Editorial: Unfriendly skies | July 31, 2015 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - July 31, 2015

Editorial: Unfriendly skies

Flawed new FAA NextGen air-traffic routing system needs reset

It doesn't take too many minutes of sitting in a backyard in Palo Alto or trying to sleep next to an open window to realize something has radically changed with commercial aircraft-routing patterns in our skies.

A strongly hyped overhaul of the Federal Aviation Administration's air traffic control system called NextGen is being deployed across the nation and is meeting with outrage from local residents surrounding nearly every major airport.

Thankfully, after months of increasing concerns being raised by her constituents, Rep. Anna Eshoo is now taking steps with other members of Congress to get the FAA to address the obvious flaws in this ambitious new program.

In Arizona, city officials in Phoenix have become so frustrated with the FAA and the lack of effective action by its federal legislators that the city recently sued the agency. Residents in Portola Valley, acting as individuals, have also sued the FAA over what they allege were inadequate assessments of the noise impacts prior to the program's implementation.

The NextGen program radically alters both the approach and take-off patterns at airports. Its laudable goals are to reduce fuel consumption, increase safety and capacity, and to create standard flight paths that bring planes into airport landing approaches at proper spacing and on steady and gentle glide paths. Departure routes under the new system are designed to get planes turning in the direction of their destination quickly after take-off to reduce the number of miles flown in the wrong direction.

Implementation of the program in the Bay Area has been gradual but has changed most noticeably since April. A key component of the new system is having all incoming planes merge together into consistent, narrow flight paths that never change, instead of the old system that brought arriving planes across populated areas on many different routings and at higher altitudes, which spread the noise over many communities.

Here on the Peninsula, aircraft coming from the west used to cross over the coastal mountains and proceed to the bay anywhere from Menlo Park to Sunnyvale and then descend more rapidly once over the bay as they approached San Francisco International Airport.

Now, with the new procedures, satellites are guiding incoming planes along precisely defined routes, at lower altitudes and at programmed gentle rates of descent to maximize fuel savings and airport efficiency. Previously, fixed ground-based radio beacons would be used to direct flights from one beacon to the next in a zig-zagging pattern, and planes would be individually directed to descend to a specific altitude and hold at that level until further instructions from controllers.

Palo Alto has been hit especially hard by the changes because three of four major inbound air traffic lanes now merge together above the city, meaning that virtually all flights arriving at SFO from the west, south and north converge over Palo Alto at altitudes as low as 4,000 feet before they cross over East Palo Alto and eastern Menlo Park to reach the bay and then continue over water to the airport.

A similar controversy has erupted in Santa Cruz County, where the new system has begun routing all flights from the south headed for San Jose and San Francisco airports along new, narrow routes rather than dispersing those flights over a larger area.

In meetings closed to the public and media last week in Palo Alto and Santa Cruz, FAA officials heard from upset residents and elected officials gathered by Eshoo and Rep. Sam Farr and reportedly pledged to look into how the noise problems could be addressed.

That's a start, but we're disappointed that Eshoo did not insist on an open meeting with media coverage so that the discussion was open for all to see and hear.

The FAA is touting the NextGen system as the answer to an ancient air-traffic routing system that was increasingly having difficulty keeping up with today's volume of air traffic and that was costing airlines millions of dollars in additional fuel and generating avoidable carbon emissions.

But the FAA's arrogant treatment of local communities elsewhere and its vague, hedged bureaucratic responses last week mean that Eshoo and her colleagues have their work cut out for them.

Having developed a highly sophisticated satellite-controlled system, surely it is possible to ensure that approach and departure routes are distributed over many communities, that higher minimum altitudes over populated areas be established, and that late-night arrivals are handled differently.

Palo Alto cannot expect to shift this problem to other communities, but it can demand that it only bear its fair share.

Comments

9 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 31, 2015 at 11:25 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

With a little bit of homework this is a solvable problem.

NextGen is a tool, not a policy making device.

Using both A-CDAs and herringbone approaches with the NextGen technology would work perfectly to better distribute both flights into SFO and SJC and the SurfAir flights into San Carlos:

"In the Netherlands, the NLR (a government research agency) has also started a research project on A‐CDA. The curved approach path consists of straight and circular segments. A constant glide path angle (normally 3°) is maintained along the entire path, including the turns.

"But while curved CDAs offer greater flexibility in designing approach routes they still suffer from the issue of concentration. Some respite could be provided to residents if more than one CDA approach can be used for each runway. This is possible if aircraft can turn on to the final straight leg of a CDA at different intervals, creating a series of approach paths with different entry points. This would maintain many of the benefits of CDA while creating greater flexibility to reduce the number of overflights at any given location and to provide respite periods.
These entry points could be either side of the straight leg, creating a "herringbone" effect"


from An AEF Report for HACAN on:
Approach Noise at Heathrow: Concentrating
the Problem
*****
It is time to stop cursing the darkness and to start applying the tools we have like NextGen and the superb operational analysis that has already been done in studies like the above cited HACAN report.


26 people like this
Posted by longtime resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 31, 2015 at 11:34 am

Defense of Nextgen coming from the Atherton resident who has been denying there is a problem.






11 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 31, 2015 at 11:37 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

NextGen is a tool, not a policy making device.

Start thinking and stop attacking people who propose solutions.


13 people like this
Posted by Show-Me-The-Numbers
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 31, 2015 at 11:42 am

It's a real shame that the federal and local governmental agencies involved have not actually measured the noise in the communities that claim to be hard hit--rather that accepting perceptions to be a finding of fact.

It's great that the FAA is involved without having to sue them--but without data, how will any of us really know what the problem is, and how effective the solution might be.


28 people like this
Posted by Lois
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 31, 2015 at 12:06 pm

Your editorial was excellent, saying like it is. However, one of the reasons flights are being programmed over south Palo Alto and Santa Clara County has to do with the protests the residents of Atherton, Menlo Park and the County of San Mateo made at meetings with the FAA prior to NextGen being implemented.

It was very convenient for the FAA that Palo Alto didn't complain about airplane noise before implementation of NextGen because that gave the FAA the opportunity to program incoming flights over us in Palo Alto and Santa Clara County instead of Menlo Park, Atherton and San Mateo.

Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties should share all incoming flights, and flights should remain at a higher altitude over residential areas until they reach the Bay, then they can step down to lower altitudes just like they used to.


4 people like this
Posted by longtime resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 31, 2015 at 12:35 pm

Lois,

Your thinking is exactly what caused this problem in the first place.

Push the traffic away from the South, or push it away from the North and give it all to the middle.

I hope the FAA can help do better than that.


8 people like this
Posted by Flyer
a resident of another community
on Jul 31, 2015 at 12:39 pm

[Portion removed.]

You can't have it both ways. Either technology can make the air flights more efficient or you can have them take longer and things can stay a little quieter.


9 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 31, 2015 at 12:49 pm

NexGen has great potential to make aviation more efficient and share its burdens equitably. But its current implementation inhales strongly.

It's that simple.


