to aircraft traffic and noise in general or being entitled, it's an issue of a fairly recent major increase in loud and low flights over Palo Alto.
Those of us who have a benchmark to compare with know there has been a very negative change with air traffic right here and can see and hear this.
It isn't a matter of seeing aircraft in the skies and objecting to that. It really has been a change and we see low flying 747s that are quite loud right over our home. I am unhappy and would like to officially protest the re-routing over us or at least demand variation so other local areas take some of this traffic, too.
I believe I have heard part of it may be the need to have the Korean 747s follow an easier route to SFO as was apparently mandated; but this shouldn't impact us like this.
It's not a matter of distracting points some put up on threads on this topic; -like someone being newbies or not having double-paned windows. We have been here for quite a few years and have resided in other local areas, too, and do have double-paned windows. We aren't clueless and understand commercial air traffic is normal in metro areas but this has been a PARTICULAR negative local change right here.


3 people like this
Posted by Pegasus
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2014 at 5:46 pm

To anyone who thinks that Palo Alto cannot possibly have an airplane noise problem, I suggest looking at the map referenced above:

Web Link

It is representative of what happens almost daily in Palo Alto and close vicinity. To me, it looks quite a bit better in some neighboring cities to the north.

Add to that that SFO bound planes fly as low as 3900 feet above PA, and that on some days, San Jose traffic also comes here, dodging SFO traffic by flying at less than 3000 feet, and you realize that we do have a huge aircraft noise problem in this town.

If you want to join us

Web Link


3 people like this
Posted by boscoli
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 24, 2014 at 7:08 pm

Not even addressing for now the SFO and San Jose air traffic over Palo Alto and adjacent towns: the Palo Alto airport is grossly negligent in allowing excessive airplane noise. The policy of requiring pilots taking off from PAO to bank to the right, fly over the bay while gaining altitude and then turn west, is routinely ignored by pilots, who end up flying low, and very noisily, over Palo Alto neighborhoods at all hours. This travesty could be easily avoided by disciplinary actions, including revoking take off and landing right for repeat offenders. Those disciplinary measures are never enforces, the pilots have a de-facto license to do as they please and they seem to be getting bolder and bolder in ignoring those policies.


Like this comment
Posted by fly_high
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 24, 2014 at 10:13 pm


In due respect to the FAA, how they can say with a straight face that flight routes have not changed, and then begin the home page of their NextGen with the video linked below, is a mystery.

Web Link

Choice of music is excellent though, uplifting and relaxing at the same time.


2 people like this
Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2014 at 10:31 pm

In a nutshell

"The Role of the FAA

"The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has never been responsive to noise complaints. With no accountability to the EPA or local jurisdictions the FAA is legally immune from any sort of regulation outside of direct intervention by the US Congress. Congress, being heavily lobbied by the airline industry, has historically acted in the best interests of the airlines with little or no recognition of the very real costs being born by those of us who live under the FAA's flight paths. Airlines are thus free to route flights low over heavily populated areas, saving 5 or 10 minutes of flight time and $2 to $4 per ticket. The net effect of this airline industry lobbying is that our residential neighborhoods are subsidizing the aviation industry more than ever.

Enter UPROAR (initiative in the 90's)

A citizen's organization, UPROAR, has been formed to address commercial air traffic and air traffic noise over our Bay Area Communities. UPROAR was formed because existing procedures for reducing air noise and air traffic are not working. The Airport Roundtable, setup and funded by the SFO, is totally ineffectual. It is merely a tool commonly used by large bureaucracies to diffuse public outrage. The landlord of SFO is the City of San Francisco. Increased air traffic will increase their revenues and tourist trade. They are not concerned with the fact that it is ruining our lives on the Peninsula. Moreover, the Environmental Impact Report commitments by SFO have not been implemented - they have been blatantly ignored. UPROAR is developing a cohesive program to address the issues of air traffic and air noise and to find workable solutions to this increasing problem."

Web Link

Nothing has changed, except ticket prices.


1 person likes this
Posted by Mr.Recycle
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 24, 2014 at 10:36 pm

@boscoli - Are you sure you aren't hearing the San Carlos airport traffic? There is a lot more, and it is coming in straight across old town.

We live about as close to the airport as possible in Palo Alto, and I rarely hear planes taking off or landing at the Palo Alto airport.. The problem with the big SFO jets is 1000x worse - our house shakes. The trains are worse, and we are as far from the tracks as you can be, and we still hear the horns at night.



1 person likes this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2014 at 11:31 pm

Hint for sky-watchers: the SurfAir planes are turboprops. A turboprop uses what is essentially a jet engine to turn a propeller. The SurfAir turboprop planes sound like a conventional propeller driven craft when they are directly overhead, but sound more like a jet as they move off into the distance.


3 people like this
Posted by Insomnia
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 24, 2014 at 11:49 pm

The planes sure are loud and frequent tonight.

Someone might create a petition at the White House Petition site Web Link

It would at least get some news coverage and lots of support since other communities are probably experiencing the same thing.


5 people like this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2014 at 1:15 am

Insomnia,

Many people are being awakened by several loud aircraft that fly over Palo Alto between the hours of midnight and 6:00am. They do not realize that they are being awakened by aircraft noise, because in the time it takes for them to be aroused to consciousness (30-60 seconds) the offending plane is only a faint noise off in the distance.

There are several loud flights throughout the night, but KAL213 and UAL396 are two of the worst offenders.

Korean Airlines flies a loud 747 freighter (KAL213) from LAX to SFO 4-5 nights a week on a regular schedule. It passes over Palo Alto around 1:30am

UAL396 from HNL flies over Palo Alto around 4:30am. HNL396 typically crosses Palo Alto on a track that is pretty much parallel to, and above Oregon Expressway, and is in Palo Alto airspace for only about 60-90 seconds.


2 people like this
Posted by longing for quiet skies
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 25, 2014 at 5:31 am

Thank you Sue Dremann for your excellent coverage of this important issue. Your reporting is always stellar.

The decisions made now about Palo Alto airport repairs and accepting government funding will affect our neighborhood character for decades. We are so bombarded by airplane noise now, I can not even imagine what will be when the Palo Alto airport is repaired and thus more desirable to use. Why is the decision about repairing the airport and accepting Government funding made by the City Council rather than by the whole community? Was there a sound impact study done?

Sue, please let us know the opinions of the City Council candidates about this issue. At least we have a chance to vote for Council members who will support working toward quieter skies in Palo Alto. I hope we can join up with other communities to gain strength in numbers.


6 people like this
Posted by who knows this issue
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 25, 2014 at 7:20 am

To longing for quiet skies:
I had a coffee for Tom Dubois and Eric Filseth. It was a weeknight from 6:30 - 8pm end of Sept. The planes were flying directly overhead and drowned out Eric from being heard. If I recall, must have been 10 or so planes flying directly in a line over my backyard that night. Eric Filseth had to stop speaking (I think) to be heard over the rumbling low flying jets. Tom Dubois also was very aware of the low rumbling planes overhead. There was a question about what action should be taken to deal with the planes. Both candidates seemed ready to roll up their sleeves and deal with this issue...... their main goal for running is to "refocus the City on residents and livability." I hope you will support them along with Kou and Holman.


1 person likes this
Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2014 at 8:18 am

As much as like all the candidates you mention who knows, unless they would step up and actually say

a) they understand all the issues surrounding this problem
b) state at least three suggestions on how they would solve the problems, and
c) Commit to whatever they are proposing to solve the problem

I cannot see their relative ability any higher than the incumbents.

All the candidates have a primer with this article. If they are really critical thinkers, they will get it soon enough. If they don't, that is a problem. Silence will also be a signal.

Regular citizens get it, not just in Palo Alto but around the country. If they would like to learn more, they can go to

Web Link


2 people like this
Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2014 at 8:31 am

There are some things like noise monitors, how much do they cost, how do you get them that could be discussed more openly.

Everyone running likely has the greatest amount of expertise to know what could and cannot be done by the City.


3 people like this
Posted by Songbirds
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2014 at 8:51 am

Incumbents have not spoken about this issue yet either, so the same should be expected from them.

Noise monitors could already be brought up by Council.


Like this comment
Posted by Shut-It-Down
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2014 at 10:56 am

> Everyone running likely has the greatest amount ‘
> of expertise to know what could and cannot be done by the City.

Given the actual history of the PA Council, nothing could be the farthest from the truth.

> Noise monitors could already be brought up by Council.

The suggestion has been brought up many times. But the Council has been indifferent to the issues for the most part. There have been some situations when the Council got involved, but the FAA holds all the trump cards, and it doesn’t take long for them to be played.

The issue of noise continues to plague us. Some years ago we had neighborhoods in an uproar as more and more gas-powered leaf blowers were put into use by gardeners who wanted to use that at just about any hour. The Council did pass some harsh ordinances—but the Chief of Police, Lynn Johnson, openly defied the Council and proclaimed: “I will not enforce these laws” (or words to that effect). The Council did nothing in response.

And as we all know—train noise is a real problem—more at night than during the day time, but still, an aggravation that will be with us until something drastic is done.

Each of these situations has had many people promoting reasonably technical solutions to collecting and analyzing noise. But all we ever get is “dull stares” from our elected officials.

The fact that neither the incumbents, or the challengers, are saying nothing about the airport—is because that clearly have no interest in dealing with these issues, which none of them understand. They could spend a little money to collect data--but none of them want to go even that far. Probably nothing is going to get done until a homeowners group ends up suing the City. Law suits are the only language the City understands.


1 person likes this
Posted by Multiple Choice Question
a resident of Fairmeadow School
on Oct 25, 2014 at 11:50 am

[Post removed.]


3 people like this
Posted by Shut-It-Down
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2014 at 12:13 pm

@Multiple-Choice-Question fails to see the point, and wastes everyone’s time.

The issue here seems to be getting the City government to do its job and: 1) put a framework in place to collect data on all noise-related issues here in Palo Alto; 2) Encourage other City governments to do the same; 3) share the data; 4) characterize the various sources of noise in each town; 5) develop plans to deal with the each of the sources that proves to problem; 6) use data to lobby county/state/federal governments to consider changes in guidelines/restrictions that will result in noise reduction that is subject to those agencies’ authority.

Noise travels differently at night, than during the day. The noise coming from the Amphitheater in MV affects people differently. People in the north of PA have complained about that noise for a long time, while people in the south don’t seem to hear it as much.

When U2s used to fly out of Moffett on a frequent basis, they could be heard for miles in every direction.

Just because you live somewhere where the noise isn’t too bad—count your lucky stars.


1 person likes this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 25, 2014 at 12:45 pm

I wonder about people like "Multiple Choice Questions" who obviously spent time on the entry. What are they doing on this subject stream if they have no interest in the Topic? I do not make any comments on the school elections because my child is already graduated from Gunn HS. I have no current information and dealings with the school system so it is not my topic to offer opinions on.

I think some of the negative comments come from people who work for the government or airport(s) and do not want undo attention on this topic.
So I take those entries with a grain of salt and will note who the people are that have something to lose if we pursue this topic.
We also have people making entries under numerous names which may be candidates deflecting this topic.


1 person likes this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2014 at 12:59 pm

Bruel & Kjaer makes the sound monitoring equipment, and systems, that many of the airports (including SFO) use to monitor noise. Maybe it is time to stop waiting for SFO to install noise monitors south of the San Mateo border.

Bruel & Kjaer: Web Link

SFO noise monitoring stations (scroll down for map: Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Atlas
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 25, 2014 at 1:15 pm

Maybe Mayor Shepherd shouldn't have wasted all that time trying to get into an airplane noise abatement program for San Mateo County and should have shown some leadership in gearing up the dormant Santa Clara County group since Palo Alto is located in Santa Clara County?


1 person likes this
Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2014 at 2:15 pm

Not defending the Mayor here because, so far, there are no political winners on this issue, except the FAA.

But it's worth keeping in mind that most of the noise over Palo Alto is from San Francisco Airport, so being shown the door by SFO's noise abatement organization takes the cake. Going to Santa Clara for noise abatement to deal with a fraction of the noise could be just as time consuming for little results.

The FAA probably enjoys seeing us scrambling around for ways to address our issue, and they appear to have it all very well managed.


1 person likes this
Posted by Multiple Choice Question
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 25, 2014 at 2:18 pm

Shut it down fails to hear everyone's point.

Shut It Down is obsessing on plane noise.

Shut it down has no sense of humor.

Shut it down does not understand satire.

Shut it down will not win thinkers to its side.

Shut it down requires a basic physics education (sound travel is not affected by light and dark).

Those U2 Flights out of Moffat were AWESOME! Too bad they moved the planes from NASA Ames to SoCal. My kids were so inspired by all of the different planes that used to come and go from NASA Ames. I wish they would return.

The City does an amazing job of keeping this town at the top of its game.

If sound pollution was SUCH a problem people would not be coming from around the world to live in Palo Alto. Demand for Palo Alto real estate has NEVER been greater. It must be pretty awesome here!


Like this comment
Posted by Resident 2
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Oct 25, 2014 at 2:24 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


Like this comment
Posted by Earplugs Work
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Oct 25, 2014 at 2:28 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


1 person likes this
Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2014 at 2:44 pm

Well, it doesn't help when the last three posts all look the same and have the same type "humor."


3 people like this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2014 at 3:45 pm

Putting your fingers in your ears, shouting no, and pretending the noise does not exist, will not make the problem go away.

The loud jet noise that has accompanied the roll-out of NextGen is not just a problem for Palo Alto. This a national problem. With the roll-out of NextGen, cities all over the country are experiencing a dramatic increase in commercial jet noise.

Queens Quiet Skies: Web Link

Minneapolis Fair Skies: Web Link


3 people like this
Posted by boscoli
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 25, 2014 at 4:36 pm

Demand for Palo Alto real estate is overwhelmingly due to its school district's reputation around the world, justified or not, the proximity to one of the top universities in the nation/world and our fantastic weather and proximity to both the Silicon Valley and one of the most charming cities in the world, San Francisco.

That being said,It has also become a very noisy town, and at some point, people who pay millions for houses that would cost a fraction of that anywhere else, will not put up with the ever increasing noise forever-noise is one of the absolute worst environmental pollutants and a major factor in the diminishing of the quality of life. It also carries major health risks.

The Palo Alto city council, past and present has an extremely poor record in acting for noise abatement. The police department has been refusing to enforce the leaf blower ban, and the council has never demanded that they do their job. It has allowed the airport management to get away with turning a blind eye at pilots who don't follow the policy of banking right after take off toward the bay and gaining altitude over it before turning east. Anyone who thinks that the council will ever do anything about noise abatement will be sorely disappointed.


2 people like this
Posted by Pegasus
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2014 at 4:38 pm

Some people love loud airplanes. That is fantastic for them. I actually love to occasionally see the Blue Angels in action, at most once a year. However, this is not the same thing as living with round-the-clock loud commercial jets darting through our skies, up to the tune of 300 a day, as is normally the case in Palo Alto.

The unfortunate truth is that repeated exposure to loud noise, including from airplanes, is a general health hazard, on top of being a very annoying nuisance:

Web Link


4 people like this
Posted by Skywhisperer
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2014 at 4:54 pm

If they wanted to build an LA-style elevated freeway across Palo Alto, we'd expect to have a big say in the matter.

So how come we don't get a big say when they 'build' jet skyways over our town?

Big thanks to Sue Dremann and the Palo Alto Weekly for the excellent article!

Thanks also to our Sky Posse Palo Alto neighbors. Great information at the Web Link website!


1 person likes this
Posted by Jolie
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 25, 2014 at 5:28 pm

Great letter to Anna Eschoo from the Sky Posse Palo Alto website

Web Link

I think that your website would bring in more concerned residents if you have an about page that shows who is heading up this website and effort.


1 person likes this
Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2014 at 5:37 pm

Anyone interested in meeting the neighbors who have taken time and interest in understanding the issues surrounding this concern, please come to the meeting on Wednesday November 5th, 7PM, location tbd.





Like this comment
Posted by Funny
a resident of Southgate
on Oct 25, 2014 at 5:39 pm

Very funny post #Multiple Choice Test.

You really have to live in Palo Alto to appreciate it.


2 people like this
Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2014 at 8:15 pm

This is actually pretty funny too

"A Heathrow board member has said the airport should be open 24 hours a day, and that local residents under the flightpath would soon get used to the noise."

Web Link


2 people like this
Posted by Skywhisperer
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2014 at 8:31 pm

Of frogs and jets...

Reading the local flight traffic numbers and now that 'funny' Heathrow quote...

The boiled frog story jumps off the page. And, um, we're the frogs!

Gradually turn up the heat in the pot and maybe the little frogs won't notice.

Overhead air traffic is heating up here, year by year. Each year, new highs in air noise become the New Normal. 70 flights a day over Palo Alto in 2000 seemed way too noisy back then. Now we have triple that at around 200 flights a day! And in a few years?

I already feel like I'm getting cooked with jet noise. It's high time to turn down the burner.


Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2014 at 9:36 pm

It's not just the acoustic noise but the electromagnetic noise from these low flying airliners messes up my TV reception and use to trigger a wireless doorbell alarm.


3 people like this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2014 at 10:19 pm

Anonymous,

Yes, a neighbor of mine was having trouble with TV reception whenever an airliner flew over. She did a little digging, and had a telecom technician come out to investigate. The technician said the signals from the aircraft are coupling into the DSL wires. The guys that service the wires know this is happening.

But it is not just the noise, or the electromagnetic noise. When aircraft fly NextGen approach routes, they do so at a reduced power setting (approximately 30% power). At power setting of 30% and lower jet engines do not burn fuel efficiently, and spray microscopic droplets of unburned jet fuel, out the back of the engine.

In the first study of its kind, experts from Carnegie Mellon University, collected pollution from a commercial jet as it operated at different loads. They found microscopic droplets of unburned jet fuel in the exhaust, that when exposed to sunlight, broke down into an even greater number of even smaller particles, that can penetrate the lungs and blood-brain barrier.


Jet pollution can penetrate the Lungs and Brain study reveals
News.com.au ~ May 13, 2011 Web Link

The Carnegie Mellon Study, which was published in the Journal of Atmospheric Chemistry and Physic, can be found here: Web Link


4 people like this
Posted by Jolie
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 26, 2014 at 9:14 am

I'm sure that SFO does not want our city to have a seat at the roundtable because they know that we have been dumped on. They don't want us to have any power in changing their plans for NextGen, so they are keeping us quiet by not allowing us to join and have a say. They also don't want us to have a noise monitor because then it would show the noise problem that they are pretending is not happening. SFO can't continue to "hush" Palo Alto because more and more people are getting involved and realizing this is becoming a bigger and bigger problem.


1 person likes this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 26, 2014 at 10:25 am

So how much is a FAA noise monitoring system? Why doesn't the city of Palo Alto install one so we have some data? Also, is there some way to measure the altitude of crossing flights from the ground which doesn't run afoul of regulations? Those flights are well below 4,000 ft.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 26, 2014 at 10:38 am

Anonymous - the flight tracker systems for San Jose Mineta and SFO show the altitudes as the planes cross the flight paths. You can look at that yourself. If you are not already familiar with those commercial products then go to the official web sites for SFO and San Jose Mineta to access that data in their Flight Tracker Systems.


1 person likes this
Posted by Shut-It-Down
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 26, 2014 at 10:38 am

> sound isn’t affected by light or dark

Well, no .. but sound travel is affected by heat and cold (or the lack of heat). Sound travel is also affected by wind, which generally is more prevalent in the day time, than at night. (That’s how the phrase “in the still of the night” came to be found in so many literary references.)

Wind is generated primarily by uneven heating of the earth’s surface (such as water, open land, forested land, etc). When night falls, the sun is no longer warming the surface of the earth, and the wind generally drops off. So, sound waves traveling in the air are not attenuated, or distorted, by movements, currents, eddies, that occur quite naturally during the day.

During a training exercise in Basic Training, a demonstration of that fact was provided to every class taking “escape and evasion”. Some of the training staff were located about a mile from our group, seated in some bleachers. We could not actually see them, at that distance. But, as night fell, we could see the faint flow of their cigarettes, and could hear talking—although it was too faint to make out the actual words. The point of this demonstration was that sound and light travel differently during the day, and night—and that we needed to take that reality into our plans for escaping/evading an enemy with which we were engaged in combat.

Don’t know if these real life lessons are to be found in many general physics education texts, but certainly anyone who has been hunting, or in the military, would have confronted these realities in a non-textbook way.

Guess that "deep thinkers" like @m-c-q probably didn't spend very much time in the outdoors, particularly at night.


3 people like this
Posted by Shut-It-Down
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 26, 2014 at 10:47 am

> They also don't want us to have a noise monitor because then it would
> show the noise problem that they are pretending is not happening.

Whether SFO Management does, or ddoes not, want Palo Alto to have a noise monitor doesn't matter. Palo Alto City government, or even Palo Alto citizenry, can buy, lease, or contract to a 3rd party, to do a comprehensive noise analysis of our town.

There is still time to ask the Council candidates what they plan to do about noise, if elected. Would be interesting to actually ask all of them, and then publish their answers.


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 26, 2014 at 11:13 am

Anonymous, though we ourselves can track the altitude of planes, I agree with you that we want official measures.

A solution for what you are asking for is self-reporting from all airports. A reporting system that adds up traffic for each community. The data is available, it's just not used for reporting some statements.

I would also want to have a statement with aggregate data of the type of aircraft that cause most of the traffic, and their related noise levels at each altitude. How many airplanes are really quieter than others for example.


3 people like this
Posted by boscoli
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 26, 2014 at 1:32 pm


"There is still time to ask the Council candidates what they plan to do about noise, if elected."

While we are at it, since we are discussing disturbing noise, we should also ask the candidates if they plan on demanding that the police department to start enforcing the leaf-blowe ban, which they have so far refused to do. The ordinance itself should be amended by the new council. As it stands, it calls for a small fine after three citations. Not only is it extremely unlikely that a gardener will get three citations, as citizens are required to report to unsympathetic police dispatchers a violation with license plate details, but the gardeners don't mind paying a hundred dollar fine in the highly unlikely event they will be penalized. The fine should be tripled in size, and should be issued by the police each time a gardener is caught using a gas leaf blower. Use a gasoline leaf blower, pay a fine. If we attempt to deal with excessive noise up in the sky, we need to also deal with excessive noise at ground level.


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 26, 2014 at 1:48 pm

There is also noise about the train which is similar in that some resident concerns are undermined. Suck it up, you knew what you were getting into, urban ambient noise, I don't hear it after decades living with it, no problem. This only gives permission to our elected leaders to do nothing about what are also serious governance issues. I'm as concerned as anyone about land use, but it's not the only issue about livability.


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 26, 2014 at 2:02 pm

By governance I'm referring to how decades have gone by with an aviation highway built over our trees. Interesting that ABAG itself had a committee on these matters but has stopped meeting.


3 people like this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 26, 2014 at 3:40 pm

Noise monitors...

I posted about this earlier, but it may have been overlooked. Bruel & Kjaer makes the sound monitoring equipment and systems, that many of the airports (including SFO) use to monitor aircraft noise. Bruel & Kjaer has a tech-rep located in the Santa Cruz area.

B&K's entry level system can be leased for around $1000/station/month. Palo Alto owns all of the telegraph poles in the city, so the City might be able to avoid the additional expense of leasing pole-space for the monitors.

It might be better for the city to have its own system. While SFO does respond to individual request for information, they have refused several requests to provide complete data sets from their flight tracker system, so even if SFO installed noise monitors in PA, it is not clear that Palo Alto would have access to all of the data collected by any SFO "owned" system.

Palo Alto has a cooperative agreement with East Palo Alto to operate a "shot spotter" system. It might be possible to somehow leverage the "shot spotter" system, to also monitor aircraft noise.

Bruel & Kjaer: Web Link

SFO noise monitoring stations (scroll down for map): Web Link


4 people like this
Posted by skydoc
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 26, 2014 at 3:58 pm

I would love to see what the candidates for City Council think about this issue. Wonder what the best way would be to invite them to make a statement......


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Posted by Oh well
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 26, 2014 at 5:52 pm

So I guess the answer by the Mayor, City Manager, and local complainants is to have SFO direct air traffic over communities further south just as long Palo Altans are'nt bothered by noise. Maybe the Weekly can review and report on the number of articles they have published regarding Palo Altans complaining about train noise, airplane noise, traffic noise......
Palo Alto used to be an inviting exciting community before turning into a retirement community. Oy!



1 person likes this
Posted by ChrisC
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 26, 2014 at 7:17 pm

ChrisC is a registered user.

Excellent article. Is noone but me worried about a plane crashing into Palo Alto? And now I read they will reducing space between planes? Remember the Air Mexicana crash in the 80s that took out an entire neighborhood of Cerritos in So Cal? My friends lived right across from the main blvd that divided devastation from survival, so crashing is my first thought when these jets sound si close.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 26, 2014 at 7:43 pm

Name-that-plane trivia: This "Unfriendly skies" article is the cover story of the Oct-24 PA Weekly print edition. The cover photo is identified (bottom of page 27) as "A Surf Air Pilatus PC-12 plane comes in for a landing at the San Carlos Airport on Oct 17. Photo by Veronica Weber."

An actual PC-12 is pictured on page 29.

And a note to Glad-I'm-not-crazy (a few dozen entries above) -- actually 80 decibels is considered "twice as loud as 70 dB." You are correct in that every 10 dB is 10 times the physical power in the sound wave, which is the square of the pressure. "Loudness" is a subjective quantity. When real people are handed a knob and asked to double the volume, the average person ramps it up 10 dB. Just trying to point out that we need to understand the terms if we attempt to quantify the problem.


1 person likes this
Posted by Mr.Recycle
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 27, 2014 at 12:00 am

@Oh Well - why guess the (wrong) answer when you can read the right answer.

Q – How can this problem be solved without pushing the problem onto another community?

A – The aircraft must fly higher to reduce the impact of noise at ground level, they must return to flying a spread-out pattern which shares the the problem more equally among everyone living on the ground, and we need a nighttime curfew. The commerce generated by a handful of flights, flying mostly freight into SFO between the hours of midnight and 6:00am, does not outweigh the the lost productivity due to sleep disruption–and health costs–of millions of people living on the ground.


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 27, 2014 at 9:38 am

Every resident of Palo Alto should become familiar with the Congressional letter sent to Michael P. Huerta, FAA.

Web Link

The contents of this letter are relevant to very real and local issues for us. If you want to learn more, go to Web Link


2 people like this
Posted by Colleen in Chicago
a resident of another community
on Oct 27, 2014 at 12:33 pm

I'm a member of Fair Allocation in Runways (FAiR) in Chicago which has been working on the same issue regarding O'Hare for the past year and a half. O'Hare's Modernization Plan has extended and added runways in addition to utilizing a largely east/arrival, west/departure flow since October 2013. This has sent hundreds of flights each day (and 70% of all nighttime arrivals) over a narrow band of neighborhoods. Interestingly, earlier this year the FAA made "improvements" to flight patterns at Midway Airport on the south side to reduce delays and fuel use. No one told the residents under the new flight paths (surprise!). They have recently joined FAiR, too. This is clearly a nation-wide issue, as our friends in Queens illustrate above. My question is, do our grass-roots citizens' groups have any leverage on a national scale beyond working through our respective Congressional representatives? You sound like you have gotten positive media coverage here, and we have been fortunate to have the Sun Times and other local news following our story, but I'm wondering if any national media would even want to pick up this story? Across the board, it seems as though residents were misinformed, misled, dismissed by the FAA, and now are suffering the ill effects of these increases and changes--all while continuing to be ignored. Who holds the FAA accountable?


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 27, 2014 at 12:39 pm

Musical,

Acoustics can be a complicated issue, so thank you for trying to clear up the difference between sound power, and noise (or "loudness").

In the aviation world, sound and noise measurement is further complicated by the the FAA's use of "Day Night Average Sound Level" (DNL), and "Community Noise Equivalent Level (CNEL)to measure sound... er... I mean noise.

DNL, and CNEL are weighted 24 hour averages which tend to overlook, or minimize loud one time events. Both of these standards also depend on the Shultz Curve, which throws out sound at frequencies below and above the limits of human hearing.

While use of the Schultz Curve may seem reasonable given the limits of human perception, there are secondary issues associated with sound both above and below the normal limits of human perception.

While humans my not be able to hear sound below the lower limit of the Schultz Curve, this is the sound that will rattle your windows, walls, and plates, which you can hear, and in Woodside and Portola Valley residents have reported high-pitched nighttime aircraft noise triggering dog barking and coyote howling.

"FAA Airports Desk Reference - Noise": Web Link

"The Schultz curve 25 years later: A research perspective": Web Link


1 person likes this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 27, 2014 at 1:06 pm

Colleen,

You are in the belly of the beast. After years of being headquartered in Seattle, Boeing moved its headquarters to Chicago in 2001. Some say this was to be closer to their biggest customer... United Airlines, also in Chigago. The POTUS is also from Chicago, and his ex Chief of Staff is now the mayor of Chicago, while the ex Mayor of Chicago is now the POTUS's Chief of staff.

Whenever the POTUS is on the west coast, he is frequently invited, and accepts an invitation to give a speech at one of Boeing's Seattle area manufacturing facilitates.


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 27, 2014 at 1:09 pm

We have high pitched airplanes going over Palo Alto which trigger dog barking. The sound of hissing turbines are creepy, and no, it's not white noise.

Colleeen in Chicago, excellent question, why have the national media been MIA?


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 27, 2014 at 1:28 pm

Actually resident posted Friday "Article today in the WSJ 10/24 - "Airlines Lifted by Falling Fuel Prices" -"


2 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 27, 2014 at 3:10 pm

To the Neighbor of another neighborhood: Given that you don't live here, it is easy to criticize, you don't, after all, experience the noise or have any clue how much it has increased over this past year. I live one block away from the train and have found the aircraft noise infinitely more disruptive than the train (with the exception of late night whistlers that are sometimes excessive). Sitting in my backyard used to be very enjoyable. The frequency and volume of the planes keep me inside on the nicest of days; the train does not. Palo Alto is a SUBURB, not a city (even if city council wants to believe urbanization is a good thing when most reject its value). The noise problem is fixable by flying over the bay and at higher altitudes. It is also fixable through enforcement of FAA regulations limited the hours during which commercial jets can fly.

Finally, I've wondered how much the Google jets contribute to the South Palo Alto noise factor since being given the hangar at Moffett. They seem to fly at all hours.


2 people like this
Posted by Pegasus
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 27, 2014 at 4:41 pm

Colleen in Chicago

Thanks for your post and your support.

The FAA, and our governmental agencies in general, seems to be more focused on protecting corporate interests than the general public unfortunately. It has been like this for many years. These decisions are made in Washington that affect all of us out in the country.

It is comforting to have outside support expressing itself here. We need to build ties between our groups, and have a nationwide effort, as well as local initiatives, to remedy the problem.


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Posted by Flying High
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 27, 2014 at 5:06 pm

Any resident who purchased a home near or in the sound wave of a perfectly good airport should have their home owner decision gene removed. As a wise man once said no neighborhood was ever built on a perfectly operating airport, but people sure purchased home in proximity...People have been living within earshot and at times target range when a plane comes down for many years...IF we can take it so can you...


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 27, 2014 at 5:17 pm

It's not an acoustical game. It's money. That being said, if you bought your home near a dead airport and it has the occasional flyer that sound wave is probably not worth much. When that airport becomes busy and it starts polluting your air and your ears, different story. Why take it?


1 person likes this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 27, 2014 at 5:30 pm

Flying High,

Nobody should have to "take it". If the SFO approach traffic would fly higher, more spread out, and observe a nighttime curfew, all of the communities under the SFO approach route would benefit from a reduction in noise, including East Palo Alto.


1 person likes this
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 27, 2014 at 7:21 pm

Thank you Colleen in Chicago. The great city of Chicago has a lot of air traffic and your input is helpful here on this forum.


1 person likes this
Posted by Colleen in Chicago
a resident of another community
on Oct 27, 2014 at 7:49 pm

If anyone is interested in what FAiR's efforts have achieved so far, please visit www.fairchicago.org or find us on Facebook under Fair Allocation in Runways. The more we can learn from and share with each other, hopefully the more effective our results will be! (As I type this, I'm enjoying the planes arriving on runway 10C/28C fly directly over my house about every 2-3 minutes at altitudes around 1800-2000 feet above ground level.) Good luck with your efforts; will definitely follow your story!


1 person likes this
Posted by Concerned Resident1
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 27, 2014 at 8:50 pm

If the noise wern't serious enough, it concerns me more about the increased cancer and heart attack risk. Here is a news article with references to study authors:
Web Link

One Palo Alto neighborhood with heaviest air traffic had striking numbers of individuals with brain cancer. Yes I know correlation does not imply causation. But nevertheless what is the impact of essentially burning a gas station over your head every few seconds?

Sure hope those able to study noise impacts will also study toxic jet pollution impacts on public health. Getting a good study with statistical facts will surely make Ebola the old news. The FAA does not blink at noise, but increased death rates may be a different story. Not easy to do for there is pollution from other sources thrown in the brew. However, believe LAX sucessfully studied.


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Posted by I am confused
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 28, 2014 at 8:57 am

"One Palo Alto neighborhood with heaviest air traffic had striking numbers of individuals with brain cancer."
Which neighbor hood are you referring to? When was this study done? Who did the study? Does the study even exist? Is there really a neighborhood with striking numbers of brain cancer.
These kind of pronouncements, do little to seriously address the problem


1 person likes this
Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 28, 2014 at 9:01 am

The article posted above puts into perspective the "finding of no significant impacts" of NextGen. The way these impacts are not found is that that they are never measured in the first place. The environmental assessment process should be re-done, and include new research about all health hazards from pollution and noise. To think that our own tax dollars are being used for a program this flawed.