12 people like this
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 31, 2015 at 12:56 pm

Slow Down is a registered user.

@longtime resident - When Lois says, "Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties should share all incoming flights," how is she saying push the traffic elsewhere? She is saying the opposite, spread it out so no single community bears the brunt of the traffic.


10 people like this
Posted by SharonM
a resident of University South
on Jul 31, 2015 at 1:10 pm

Great article and perfect timing now that we are in the thick of it and trying to get the attention of the FAA to help resolve the issue. Thanks for posting this article!


4 people like this
Posted by Console
a resident of another community
on Jul 31, 2015 at 1:40 pm

No matter what airport you work at it's always the same. The planes have to go somewhere, and richer communities eventually lobby the FAA to put the planes over poorer communities. America in a nutshell.


5 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 31, 2015 at 4:42 pm

So many flawed systems around here. Wish we could get those seen to also.

Too many flawed intersections causing lots of problems. Alma/Sand Hill, Embarcadero/ECR (not just the T&C light), Middlefield/Loma Verde plus others.

Utilities not undergrounding power lines.

Greenwaste/utilities taxing us for a service that costs too much and does not let us reduce our costs by scanning the can. Instead gives us a ridiculous pail and increase charges while providing us with more work.

Utilities charging those that save the most water the highest drought surcharge.

Not taking away the ridiculous color parking zones in garages and not putting up pay per hour machines in garages and lots, and not putting up 30 minute parking in retail zones, or meters in commercial districts for street parking.

Taking away useful drive thru dropoff at the libraries and making the parking at libraries confusing and difficult.

Not listening to good ideas put forward by residents and instead having out of town city employees making decisions that they do not have to live with.

Any others? I'm sure there are.

Please listen to residents' concerns about local issues.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 31, 2015 at 4:45 pm

By the way, I am commenting on flawed systems as per the headline on the front page, not the town square headline.

We have lots of flawed systems that need rebooting.


20 people like this
Posted by Groundling
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 31, 2015 at 6:18 pm

This is an excellent synopsis of a very complex problem with a long history. Thanks to the Weekly staff and editor for paying attention to a problem that exists despite what some deniers would admit.

I urge residents of ALL communities impacted by air traffic noise (be it from commercial jets, Surf Air, prop planes, or helicopters) to contact their city councils and county supervisors and beg for city owned-and-controlled NOISE MONITORS. This is not a service that we want SFO or SJC or any other airport to provide. They are airports and therefore have a bias to NOT find noise. They have a very real conflict of interest.

We need to have noise measures that consider the low levels of ambient noise in our residential neighborhoods--not some airport supported 65DNL measure that averages all our quiet into the noise events to find that airplanes do not affect us. We need to see how many high decibel intrusions on our quiet we suffer each hour of the day and night. A per event measure is needed.

I had <5 hours of fitful sleep last night; this due to one aircraft disturbance after another from 11 pm until after 1:45 am when I gave up on fresh air, closed all the windows and eventually managed to sleep. There is a lull between 2 and 4 am. Of course that meant I awoke in a stuffy room to the early morning onslaught of planes, the "bomb-falling" whine or 747 roar heard through the closed windows. It is not possible to live like this.

Let Anna Eshoo know we need a short timeline for remedies. Insist our City Council buy a noise monitoring system to insure that the changes we win aren't violated down the road.

And, let's really take a hard look at Palo Alto Airport and what those small planes need to do to spare us noisy, unsafe, and polluting over flights of our homes, schools, and parks. The drones are coming and are bound to fill the skies below our treetops. The FAA can force us to accept whomever or whatever can "safely" fly out of PAO, because our city chose to accept grants for the airport repairs. This has to be a discussion with the FAA and our city officials and residents--not just the pilot groups. We own this mess, like it or not.




7 people like this
Posted by better PA
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 31, 2015 at 8:02 pm

our friends in Santa Cruz posted their recent meeting minutes with FAA.
Web Link


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 31, 2015 at 8:13 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The quality of the Santa Cruz presentation puts Palo Alto's presentation to shame. The Santa Cruz folks understand the importance of facts and data and of making specific requests regarding the desired changes.


12 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 31, 2015 at 9:22 pm

I agree with all the reasons for disbanding the next gen problem,

I would focus on the enviromental, it might wake up the democrats in Wa.

Just heard the 15th Surf Air flight of the day go by. Just curious, Any noise from SA in Palo Alto?

Keep up the fight.


8 people like this
Posted by Leland Manor neighbour
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jul 31, 2015 at 9:32 pm

Well, I have to say that now my life became a torture because of this incessant plane noise. What a shock! How could this happen? Does anybody have an idea what could be the timeline for a resolution of the problem? Accounts of the recent meeting with FAA representatives doesn't seem to mention anything in particular. I am forced (by my suffering) to file SFO complains everyday. What else can i do?? It feels as if we are in the midst of a war!!


23 people like this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 31, 2015 at 9:36 pm

Peter,

[Portion removed.]

You cannot possibly have seen the presentation Palo Alto gave to the FAA because you were not in the room (is that it?), and Palo Alto didn't even give a presentation! The meeting with the FAA in Palo Alto was a completely different format, involved representatives of communities from all over the Peninsula, and addressed a much more complex problem.

[Portion removed.]


4 people like this
Posted by better PA
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 31, 2015 at 9:44 pm

[Portion removed.]


6 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 31, 2015 at 11:30 pm

Those Santa Cruz meeting minutes look pretty good. I haven't seen anything from the meeting in Palo Alto City Hall, apparently the same day, with the same FAA people. I heard that Holman, Filseth and DuBois attended. Probably should wait for something official before launching into further hearsay.

For @Groundling, I reviewed last night's WebTrak history from 10pm to 8am, which I paste below at risk of gagging the comment box. Included are all 67 flights within 3 miles of around Colorado Ave and Ross Rd, excepting a few much higher departures. In perfect stillness they all may have been audible, but I doubt any beyond a mile were particularly disturbing. More than half the flights were above 5000 feet, so it makes sense that all of them could stay that high over Palo Alto if they were interested in being neighborly. The flights labeled 1 mile West were mostly on a specific narrow track from Gunn to Oregon & Alma and on toward the famous Menlo fix near Willow Road, My condolences to our Crescent Park friends.

WebTrak data -- Midtown vicinity (+/- 3 miles)
.. 7/30/2015 Thursday night
22:00 .. E170 .. 5400 ft .. 1 mile W
22:04 .. B737 .. 5000 ft .. 1 mile W
22:11 .. A330 .. 6900 ft .. 1 mile N
22:20 .. B737 .. 4800 ft .. 1 mile W
22:22 .. B747 .. 5700 ft .. 1 mile W
22:40 .. B777 .. 4100 ft .. 2 miles N
22:41 .. B737 .. 6000 ft .. 3 miles E
22:45 .. A320 .. 4200 ft .. 1 mile W
23:00 .. A320 .. 5200 ft .. 1 mile W
23:17 .. E170 .. 5000 ft .. 1 mile W
23:22 .. B757 .. 6000 ft .. 3 miles N
23:23 .. B737 .. 6500 ft .. overhead
23:25 .. E170 .. 5100 ft .. overhead
23:28 .. A320 .. 4700 ft .. 1/2 mile N
23:29 .. B777 .. 5600 ft .. overhead
23:33 .. B757 .. 5800 ft .. overhead
23:35 .. B737 .. 5400 ft .. 1/2 mile N
23:40 .. B737 .. 5600 ft .. 3 miles N
23:44 .. B737 .. 5800 ft .. 1/2 mile W
23:52 .. small jet .. 3500 ft .. overhead to SJC
23:55 .. small jet .. 3900 ft .. 3 miles N, to Hayward
.. 7/31/2015 Friday morning
00:33 .. B737 .. 5200 ft .. 1 mile W
00:42 .. A320 .. 5000 ft .. 1 mile W
00:54 .. B737 .. 6000 ft .. 1 mile W
00:57 .. A320 .. 4000 ft .. 1/2 mile W
01:22 .. B747 .. 6000 ft .. 1 mile W
01:28 .. B717 .. 5700 ft .. 2.5 mile E
04:26 .. B737 .. 5700 ft .. 2.5 mile N
04:35 .. B777 .. 4300 ft .. 2.5 mile N
04:43 .. B737 .. 5800 ft .. 1 mile N
04:54 .. B757 .. 6500 ft .. 1 mile N
05:45 .. B737 .. 6300 ft .. 1 mile N
05:51 .. CRJ .. 5000 ft .. 1 mile W
06:09 .. CRJ .. 4400 ft .. 1 mile W
06:19 .. A320 .. 4600 ft .. 2 miles N
06:26 .. B747 .. 4700 ft .. 1 mile W
06:28 .. B767 .. 4300 ft .. 1 mile W
06:29 .. CRJ .. 6000 ft .. overhead
06:35 .. CRJ .. 4500 ft .. 1 mile W
06:40 .. CRJ .. 4800 ft .. 1 mile E
06:42 .. B757 .. 4500 ft .. 1.5 mile E
06:53 .. E170 .. 4400 ft .. 2 miles N
06:55 .. CRJ .. 4900 ft .. 1 mile W
06:56 .. small jet .. 4700 ft .. 1 mile W
07:00 .. A320 .. 5000 ft .. 1.5 mile E
07:07 .. B737 .. 5100 ft .. 1 mile N
07:09 .. CRJ .. 4900 ft .. overhead
07:11 .. A320 .. 5700 ft .. overhead
07:17 .. PC12 .. 2500 ft .. 1/2 mile W (Surf Air)
07:17 .. B737 .. 5300 ft .. overhead
07:23 .. unknown .. 5200 ft .. overhead, SJC departure
07:25 .. E170 .. 5000 ft .. 1 mile W
07:28 .. B737 .. 5500 ft .. 1 mile W
07:34 .. A320 .. 5500 ft .. 1 mile W
07:35 .. B737 .. 5300 ft .. 1 mile W
07:36 .. CRJ .. 7200 ft .. 1 mile E
07:37 .. PC12 .. 2000 ft .. 1/2 mile W (Surf Air)
07:43 .. B737 .. 4400 ft .. 1 mile W
07:44 .. B777 .. 4800 ft .. 1 mile N
07:46 .. B737 .. 4600 ft .. 1 mile W
07:48 .. PC12 .. 2600 ft .. 1/2 mile W (Surf Air)
07:50 .. B777 .. 4300 ft .. 1 mile N
07:54 .. B787 .. 4000 ft .. 2 miles N
07:57 .. B737 .. 4700 ft .. 1/2 mile N
07:58 .. B757 .. 6000 ft .. 2.5 mile E
07:59 .. CRJ .. 4700 ft .. 2 miles E
08:00 .. E170 .. 5400 ft .. 1/2 mile S


6 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 31, 2015 at 11:45 pm

After reading the Santa Cruz meeting notes, it would appear that the FAA will only act as the result of a lawsuit. Otherwise, their only response is they will look into it.


5 people like this
Posted by Long-timer
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 31, 2015 at 11:57 pm

Musical,

Thanks for posting the list.

Assuming that you are right and we hear distinctly only the planes within one mile (and we do hear them distinctly), we had:

- 20 planes that we were subjected to in Midtown in the three hours between 10 PM and 1 AM. They were loud! I heard them too at a time, when we are supposed to be able to go to sleep.

- 8 planes between 11:17 and 11:44 PM, in less than half an hour, including 4 directly overhead. They were very loud, even the higher ones for some reason. Add in the SJC bound plane at 11:52, flying at 3,500 feet, and how are we supposed to be able to sleep? How are our children supposed to have a restful night of sleep with this even if they do not seem to consciously notice the planes? Sleep deprivation is tied to depression, you know.

Compare the traffic we had last night with what other communities get at the same time and you will see the gaping discrepancy.

Several parts of Palo Alto are severely affected. Midtown definitely is one.


4 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 1, 2015 at 1:36 am

Well, I guess I just discovered something obvious. Usually I'm listening outside, but now I'm inside at a WEST-facing open window. At 12:10 a B737 at 5200-ft one mile to the EAST was barely audible, then at 12:21 a B737 at 5000-ft one mile to the WEST could definitely be considered bothersome for 20 seconds. So there is a dependence on which direction your open window faces. Duh.

A few minutes later at 12:27 a FedEx MD11 freighter was inbound to Oakland, tracking 2 miles north of me descending through 6200 ft. It was marginally louder then the first 737, but a longer lasting noise, as might be expected from a stronger source at a greater distance.

Then our favorite Korean B747 came over less than a mile west at 4600 ft, loud for long 60 seconds.

Lastly, at 12:54 another 737 crossed directly overhead, at 6000 ft, quite noticeable but only for about 10 seconds.

Personally I'm not disturbed by airplane noise, but it's an interesting problem. Does anyone know anecdotally whether apartment dwellers are as bothered as R-1 zoned residents? They may be more inured to TV or other noise coming through the walls or ceiling all the time. I did not enjoy my time in such arrangements.


4 people like this
Posted by Coffee Guy
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 1, 2015 at 8:13 am

I'm sitting in my living room drinking morning coffee at this moment with the sliding doors of my Eichler open to the sounds of nature...errr jet engine roar after jet engine roar to the point I can't hear the talking on the radio. 45 seconds of a jet roaring overhead followed by 15-20 seconds of silence and then another jet. Lather rinse repeat.


2 people like this
Posted by Paly Grad
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Aug 1, 2015 at 8:19 am

There were several low flying jets flying to San Jose this morning. Alaska 200 was at 1,800 feet over Palo Alto. Southwest 4668 was at 2012 feet over Palo Alto.


6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 1, 2015 at 8:24 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

This is because SJC is landing to the South while SFO is landing to the North. As i have stated before there is no excuse for this pattern - both airports should be using the same landing direction.

This is something that those concerned about noise should be focused on as it is a simple policy decision.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 1, 2015 at 8:29 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

SJC winds
07:53 SE 7 MPH

SFO winds
08:27 WSW 8 MPH

There is no reason for them to be landing in a different direction.