1 person likes this
Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 28, 2014 at 9:09 am

The poster may have mistakenly referred to Palo Alto about the airport neighborhood with more brain cancer that is featured in the article.

What matters is that the sticky gross stuff from airplanes is not studied enough or more appropriately, as all the other hazards from noise.

USC has a study here - these are not in the studies which matter, the FAA environmental assessments.

New concerns raised about air pollution at LAX
Effects from planes that are landing appear to play a key role in the large area of impact

Web Link


1 person likes this
Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 28, 2014 at 9:17 am

NextGen has technologies that could be used to abate impacts, as the congressional letter suggests, it's just not being thought of that way because of the blind eye to actual impacts.

How can you use technologies for abating impacts if you find "no impacts", and the reason you don't find impacts is because you don't study them?


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Posted by I am confused
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 28, 2014 at 9:20 am

SOngbird--
the article corncernedresident1 referenced cannot be taken seriously, since the author of the article repeatedly refers to "SeaTac airport in Chicago ".
And I will assume the neighborhood in PA with increased brain cancer is not based on any real study


1 person likes this
Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 28, 2014 at 9:24 am

I would agree that serious studies are necessary. If you take a look at what all is not studied in the FAA environmental assessment, you would also not be able to take it seriously.


3 people like this
Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 28, 2014 at 9:35 am

What should be scrutinized by experts is the environmental assessment for NextGen.


1 person likes this
Posted by Pegasus
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 28, 2014 at 6:11 pm

@ neighbor in Greenmeadow

The planes you notice in South Palo Alto are likely to be San Jose planes. When the winds shift (15-20%) of the time, including often at night, planes landing at San Jose go into a "reverse flow" pattern, and land by flying north above Palo Alto to then turn south over the Bay, and land south into SJC. They do this while dodging SFO planes, that often are still in their regular pattern even though San Jose is in reverse flow. As a result, these SJC bound planes fly very low over Palo Alto, east of Alma. They often fly as low as 1900-2500 feet and are extremely loud.

For more info, see the bottom of the FAQ page at:
Web Link


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Posted by Jolie
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 28, 2014 at 8:07 pm

The plane noise tonight over Downtown North is really bad. Checked the tracker and many of the planes are flying as low as 3,800 feet.


1 person likes this
Posted by Pegasus
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 28, 2014 at 9:05 pm

@ Jolie,

Please, file a complaint with SFO for the planes that are really bad over Downtown North. Palo Altans need to report loud traffic, otherwise the airport will be able to argue that it does not get complaints from Palo Alto, so Palo Alto does not have an issue. People need to take the time to report noisy events. It takes only a few minutes and can be done at

Web Link


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 28, 2014 at 10:12 pm

All - you can track the planes in their flight paths on the San Jose Mineta Flight Tracker Program - accessed through their main site. It is a commercial program. The San Jose bound planes in reverse pattern come down HWY 85 and rotate in South Palo Alto or Moffett Field area for landing at San Jose Airport.

There are the SFO lanes coming over the Pacific - west to east that rotate into their northern approach to SFO. There are also the planes coming from the Pacific Northwest that come down the peninsula to south PA then rotate into the approach to SFO. South PA is a major junction from which many routes arrive to make their turn up to SFO - and San Jose depending on the time of day and weather.


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Posted by Alan
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 29, 2014 at 12:01 am

My aren't we a special bunch to be complaining about plane noise. Reminds me of the story of a little princess complaining about a pee somewhere under 20 stacks of mattresses in her mattress.

[Portion removed.] Why not instead look at some of the real problems faced by other less fortunate people in the world and try to help solve those.
[Portion removed.]


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 29, 2014 at 12:46 am

Alan,

Perhaps you missed Skydoc's post from above. A British Medical Journal article (BMJ 2013;347:f5432 doi: 10.1136/bmj.f5432) reports a linear, graded, statistically significant increase in hospital admission for heart attack and stroke as airport noise increases. At noise levels of 63dB, they report a 20 - 30% increase in admissions for heart disease.

The article linked below contains links to the BJM article, and a short embedded video which explains the research.

Also, please let me know what you are doing to help the less fortunate, maybe I can help.


"Chronic airplane noise linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease"
MinnPOst ~ October 09, 2013 Web Link


2 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 29, 2014 at 7:25 am

Alan - the title of this blog is relative to airplane noise - and changes in the FAA regulations that are bringing planes in at a lower altitude - a security issue and health issue. If you read the Wall Street Journal there are a lot of people who are paid to be involved in airline transactions of any kind and reporting on same. We are doing this on our own time because we are interested in the industry as a whole - as are many other people and want to share information on this evolving problem which is global - not specific to the peninsula.

If you are concerned about some other phenomena going on then you are welcome to start a data stream on that topic. This whole platform is a gathering place for many topics that are relevant to the city. Go pick the one that is your cause.


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Posted by concerned resident1
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 29, 2014 at 9:05 am

To Confused,

Please will you go through the studies on Google Scholar on the association between exposure to airport operations and cancer incidences?

It should not take "studies" to inform you that because aircraft emissions contain known highly carcinogenic chemicals, that large dose exposures are not health promoting.

The neighborhood to which I referred was one in which I once lived. Although
incidence could be explained by randomness, chance, or other factors-the correlation nevertheless appeared to exist.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 29, 2014 at 9:34 am

My data show that life expectancy has increased over the past century of air traffic growth.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 29, 2014 at 9:55 am

More on fuel prices - WSJ Tuesday 10/28: US Carriers are making a large profit attributed to the reduction in fuel prices. European carriers are not so lucky - they have hedge fund contracts for price of fuel so now are paying more relative to the US carriers. SO much for hedge funds.
I believe that is why you see so many code share carriers on American carriers. Check the SFO web site - Arrivals - you can see how many foreign carriers have ticket holders on US carriers indicated as code share.


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Posted by I am confused
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 29, 2014 at 9:57 am

concernedresident1
I have looked and not found any study of a neighborhood in Palo Alto that is under the flight path that has had increased incidents of brain cancer.
Why don't you just tell us which neighborhood you are referring to and who did the study. Of course, if there was no study, then how did you get access to the medial records of all these people with brain cancer (supposedly).

Also Google scholar does not have much in the way of studies on airport operations and cancer.
Which all leads me to a certain conclusion.

Well said, musical.


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Posted by skydoc
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 29, 2014 at 10:43 am

Musical-

Your data are correct!


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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Oct 29, 2014 at 10:55 am

Another hypothesis: Palo Alto complaints increase directly with Palo Alto housing prices. People paying $2-5 million for a fairly simple house have certain expectations about their surroundings.

Those folks + the "good old days" PA crowd = "Complaint City"


1 person likes this
Posted by Pegasus
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 29, 2014 at 12:24 pm

Some neighboring cities attempt to have Surf Air moved from San Carlos to Moffett Field. They are trying to dump their airplane noise problem onto others.

Yet, some residents of those cities take the time to come on this board and criticize Palo Alto inhabitants who are trying to reduce the noise from 300 daily low-flying jet planes over their own heads.


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 29, 2014 at 12:51 pm

Musical

Century is a long time.


1 person likes this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 29, 2014 at 6:11 pm

Aircraft noise is a not just a Palo Alto problem. The loud jet noise that has accompanied the roll-out of NextGen is a national problem. Cities all over the country, even formerly quiet neighborhoods, miles away from an airport, are experiencing a dramatic increase in commercial jet noise.

"Relentless Deafening Airplane Noise Is Driving Park Slope Crazy"
The Gothamist ~ September 12, 2014 Web Link


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Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 29, 2014 at 6:41 pm

Pegasus -- yes, I am aware of the flight patterns that place planes at low altitudes over Palo Alto (particularly those over South Palo Alto) when landing at both SJC and SFO. I was surprised to see how many go past SJC to Palo Alto, circling back at South Palo Alto before landing.

What I haven't been able to track is traffic caused by Google planes flying in and out of Moffet and have wondered if they are the culprits for some of the after-hours flights.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 29, 2014 at 7:01 pm

I believe that Google has built a hanger at San Jose Airport on what was previously the parking lot. I believe that their planes are located in San Jose. Moffatt does not have a full time flight control operation.


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Posted by Pegasus
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 29, 2014 at 9:19 pm

Greenmeadow neighbor

I second what resident 1 says. Moffett Field is a low use federal airfield. There are few flights in and out of it.

There will be some military traffic. There is a search and rescue group based there. NASA uses the Google planes to do atmospheric research but there are very few such flights.

You can track at least the non military traffic out of Moffett Field at
Web Link

Now, Google IS negotiating a contract with NASA to take over operations of the air field. The rumor is that Google now wants to be able to fly its employees in and out of Moffett Field, much like they move their employees around in buses. However, this is a sticking point in the negotiations.

Finally, at night, South Palo Alto does also get some Oakland traffic unfortunately. Just a few planes, but late at night it makes a difference.


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Posted by Pegasus
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 29, 2014 at 9:32 pm

Greenmeadow neighbor

Interestingly, looking at the tracker for Moffett Field, there are some departures there during the night. Very interesting. Again, few, but at night, a few planes are a big issue.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 29, 2014 at 11:33 pm

Below is a link to the FAA's website on NextGen and the Northern California Metroplex. The bar graph titled "Northern California Average Daily Metroplex Traffic (FY09–FY13)" confirms that the NorCal Metroplex traffic has been flat for the last five years.

Also, on the right hand side of the webpage. the FAA lists the six Airports that make up the Northern California Metroplex as SFO, SJC, OAK, HWD, and PAO. It is kind of odd to see PAO (Palo Alto) listed with four major international airports, and a large executive airport. Conspicuously missing from this list is SQL (San Carlos), and a bunch of other airports between the SFBA and Sacramento.

FAA's NextGen NorCal Metroplex webpage: Web Link


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 30, 2014 at 1:16 am

Regarding "Northern California Average Daily Metroplex Traffic"

Just for fun here's a summary of average daily aircraft operations, which I looked up
one at a time at AirNav.com -- Web Link -- under Airport Operational Statistics.
(Operations per day averaged over 12 months.)

SFO (San Fran) 1176
OAK (Oakland) 551
PAO (Palo Alto) 525
LVK (Livermore) 428
SJC (San Jose Mineta) 380
SMF (Sacramento Intl) 343
SQL (San Carlos) 306
RHV (Reid Hillview) 300
WVI (Watsonville) 282
CCR (Concord Buchanan) 257
SAC (Sacramento Executive) 252
HWD (Hayward) 236
C83 (Byron) 164
TCY (Tracy) 157
APC (Napa) 148
HAF (Half Moon Bay) 137
E16 (San Martin - South County) 117
NUQ (Moffett) no data
plus dozens of smaller airports between Bay Area and Sacramento.

Of course not all operations are equal -- further breakdown is available among
commercial, air taxi, local general aviation, and transient general aviation.


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Posted by Colleen in Chicago
a resident of another community
on Oct 30, 2014 at 5:39 am

Not sure who your Congressional rep is or if they are already a part of this, but consider putting pressure on him/her to join the newly-formed Quiet Skies Caucus: Web Link. Hopefully the power in numbers can have more of an impact.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 30, 2014 at 8:43 am

Moffett Field is a government (Navy) Airfield. The surrounding area is a location for many major defense - government contract companies, and NASA related agencies. There are also military reserve actions in that location. They are suppose to fly out of that location. And many fly at night as they are going on very long distant flights.

As to Surf Air at that location you can forget it. The Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) for Moffett Field has city council members from Mountain View and Sunnyvale. There is major NASA / Navy / EPA activity at that site to remove PCB's and contaminants which are seeping across the freeway through the sewer system.
Is Surf Air going to fly over their heads while they are busy building high rises? - NO. Is Surf Air going to overcome it's noise levels to an acceptable level? NO. Are the people in Mountain View and Los Altos as influential as Atherton people? YES
Atherton has rich people but no high rises. Mountain View has rich people and high rises. Mountain View and Sunnyvale have no interest in increased commercial or personal air traffic at that location - it serves no purpose to them as they are flying out of San Jose. Is San Jose Airport who is hurting for business going to allow Surf Air into that environment? NO
San Carlos and PAO hurt for business and are subject to a different set of rules.


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 30, 2014 at 12:33 pm

The squeeze on Palo Alto airspace. No place to go but here?


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 30, 2014 at 1:11 pm

Hi Colleen in Chicago! We are encouraged that our congresswoman Ana Eshoo joined the newly-formed Quiet Skies Caucus. We don't know what that means yet. Let us know your experience if your rep has signed, which I hope he or she already has.


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Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 30, 2014 at 2:14 pm

I have been home all day and up and about since 7 this morning. Only once, I repeat, once, did a noisy plane fly over. So I was "disturbed" for less than a minute.
Now weigh that against the convenience of living within 20 minutes of an airport, especially an international airport from which we can fly all over the world. I will take that one minute of noise.


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 30, 2014 at 2:34 pm

Neighbor,

Lucky you. So many flights to choose from and you got 1 today.

SFO (San Fran) 1176
OAK (Oakland) 551
PAO (Palo Alto) 525
SJC (San Jose Mineta) 380
SMF (Sacramento Intl) 343
SQL (San Carlos) 306


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 30, 2014 at 4:21 pm

Songbird - Surf Air is currently at San Carlos Airport. I have seen nothing that says they are going to move from there - just wishful thinking.
People are making a case that Surf Air is going to move - San Jose Airport is the logical location - they have a private section at that airfield.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 30, 2014 at 6:08 pm

Musical,

Thanks for taking the time to put together a list of airports, and their operations numbers. Couple of surprises... Palo Alto is pretty high for a small airport, and Hayward is pretty low for an executive airport.

Any idea why the list of airports that make up the NorCal Metroplex includes Palo Alto and Hayward, but none of the other smaller airports on the list?

FAA's NextGen NorCal Metroplex webpage: Web Link


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 31, 2014 at 1:35 am

No idea, Jetman. Your observation is what prompted my tally. I fully expected ranking on amount of traffic, which somewhat holds. Hayward seems an outlier. Maybe depends on type of instrument approaches available. Or perhaps all airports are really included in the "Metroplex" and the webpage author is high-lighting a representative sample.

By year 2020, they want to require ADS-B everywhere Mode-C transponders are currently mandated, so that will cover San Carlos, Half Moon Bay, Livermore and Concord. I expect some volatility in Garmin shares as the deadline nears and then gets extended.


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 31, 2014 at 3:10 am

Is there anyone running for City Council that might take a stand to move forward on this in a logical way?

Like - how about someone saying they will personally push to get acoustic noise monitoring equipment installed in some different locations around Palo Alto and start keep public records on the City Of Palo Alto website?

OR ... this is Silicon Valley, how come no one has developed a Wifi noise monitoring device that is cheap and has an app to run some stats on the data?

After reading so many of these articles it is becoming very clear to me that there is some serious expertise being brought to be bear at dismissing, insulting, wearing out, trying to lie and overwhelm with nasty comments and mistruths, and trying to make anyone who brings up anything appear like a sore thumb that everyone else wants to whack, but posting lots of negative and nasty responses. I wonder is there a CIA/PR/Advertising manual on this.

The kinds of experiments Facebook and Google are doing with their customers is building up statistics on how to manipulate large numbers of people in various ways ... and if you take a moment to think about that ... it is against the very purpose of this country.

This may be off-topic but we all ought to consider how technology is being developed, hidden from people, used, and by whom against whom. There are some pretty normal rules of thumb for having a positive productive discussion about anything and they are routinely violated in almost every web venue I have ever seen - save maybe PBS or some of the pay sites.

Another concern of mine, besides the warping and corruption of local community-minded groups like this one, is that children are growing up in a world where they are taught by daily habituation that it does nothing to talk or engage in democracy because they will get ignored, shouted down or worse.

Airplane noise is a topic I was one of the first ones to post on almost 10 years ago when I started working a lot at night and started to notice the noise and patterns of sleeping, being woken up and then going back to sleep never really realizing what or how often this was happening. I got lots of the most stupid reactions, I was just jealous of people who could afford to own and airplane, I had overly sensitive ears, I was a complainer, I had no data, I could not criticize the market, the Palo Alto Airport had to exist, would I rather drive or ban cars, ... the list went on and on, and virtually none of this flack, if I can use that term, was relevant to the discussion.

You do not need to agree with someone's point of view in an argument to realize that perhaps someone is unfairly attacking them or not participating in a civic-minded process, and the Palo Alto Online is guilty of allowing this flack to go on, and in fact it makes up maybe half or more of the posts here. Sure, some of it is just people with bad attitudes, but the Palo Alto Online in a previous generation would have understood its responsibility to the community and been sincere to try to foster productive discussions. Most of the editorials here are absolutely horrid with the authors deleting posts they disagree with, often for no reason.

In this day of the Internet, the Internet is what we have, and our local community boards are an important element of community and democracy.