6 people like this
Posted by ndn
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 1, 2015 at 8:41 am

Dear groundling,

ear plugs, air conditioning would improve your sleep. I too sleep with an open window and I listen to loud trains and sometimes (not often) to loud planes, specially the small ones and the medical copters. I'm not in the countryside so I assume I can't demand countryside quiet.


8 people like this
Posted by Alan
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 1, 2015 at 9:00 am

This is a first world problem. You live in a urban area with a very good economy and a lot of people want to visit here. Compared to most we are luck to live in such a vibrant part of the world. I little noise when a plane flies over isn't the end of the world as some seem to claim. When I have my door open I hear cars (my neighbors) driving down the street 100x more than any planes.

If the for some reason you are able to pick out the planes from the background noise why not put on a little background music instead and stop being such complainer.

If you are complaining about this, you should celebrate the fact you don't have any real issues in your life. First World Problem. It reminds me of this song. Enjoy!!

Alan


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 1, 2015 at 9:17 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 1, 2015 at 9:34 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

With ZERO winds at SJC they are still landing to the South and thus there is a SouthWest jet over Palo Alto at 2500 ft ( because it has to be kept below the North landing SFO traffic).

This make NO sense.

If you want to protest this is something to raise hell about.


Like this comment
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 1, 2015 at 9:45 am

I have read the Santa Cruz meeting minutes. Can someone please explain the route of the Big Sur? I am guessing that this came in over Monterey / Carmel and up through the Highway to Gilroy. I am trying to figure out what the routd used to be. Any help here is appreciated.


Like this comment
Posted by feed-up with PAO
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 1, 2015 at 10:09 am

for those of us close to 101 the noise from small planes flying in and out of palo alto airport (PAO) is much more of a nuisance than SFO flights. What irks me is that these are recreational flyers. They also now offer helicopter lessons there to add to the noise. Close it down and put something useful there for the citizens of Palo Alto like soccer fields!!


9 people like this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 1, 2015 at 10:33 am

PC said:

"What good is it to have a meeting with the FAA if the designated Palo Alto participants don't even bother to make a presentation of their case and concerns?"

I am not sure why you are addressing this question to me... or Town Square? From what I understand it was Anna Eshoo's meeting, and cities from the area were represented by their local officials. If you want to get the facts, it seems like your question would be best addressed to Anna Eshoo's office.

Also, I think everybody would appreciate a link to the Palo Alto presentation you referred to in your previous post, so we all can have a common reference, for a fact based discussion.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 1, 2015 at 10:38 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"I think everybody would appreciate a link to the Palo Alto presentation you referred to in your previous post, so we all can have a common reference,"

There was no Palo Alto presentation as opposed to the thoughtful and publicly disclosed presentation by the Santa Cruz representatives in their FAA meeting.

There have been no minutes of the Palo Alto FAA meeting as opposed to the excellent minutes provided by the Santa Cruz representatives of their meeting with the FAA.

After many years of being involved with and following Palo Alto affairs I can only conclude that this is one more example of sound and fury but no action - i.e. the Palo Alto Process.


3 people like this
Posted by helicopters!!
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 1, 2015 at 11:04 am

as we speak helicopter flying up and down 101 - this is out of palo alto airport. helicopter lessons- up and down, up and down - over our already crowded skies


8 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 1, 2015 at 11:12 am

Back to my concern - half of the job here is to produce engineering and physics issues to rationalize the actions of late of the FAA. If you focus on the engineering then the argument goes off in one direction. Everyone can then "Study" it. It is part a distraction from the whole picture.

Is that really the way this works? Did the Big Sur route go over the Mission Ranch in Carmel and the Tehama Golf Course and Hotel in Carmel Valley? Tie that to Clint Eastwood who is very protective of the growth and prosperity in that area. He was a former mayor of Carmel. Yes - he has that amount of pull.

The airlines used to come in over HWY 84 but now they don't - they come in over PA and then urn up the bay. Someone has pull - a person / group who makes large contributions to the powers that be.

Half of this argument is really about who has pull and who does not have pull. Who is contributing to who. PA's pull people are still relatively young and involved in their careers. They are busy "disrupting" everything. We need some high powered focus here - hopefully the current legislative addition to this equation helps out.

I did complain to the San Jose Airport about this mornings shift in the landing path which brought the Southwest arrivals over the whole of PA to the PAO and out over the bay at about 2,000 ft. Sorry - does not make sense unless someone made this happen for a social activity. This was not a engineering requirement relative to saving gas or security. Los Gatos Arts Festival?


8 people like this
Posted by longtime resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 1, 2015 at 1:30 pm

resident 1,

"Half of this argument is really about who has pull and who does not have pull. "

You nailed it.

If you look at the thread, the comments for both in favor and against resolving the problem fall into an argument about who has more pull or not. It's always about somebody else doing harm to another.

At least one thing is clear - nobody wants airplane noise.



3 people like this
Posted by roll back NextGen
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 1, 2015 at 3:18 pm

we also fill their pain,

Web Link


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Posted by roll back NextGen
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 1, 2015 at 3:19 pm

we also feel their pain,

Web Link


3 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 1, 2015 at 3:52 pm

"With ZERO winds at SJC they are still landing to the South and thus there is a SouthWest jet over Palo Alto at 2500 ft ( because it has to be kept below the North landing SFO traffic)."

This problem is self-solving. Errant Cessnas from the Palo Alto airport will take these low ballers out Web Link. The FAA is known as the Tombstone Counter Agency for good reason--it acts only after it sees enough of them.


7 people like this
Posted by Eric
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 1, 2015 at 6:17 pm

I wish I had lived in Atherton, away from the flight paths; then I would have been able to appreciate how good the FAA solutions were rather than criticizing (nobody is attacking anybody, by the way) people who came up with those "solutions".


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 1, 2015 at 6:52 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Eric - Here are four big jets that flew over my Atherton home today and none of them ever touched Palo Alto:

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link

Lots of sharing going on today.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 1, 2015 at 6:53 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 1, 2015 at 7:19 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Santa Cruz has a meeting with the FAA, the residents make a presentation and they distribute minutes from the meeting to the public.

Why did the Palo Alto residents not make a presentation to the FAA in their meeting and why have there been no public minutes of that meeting?

Why does the Weekly sanction such secrecy?

Why does the Weekly censor these questions rather than performing the customary role of a news organization in asking the same questions?


3 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 1, 2015 at 7:29 pm

On the radio today there have been two drones per day reported at the New York Airport by Delta pilots. It is unclear what type of statistics we have here - if any. They also have a lot of laser activity there directed at airplanes.

The recreational planes are flying at a lower altitude - especially when the are taking off and landing.

The bottom line is that security is now becoming a top issue - we cannot afford to have planes at a low level that are vulnerable to drones.
There is a whole level of crazy out there. The FAA was at the Drone convention - this is not a foreign topic.

The Government cannot put the citizens in a vulnerable position - they can try but we can get on top of the topic.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 1, 2015 at 8:14 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The current drone activity is a perfect example of what happens when the use of the common airspace is not properly regulated. Until drones are properly regulated in their use of the common airspace it will only be a matter of time before there is a disaster.

And think about what would happen if airplanes in the common airspace were not regulated in the current rigorous manner that they are by the FAA.


2 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 1, 2015 at 11:34 pm

I have to assume that the FAA is using the same set of guidelines in New York as it is using here. The FAA does not control the population.
I would suggest that commercial planes using a low altitude are more vulnerable than a plane that is at 5,000 altitude.


12 people like this
Posted by sara
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 1, 2015 at 11:40 pm

4 planes over your home today Peter? Well, I had about 6 every 30 min. for a good portion of the day.


11 people like this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 2, 2015 at 12:11 am

The FAA has been working on how to integrate UASs (drones) into the US airspace for years, but hasn't been able to make integration work. It turns out... the solution to integration, is segregation.

All of the media focus on the little quadracopter drones is just misdirection. The big boys want to fly the big stuff... that is where the REAL money is. Whoever manages to get the big ones aloft over metropolitan areas, will become the Google of real-space.


"Integrating UAS into NextGen Systems"
MITRE ~ August 17, 2011 Web Link


12 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 2, 2015 at 9:41 am

You have to ask the question as to why San Jose would direct it's morning arrivals north over the whole of Palo Alto at 2,000 or less feet - out over the PAO and bay, then back into San Jose for the reverse landing path.

Meanwhile SFO raises their altitude to accommodate this anomaly.

My theory is that someone is trying to stack the numbers to accommodate some study - probably government funded. We have a number of government people here who have attended the NASA sponsored events - all who want to believe that everything is hunky dory, except the FAA who has to fight for air supremacy from various fronts of attack.

If each airport is evaluated solely on its own flights then San Jose has a reduced noise level and SFO has a reduced noise level. Each wins in the statistics game- but Palo Alto loses - we now have twice the noise, pollution and overhead traffic.

San Mateo (Atherton) wins since the SFO planes are now higher - they can crow that the planes are at 4,000 feet. They do not see the San Jose planes.
San Jose wins - they can report a lower noise level.

There can be more than one group pushing for this - AT&T Park, the soccer stadium which you can see from the airport - it is next to the airport. SFO which is under fire from complaints.

So everybody in the government study wins here - they can uphold their position that there is no effect to their new program - but only if each airport is evaluated on its own flights.

That is why you do not see noise monitors in Palo Alto - the combination of the two airports - add in Oakland for its Hawaii flights and Surf Air, PAO
then you have the rationale as to how all of these statistical evaluations will fall apart.


9 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 2, 2015 at 10:50 am

Extensive article today - Sunday, 8/2 on SFC front page - Cellar's Market. In Atherton 70 -75% of the homes have extensive cellars / basements. In Palo Alto about 30% now have basements in the north side. This is usually due to a older home being torn down and replaced. South PA is in a flood zone so harder to do in this area. Woodside is busy building cellars, basement, caves, et all. Many applications to the cities for permits.
Assume that they do not hear airplane noise to same extent as people who do not have basements that are luxury suites.

[Portion removed.]

So we have a number of people who hear no noise - in their basements / cellars. A number of people who are very vocal in defending the FAA and SFO and spend a lot of their "personal" time doing this.

My guess it is not personal time but paid time. It is a distraction to argue engineering functions adnauseam when the other problems of noise and pollution are not dealt with. There is also the gaming going on - a lot of
agendas in play.

Who needs a soap opera - we have one here.


5 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 2, 2015 at 10:55 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


2 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 2, 2015 at 11:28 am

Try the word "consultant" - I know a lot of those people - they abound in this area. And a lot donate their time because they are experts in their field - now retired.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 2, 2015 at 12:18 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by longtime resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 2, 2015 at 12:30 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 2, 2015 at 12:42 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Resident
a resident of another community
on Aug 2, 2015 at 1:02 pm

I believe while not always correct he is probably the most informed and educated on the issues. I trust Mr. Carpenter would have disclosed if he were an employee, sub-contractor, consultant or any other type of representative for any governmental or quasi governmental agency.


1 person likes this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 2, 2015 at 1:23 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

My financial interests have been a matter of public record for the last decade as I have filed a Statement of Economic Interests Form 700 every year which discloses my personal assets and income.


10 people like this
Posted by Leland Manor neighbour
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Aug 2, 2015 at 1:37 pm

Here is the bigger picture:

Web Link

It is insane how technology is more and more used the harass and plainly
cause harm to people. In the name of "progress", "efficiency" so many people are forced to suffer! Somehow fuel efficiency doesn't trump air safety but it does trump health and peace of so many people on the ground. I hope all effected cities and communities will join together and bring down this irresponsible, i would even say criminal FAA as soon as possible!!


7 people like this
Posted by Leland Manor neighbour
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Aug 2, 2015 at 2:25 pm

Flying planes for decades, it should be crystal clear to anyone including FAA that flight safety, impact on the ground and overall efficiency including fuel efficiency are 3 major parameters for flight administration.

Now, give these parameters to a 1st grader and ask him or her to rank them. I am pretty sure the child will come with the right ranking, that is: 1. air safety. 2. impact on the ground, primarily noise. 3. efficiency. But FAA with decades of experience could not get it right. Amazing! This is criminal unprofessionalism. Is it that large bureaucracies just tend to become completely brainless and/or corrupted? (In this case unduly influenced by airlines' commercial interests) I believe people responsible for this Nextgen noise should part with their jobs. Also Senators, etc. who facilitated it also has to pay the price.


13 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 2, 2015 at 3:17 pm

Thanks Skyposse for your very good work!

Very good editorial. It puts the lie to the much of the information,
supposed rationale and logic spewed out here in great volume
by defenders of the airline industry since the beginning of this issue.

Thanks to what appear to be agents of defenders of the industry
this has taken much longer to recognize and get action on and
has proliferated more anger and bad feelings.

I am very grateful and impressed by Skyposse and thankful
for Anna Eshoo's involvement in this issue.



Additionally, I think this show a few other things. One is that
because someone identified themselves on a public forum does
not mean they are right, have more authority, are acting in the
public interest or know more because of their assumed authority.

To a large extent authority and those claiming to act with
authority these days seem to very often be acting counter to the
best interests of the community. This is a large problem in a
country supposedly run of the people, by the people and for
the people when the people cannot trust and find voices of
authority with integrity.

Again, very good work.



12 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 2, 2015 at 3:30 pm

> Posted by helicopters!! a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
> as we speak helicopter flying up and down 101 - this is out of palo alto airport.
> helicopter lessons- up and down, up and down - over our already crowded skies

YES, way back 30 years ago when there was virtually nothing out by the Baylands
I guess people just assumed that it would always be that way and they dumped
the noisy and stinky things out there.