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 31, 2014 at 3:17 am

I'd also like to mention that just this last week I have not noticed many loud flights, so we may be seeing a temporary reaction to some political pressure that might or might not be permanent. It may be a noise respite just until someone can point to a few days and say, "see, there are very few flights over your area".

We need public noise tracking devices with public access to the data.

It would also be nice to know what flights were overhead when so we can do a little noise-source matching up and move towards finding the problems and pointing to some solutions.

It might also be useful for something like that sharpshooter program where they can triangulate on gunshots or explosions ... we know some of the directions the future is going, and this would be a useful for all facility for the city to have in any case.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 31, 2014 at 12:42 pm

CresentParkAnon,

I have talked to a number of sky watchers who think that whenever this topic gets a lot of press, the noise/traffic abates for a week or so.

However, whenever there is stormy weather, the wind typically shift to out of the south, and SFO goes into "reverse flow" (also called the "southern plan") which routes less traffic over Palo Alto. In a typical year the "southern plan" is in effect about 15% of the time.

SFO "western" approach and departure plan illustrated: Web Link

SFO "southern" approach and departure plan illustrated: Web Link


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Posted by Pegasus
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 31, 2014 at 1:10 pm

Jetman,

When there is a reverse flow during stormy weather, we may get less traffic out of SFO, but we do get very low flying traffic out of San Jose, as is the case today. It is very loud although it affects "only" the eastern half of Palo Alto.


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Posted by Pegasus
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 31, 2014 at 1:14 pm

When I say we get traffic "out of" San Jose, I only mean it is San Jose traffic. We actually get arriving inbound San Jose traffic.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 31, 2014 at 2:41 pm

Pegasus - can you please speak for your area and not the rest of PA? If you look at the San Jose Mineta tracker the San Jose flights come down HWY 85 and rotate to San Jose in the south part of PA / Moffett area. It is at a very low point as it goes into its rotation to San Jose.


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Posted by Pegasus
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 31, 2014 at 3:09 pm

@ resident 1

We get San Jose bound planes that come up over southeast PA and some of which even cross north of Oregon and Embarcadero. It is not all of PA, but a large swath of the eastern part of our city. You can see that on the tracker. You can also look at the graph posted at the bottom of the page at:

Web Link

You will see there that most of eastern PA can be affected by the SJC planes.


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Posted by Pegasus
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 31, 2014 at 3:16 pm

BTW Resident 1, Moffett has not been a Navy airfield since 1994. Its ownership was transferred to NASA that year. Just a detail.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 31, 2014 at 3:32 pm

Moffett is a super fund site and the Navy is responsible for cleaning it up.
They run the show and direct the Restoration Advisory Board (RAB)activities which includes the: cities affected, NASA, the EPA, etc.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 31, 2014 at 3:36 pm

Resident 1,

When SJC is in "reverse flow" SJC bound flights arriving from the south fly a "button hook", or "teardrop", over Palo Alto to approach SJC from the northeast. On occasion SFO remains in it normal westerly pattern, and SJC goes into "reverse flow". When this happens SJC arrivals have to fly the "button hook" below SFO arrivals, and we see lots of loud SJC arrivals flying over Palo Alto at altitudes between 2.000'-3,000'.

Typical SJC "reverse flow" flight tracks: Web Link

One-day flight-track maps for Palo Alto area: Web Link


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 31, 2014 at 4:32 pm

I have watched the flow on the San Jose Mineta tracker and sent emails to SJX on their web site complaining that they are flying below the FAA standards and are a security issue to the the major Silicon Valley companies and residents. If you fly that low then you have no way to recover if there is a problem with a large plane going very fast.
Those are real time emails.

Side note: if the FAA does not care about noise then it should care about security.
I am sure the SJX knows me by now - as does SFO - I am buddies with the responder to their emails.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 31, 2014 at 5:30 pm

Musical,

I doesn't look like PAO was selected randomly to be on the the list of airports comprising the Northern California Metroplex.

From the FAA on the Northern California Metroplex...

"The FAA is redesigning airspace and addressing airspace inefficiencies, introducing new Performance Based Navigation (PBN) procedures and making use of Time Based Flow Management(TBFM) to make the Northern California Metroplex airspace more efficient and improving access to its airports. The effort focuses on a number of airports, including Hayward Executive (HWD), Oakland International (OAK), Palo Alto Airport of Santa Clara County (PAO), San Francisco International (SFO), Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International (SJC), and Sacramento International (SMF)."

"NextGen Metroplex – Northern California": Web Link


1 person likes this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 31, 2014 at 7:12 pm

Since there is an interest in Moffett Field there is a meeting on behalf of the Navy for the Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) for the former NAS Moffett Field - November 20 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM at the Mountain View Senior Center, 266 Escuela Avenue. Mr. Scott Anderson, Navy BRAC Environmental Coordinator is the POC for these meetings. The EPA reports on progress - and also has community presentations on this topic for Mountain View. These meetings are announced in the SJM and PA Weekly paper copy.


1 person likes this
Posted by Airplane Noise Community Meeting
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 1, 2014 at 8:17 am


Wednesday, November 5th, 7pm
Cubberley Community Center
Room A-3

Residents of Palo Alto and neighboring communities are invited to join this gathering. Come meet other concerned residents, share specific concerns about the increasing noise from aircraft, get an update on the current situation, and learn how our working group (Web Link) is trying to find solutions. Please let us know if you plan on joining us. If the group grows larger than expected, we’ll be able to contact you if we move to a larger space. RSVP to info@skypossepaloalto.org. Thank you.

for more details Web Link


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Posted by Alan
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Nov 1, 2014 at 11:54 am

[Post removed.]


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 1, 2014 at 12:12 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Alan
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Nov 1, 2014 at 12:56 pm

[Portion removed.] We will live in a modern world and yes occasionally airplanes will fly over you and if you are outside you can hear them. So what.

To try to make dubious claims that the level of airplane noise in Palo Alto will cause heart attacks defies logic and just makes the people making these claims look silly. [Portion removed.]


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 1, 2014 at 2:21 pm

Being outside is a really important value for me in Palo Alto.


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 1, 2014 at 2:46 pm

By the way Alan, most of the world bans leaded fuel for airplanes. So we do have unique problems here which may not fall in your interpretation of third and first world problems.


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Posted by skydoc
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 1, 2014 at 3:36 pm

Alan-

I dont think anyone claimed that airport noise *causes* heart disease. There is a statistically significant association however and this has been borne out over several studies.

Association does not prove causation. If it is significant and repeatable, it begs to be explained.


1 person likes this
Posted by skydoc
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 1, 2014 at 3:44 pm

Neighbor-

I am glad that you live in a quiet neighborhood. I wish I did. Last evening they were roaring overhead every 4-5 minutes.

Since you live 20 minutes from SFO, I presume that you are somewhere in San Mateo County. If you look at the track paths, you will see that the convergence is over Palo Alto and East Menlo Park.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 1, 2014 at 4:18 pm

I don't know how anyone could look at the flight-tracks linked below and characterize that as "yes occasionally airplanes will fly over you".

Palo alto has about 240 aircraft transiting its airspace between the hours of 6:00am and midnight. That works out to an average of one aircraft every 4.5 minutes. It has gotten to the point where you cannot be outdoors for more than ten minutes with out hearing the rumble, or high pitched whine, of a jet overhead.

One-day flight-track maps for Palo Alto area: Web Link


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Posted by midtown resident
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 1, 2014 at 4:37 pm

Skydoc- I live in midtown. I was home last night. There were not planes ” roaring” overhead every 4-5 minutes. These gross exaggerations mean that I cannot take these alleged problems seriously


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 1, 2014 at 4:50 pm

I believe Skydoc because compared to a relative something or other in the skies that some of us noticed last week, the hisses and roars were very noticeable yesterday.

It will be a good day when we have objective measuring devices for this issue. It's really overdue.


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Posted by skydoc
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 1, 2014 at 5:06 pm

Midtown Resident-

Your post brings up the important point that "roaring" is a subjective term. It may be that you do not live directly under the flight path or that you are more tolerant of noise than I am. To my ears, they honestly roared.

People's annoyance with aircraft noise has been well studied. The relationship is called the Schultz Curve.

Web Link

Generally ~20% of a population are "highly annoyed" with noise levels of 65 dB.

There are enough people around Palo Alto who are highly annoyed that it is worth getting some objective measurements of the amount of noise pollution.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 1, 2014 at 5:14 pm

Midtown Resident,

Did you have a chance to review the "One-day flight-track maps for the Palo Alto area", before posting your comment? The flight-tracks suggest that Skydocs claim of an aircraft every 4-5 minutes is certainly possible (*your mileage may vary).

One-day flight-track maps for Palo Alto area: Web Link


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Posted by midtown resident
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 1, 2014 at 5:47 pm

To midtown resident:
I'm not sure where you live in midtown. We are near Colorado/Louis. There are planes flying, or should I say roaring overhead every 4-5 minutes. If you really want to hear it, stand at Seale Park, or even Colorado. It is terrible! We are stuck inside until I buy noise canceling headphones to be able to sit outside or take a walk outside. 2 years ago I was happy sitting outside and enjoying our beautiful garden......No Longer Possible!!


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Posted by Pegasus
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 1, 2014 at 5:58 pm

All those of you whose lives are disrupted by airplane noise in our town are invited to attend the meeting organized on the topic.

Wednesday, November 5th, 7pm
Cubberley Community Center
Room A-3

Residents of Palo Alto and neighboring communities are invited to join this gathering. Come meet other concerned residents, share specific concerns about the increasing noise from aircraft, get an update on the current situation, and learn how our working group (Web Link) is trying to find solutions. Please let us know if you plan on joining us. If the group grows larger than expected, we'll be able to contact you if we move to a larger space. RSVP to info@skypossepaloalto.org. Thank you.

for more details Web Link


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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Nov 1, 2014 at 6:36 pm

Skydoc -- You assumed a lot about where I live.

Earlier, on this thread or the other threads on this topic, I noted that I live in San Mateo COUNTY (not city). I am just over the Palo Alto line and DIRECTLY under the flight path. And, I do not find the level of airplane noise unbearable or even bothersome.


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 1, 2014 at 6:53 pm

Neighbor, which flight path do you live under, there are so many. Some have the jets flying very high (less noise), some have Surf Air (more noise), and some have no night flights.


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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Nov 1, 2014 at 10:49 pm

Songbird -- I'm just over the Palo Alto-Menlo Park city line, off Middlefield. Where do YOU live? Probably +/- 1-2 miles away. Or, are you saying NO ONE on the Peninsula suffers from airplane noise like Crescent Park does?


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 1, 2014 at 11:46 pm

Neighbor - the devil is probably in the details. We can't know what exactly is flying over your house compared to mine - it could be the planes turn right before the Menlo Park border and you never get the activity I see on this side of the MP?PA border (i'm also off Middlefield). They may criss cross in Palo Alto, towards East Menlo Park, and you may just be lucky that they skim past you.

We clearly need more objective measures.



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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 2, 2014 at 10:55 am

The Big Sur route from the south gets very heavy, low flying, traffic from the south into SFO. The Big Sur route cuts right across Palo Alto over the College Terrace, Southgate, Old Palo Alto, Professorville, Down town, and Creascent Park neighborhoods.

The Big Sur route can be clearly seen as a heavy red streak on the "one day flight-track maps" linked below.

One-day flight-track maps for Palo Alto area: Web Link

Palo Alto Neighborhood Map: Web Link

SFBA Metroplex Arrival and Departure Plan Illustrated: Web Link


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Posted by skydoc
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 2, 2014 at 2:38 pm

Neighbor may be one of those fortunate people whose annoyance threshold is quite high. When the sound is loud enough or frequent enough, it will annoy anyone.

The fact is that there are *enough* people annoyed by the current level and regularity of overflights, that it is worth getting objective data with sound monitoring.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 2, 2014 at 9:41 pm

As I sat in my home for several hours this afternoon trying to catch up on some work, with a jet aircraft rumbling or whistling overhead every 5-10 minutes, I thought... I feel like I am living on an aircraft carrier!

From wikipedia:

"The Ford class (carriers) are intended to sustain 160 sorties per day for 30+ days, with a surge capability of 270 sorties/day, but the Director of Operational Testing Michael Gilmore has criticized the unrealistic assumptions used in these forecasts and has indicated sortie rates similar to the 120/240 per day of the Nimitz class would be acceptable"

With 250 aircraft transiting Palo Alto airspace on a typical day, Palo Alto sees as many aircraft coming, and going, as a Nimitz class aircraft carrier, on a slow day (120 sorties).

One-day flight-track maps for Palo Alto area: Web Link


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Posted by No problem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 3, 2014 at 3:23 pm

Aircraft carrier? I am sure SFO will take us seriously with comments like that!!!!!! They may make good sound bites on this forum, but.....


1 person likes this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 3, 2014 at 5:08 pm

At least the aircraft carrier comparison is supported by a citation, and some numbers, not just exclamation points.

As for SFO...

SFO is a for-profit corporation owned and operated by the City and County of San Francisco. Profits from the operations of the large industrial facility known as SFO go into the City and County of San Francisco’s general fund, and the undesirable waste products are dumped in San Mateo, and Santa Clara County. SFO management, like the management of any corporation, has a responsibility to maximize the return to its shareholders.


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Posted by Agenda
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 3, 2014 at 5:52 pm

"At least the aircraft carrier comparison is supported by a citation, and some numbers, not just exclamation points."

Actually it's not supported by anything-- it is an analogy. And since we do not have any equipment here that measures actual noise, there are no numbers.
But I realize that Jetman and others have a strategy, based on the premise that if something is said often enough, it becomes true.
What neighborhood do you live n jetman?


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 3, 2014 at 6:07 pm

The better Agenda is to have equipment in Palo Alto that measures actual noise.

We can also make it a strategy. Sounds good to me.


1 person likes this
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 4, 2014 at 6:10 pm

Tonight, on Election Night, what I am thinking of, is the hope that those on PA City Council and our other local elected officials will do something about the aircraft noise that has become TERRIBLE. There are so many inane things the council focuses on and spends money on, but this is greatly affecting our quality of life NOW.
Tonight, Nov. 4, there are frequent, loud commercial aircraft overhead.
Last night, Nov. 3, was also TERRIBLE. It was worse than tonight (so far).
Yes, I am inside my home and I have double-paned modern windows.
Yes, I do mean to use caps on this situation.
It is time for our elected officials to care about and do something about this problem.
It was NOT like this until relatively recently - there have been changes and these are outrageously bad for N Palo Alto.


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Posted by Meetng tonight at Cubberley 7 PM
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 5, 2014 at 8:04 am

Airplane Noise Community Meeting

Residents of Palo Alto and neighboring communities are invited to join this gathering this evening Wed November 5, at Cubberley Community Center, 7 PM, Room A-3. Come meet other concerned residents, share specific concerns about the increasing noise from aircraft, get an update on the current situation, and learn how our working group (www.skypossepaloalto.org) is trying to find solutions. Thank you.

for more details Web Link


1 person likes this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 5, 2014 at 4:17 pm

Agenda,

The most persistent and monotonous voice in Palo Alto is the rumble and loud whistle of the jet-planes themselves, and their message is clear... we don't give a damn about how what we do effects people on the ground, or what they think.


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Posted by Agenda
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 5, 2014 at 5:33 pm

Jetman-- please give your proof for your aircraft carrier claims-- I..e numbers. Also provide proof for your claim that the airlines do not care. Also tell us what neighborhood you live in so that we can correlate your claims based on the maps you post over and over again.
Finally there is no rumble and loud whistle constantly from planes in Palo Alto.


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 5, 2014 at 5:59 pm

Agenda, why is it that you do not follow and support what is in your own interest instead of accusing other people of being wrong with admittedly you do not know them or care to listen to them. Why not allow people with a problem to try to solve their problem ... where is your horse in this race when you just attack other people.

If you saw someone lying in the street outside your house and they wanted your help would you ask them to prove they were hit by a car, or that their leg is broken - the usefulness of your comment is questionable, unless you somehow work for the airplane/airline/airport industry.


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Posted by Agenda
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 5, 2014 at 6:11 pm

CPA-- agenda made claims that he feels like he is on an aircraft carrier. He claims that he as the support of a citation and numbers. My point is that SFO will not take people seriously if they make exaggerated claims. And it would help,to,understand the problem that Jetman claims he has by him telling us where he lives..
Why do you think supporting claims that I feel are not true to be in my best interest? My horse in this race is that I think there are more pressing problems facing the city. IMHO, Palo Alto does not have a problem with airplanes overhead. And questioning people's claims is not an attack. Why, CPA, do you take jetmans claims at face value but denigrate my claims?
And you comment about a man on a street is as bogus an analogy as claiming that someone feels like they are on aircraft carrier ( BTW, have you or Jetman ever been on an aircraft carrier-- do you know how low planes are relative to an aircraft carrier? Is Jetman claiming planes are flying that low over Palo Alto?)