I have been out by the Baylands many times when that helicopter has been
taking off and landing and hovering for long periods of time completely
saturating the local area with noise so the whole area is complete unpleasant
to be in. This has nothing to do with NextGen, but it is another assault on
the livability of Palo Alto which should be getting better, not worse.

People now new to this area may scarcely believe it, but I can remember
back in the 70's when there was so much pollution the old Dumbarton Bridge
used to disappear into the haze halfway across the Bay. We have cleaned that
up so much that nearly every day we can see the other side of the bay and off
clearly in the mountains towards the west as well. What a great piece of work
that was and what an effort. That is the direction we should be moving in with
other forms of pollution as well.

Clearly these are things that the "free market" did not take care of and were
only addressed by people forcing regulation on that market. Market solutions
are only driven by profit not actual results, and when there is too much profit
and it is the major power in our political process, real progress is impeded.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 2, 2015 at 3:32 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Having developed a highly sophisticated satellite-controlled system, surely it is possible to ensure that approach and departure routes are distributed over many communities, that higher minimum altitudes over populated areas be established, and that late-night arrivals are handled differently."

With a little bit of homework this is a solvable problem.

NextGen is a tool, not a policy making device.

Using both A-CDAs and herringbone approaches with the NextGen technology would work perfectly to better distribute both flights into SFO and SJC and the SurfAir flights into San Carlos:

"In the Netherlands, the NLR (a government research agency) has also started a research project on A‐CDA. The curved approach path consists of straight and circular segments. A constant glide path angle (normally 3°) is maintained along the entire path, including the turns.

"But while curved CDAs offer greater flexibility in designing approach routes they still suffer from the issue of concentration. Some respite could be provided to residents if more than one CDA approach can be used for each runway. This is possible if aircraft can turn on to the final straight leg of a CDA at different intervals, creating a series of approach paths with different entry points. This would maintain many of the benefits of CDA while creating greater flexibility to reduce the number of overflights at any given location and to provide respite periods.
These entry points could be either side of the straight leg, creating a "herringbone" effect"


from An AEF Report for HACAN on:
Approach Noise at Heathrow: Concentrating
the Problem
*****
It is time to stop cursing the darkness and to start applying the tools we have like NextGen and the superb operational analysis that has already been done in studies like the above cited HACAN report.


14 people like this
Posted by Leland Manor neighbour
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Aug 2, 2015 at 7:11 pm

Just looking at the plane flight tracker i realize that the real solution is

1. planes has to fly as high as possible for as long as possible and favor steep descends as much as possible as close to the airport as possible. Of course taking into consideration safety and passengers comfort. Planes flying at 5-6K feet are still extremely loud. Just fanning the paths and spreading the noise and pain and pollution across bigger area is unsatisfactory compromise. Why not to use NextGen to achieve this goal?


2. In the Bay area we have ocean on one side and mostly unpopulated hills on the other side. Why planes are not flying there? Oh yes efficiency. Some brainless bureaucrat applied a ruler on the map not realizing that the shortest distance and smoothest gradual descent in terms of community disturbance and air pollution is the price too high to pay to save airlines some fuel. Especially now when oil prices completely crashed. Planes should avoid highly populated areas as much as possible thus they should fly not in a straight way. Again, why not to use NextGen to come up with a more sophisticated routes and guide planes by them?


9 people like this
Posted by Leland Manor neighbour
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Aug 2, 2015 at 7:38 pm

It seems the root problem is that FAA has a wrong mission. This is how it is stated now on their website - Web Link

"Our continuing mission is to provide the safest, most efficient aerospace system in the world."

Congress has to change it to something like
"Our continuing mission is to provide the safest aerospace system in the world while minimally effecting life and health of the citizens on the ground. We also strive to be the most efficient aerospace system in the world provided our two-fold mission is not compromized."


12 people like this
Posted by 46-year resident
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 2, 2015 at 8:36 pm

Below is the web address to file an FAA complaint. Let's voice our concerns. We need to expose the FAA to our problems. Be specific. Email them often. We have 24/7 flyovers above our house.As soon as one begins to leave, another plane comes. Has anyone noticed that there are fewer bird songs?

Web Link


8 people like this
Posted by Annie's Biped
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 2, 2015 at 10:51 pm

Maybe we should be bothered by airplane noise but frankly right now it's completely lost in the din of incessant nail guns, jack hammers, electric screw drivers, hammers, and trucks driving up and down our street servicing the continual construction. Not only is the construction noise ongoing but the dust and dirt it shares with all the neighbors is fairly disgusting as well. Then there is the minor issue that all on street parking is dominated by the construction workers vehicles. Just try safely backing out of a driveway bracketed by pick up trucks! The plus side is the economy is thriving.


15 people like this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 2, 2015 at 11:32 pm

Annie,

I couldn't agree more, but at least the jackhammers, and nail guns stop around 5:00-6:00pm. The jet planes just keep going relentlessly until midnight, and only then back off to one every 30-40 minutes.

If someday the developers orgy of construction in Palo Alto ends... I hope the construction noise will not just be replaced by jet noise.


4 people like this
Posted by ndn
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 3, 2015 at 12:35 am

Annie's Beeped,
I dare say that you probably live in a house that didn't sprang up one fine day by divine intervention. Yours like mine was built, with jackhammers and nails, and saws and construction workers. What are you complaing about?


1 person likes this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 3, 2015 at 9:39 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I propose that all of the concerned citizens and local officials formally request that the FAA establishes as the default SFO NextGen arrival procedure a herringbone design:

1 - that is on the 284 deg radial from SFO
2 - that has at least ten Curved Continuous Descent Approaches (Advanced CDA) that link to
that 284 deg radial with five on the Northeastern side of the radial and five on the
Southwestern side of the radial
3 - that the closest of these ACDA's connect to the 284 deg radial no closer than the DUMBA
intersection
4 - that the connection point for each of these ACDA's be at least one mile apart on each side
of the radial
5 - that between 6 AM and 10 PM each incoming aircraft be randomly assigned to one of the
ten individual ACDAs
6 - that between 10 PM and 6 AM incoming aircraft be assigned only to the two farthest out ACDAs

**********


1 person likes this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 3, 2015 at 11:15 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here is what herringbone approach would look like:

Web Link


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 3, 2015 at 5:42 pm

I think the ACDA's would need to be more than 1 mile apart because people can hear the plane noise up to almost 2 miles from the point of closet approach.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 3, 2015 at 5:48 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

If the incoming planes are randomly assigned to the ten ACDAs then on average two planes would be more than 1 mile apart until they reach the final course.

The objective of the proposed herringbone approach is not to eliminate noise, which is impossible, but rather to spread the noise footprint over a broader area - which is exactly what all of the complainants have been asking for.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 3, 2015 at 6:16 pm

Is the radial line over the bay? How many cities get the ACDA's if they are only 1 mile apart?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 3, 2015 at 6:50 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Is the radial line over the bay"

Yes, until it reaches San Jose at the South end of the bay.



" How many cities get the ACDA's if they are only 1 mile apart?"