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Posted by Agenda
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 5, 2014 at 6:12 pm

CPA-- jetman made claims that he feels like he is on an aircraft carrier. He claims that he as the support of a citation and numbers. My point is that SFO will not take people seriously if they make exaggerated claims. And it would help,to,understand the problem that Jetman claims he has by him telling us where he lives..
Why do you think supporting claims that I feel are not true to be in my best interest? My horse in this race is that I think there are more pressing problems facing the city. IMHO, Palo Alto does not have a problem with airplanes overhead. And questioning people's claims is not an attack. Why, CPA, do you take jetmans claims at face value but denigrate my claims?
And you comment about a man on a street is as bogus an analogy as claiming that someone feels like they are on aircraft carrier ( BTW, have you or Jetman ever been on an aircraft carrier-- do you know how low planes are relative to an aircraft carrier? Is Jetman claiming planes are flying that low over Palo Alto?)


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Posted by Peter
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 5, 2014 at 7:14 pm

I'm an air traffic controller at SFO, and I grew up in Barron Park. While I understand the concerns of residents on the peninsula and there is no denying the increase in overhead arrivals inbound to SFO, there is also a lot of misinformation out there.

First, NextGen arrival procedures aren't used at any Bay Area airports yet, though we will start using them in the next 10 days, in a transition process that will last several months. Second, the current arrival procedures DO create excess noise every time a plane levels off. Pilots must increase engine power to stay at the same altitude, but they must decrease engine power to descend. The new arrival procedures will incorporate more steady descents from high altitudes and will therefore be quieter, since the pilots can select a low-power engine setting the whole way down.

Third, the graphic of arrival and departure flows linked to in several comments above (and shown in photos in the original story) is a rough schematic of current paths. It DOES NOT represent NextGen arrival paths. This link, which is part of the OAPM environmental analysis, shows the current and future routes: <Web Link;

Scroll down to pages 32-35 for discussion of the relevant arrival procedures that overfly Palo Alto. You can view all of the OAPM environmental documents here: <Web Link;

Finally, to my knowledge, the NextGen arrival procedures won't immediately affect San Carlos and/or Surf Air's operations. I was at my mom's house today and noticed one fly overhead at about 2,000 feet. It was much quieter than the lawnmower across the street. That's admittedly anecdotal, but the lack of noise monitors, when they are readily available through state grants, certainly isn't helping the city's case.


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Posted by Peter
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 5, 2014 at 7:16 pm

Sorry, the links didn't post correctly.
See pages 32-35 of this report: Web Link
And all OAPM environmental documents can be found here: Web Link


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 5, 2014 at 11:34 pm

Peter,

Thank you for the informative links. Maybe you can provide some clarification on NextGen. NextGen is a collection of technologies, and while "full on" NextGen procedures may not start for another 10 day, it is my understanding that some of the technologies that make up NextGen, or are "prerequisites" for NextGen (for instance transition to RNAV, and away from VFR), have been rolled-out at at SFO over the past year?

Also, the graphic of arrival and departure flows linked to in several comments above (and shown in photos in the original story) is provided as part of a standard informational packet by SFO's noise abatement office in response to any noise complaint. If the graphic is misinformation, it is misinformation that is being distributed by SFO's noise abatement office... why?

SFO "western" approach and departure plan illustrated: Web Link


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Posted by Airplane noise community
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 6, 2014 at 7:57 am

Peter of Barron Park

Thank you for posting and providing suggestions. Experts have not been as generous on this issue; at least not with the personal interest you have to help.

We have heard some reasons why Palo Alto will get push back on noise monitors. If you wouldn't mind getting in touch with residents trying to address this issue, it would be helpful to hear what you think. To help, please send a note to info@skypossepaloalto.org. Thank you.


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Posted by Jolie
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 6, 2014 at 9:01 am

Where does any concern for the people living under these flight paths show up in any report. It's all about the FAA and nothing regarding the effect this will have on the people living below. Next Gen should be implemented with residents as a major concern. Very self serving on the part of the FAA.


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Posted by Peter
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 6, 2014 at 10:26 am

@Jetman, You're correct, NextGen is an umbrella name for dozens of new technologies and hundreds of new procedures all over the U.S. What I'm specifically talking about are the departure procedures and arrival procedures used at SFO and other airports. These are called "RNAV SIDS" and "RNAV STARS," respectively. While we have RNAV approaches (the final part of the descent that brings you up the bay from the Dumbarton to the runways), most planes aren't using them. Using "visual approaches" on nice days allows more planes to land and keeps flights from being delayed.

The graphic the SFO noise abatement office distributes is a decent schematic of the current and past arrival/departure flows. It just doesn't show what the new procedures will look like, though my understanding is they will be similar. The RNAV STARS that replace the current procedures probably won't be rolled out until later in the winter or next spring.

@Airplane Noise Community, to clarify: Since I'm a federal employee (speaking as a private citizen, my views aren't official statements blah blah), I don't work for the airport, so I don't know any more about their noise abatement programs than you do (you probably know more than me, actually).

For those of you that would like to get "in the weeds" a bit more, here is the current GOLDN6 (Golden Gate 6) arrival, which planes from the Northwest, Europe and Asia use: Web Link
...and here is the current BSR2 (Big Sur 2) arrival, used by planes coming from southern California and Mexico: Web Link
These are what pilots use, so they don't have geographic markers on them. To help orient yourself, on the BSR2, "SKUNK" is over Santa Cruz, "BOLDR" is about 5 miles west of Lexington Reservoir in the mountains, and "MENLO" is over the 101/Willow interchange.

The thing to note about the GOLDN6 is it's a very large-scale arrival: Mustang is by Reno, Fortuna is on the coast near Eureka, and the turn that arrivals make over the mid-Peninsula isn't depicted, since it's up to radar controllers at Norcal Approach (located in Sacramento, separate from what I do at the tower) to instruct each plane where to turn. Think of it like a very wide-brimmed funnel, but with someone with a teaspoon manually sorting everything that comes out of the narrow end. That's why some arrivals turn over SHP and others turn over Gunn.


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Posted by Peter
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 6, 2014 at 10:27 am

@Jolie, the FAA's responses to public comments are in this 31-megabyte PDF: Web Link . I know the FAA had several public meetings earlier this year, but since I wasn't part of that process, I'm not sure how much outreach they did or if any of the meetings were in Palo Alto. Note especially PDF pages 17-21, which respond to comments about flight paths and noise.

If you’re interested, here’s the arrival used on cloudy days at San Carlos (planes follow a similar path on clear days, but have some latitude to navigate on their own): Web Link . “AMEBY” is over the 280/85 interchange, and “CUZUP” is by Stanford Stadium. I don’t know whether this procedure will change in the coming months.


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 6, 2014 at 11:43 am

Jolie,

The response from the FAA to public comments is very similar to the response from SFO.

We have have received your complaint, we hear you, and are hereby letting you know we have heard your complaint, and this is your confirmation that we have heard your complaint. SFO also actually sends you proof of the noise over your house, to confirm that they are aware of your complaint.

The FAA adds that if you have any further questions to contact the FAA Ombudsman. The Ombudsman will say something similar.


Residents are pretty much stuck in between our federal structure on one side, and a private corporation SFO (with related interests from airlines etc.), on the other. The problem is compounded by the fact that The FAA Ombudsman and SFO both sound very similarly.



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Posted by Left the building
a resident of another community
on Nov 6, 2014 at 12:11 pm

Park your car on Beach Park Boulevard near Tarpon St in Foster City, then tell me what air traffic noise is. The altitude at which planes routinely fly over that neighborhood is illegal. Yet, nothing was enforced and it only worsened over time. I lived there for four years, then sold my home in 2012 rather than continue to put up with the deafening noise from air traffic.


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 6, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Left the building,

I'm sorry, enforcement of the already weak protections of residents from airport impacts does not seem to be a forte from our authorities either. The costs of moving like you had to are never analyzed as well as the priority profits for the industry. When the case is made (lobbied) for growth and expansion of airports, the contributions to the economy and growth to the GDP are well spelled out (including new jobs), but they never calculate the costs of their operations.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 9, 2014 at 8:53 pm

I was in the western part of San Francisco two days last week and was surprised at how tranquil it was without the constant high-pitched whine of loud, low flying, commercial aircraft overhead. I did not hear a jet overhead all day, on either day. I did see (because I was looking) two airliners at very high altitude, but they were so high I could not hear them over the normal ambient noise of a residential SF neighborhood.

It is kind of interesting that SFO, which is a for-profit corporation owned and operated by the City and County of San Francisco, is happy to dump the undesirable waste product of the airport's operation on San Mateo and Santa Crara Counties, but has somehow avoided noisy flights over San Francisco.


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Posted by SF no airplane noise
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 10, 2014 at 5:46 pm

I visit friends pretty frequently in San Francisco, near Pacific Heights. They have NO airplane noise at all. I asked my friend who live there and she said every once in awhile, a low flying jet flies over and they all run out to see what it is. Basically, they have completely dumped their airplane noise onto Palo Alto! That's great for San Francisco and SFO. Where is some accountability and fairness??


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 10, 2014 at 9:12 pm

I am in SF 2-3 day per month and have only very rarely even heard any noise from a commercial aircraft. On the one or two occasions that I have seen a commercial airliner over SF, it was very high (over 10,000'), and only barely audible.

Palo Alto is nearly twice as far from SFO as San Francisco, but Palo Alto is blanketed by 200 SFO bound aircraft everyday, flying at an average altitude of about 4,200'.

SFO "western" approach and departure plan illustrated: Web Link

One-day flight-track maps for Palo Alto area: Web Link


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Posted by I am confused
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 11, 2014 at 5:21 am

But, Jetman, this map that you have posted over and over and over and over again:
Web Link

Clearly shows flight flying over SF, since sit is on the approach and departure routes.

How do you explain that? Is you map faulty? When you are in SF 2-3 days each month, do you spend all your time outside?
Just wondering


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Posted by Songbrd
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 11, 2014 at 7:45 am

confused,

If the airplanes are flying high enough as they do over SF, you don't see or hear them.

When planes power down to start approach for landing they make more noise, so it is understandable that SFO has chosen another county to make that extra noise.

And, since they have had to come all the way to Palo Alto to make the noise, they make up fuel costs by flying low starting here. Low = Loud; Low = cheaper fuels cost.

The plan is for planes to fly even lower in Palo Alto by the way. You may be pleased to see those savings when you purchase an airline ticket.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 11, 2014 at 4:44 pm

Confused,

You have to remember that flight paths are three dimensional. If you take a close look at the "SFO western approach and departure plan illustrated" you will notice that there are numbers on the paths. These numbers are altitudes.

In the case of the one route from the north that does cross over the western part of San Francisco, please note that the flight-path over San Francisco is still at 11,000' as it passes by SFO on its descent into SFO.

It is also important to understand that as a rule of thumb, aircraft noise is cut in half for every 1,000' of altitude, so an aircraft flying over San Francisco at 11,000' is only producing 1/128th of the noise at ground level, as a plane flying over Palo Alto at 4,000'.

SFO "western" approach and departure plan illustrated: Web Link


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 11, 2014 at 8:52 pm

@Jetman, do you have any reference for the "noise is cut in half for every 1,000 feet" rule?
Maybe I'll buy it for going from 500 feet to 1500 feet based on an inverse square relation.
But I can't fathom the acoustical dynamics of 128x between 4,000 and 11,000.
Atmospheric attenuation accounts for a few dB per kilometer but is frequency dependent.
No obfuscation intended. As discussions become more quantitative, the numbers get important.


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 11, 2014 at 9:32 pm

musical,

I am impressed that you think discussions have become more quantitative given that there is no noise data at all for Palo Alto, zero.

No measurement, no data. But since we are just talking, I would think that noise depends on the aircraft and what it's doing near you. The variations are plenty. If you heard me playing the violin, in your back yard, at night, I would bet distance would really make a difference. And some of the measurements are not even quantitative, but that probably doesn't count anyway.

Obfuscation is definitely an issue.


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Posted by Pegasus
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2014 at 12:36 am

Planes departing from SFO often fly above San Francisco neighborhoods at lower altitudes and can be very noisy there. This applies to the southeastern section of San Francisco. It is an area that Jetman may not visit much when in SF. However, plane noise can be a problem there. I know firsthand as I used to live in that part of the city, and moved away in part to get away from the airplane noise there. Little did I know that the problem would eventually follow me to Palo Alto.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 12, 2014 at 9:06 am

Related news -
1. WSJ 11/11/14 - Cheap Oil's Hidden Fee for Airlines - bottom line the airlines are enjoying a huge increase in profit due to reduced operating costs. It does not address the fact that a lower altitude reduces use of fuel and reduces operating costs - wear and tear on plane. This great profit is taking them out of the slump that occurred in period up to 2009.
The airline industry is working on a high.

2. SF Chronicle 11/12/14- Dem's leadership fight tests Pelosi's strength - article is about OUR Anna Eshoo attempting to jump the seniority in the party to take over the Energy and Commerce Committee. Big fight over this.
Anna Eshoo vs more senior Frank Pallone - New Jersey. This is a test of Nancy Pelosi's influence in the House. The Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Carl Guardino, head of group - backing Eshoo. A lot is riding on control of many elements that regulate how the government intersects into the overall operating systems that in part dictate FAA / Airline and Airport functions.

We have a lot of competing elements as to how and when the decisions that determine FAA guidelines and commerce are regulated. We have political people building their careers on results delivered.

Suggest that we let Ms. Eshoo resolve who is in charge first, then couch how to politically frame the advantages that can be derived by higher altitude - noise abatement and security. Given that we are a center plate for economic development then the Silicon Valley Leadership Group should be sensitive to protecting the economic growth in this area and the companies that thrive here.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2014 at 4:59 pm

Musical,

I do not have a reference for the noise is cut in half for every 1,000' of altitude rule of thumb. The rule of thumb is something I picked up talking to representatives of the FAA at the recent FAA workshops, and in discussion with representatives of SFO's noise abatement office. The rule of thumb has never disputed (until now!).

When Anna Eshoo announced the year 2000 agreement with SFO to raise the altitude over Menlo IAF from 4,000' to 5,000' they announced that this would reduce the noise by 41%, so the rule seems to work in the range of 4,000-5,000'.

When I see a plane flying over SF at 10,000-11,000' they are just barely audible, and I have to concentrate my attention and cock my head to even hear them, so we are talking about a measurement that is getting close to zero and may swing wildly if we try to represent it as a fraction of the noise at 4,000-5,000'.

I am trying to be as scientific as possible with this, and would welcome a better way to understand/quantify aircraft noise versus altitude.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 12, 2014 at 5:11 pm

I cited to San Jose Airport a plane - ANA 172 - Tokyo to San Jose, that arrived over Palo Alto at 2,200, circled the Palo Alto airport at 2,000, and made a wide circle over the bay back to San Jose. A noisy B788. It looked like they were unclear as to where they were going as the were heading north on 101.
Why are foreign planes allowed to go so low in a populated area - 9:30 AM clear day. This plane was not following the regular protocol for a reverse pattern at San Jose. Will see if they respond.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2014 at 5:19 pm

Pegasus,

I am only occasionally in southeastern SF. I have not noticed any jet noise when I am there. How long since you lived in SF? Maybe the noise really did follow you from SF!

The "SFO western approach and departure plan illustrated" does show one departure route flying over the SF/San Mateo border area. I think the map was created in the mid 2000s. Might be interesting to view the traffic over your old neighborhood on WebTrak, or visit and see if things have changed for the better.

SFO "western" approach and departure plan illustrated: Web Link


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2014 at 6:09 pm

This earlier post from shut-it-down seems appropriate to re-visit

"The issue here seems to be getting the City government to do its job and: 1) put a framework in place to collect data on all noise-related issues here in Palo Alto; 2) Encourage other City governments to do the same; 3) share the data; 4) characterize the various sources of noise in each town; 5) develop plans to deal with the each of the sources that proves to problem; 6) use data to lobby county/state/federal governments to consider changes in guidelines/restrictions that will result in noise reduction that is subject to those agencies' authority.

Noise travels differently at night, than during the day. The noise coming from the Amphitheater in MV affects people differently. People in the north of PA have complained about that noise for a long time, while people in the south don't seem to hear it as much.

When U2s used to fly out of Moffett on a frequent basis, they could be heard for miles in every direction. "

what about quantifying noise at night vs day?


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2014 at 9:56 pm

Wow! Just heard a very loud jet cross directly over my house, I ran to look out the window only to discover it was actually two airliners crossing over at the same time with maybe 1,200' of vertical spacing. One flying the Big Sur route, and one flying west to east.

I jumped on Webtrak to see what was happening, only to see N124UA and N417UA heading for an intersection over Stanford, and N837VA on final approach to SFO aborting a landing by executing a sharp 90 degree turn to the right, 2.5 miles from SFO, at 500'!

I was never able to see N124UA and N417UA intersect because about 20-30 seconds after N837VA aborted the landing, all aircraft just disappeared from WebTrak .