There are ten ACDA's spaced between DUMBA and MEHTA which would mean that at least one of the ACDAs would cross over every community South of DUMBA on both sides of the bay.
The locations of DUMBA and MEHTA are shown on this approach plate:

Web Link


4 people like this
Posted by longtime resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 3, 2015 at 7:15 pm

Peter Carpenter,

"The objective of the proposed herringbone approach is not to eliminate noise, which is impossible, but rather to spread the noise footprint over a broader area - which is exactly what all of the complainants have been asking for."

Spreading the noise is what is happening now. Cities are complaining all the way to Santa Cruz.

Beter idea:

Eliminate noise on the ground by having planes fly higher.

Why would we care what layout they take if you can't hear them because they are high enough.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 3, 2015 at 7:21 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Eliminate noise on the ground by having planes fly higher. "

That does not work for the simple reason that the inbound planes are by definition landing - which means descending to 13 ft above sea level - the altitude of the SFO runways.

With the required 3 deg glide slope that means being at 4000 ft at DUMBA and about 5200 ft at MEHTA.


4 people like this
Posted by Paly Grad
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Aug 3, 2015 at 7:27 pm

One helpful fix to the noise problem is already available:

"The name - vortex generator - sounds more complex than the device itself. Yet the small component developed by German researchers provides a big solution to noise produced by one of the most widely flown passenger aircraft."

In 2014 "Germany’s Lufthansa began installing the device on more than 150 A320s and its sister models, the A319 and A321, and announced that it was deploying new aircraft with the device pre-installed. The airline - Europe’s second carrier in passenger numbers - said it was part of its overall scheme to make airplanes quieter."

Web Link


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Posted by longtime resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 3, 2015 at 8:21 pm

Peter Carpenter,

No doubt they have to land @ the airport. The planes aren't landing in Palo Alto though.

Something doesn't add up. Nextgen brought noise -why would the switch to a location device cause more noise?


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 3, 2015 at 8:30 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" Nextgen brought noise -why would the switch to a location device cause more noise?"

The current application of NextGen concentrates flights within a very few flight paths. This is neither a necessary or a desirable outcome of the use of NextGen.

NextGen has the potential for dramatically increasing the number of safe approaches to an airport - that capability is not currently being use. My herringbone proposal, based on the HARN Report cited above, would utilize NextGen capabilities to more evenly distribute the noise/burden of airplanes inbound to SFO.




4 people like this
Posted by Leland Manor neighbour
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Aug 3, 2015 at 8:52 pm

We just had a plane below 4K ft (Taipei - SFO) over Palo Alto making horrendous noise! This is another huge problem, namely, planes circling over Palo Alto waiting for landing. Why they are not circling over SF or over the ocean?? Those circling/waiting procedures must be changed!


8 people like this
Posted by Glide slope
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 3, 2015 at 9:02 pm

As a resident of Atherton, my biggest concern is the more gradual glide slope. Unless we route the SFO-bound planes south of here, they will fly over our neighborhood at a lower altitude. So I like the new routing, because it keeps planes from flying over our neighborhood at a lower altitude. In fact, I expect that this concern about low-altitude flights over residential neighborhoods will force the FAA to direct planes to fly farther south of SFO. Good for us, not great for Palo Alto. Peter, keep up the good fight!


13 people like this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 3, 2015 at 9:18 pm

Leland Manor Neighbor,

That Taipei-SFO flight was really bad. The low frequency sound shook the walls in my house, and my internal organs... like when you get too close to powerful sub-woofer.

It was probably not "circling" Palo Alto though. If it came from the north it was doing a 270 degree turn over Palo Alto in order to Approach SFO runway 28 from the south. You might want to use Webtrak's "historical" feature to track its flight path.

All of the planes have been exceptionally loud tonight. Palo Alto's notorious temperature inversion layer might be playing a role by reflecting the upward component of the noise back down to the ground.

Webtrak: Web Link

SFO approach and departure plan illustrated: Web Link


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 3, 2015 at 9:27 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

EVA28 actually flew from Portola Valley almost in a straight line NorthEast across Palo Alto and then turned North after it crossed 101.


7 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 3, 2015 at 9:34 pm

"All of the planes have been exceptionally loud tonight. Palo Alto's notorious temperature inversion layer might be playing a role by reflecting the upward component of the noise back down to the ground."

I agree Jetman, it has been a really bad night. My nerves are frazzled. I can't get away from the noise even with my windows closed.


16 people like this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 3, 2015 at 11:29 pm

Resident,

There is a lot more to sound than decibels. What gets lost in all of the pseudo-scientific discourse on Town Square is any discussion of how different sounds influence emotions. Movie sound tracks use this property of sound to great effect.

Jet noise isn't just loud, it is also very disturbing... a high pitched screech that builds out of a low rumble, like the wail of baby emerging from a thunder-cloud. You hear (or feel) the low rumble first, and then cringe in anticipation of the high pitched shriek.

11:24... finally some quiet.


13 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 4, 2015 at 12:49 am

Still planes flying over my home at 12:46am!!! The airspace is not congested at this time so why are they flying over sleeping residents in Palo Alto?


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 4, 2015 at 9:12 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" The airspace is not congested at this time so why are they flying over sleeping residents in Palo Alto?"

Because, unlike Santa Cruz residents, Palo Alto residents have yet to make a specific proposal to the FAA to change this practice.


1 person likes this
Posted by building heights on flight paths?
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Aug 4, 2015 at 9:57 am

I'm curious: what role do very tall buildings play in flight path selections?
The Daily Post has the headline Monday Aug. 3, 2015 of "11-story hotel to get bigger" = Marsh Rd and Highway 101 in Menlo Park.

There are various angles to this commercial development, but what about in terms of flight patterns in SF Bay Area.

Does this mean Palo Alto, which has a 50 ft height limit of buildings (except those who receive special dispensation on rare occasions) will be the route of choice for low-flying commercial aircraft?! Well, now it won't be safe to fly over Menlo Park with their new Zuckerberg hotel near fB, this project, etc. etc.

A recent re-run on tv about San Diego airport's hazardous landing pattern over tall buildings (perhaps some have been removed, I don't know as I haven't been down there for years) indicates that tall buildings ARE a hazard for commercial aircraft...

It has been awful since flights were re-routed over Palo Alto in the past several years


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 4, 2015 at 10:58 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Every airport has a legally established airport safety zone in which the height of buildings is strictly controlled. The new buildings in Menlo Park do not fall within the airport safety zone of San Carlos, Palo Alto, San Jose or San Francisco airports and therefore will have no impact on established approach and departure paths.

"Public Utilities Code (PUC), Section 21675(a) requires preparation of an airport land use compatibility plan (ALUCP) for each public use airport in the state. This requirement applies regardless of whether a county chooses to establish and maintain an airport land use commission (ALUC) or to utilize one of the other authorized formation types for airport land use compatibility planning.
The ALUCP is designed to encourage compatible land uses in the vicinity surrounding an airport. It provides for the “orderly growth of each public airport and the area surrounding the airport” while safeguarding “the general welfare of the inhabitants within the vicinity of the airport and the public in general (PUC Section 21675(a)).” The ALUCP contains criteria for making consistency determinations, including building standards and height and land use restrictions."