If you want to see this play out... open WebTrak, click the "historical" button, set the date to 11/13/2014, set the time to 20:40, and click the "set" button. All aircraft disappear from WebTrak at 20:43 (guess they don't like us to see close calls).


SJC WebTrak: Web Link


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2014 at 10:20 pm

Tonight's traffic has been ridiculous, and still going strong.

Unfriendly skies indeed.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 14, 2014 at 9:25 am

Web Track and SFO Flight Tracker are commercial programs. San Jose Airport can be seen on two different programs - I go between the one generated by the actual San Jose Web Site - same program as SFO- VS the other which takes in the whole bay area.
My belief is that these commercial sites do not always accurately report information - but instead serve up data to match FAA requirements when required. They are very aware that people are reporting and calling in so are trying to reduce their footprint in the area that results in call-ins.

The plane I saw earlier in the week - ANA 172 from Tokyo to San Jose was lower than reported. There are tree markers which I use and the altitude changes relative to the tree markers depending on which airplane is in the area. If you can wave to the people in the plane then you are in trouble.

I also noted that planes that are in a go-around tend to drop off if they are putting them in a holding pattern.

So there is some manipulation of data to reduce repercussions for problems - my opinion only.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 14, 2014 at 3:00 pm

@res1, while I do not believe any such conspiracy theory, you raise a good question about whether those reported altitudes are "adjusted" or not. Reported altitude generally depends on barometric pressure. And barometric pressure itself can be an adjusted value depending on elevation and temperature, not the true atmospheric pressure at the station where it's measured. Long story short, altitude reporting would be simpler if we all lived at sea level and the barometer never varied from 29.92 inches and the temperature never changed -- actually a fair approximation for Palo Alto.

Near sea level, 1/10th inch Hg corresponds to about 100 feet altitude. We've had recent readings of 30.25 which could introduce a 300-foot discrepancy among ill-defined observations. An accurate altitude encoding transponder would read 300 feet lower than the aircraft's actual altitude. Air traffic controllers know the corrections -- commercial websites may not. I haven't found any clarification in the fine print. If I'm wrong here, I hope some meteorologist corrects me and I can learn something.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 14, 2014 at 3:31 pm

I would not use the words "Conspiracy Theory" since that connotes a conscious manipulation of the data. I am inclined to think that the specification for the program has a fudge factor percentage. This is not a high price air controller system - nor an official FAA system. It is just a commercial program for the use of dispersion of data - plus or minus X %. To expect a commercial system to work to an exactitude of 0% error is unrealistic.
I do know from the Malaysia flights that they cannot track a plane 100% of the time so the system fills in the gaps where the sensors are widely dispersed.

I have also seen go-arounds drop off the system - the go-arounds usually appear in south PA much lower since this is their second time around.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 17, 2014 at 8:24 am

On the news last night 11/16/14 - Channel 5 -they did a piece on freight airlines (USPS, Fed-Ex, etc) vs passenger commercial airlines. The pilots on commercial passenger lines have a limitation requirement for the number of hours in the air and time between flights. The freight lines have a bigger span - 16 hours that they would be in the air. This was negotiated with the FAA with the carriers. The pilots are complaining about this and say this is a big hazard. Fed-Ex, USPS, etc. are barreling through the air at night with pilots who are sleep deprived.

We have other freight planes at night - need to check who else is out there at night.

This reminds me of the WALMART drivers that are in trucks non-stop.

If you can imagine that USPS is now working with Amazon - delivering packages on Sunday then you can see how the Christmas rush is going to add more stress to this whole situation. I am hoping that Channel 5 will be applying pressure on this situation.

Since Surf Air is not regarded as a commercial jet but a private jet the question to them would be what is the requirement regarding the number of hours the pilot is in the air. Since they are on a 10 trip schedule is it the same person piloting the plane? Also I think they are flying lower to reduce fuel and wear and tear costs.

Other topic - in WSJ today they are working on plan where all passenger airlines will report every 15 minutes as to their location. This is in response to the Malaysian situation where there were large gaps in the ability to track the planes from ground sensors - undeveloped countries, polar regions, large ocean areas, etc.

So areas of focus are appearing - accountability as to where the planes are - and condition of pilots who are flying the planes. More planes = more focus by more people.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 17, 2014 at 9:34 am

Correction - it is CBS local news KPIX 5 - Ken Bastida - 11/16/14, 11:00 PM - you can go to their site to read story with info from Sully Sullenberger.
Pilots who fly cargo mostly at night are from the Independent Pilots Association. Cargo pilots were specifically carved out from FAA guidelines regarding rest. The Cargo Industry Association is interfacing with the FAA to protect their position that the extended flight hours are okay.


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2014 at 9:51 am

Very interesting. Add to this that the cargo flights traversing Palo Alto at midnight and 4 AM are international cargo carriers. There are also auto parts planes which apparently have different rules, or better said no particular rules that they adhere to.


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Posted by resident42
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 17, 2014 at 9:52 am

There definitely are some adjustments made to the SJC flight tracker.

In particular, after wondering which flights were awakening me on weekends, I had identified several of the large commercial passenger flights flying low over Palo Alto between 6:30 and 7:00am on Saturday and Sunday, using SJC flight tracker, and noted them for future exploration of why they were so low and why one seemed to be wandering around. On this particular weekend, two were flying for extended periods over Midtown.

Three days later, these flights were missing from the tracker - just gone!


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 17, 2014 at 10:37 am

suggestion - if you see a pattern you can go to the SFO or San Jose Flight Tracker Arrivals and click forward to the period next day 12:00AM - 6:00Am and see who is scheduled to arrive during the night.
At SFO last night was GBX Air 1920, LAX to SFO arrival 2:58 AM. Baggage - N/A
San Jose will tell you that there are no schedule arrivals from 12:00 AM to 6:00 AM. So Flight Options arrived at 8:12 AM, Reno to SJC, Baggage N/A

I am going to check at night who is expected in the overnight period to see what they are doing - then go to SJ other flight tracker to look at altitude and how they are tracking through arrival.


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Posted by Resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 17, 2014 at 11:27 am

Clarification - the program that tracks the entire bay area is "Webtrack 5" by Bruel & Kjaer. You ca see all of the bay area traffic on this site. It is not the same program as Flight Tracker which is both specific to SFO and San Jose and is located on the airport web-sites for those airports. You can go to other airports as well since it seems to be a universal program.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2014 at 10:17 pm

Resident 42,

SJC's WebTrak has a "way back" feature... click the "historical" button, set the date, set the time, and click the "set" button. Webtrak will begin to play at the entered time and date. The day can be set for anytime within the last three months.

Are you saying that flights you saw "live" (actually 10 minutes delayed) were not there, when you checked for them using the "way back" feature?


SJC WebTrak: Web Link


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 18, 2014 at 5:54 am

There area a number of cargo planes that arrive at SFO in the early AM:
-GB ABX is based in LA and is the DHL carrier - plane is B767 flight delayed this AM,
-Federal Express, Memphis to SFO uses DC10 - most Fed-EX flights go to Oakland - Side Note they wanted to go to Moffett but the answer was NO,
-Nippon Cargo (NCA) is LAX to SFO, plane is B748 - this one flies directly over PA

Three flight from Hawaii in the early AM fly directly over Portola Valley, Woodside, and Atherton / RWC. These follow HWY 84

I went to the Oakland Airport Site - Surf Air starts flights to Oakland in December. No mention in article about San Carlos.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 18, 2014 at 6:54 pm

There are 10-12 regular flights over Palo Alto between midnight and 6:00am, but KAL213 and UAL396 are two of the worst offenders, and need to be added to the list.

Korean Airlines flies a loud 747 freighter (KAL213) from LAX to SFO 4-5 nights a week on a regular schedule. It passes over Palo Alto around 1:30am.

UAL396 from HNL flies over Palo Alto around 4:30am. HNL396 typically crosses Palo Alto on a track that is pretty much parallel to, and above Oregon Expressway.

A lot of people in Palo Alto are being awakened by UAL396, but don't even know it. A jet airliner only produces loud noise for 60-90 seconds as it passes over. By the time many people are roused to consciousness, UAL396 may only be barely audible in the distance.


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Posted by SoWhat.
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 19, 2014 at 12:07 am

We live in the modern world where planes will occasionally fly over your head. So what.

Web Link


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 19, 2014 at 12:16 am

In the modern world, planes should be quieter, and what would you cosider occasional?


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 19, 2014 at 8:50 am

We know plans fly over our heads - we all get that. The problem is that they are lowering their altitude which increases noise pollution, air pollution, and increased security risk since the number of experienced pilots are now being phased out due to age and we are stuck with new, inexperienced pilots as well as inexperienced air controller personnel.

Add to that many foreign airlines that now want to add SFO to their standard schedule of flights which increases the number of planes in the air. Many of the foreign pilots are not familiar with the area in general which includes three major airports as well as a number of local airports.

Add to that the fact that the airlines are experiencing a boost in profits due to price of fuel - which represents about 35% of their operating costs. There is no incentive for them to increase their altitude which uses up more fuel and increases wear and tear on the planes.

Add to that the FAA which is assuming a freeway in the sky mentality which is suffering on the ground as well as in the sky - increase number of units = increased number of pilot errors. The FAA is allowing the airline industry to increase profits at the expense of the business and residents on the ground.

The taxpayers should be able to expect and assert that a reasonable approach should be mandated which serves everyone's purpose - increase the altitude and more control by air controllers to direct traffic.

Our local government representatives need to step up to the plate here, including the PACC, to provide more leadership regarding the local impact of FAA decisions in this area. If the local leadership cannot provide the leadership than they will not advance to the next higher role in government participation.


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Posted by palo alto resident
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 19, 2014 at 10:24 am

@Jetman - That explains why I wake almost every night at 4:30 am! United Airlines 396.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 19, 2014 at 12:31 pm

Palo Alto Resident,

You can get a one-two punch between 4:15-4:30am. UAL396 is pretty consistently crossing Palo Alto between 4:15 and 4:30am, but Nippon Cargo Airlines NCA109 which is schedules to arrive at SFO at 3:50am, has a horrible on-time record and frequently crosses Palo Alto in the same time frame.

NCA109: Web Link


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 19, 2014 at 12:41 pm

So What,

Aircraft noise and the associated sleep disruption is "as serious as a heart attack".

"Airport Noise Linked to Heart Risk"
New York Times" ~ October 8, 2013 Web Link


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Posted by Jenny
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 19, 2014 at 9:40 pm

Jetman - you seem to know a lot about what is happening regarding increased plane noise in Palo Alto. I hope you are using your knowledge to better educated our council members on this issue. I saw the council meeting posted on the Sky Posse website and it sure seems like the council is behind on understanding this complex issue.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 20, 2014 at 8:26 am

IAW the SJM 11/20/14 "Eshoo loses bid for key post" - House Energy and Commerce Committee to Frank Pallone - New Jersey - a more senior member of the committee. Carl Guardino - CEO of Silicon Valley Group - is a strong supporter of Eshoo.

Possibly Carl Guardino should be added to the letters to Eshoo since he represents the major companies in this area. It is to the benefit of all of the local companies and their employees that the FAA gets some push-back on allowing the air traffic to lower down onto the companies and residents in a detrimental manner that is a health and security issue. We do not have airline corporations based in this area so that leaves us with SFO, local airports and the FAA to deal with.

Note - the Silicon Valley Group is trying to add more stations in the Santa Clara locations for BART - they are taking on the VTA who is trying to reduce the number of stations due to lack of funding. There is another stream on this topic regarding the VTA spending tax payer funds for the El Camino buses. The VTA has a disconnected management group - no funding for one project but a lot of funding for another project - all taxpayer funds.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 20, 2014 at 11:46 am

Bad one-two punch from NCA109 and UAL396 last night. NCA109 crossed PA 4:27-4:28am, UAL396 crossed PA 4:38-4:39am. If you live in southern PA you also got UAL1726 around 4:32.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 20, 2014 at 11:51 am

South PA has a non-stop parade of planes grinding through the sky. I am not clear if this is the weather - but you can hear them "downshifting".


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 20, 2014 at 11:56 am

The Use of Aircraft Noise in Psychological Warfare:

In the later stages of the War in the Pacific the Japanese Imperial Navy devised a devious plan, which used aircraft to degrade the readiness and moral of the embattled Marines on the Island of Guadalcanal.

"During the campaign, the Japanese sent solitary aircraft on nighttime missions over Guadalcanal for various reasons. The reasons included scouting, dropping flares over Allied positions to assist Japanese naval or ground forces operating on or near the island, to bomb the airfield or Allied installations, and/or to harass the Allied troops and disrupt their sleep." Web Link

The loud aircraft, often with detuned or unsynchronized engines became known collectively as "Washing Machine Charlie", after the loud washing machines of the period.


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 20, 2014 at 12:10 pm

Jetman,

North has been getting the parade as well.


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Posted by Jenny
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 20, 2014 at 4:42 pm

The North gets the parade as well and at even lower altitude than the south as they descend into SFO. The North also is under the Menlo Intersection, which is where 3 paths merge into 1. The sky is rarely quiet.

Jetman - have you voiced your concerns about this issue to our city council?


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 20, 2014 at 5:27 pm

Jenny,

More residents voicing concerns definitely helps.

Please join the group of concerned residents engaging in advocacy for reducing air traffic noise. The next meeting is December 3, 7 pm location TBA.

For updates, and to join, please go to Web Link


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 21, 2014 at 12:11 pm

Jenny,

The PACC is much more aware and informed on the commercial aircraft noise issue than they were a few months ago. The best way to get them to act is to work through, or coordinate with, a community organization like Sky Posse, PAN (Palo Alto Neighborhoods), or your neighborhood association.

Sky Posse: Web Link

PAN: Web Link


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Posted by Not a problem
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 21, 2014 at 2:21 pm

"Bad one-two punch from NCA109 and UAL396 last night. NCA109 crossed PA 4:27-4:28am, UAL396 crossed PA 4:38-4:39am. If you live in southern PA you also got UAL1726 around 4:32."

At what altitude did these planes cross over their minute in Palo Alto? Did you hear them? What neighborhood do you live in?

[Portion removed.]


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 21, 2014 at 3:24 pm

Not a problem,

What is not a problem?


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Posted by not a problem
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 21, 2014 at 3:59 pm

Songbird- I said that I live in midtown and that I hear planes occasionally but it is not a problem. Part of living in the bay area and not the major issue some posters say.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 21, 2014 at 4:36 pm

No Problem,

If the SFO bound aircraft were to reduce their ground-level noise by flying higher, more spread out, and observing a late-night curfew, you still wouldn't have a problem... right?


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Posted by not a problem
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 21, 2014 at 4:44 pm

Jetman-not sure what your question is, but I do not have a problem with air traffic over the city. I would expect you to respect my opinion. I an sure there are many in the city that do not have any issues with air traffic. So what exactly are you asking? you seem to have problems with airplanes. Where do you live in the city?


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 21, 2014 at 5:23 pm

Not a problem,

Many things that are not a problem for me are a problem for my neighbor and vice versa.

For example, I love noisy kids and noisy teenagers, and noisy music, and I also love trains. Trains remind me of my childhood. I'm not that close to the train now, but when I hear it, it's not a problem for me but I would never think to question the people who are trying to establish quieter zones by the trains. It makes a lot of sense to me.

Your post was not just to say that airplane noise is not a problem for you. You seem to be trying to make a case that it's not a problem in general, and questioning why it should be a problem for others.


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 21, 2014 at 5:29 pm

Not a problem,

What is the relevance of where a person who does have a problem with air traffic live?

I think you are trying to be intimidating and I wish I had caught your "portion removed"


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Posted by not a problem
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 21, 2014 at 5:29 pm

Songbird-correct. I do not think that it is a problem, in general. But that is just my opinion and I do not see an issue in me starting that opinion this thread.


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Posted by not a problem
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 21, 2014 at 5:35 pm

Songbird-w where a person lives is relevant, since you can then match the route of the flight to the neighborhood.sorry you find me questioning some of the postings as being intimidating.what will you tell officials from SFO when they want to know exactly what area of the city have issues. I think that some of the People on this thread have a problem with others questioning and/out disagreeing with the supposed main issue


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 21, 2014 at 5:37 pm

I don't think it's a problem to give your opinions about no problem with airplane noise, as long as you are not belly bopping others who do have a problem with it.


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 21, 2014 at 5:39 pm

Not a problem,

Thank you fro explaining why you needed to know where someone lives.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 21, 2014 at 6:46 pm

Jetman lives deep beneath the earth, in the jet-cave. There in no noise in the jet-cave, so Jetman is not bothered by the unrelenting aircraft noise on the surface, but Jetman cares about the people living on the surface having their sleep, health, and peace destroyed by loud, unrelenting, avoidable, commercial aircraft noise.

There is a very simple solution to the problem of commercial aircraft noise over Palo Alto... the planes need to fly higher, spread out, and observe a late-night curfew.

We also need the resignation of current FAA head Micheal Huerta. Huerta is the first FAA head to have no airline experience before his appointment to the agency by President Obama. Huerta's lack of experience has left a leadership vacuum at the FAA which has been filled by the airline industry, and their lobbyist.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 22, 2014 at 12:51 pm

I saw a strange occurrence yesterday around 1:00 PM on the Bruel & Kjaer Webtrack 5. CAL 004, a B744 from TPE to SFO was wandering around and made a complete tight circle above Palo Alto before proceeding to SFO. I checked the SFO Flight Tracker arrivals to see if any plane was coming from TPE - or any CAL 004 listed. No listing for the plane. When I went today to retrace the plane it was not there. I am thinking Chinese Air Lines but they use a different symbol. Or it is a cargo plane.

SO - not every plane going to SFO is listed in their arrivals grid. And the B&K listing may blank out all but the obvious commercial planes after the fact.
Definitely needs some investigation.


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Posted by Juan trippe
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Nov 22, 2014 at 2:22 pm

And people wonder why SFO does not take palo alto complaints seriously ( see jetmans last comment).
Resident1- planes just don't " wander" around


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 22, 2014 at 3:43 pm

Juan - why don't you go to the program and watch the action on the Bruel & Kjaer site, version 5. That is an eye opener to view what is going on in the high traffic time periods. Yes - they wander when they are lost and asking direction - you can see them adjusting to new directions. Watch them at peak time periods - you can also see what is going on at the PAO.
If you have illusions of a controlled air space you can readjust your thinking.
You can also see the Oakland traffic the is coming the opposite direction down the bay while everyone else is going up the bay.
Pick up a bad weather day on a holiday weekend and they are busy in the sky.


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 22, 2014 at 6:06 pm

A carousel of low flying polluters tonight! Anyone care to report what they are?

Not on flight track.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 23, 2014 at 1:10 am

Jaun,

Nobody in Palo Alto is wondering why SFO doesn't take Palo Alto's noise complaints seriously, because they know SFO doesn't take ANYBODIES noise complaints seriously.

SFO's noise abatement office, and the SFO roundtable, are nothing more that a sick charade meant to stifle the public, and accomplish nothing.

"SFO Noise Abatement Meeting Last Night... can you Spell Joke"
Millbrae Patch ~ January 11, 2014 Web Link


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Posted by Airplane Noise Community Meeting
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 24, 2014 at 2:17 pm


Anyone interested in working to reduce aircraft noise pollution, please join the next Sky Posse meeting. Web Link

Wednesday, December 3rd, 7 PM
Lucy Stern Community Center, Fireside room
1305 Middlefield, Palo Alto

Residents of Palo Alto and neighboring communities are invited to join.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 25, 2014 at 6:12 pm

Wow... the "washing-machine Charlies" have been really working hard for the last 2-1/2 hours to make sure no one in Palo Alto can concentrate on anything for more than about 10 minutes without being interrupted by their noise.

Washing-machine Charlie: Web Link


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Posted by not a problem
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 25, 2014 at 6:43 pm

Seems that every day or so someone had to make unsubstantiated claims in offer to make it appear that places are flying feet off the ground all day over Palo alto. I have not heard any loud plane noise today our any other day these complaints have appeared. I am sure that the real sky posse people prefer to present facts to SFO and not wild claims that will cause those that are truly concerned about airplane noise to be laughed out if the room.


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 25, 2014 at 9:41 pm

I vote for vacuum cleaner. Oh no, Hoover has just taken on a new meaning for me.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 25, 2014 at 10:19 pm

Hoover in aviation context will always mean Bob Hoover.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 25, 2014 at 11:25 pm

Songbird,

"Vacuum-cleaner Charlie"? Ha-ha, maybe you are right and the name needs to be updated... washing-machines are a lot quieter than they used to be!

Musical, As a young jetboy I saw Bob Hoover fly a P-51 inverted about 20' off the deck for most of the length of a grass airstrip, all for the amusement of about 30 people attending a dinky airshow in rural Pennsylvania.


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Posted by SFO worker
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 26, 2014 at 7:16 am

Jetman--I thought "Jetman lives deep beneath the earth, in the jet-cave. There in no noise in the jet-cave, so Jetman is not bothered by the unrelenting aircraft noise on the surface". So how do you hear the "washing machine Charlies"? How do you know who in Palo Alto hears these supposed noises? You did not contact me to ask.
FYI--SFo monitors these kind of forums and collects the comments made. When cities complain, they then pull out the more ridiculous/exaggerated comments to demonstrate that there is not an issue. You are doing the city a disservice if there really is a problem


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 26, 2014 at 7:58 am

SFO worker,

That's not very nice to impersonate and SFO worker, but if you are an SFO worker living in midtown, I wonder why you picked midtown as the neighborhood of the impersonated SFO worker. Any relation to "no problem" from midtown?

I certainly would hope that using these threads to "demonstrate that there is not an issue" is not the scientific methods that SFO would use to determine an issue.

But what if you really are an SFO worker - could you explain what the skies are supposed to sound like?

Not a problem says he hears nothing. That's what I expect the sounds to be like - nothing, but I must agree with jetman, they are something.



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Posted by SFO worker
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 26, 2014 at 8:19 am

Songbird--not a good way to start a conversation by claiming I am impersonating an SFO worker--clearly you have already drawn your own conclusions. I "picked" Midtown because that is where I live and as far as I can tell more than one person lives in Midtown. In fact, you and jetman live in the same neighborhood based on your postings.

As for what the skies are supposed to sound like, when you live in a densely populated area, with 3 major airports in the region, plus the small commuter airports you will occasionally hear airplane noise. However claiming that there is a "washing machine charlie" issue is hardly constructive especially coming from someone who admits he never hears airplane noise. As most people will realize, authorities need real proof--not conjecture, speculation and overexaggeration.
My feelings are that some people are just playing a game.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 26, 2014 at 12:35 pm

Interesting that SFO monitors forums and "cherry picks" ridiculous/exaggerated comments to demonstrated that there no issue. If the comments really are ridiculous/exaggerated then they do not demonstrate (or prove) anything about the real issue.

SFO is a for-profit corporation owned and operated by the City and County of San Francisco. San Francisco operates this large industrial facility in San Mateo County, and dumps the undesirable waste products on Palo Alto, and other cities throughout the Peninsula.


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 26, 2014 at 12:48 pm

@SFO worker

To "occasionally" hear airplane noise, as you suggest, sounds like a good place to be.

Something we can agree on?


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 28, 2014 at 9:39 pm

Sure sucks to be back in Palo Alto with "Vacuum Cleaner Charlie" flying over every 5-10 minutes, after spending Thanksgiving in the serenity of the West Portal/Forest Hills neighborhood of San Francisco.

I ask the Thanksgiving dinner guests who were from the West Portal/Forest Hills area if they ever hear jet aircraft overhead, or if aircraft noise ever disturbs their sleep. They all said they never hear commercial aircraft noise, and the only thing that occasionally disturbs their sleep, is the hooting of the local owls, if they roost too close to their house.


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Posted by Funny man
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 29, 2014 at 11:39 am

What a funny man, jetman is. Sucks to line in Palo Alto? Planes flying over ALL of Palo Alto very five minutes? I guess anythng goes when trying to keep a dead topic alive


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Posted by Noisy Planes
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 29, 2014 at 3:03 pm

There are low flying, noisy planes over parts of Palo Alto. No doubt there are some people who are not under their paths, or who have a noisy environment and don't hear them at all. Those people wouldn't perceive the planes as a problem, even if the planes are spewing jet fuel droplets over them as a result of slowing or turning.

But I also find that these planes often disrupt audio streaming to my 3g phone, and it sometimes requires manual intervention to restore the connection. What are these planes doing that would disrupt audio streaming? Are they simply flying between a synchronous satellite and a network redistribution point? Or do they impact communications more generally with their own communications?


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2014 at 3:05 pm

Funny man,

There is nothing funny about it. After spending a day in the peace and quiet of San Francisco, it is really quite shocking how much aircraft noise there is here in Palo Alto. It is hard to be in Palo Alto for more than about 10 minutes without the quiet being shattered by the shriek, warble, or rumble, of a jet aircraft passing overhead.


One-day flight-track maps for Palo Alto area: Web Link


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Posted by Not a problem
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 29, 2014 at 3:53 pm

There is nothing funny about it. After spending a day in the peace and quiet of San Francisco, it is really quite shocking how much aircraft noise there is here in Palo Alto. It is hard to be in Palo Alto for more than about 10 minutes without the quiet being shattered by the shriek, warble, or rumble, of a jet aircraft passing overhead."

But Jetman, you live in the jet cave and do not hear the airplanes. I live in. In town. I do not have a problem with airplane noise. I am not sure how you can honestly claim that you cannot be in palo,alto for more than 10 minutes without a problem. That is a gross over exaggeration, not based in any kind of fact.

Your one day flight tracker really is useless. It just shows that lanes flew over Palo Alto-- no altitudes provided. Similar to another map which you like to post that shows that planes fly over SF ( it is on the sky posse website and Yu have referenced it as well). I could point to that and say that their is peace and quiet in SF is bogus.

You will need actual numbers if you plan for SFO to take you seriously ( which I doubt is your real goal)


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2014 at 6:23 pm

Not a problem,

You seem very focused on jetman's problems, trying to prove they are not a problem. The only reason so far is that they are not a problem for you or for SFO.

Noisy planes,

I know airplanes often disrupt my cell phone connection and my conversations. I'm not sure about audio streaming.

But I would be very interested in knowing if we could disrupt their communications, that would be kind of scary.



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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2014 at 6:28 pm

Meaning if they are so close to all our electronic activity and there are any interferences from being so close to so many of us with various devices at all times.




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Posted by Not a problem
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 29, 2014 at 6:45 pm

Songbird-- Jetman has clearly stated on this thread that airplane noise IS NOT a problem for him. He lives in the jet cave and does not hear the airplane noise. I am just repeating what Jetman has himself stated.


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2014 at 7:31 pm

Not a problem,

I think jetcave was a funny way to reply to your question about where jetman lives.

In a way, jet noise makes for a sound cave.


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Posted by Quiet place in Midtown
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 30, 2014 at 8:15 am

Not a problem -

Where do you live? I would like to move to a quiet place in Midtown.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 30, 2014 at 11:12 am

IAW USA Today 11/25/14 "Runway Incursions are the top air safety concern." Check out USATODAY.com for story. So all of those pilots that insert comments here about airline safety should note that statistics have been / are being compiled on accidents that happen on the ground at the airport.
This includes actual collisions, wings clipped by other planes, etc.
SFO has had 70 incidents 2003 - 2013.

Does not include removal of passengers for "disruptive behavior" which happened last night, Alaska Air had to wait for the Jet Blue to resolve it's problems to free up the gate.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 30, 2014 at 1:18 pm

70 incidents among 5 million aircraft movements, many with over 200-foot wingspans, maneuvering into 100 closely spaced gates? A listing would be interesting. I suspect bird-strikes and blown tires are included. Also I believe bumping wingtips get counted as two incidents, one for each plane involved, even if one is stationary. Not sure whether ground vehicles colliding with a stationary aircraft are counted as an "incident."

Runway incursions are taken seriously. Signs at intersections have been modified, as have requirements for read-back of controller instructions, and standardized phraseology.


1 person likes this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2014 at 8:27 pm

Flying higher is safer, here's why...

(1.) If there is an engine failure, a higher altitude will provide a longer gliding distance to reach a safe landing spot. For example, without power, a Jumbo Jet 747 airliner has a glide ratio of approximately 17:1.

(2.) A higher altitude means that when something goes wrong, a pilot has more time to react, make a logical decision, and recover from a problem, before "augering in".

(3.) Higher altitudes, provide a larger range of altitudes, and therefore more vertical spacing between aircraft, which is safer.

(4.) The higher you fly the less likely you are to have a bird strike. SFO bound commercial aircraft pass directly over a wildlife sanctuary on the eastern side of the Dumbarton Bridge, after crossing the Menlo IAF on their way to SFO.


"Height Distribution of Birds Recorded by Collision with Civil Aircraft" Web Link

"South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project" Web Link

One-day flight-track maps for Palo Alto area: Web Link


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2014 at 8:29 pm

Correction:

(4.) The higher you fly the less likely you are to have a bird strike. SFO bound commercial aircraft pass directly over a wildlife sanctuary on the WESTERN side of the Dumbarton Bridge, after crossing the Menlo IAF on their way to SFO.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 30, 2014 at 10:47 pm

The article noted above is about incidence on the ground at the airport.

Suggest you read the article noted above -top 10 are Chicago - has highest number of incidence in that time period - 151. LAX - 150. Atlanta - 140. Boston/Logan - 105. Dallas - 92. Philadelphia - 80. Miami - 73. Charlotte - 74. SFO - 70. Detroit - 67. Milwaukee - 47. Those are top 10 from data source FAA.

Birds are not mentioned in article.

Runway incidents involving commercial and private jets increased 30% from 2011 to 2013. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash - House Aviation subcommittee has asked the Inspector General for a report in response to the rise in recent runway incidents.

John Hansman - professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT indicated that the number of incidents will increase as the amount of traffic at airports increase.

Side Note - last night the flight from Portland to SFO had much fog and cloud cover -increasing to the bay area. The plane lights reflected off the fog. Bumpy to get down to the lower level in preparation to land. We were on east side of airport.

International airport terminal had quite a number of people sitting around in departure area at a late hour - 10.30 PM


2 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 30, 2014 at 11:04 pm

>> (4.) The higher you fly the less likely you are to have a bird strike.
>> SFO bound commercial aircraft pass directly over a wildlife sanctuary
>> on the eastern side of the Dumbarton Bridge, after crossing the Menlo IAF on their way to SFO.

This is an interesting point I have not really considered in-depth before.

Has any of the boards responsible for air traffic put anything out on this?

Since the trend is, and one of the public's highest priorities is the environment,
don't the renewal of the Palo Alto Baylands and the increasing air traffic at
the airport have trend lines that intersect in a dangerous way?

Where should the priority reside? To me it would be with the environment
so that all Palo Alto residents could enjoy the Baylands, not just those who
own airplanes and demand to ruin the whole area for the rest of us.

Our own waterfront resource is something very few cities in the US have,
and we are squandering it to cater to the elite for "some reason".

If the "elite" wants to keep their airplanes, I think they ought to pay some
huge fees or taxes to compensate the city for their loss.

For a starter maybe they could pony up the cash for a new parking garage
so the rest of us don't have to pay for parking in our own town. That's
good for a year or two.

What else could they do to make up for ruining the Palo Alto waterfront?


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2014 at 12:13 am

Birds rely on many data points for their patterns, including loud sounds of low flying jet planes, and certainly react to other flying objects. Something drone policy I hope is also considering.

Ah competition.


1 person likes this
Posted by Kerry55
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 1, 2014 at 6:02 am

to Not a Problem:
Where do you live in Midtown? The constant airplane noise is really causing me lots of stress and aggravation. I just spent time in Berkeley and S.F. It was so peaceful and quiet compared to here in Palo Alto. I really want to find a quiet place in Palo Alto!!


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2014 at 12:46 pm

Kerry55,

I have to agree... the baseline level of stress we are carrying by living with the ubiquitous aircraft noise here in Palo Alto is really shocking after spending a day someplace quiet like San Francisco.

Not-a-problem never says Palo Alto is quiet, he just says the noise is OK with him because Palo Alto is an "urban area", but he never explains why San Francisco, which is MUCH more urban that Palo Alto has little to no aircraft noise.

"Chronic airplane noise linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease"
MinnPost ~ October 09, 2013 Web Link


2 people like this
Posted by Business as usual
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2014 at 1:03 pm

"Not-a-problem never says Palo Alto is quiet, he just says the noise is OK with him because Palo Alto is an "urban area", but he never explains why San Francisco, which is MUCH more urban that Palo Alto has little to no aircraft noise."

I am really, really surprised that I have to explain the answer to this to such an "expert" like jetman. Whether a city is more urban or less urban than another city has little to do with which will get more airline noise.
That has to do with the location of the airport and the flight paths into and out of those airports. Understand?

i will also refer you to this page:
Web Link
I think that jetman is familiar with it. If you look at the map you will see that there many more flight paths over SF than their are over Palo Alto, so not sure where jetman's claims are coming from. And without real documented numbers of noise levels etc, those claims, along with the comments about cardiovascular disease, psychological warfare. "washing machine charlies" and other claims are really irrelevant and do not constitute REAL proof of any problem existing over Palo Alto.
Jetman, you want this issue to be taken seriously? Then show us the numbers.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 1, 2014 at 1:56 pm

BAU - I have planes going over my property on a continual basis. Depending on the weather patterns the noise is more or less - sound reacting to weather patterns. Hey - I do not have to prove anything to you - I can say that the noise can be very loud - this morning droning on due to heavy cloud cover.
I was in a plane Saturday night and it was really in a lot of turbulence as it came down to turn into the arrival path. You can hear the plane speeding up and slowing down based on instructions from the tower.