Airplanes that are not taking off or landing are required by FAA regulations to remain at least 1000 ft above a densely populated area.

"§ 91.119 Minimum safe altitudes: General.
Except when necessary for takeoff or landing, no person may operate an aircraft below the following altitudes:
(a) Anywhere. An altitude allowing, if a power unit fails, an emergency landing without undue hazard to persons or property on the surface.
(b) Over congested areas. Over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open air assembly of persons, an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft.
(c) Over other than congested areas. An altitude of 500 feet above the surface, except over open water or sparsely populated areas. In those cases, the aircraft may not be operated closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure."


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Posted by Leland Manor neighbour
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Aug 4, 2015 at 11:47 am

Much more viable approach in general seems to be high flight altitudes coupled with steep take off/descend. "Spreading the noise and pain over larger areas" doesn't scale and is plain stupid. Noise should be limited to the airport vicinity!!

Here is a quote from the recently filed patent for a new supersonic plane
(Web Link) but the idea how to handle noise should apply in general!

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

No sonic boom on ground

But the patent says its main improvement over those two is that it reduces the noise of the sonic boom — a loud bang caused by shockwaves created by an object moving faster than the speed of sound.

"This noise has been the main limit, if not the only one, preventing the opening of lines other than transatlantic ones for the Concorde aircraft," the patent says.

The plane does that by being "near-vertical," like a rocket, while ramping up to supersonic speed and its cruising altitude of 30,000 to 35,000 metres — 20 kilometres higher than conventional commercial aircraft.

Similarly it would descend at a "steep gradient."

The sound energy dissipates in a ring around the plane, parallel to the ground, so that no shockwave hits the ground.

The only noise would be directly under the plane, "is confined to the vicinity of the airport and lasts for roughly less than one minute," the patent says.

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


17 people like this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 4, 2015 at 12:41 pm

The aircraft noise problem has gotten so bad, that we really need a multi-pronged approach:

1. HIGHER - All aircraft on approach, should fly as high as possible to reduce ground level noise impacts. Sound obeys the inverse square law, so distance has a dramatic effect on sound. SFO bound aircraft regularly fly over Palo Alto at >6,500' and still go on to land at SFO, so we know this can be done.

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

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

4. BAY APPROACH - The FAA should transition to a plan where all aircraft begin their approach to SFO starting at the southern tip of the Bay, and avoid flying over populated areas or dwelling at less than 10,000'. This is done in other cities like Washington DC, where approach routes fly along the Potomac River, to minimize impact on populated areas.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 4, 2015 at 1:48 pm

Jetman - just heard a very low plane at 3,900 feet over my home and looked it up on the tracker. It flew south right over my home and then looped over the rest of Palo Alto and over the bay. What type of plane is a beacon? or is that an airline?

Time: 13:29
Beacon: 3315
Altitude: 3,900 feet
Speed: 221 mph


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 4, 2015 at 2:17 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"What type of plane is a beacon? "

A beacon is the code number that is being transmitted by a plane's electronic identification system that shows up on the radar tracking systems.

"A discrete transponder code (often called a squawk code) is assigned by air traffic controllers to uniquely identify an aircraft. This allows easy identification of aircraft on radar."

SJC's webtrak uses that code to identify a plane that does not have a commercial flight number.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 4, 2015 at 2:22 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

That particular plane is a perfect example of why being too high is a problem. It originally passed over Palo Alto at over 7000 ft and the controllers had to give it a complete 360 deg turn to get it low enough to enter the SFO delivery system.


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Posted by Longtime resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 4, 2015 at 3:22 pm

Peter Carpenter,

Do you mean to say that this was an unsafe situation?

It has been noted that the increase in unsafe pilots causes ATC to make them fly as low as possible - more like drive to SFO from here.

That has come up in the threads about Asiana.



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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 4, 2015 at 3:59 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Do you mean to say that this was an unsafe situation?"

No, there was nothing unsafe about it. It was just poor planning by the pilot in being too high to be vectored onto the SFO approach. So air traffic control just had him/her do a big circle to get down to the proper entry altitude. Poor planning cost time, used extra fuel and made more noise.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 4, 2015 at 4:01 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"It has been noted that the increase in unsafe pilots causes ATC to make them fly as low as possible"

Wrong, there is zero evidence that ATC makes them fly lower than the published approach profile. The best approach is one that stays exactly on the 3 deg glide slope - not higher and not lower.


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Posted by ndm
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 4, 2015 at 7:34 pm

I think we have to establish priorities. A hundered people on the ground affected by airplane noise are a fraction of the millions that SFO serves and need to be safe while landing and taking off. I don't see a lot of complains from the direction of the take off flights.

The FAA needs to find the safest path at the safest altitude and that happens to be over my house it's ok. I don't now why people living in a 5million population in an totally urban area expecting countryside conditions . In the meanwhile, house prices of these poor noise suferers continue going up in no small measure because business accessibility to the Bay Area. This seems to be the case of eating a cake and expecting to still have it intact.

Please don't waste my tax dollars.


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Posted by Thoughtful
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 4, 2015 at 8:33 pm

Thoughtful is a registered user.

Dear EDM,

Perhaps you are not yet aware we are entering the Sixth Extinction, the fires in California related to climate change,the droughts and floods, or the fact that the entire profit system is disconnected from the cycles of nature and needs of the inhabitants of earth?

You are breathing the same air as I. I care dearly that it is filled with toxic pollutants and carcinogens. I care too that my stress hormones fill my body from the noise exposures.

Are you disconnected from these facts as the profit systems are from natural processes?


10 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 5, 2015 at 8:20 am

As a fourth generation Californian this state, as all coastal states do is blessed with many attributes. A lot of hard work has gone into the development of the water systems, now aging, the quest for naturally occurring minerals and end products which are contaminating the bay - mercury, etc., and oil which has occurred naturally. The region has its problems with earthquakes, drought and flooding.

Based on the coastal location we are now going to be inundated with coal trains and oil trains going through some of the most valuable property available. Add to that airplane noise and pollution. Those functions do not create value for the local resident - they create value for a bunch of people who do not even live in the area / state.

Add to that the quest to electrify the Caltrain system which will result in the removal of many trees and homes. The irony here is that electricity is generated by coal or natural gas - the very fossil fuels which many are trying to reduce in production. Where is the electricity being produced? That group does not connect the dots.

That is what your tax dollars are going to. Water tunnels, HSR on an outmoded system, and the increase in the population which any single area cannot sustain.

The people on the planes are not necessarily residents of the state - they are travelers going from one airline hub to another - how many going to Oregon where it is less populated and better situated for tax purposes. How many to the heartland with vast fields of flat land.

Don't cry for the whole pack your tax dollars are supporting - they are not crying for you. We are just an "opportunity" location. As an opportunity location we need to define the requirements that keep this place whole - we are not here for the pickings. We need to manage our collective resources which includes clean air, clean water, and good use of the natural assets that exist in this location.


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