There is a heavy amount of plane traffic out there right now - they will tell you that on the news - and rain does not help the matter. Lots of wind causing delays and cancellations.

"Another Palo Alto location" may be in an area that has less exposure due to geography. Other areas have more exposure due to geography. So where do you live? Possibly a new house that has new insulation and double paned windows. I think new construction is now taking into consideration noise.


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Posted by Business as usual
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2014 at 2:07 pm

Business as usual,

Thank you for the reminder

It's not the amount of paths that matter, it's the altitudes that planes are flying at.

San Francisco may have paths over it, but SF has planes over SF are flying at altitudes where you cannot see hear the planes.

The winning paths that the FAA has sent to Palo Alto are the ones where the planes are audible and visible.

Could it be that SF has the better deal because of SFO?

I would say a trade is in order but we get both many paths and the low riders.


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2014 at 2:08 pm

apologies BAU, I have corrected the post with my handle now

Business as usual,

Thank you for the reminder

It's not the amount of paths that matter, it's the altitudes that planes are flying at.

San Francisco may have paths over it, but SF has planes over SF are flying at altitudes where you cannot see hear the planes.

The winning paths that the FAA has sent to Palo Alto are the ones where the planes are audible and visible.

Could it be that SF has the better deal because of SFO?

I would say a trade is in order but we get both many paths and the low riders.


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Posted by Business as usual
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2014 at 2:10 pm

Whoops, looks like Jetman has gotten his "handle" mixed up. The above post is obviously not from me!!!!!!

Resident 1--correct. you do not have to prove anything to me. But you will have to provide proof to SFO and the authorities--saying that it is "loud" will not cut it as far as proof goes.


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2014 at 2:11 pm

San Francisco may have paths over it, but SF has planes over SF are flying at altitudes where you cannot see OR hear the planes.

SF skies are more bird friendly, Palo Alto skies :(


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Posted by Songbirdt
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2014 at 2:14 pm

BAU,

Why the obsession with jetman? Such joy at a possible mistake, and it was not jetman's

It was me Songbird, you did not see my apology about handle mis-post

May as well correct one more typo

San Francisco may have paths over it, but SF has the planes flying at altitudes where you cannot see OR hear the planes.

SF skies are more bird friendly, Palo Alto skies :(


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Posted by Songbirdt
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2014 at 2:15 pm

BAU,

Why the obsession with jetman? Such joy at a possible mistake, and it was not jetman's

It was me Songbird, you did not see my apology about handle mis-post

May as well correct one more typo

San Francisco may have paths over it, but SF has the planes flying at altitudes where you cannot see OR hear the planes.

SF skies are more bird friendly, Palo Alto skies :(


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Posted by Business as usual
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2014 at 2:19 pm

So, songbird, we can agree that this map:
Web Link

that Jetman and others like to refer to is really useless, since it does not show altitudes (i.e. no real data)
As for jetman, he enjoys muddying the waters with all kinds of irrelevant claims. If you and him think there is an issue--gather the numbers (which is what real proof will consist of) and present it to SFo and the proper authorities.

Seems to me that songbird and jetman should spend less time worrying about what others think and more time gathering REAL data
Claims about jet fuel drops, washing machine like noise, heart attacks etc are subjective and are, bottom line,just opinions and/or exaggerations


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2014 at 2:29 pm

Business as usual,

The data that jetman presents is from SFO.

Any resident can get the same data.

I think what you are really saying is that the data from SFO is useless.

For SFO data to be useful, it should report altitudes.


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2014 at 2:35 pm

BAU

To be fair, SFO at least has the data it has, and nice colors, we need useful data from

San Jose
Oakland
San Carlos
Palo Alto Airport

am I forgetting any?


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 1, 2014 at 3:53 pm

BAU - SFO already knows it has a noise problem. That issue is already on the table. They have letters from local congressional people indicating same. The FAA put on a dog and pony show over this topic.
The manager of noise abatement at SFO has already been to a PACC meeting.
We are currently requesting that a noise monitor be installed at PAO - which has FAA reps located at that location.
If you go to the SFO web site flight tracker you can see with your own eyes what the problem is.
So no cigars for you - nothing new here.
Unless you are a newly elected PACC individual that will have to participate in some activity which some would determine to be a problem for further advancement.


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Posted by Sherry
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 1, 2014 at 5:22 pm

For those of you that aren't under flight paths you have no idea what we are experiencing. The altitudes are given on the tracker, so that is the real data. SFO ignores the real data and continues to make no positives changes for the people living under these flight paths. If they would just raise the altitude back to 5,000 feet or higher, it would be more livable. An altitude of 3,700 feet over tall apartment and condo buildings in downtown north is unacceptable.


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2014 at 6:11 pm

Sherry,

Maybe we are just being fussy.

Check out what the CEO of Qatar Airways has to say about people under a flight path Web Link


"the chief executive of Qatar Airways, said: "If you live under the flightpath of an airport, I assure you, over a period of time you will not even hear the aircraft passing over your house.

"The thing that is impeding Europe's growth is that airports are locked up from 11 o'clock at night to 5.30 in the morning, which is a very, very critical time for east-west transfer. People [in Qatar] are not making as much fuss about noise as they are in Europe."

He said that objections to noise, which affects more people around Heathrow than anywhere else in Europe, should be overriden. "I know people require freedom, but I think this is too excessive. Sometimes the national interest must be considered."......

......"In the interviews, Baker also defended some of his airline's controversial employment policies. Qatar Airways bans female cabin crew from getting married in the first five years of their employment. He told the Telegraph: "We used to allow this and a lot of people started to get married and then two to three months later they were pregnant so we were losing a lot of trained people that we had then to stop them flying. We had to put a stop to this. But after five years they can get married to anybody they want."



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Posted by Alan
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Dec 1, 2014 at 8:46 pm


I live in Palo Alto like everyone else on this thread, and I would like to say the air plane noise here is not an issue. Yes I can occasionally hear a plane flying over head, but it is any different than other places I've lived.

I think the people that keep posting on this thread of just very fussy and are complain about something very minor.

Please find a real problem to work on. Airplanes flying over Palo Alto isn't one of them.


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Posted by Sherry
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 1, 2014 at 9:36 pm

Alan, You're in Greenmeadow and far from any low flying planes one after the other every few minutes. If you lived under the menlo intersection with 3 converging flight paths and planes flying low you would be singing a different tune.


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2014 at 9:37 pm

Alan,

That is an excellent standard - to "occasionally" hear an airplane.

I also like "minor" problem. I would agree that occasionally is a minor problem.

Funny, for some reason I manage to hear everyone's occasional planes too. Stanford Shopping Center parking lot, on the way in, and on the way out (2 or 3 planes each way). Fraiche, on the way in and on the way out, in/out of my car Walgreens, another occasional plane.


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Posted by Sherry
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 1, 2014 at 9:50 pm

I just checked the flight tracker and Greenmeadow has very few flights over head. Like I said before only the affected areas of Palo Alto are having the problem. Downtown north is bad!


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Posted by Alan
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Dec 2, 2014 at 12:34 am

I was living near Stanford just two years ago, and spend a lot of time in Millbrae, so I'm very familiar all parts of the bay area. The noise in Palo Alto isn't any different that other parts of bay area, and Millbrae being right next to the airport likely has more noise. But when I show people in Millbrae this thread of a few in Palo Alto complain about airplane noise, all I get is a good laugh. The only difference in is Palo Alto has a lot of whiny and self-center people that complain about the smallest things.

If you want to worry about something. Worry about kids getting to school safely on a bike in Palo Alto traffic. Or worry about something that affects people other than yourself.

Many people in this world have bigger problems than just a little airplane noise and they complain a lot less than the people on this thread.


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 2, 2014 at 7:29 am

Alan,

Last night there were 3 night flights I recorded.

12:15 AM
12:23 AM
12:38 AM

Adults have more methods than kids to not be disturbed by noise but it varies how much kids can express about what exactly wakes them up. Usually a plane is gone by the time someone is awoken by one. The disturbance is as subtle as mold.

I worry about kids a lot with airplane noise. Our two high schools and multiple Elementary schools are below the busiest paths. I often walk by our schools and nowadays, especially in the morning and noon, the sound of kids playing at recess is muffled by the Surf Air plow.

The grumble and hiss from Surf Air is becoming normal for adults, and that worries me a lot about kids especially.

Are you friends in Millbrae laughing because it's Palo Alto or because they are closer to the airport? That was unclear to me when the cities to the North rejected Palo Alto from the SFO Roundtable.

I'm not so sure that they are getting a good deal at the Roundtable by the way. If I was on it, I would be arguing for a lot more than insulation for the homes near the airport. How about free air travel, or a second home in Lake Tahoe (not under a flight path). Sacrifices are being asked to sustain the economy, and national security from air travel, but the blighting of the homes by the runways get insulation? Makes no sense to me.

I'll tell you though, I have driven by SFO before and it's dead, maybe 2 planes overhead, but in Palo Alto you can have 7-10 planes in a 20 minute walk.

Worried that you want to so easily dismiss your neighbors concerns Alan.


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Posted by Business as usual
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 2, 2014 at 7:40 am

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 2, 2014 at 8:07 am

BAU,

Of course planes "would not tend to be directly over SFO--they would tend to be lined up heading towards SFO (getting lower and lower the nearer they get)."

As you say, planes are not directly over SFO and hardly to the West of SFO.

Those are the parts which have no noise. Whereas what is "lined up" starts South here in Palo Alto then goes East. It took awhile for me to understand this.

Planes coming all the way over here to cross to get to SFO. It definitely reduces noise for everyone else.




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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 2, 2014 at 8:22 am

Business as usual

There are many facts in the article,

SFO spokesman Yakel,

"SFO recorded 18,664 arrivals, he said. Of these, 7,470, or 40 percent, flew over Palo Alto"

"The FAA's Aerospace Forecast projects that commercial air-traffic volume will nearly double over the next 20 years..., Yakel said."

Yakel also says that the altitudes over Palo Alto are at 10,000 feet and under. I have never seen 10,000 on the flight tracker, the night flights are 1/4 of that.

Seems to me that if the planes can fly at 10,000 feet they could get rid of noise altogether here.


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Posted by Songbird
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 2, 2014 at 8:34 am

BAU,

You asked about schools,

Duveneck is under Surf Air's path, and Jordan, Walter Hayes and Addison get plenty of traffic as well - maybe because they are near Middlefield? Gunn is where plenty of turns are happening and Paly gets it too. From the airports and the FAA's point of view, they probably see nice green fields or landmarks, main roads and they must think no biggie, let's ride here. They do not realize it's where children are gathered.


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Posted by Business as usual
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 2, 2014 at 8:46 am

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Optimistic
a resident of Green Acres
on Jan 5, 2015 at 6:22 pm

Optimistic is a registered user.

I apologize for the long post but it is my first and probably my only one, as I think there is little gained from on-line back-and-forth.

I am a Stanford professor and private pilot who flies (respectfully) in and out of Palo Alto Airport. I worry that the combatively-named group "Sky Posse Palo Alto" will create a battle-royale up here like there is over Santa Monica Airport. Decades later there are haters all around and no real progress as far as most folks can tell. Should local pilots form "www.palo_alto_ground_lynchmob?" (HUMOR ATTEMPT).

First and foremost, if this ends up being an attack on general aviation (GA) - meaning private pilots and small planes – it will probably not achieve the result you desire. So clarifying the "posse's" position on GA would probably be very helpful. There is a lot more passion and a lot more resources in that community than may be apparent, and almost to a person, private pilots are very, very respectful of noise sensitivities. Historically, noise complaint groups have often moved on to trying to shut down small airports (like PAO), and sometimes real estate developers then reveal themselves. Also, pilots are an easier target than operators of Harley's, UPS trucks, leaf blowers and the other noise sources that plague Palo Alto. Since we might not be tough scary guys, nor delivering your goodies from Amazon, nor helping a hired worker do your gardening for you, we are often first in line for trouble. Of these three examples, only the UPS truck traffic seems truly on the rise and it will likely keep going, so maybe the "posse" can set an example by promising to avoid on-line shopping… (HUMOR ATTEMPT)

Was it once quiet in Palo Alto? Depends on your memory and with only 30 years logged living here, I'm still relatively new compared to Bay Area aviation history. Did you live here when Moffett Field was an active Naval Air Station? More recently, the top Google executives have been operating (and this is on the upswing, apparently) a rather loud jet from Moffett, and now the three top guys apparently have eight planes operating out of there. On another note, probably the loudest, but most important flying vehicle here is Stanford's LifeFlight helicopter – do you want Stanford to stop transporting critically ill patients? Seriously. Helicopters are noisy. We lived in DC for four years on government service and that place is filled with loud choppers ferrying politicians and such all the time. Compared to DC, we are in a quiet zone in Palo Alto!

Importantly, Palo Alto is not a suburb and hasn't been for decades. We are part of the 7.1 million person Bay Area with three major airports (SFO, OAK, SJC) surrounding Palo Alto. We live in the fifth most populous region of the United States, so expecting rural quiet is not realistic. There is only so much one can do to limit the noise until the newer, quieter aircraft come into the mainstream (actually, "hush kits" do exist for even not-so-new aircraft, but it's a matter of economics). There is something to be gained, but maybe not as much as this group is seeking. In any case, by incorporating mindful pilots into the discussion, a more balanced (versus heavily polarizing) discussion could ensue, and misinformation could be minimized. One poster wrote that "Pilots are simply ignoring the noise abatement policies which dictate that planes bank right over the Bay, gain altitude, and then head West over the Peninsula." That's not correct on two levels, but importantly most of us do take care about the policy (incorrectly stated) but at that stage, we are under direction of Palo Alto tower and hemmed in by San Francisco's airspace. the same poster wrote, "two in three airplanes ignore the noise abatement policies and fly wherever they want" - that's just not believable.

Pushing big jets up should help, but please bear in mind that the rest of us have to fly below the ceiling of SFO's airspace. Approaching Palo Alto from the west, small aircraft have to fly below the 2,000 ft "top" PAO's airspace.. You can't fix just part of it. It may be that noise abatement procedures are voluntary, but in reality I've never met a local pilot who doesn't get it and think about it. If you want to really upset good, thoughtful people off, imply that they are not good, thoughtful people. I do think there could be a lot of constructive achievement if aviators were in the mix and were assured that their freedom to fly privately was not under immediate or planned assault.

Lastly, if it's not too late, I would encourage the "posse" to choose a less militant-sounding name before this gets too far along. Also, one thing that seems particularly disappointing is that nobody lists their name on the web site – there is not even a decent "about" section. It just seems disingenuous to do it like that. Who are the leaders? Everyday folks, or people with special interests or axes to grind? Folks with actual aviation experience?


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Posted by rick
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 6, 2015 at 4:41 am

rick is a registered user.

Sky Posse's "event" page shows their next meeting this Wednesday (tomorrow), 7:00pm, at Cubberley Community Center Room A-7.


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Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 6, 2015 at 9:34 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

No disrespect intended but there are a number of fixes that can take place to improve the situation.
1. Early morning flights into SFO are freight planes that fly way too low.
SFO should be guiding all early morning planes (12:00 - 5:00 AM) over the bay vs. over residential locations. There is very little traffic in the sky overnight so there is no logical reason to funnel these low flying planes - which are extremely old and loud over residential areas. SJX attempts to exercise some noise abatement at their location.
2. SFO and the FAA are attempting to funnel planes within a narrow gap on a non-stop basis through residential areas. This lower altitude and narrow flight path are attempts by the airline industry to reduce the cost of gasoline and wear and tear on the planes. A good business decision on their part but a poor decision on the FAA's part. The FAA should be looking out for the tax payer's best interest and security - that is their role in life but obviously the lobbyist have taken control of that situation. So the fox is in the hen house - as usual. The airlines are experiencing the highest profits lately.
3. PAO has some hurdles to overcome - they are in the wrong place at the wrong time. Developer interests are pushing against any activity in the baylands to maintain the advantage of the flood control / baylands conservancy programs. Even the GREEN people are trying to take over with their consuming interest in waste and energy development. Possibly the King Tides this winter period have pointed out the folly of development in the baylands.
4. Note to PAO - when SFO reduces the altitude ceiling of their flights then the PAO pilots also have to reduce their altitude ceilings. Having a flight school in this location under the growing limitations is a growing concern of incompetence and confusion. Any view of the Bruer & Kjar flight tracker shows a lot of flights making sudden changes in direction - is anyone in control there?
5. Note to Surf Air - WSJ today "Netjets Puts Buffett in Rare Pinch" - the private airline industry based on private partial ownership is in a rocky situation - even for the big boys. Netjets is Buffett's number one worry for numerous reasons. Pilot wages and benefits a major thorn, along with the business costs associated with planes leasing costs.
6. The groups out there now are attempting to influence the government groups that are facilitating this downward progression. Yes we are a busy area but that should produce some leverage in our ability to manage our location better.


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