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Palo Alto veers away from lawsuit against Federal Aviation Administration

Original post made on Jun 11, 2019

Despite rising community frustrations about airplane noise, the Palo Alto City Council decided Monday night not to launch a lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration at this time.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, June 11, 2019, 2:29 PM

Comments (46)

27 people like this
Posted by Jennifer Landesmann
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 11, 2019 at 3:55 pm

What Palo Alto would get from a successful appeal is the right to have some baseline of noise for Oceanic flights now and for generations that follow who - without a baseline - can get unlimited noise because nobody stops the shot clock of serial bogus environmental reviews.

Council voted to allow FAA to keep saying "nothing has changed" or "nothing changes" with a new procedure that has many unknowns (where the planes will fly, at what altitude, or what number of jets), when it's obvious something has changed and will change. In the case of PIRAT we know it's more impacts.

Council voted to allow FAA to document that there are no impacts to the City.

Council voted to sanitize a highly inappropriate environmental review based on a couple of political comments. And to sanitize that this route has never had an environmental review.

Council voted to not speak up for Palo Alto.

My view is that it was a calculated decision about how many people "care" about this and they figure it's only those who can wave hands at Council at 5 PM.

The attorneys will say whatever you want them to say.

In my view, we are dealing with a situation which has real impacts on the ground and it is unethical to not do proper accounting or advocacy on the basis of real data and analysis.

This was an opportunity to do things right, and Council voted for the status quo which is to keep everyone blind about what's going on in the hopes nobody cares.

FAA designed the PIRAT procedure with one day's flight track data. It's been pulled because it's unsafe but the lies in the environmental review documents will persist, now with PACC's flawed environmental review sanitation business.


28 people like this
Posted by Jennifer Landesmann
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 11, 2019 at 4:11 pm


BTW who can show up at Council (at 5 PM!) is no indication of who this decision will impact.

A petition to reduce airplane noise has been getting hundreds of new signatures in the last few days, Web Link


30 people like this
Posted by Kerry55
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 11, 2019 at 5:43 pm

Kerry55 is a registered user.

By choosing not to file litigation, basically the CC is giving away our basic human right to breathe clean air(no fine particulate matter), be bombarded with noisy airplanes as we are known as the sacrificial noise corridor for SFO. NextGen let SFO and SFO Roundtable dump all their noise over us. Before NextGen we were able to have a barbecue outside every summer night and enjoy the wonderful weather and ambiance. The City of Palo Alto has been working with regional bodies for 5 years, and it has gotten us nowhere. There was not 1 speaker last night who spoke up for working with our regional neighbors, in fact just the opposite! Palo Alto's neighbors have dumped the noise here and also outsmarted and outmaneuvered us at every turn. The Select Committee process was a sham. In fact, it basically made things worse. Now as SFO and FAA see that we have no backbone, expect more and more dumping of planes over Palo Alto!

So sad, we are the LOSERS!


19 people like this
Posted by Kerry55
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 11, 2019 at 5:47 pm

Kerry55 is a registered user.

Our wonderful climate is well known, but if one has to wear noise canceling headphones to sit in ones backyard to enjoy the weather........


12 people like this
Posted by Next On The Aenda...
a resident of University South
on Jun 11, 2019 at 6:47 pm

Simple explanation. Palo Alto could not win this lawsuit.


6 people like this
Posted by Next On The [Agenda]
a resident of University South
on Jun 11, 2019 at 6:48 pm

[Post removed.]


37 people like this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2019 at 6:54 pm

The ex chief council for SFO doesn't want to sue the FAA. That's a surprise!

Palo Alto government, both elected offices and the upper echelons of the permanent bureaucracy, is stuffed with people who seem more concerned with protecting San Francisco's SFO revenue stream and the reputations of the party leadership in San Francisco, than the health and welfare of Palo Alto's residents.

The San Francisco owned and operated industrial facility known as SFO is using Palo Alto (and other Peninsula cities) as a dumping ground for the toxic byproducts of SFO's operations in order to increase through-put and profits from that facility.

The same virtue signaling hypocrites that want to ban soft drinks and soda straws to protect the health and welfare of San Francisco's residents, remain willfully ignorant while an industrial facility they operate dumps millions of tons of hydrocarbon pollution and toxic noise on the Peninsula.


8 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 11, 2019 at 6:57 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

I turned this on TV - and it was a closed meeting. Then they went on to plastic. Going down to the City Hall now is not a pleasure - no parking outside. And parking in garage is by designated stickers up to a certain time period.
Suggestion here - they sit around and decide to cancel a topic by number only. No indication of what that topic is. Suggest that if a topic is cancelled then they state the number and topic of item so viewers know what to expect. Can't tell if the topic they cancelled is your topic.


14 people like this
Posted by Jennifer Landesmann
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 11, 2019 at 7:15 pm

Jetman,

"The same virtue signaling hypocrites that want to ban soft drinks and soda straws to protect the health and welfare of San Francisco's residents, remain willfully ignorant while an industrial facility they operate dumps millions of tons of hydrocarbon pollution and toxic noise on the Peninsula."

Indeed there are a few incinerators in our skies operated by SFO, OAK and SJC.

The aviation legal counsel that advises the City is the City's airport business counsel and he also advises San Mateo County. Some conflicts of interest are ok.

@Next

PACC was going to ask for a toll of the statute of limitations until PIRAT impacts could be revealed. That much PACC understood, that there are no impacts available to look at. The City passed on even asking.

I doubt the FAA is losing sleep over if Palo Alto sues or not but PACC should be caring about how much pollution is landing on the City.

And we are supposed to trust Palo Alto representing us on a regional table? The point about being too polite is spot on. PACC would rather take on more incinerator facilities on our behalf than dare ask simple questions.


24 people like this
Posted by Mark Shull
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 11, 2019 at 9:21 pm

Here was my full statement, to no avail:

Hi. I strongly urge the city to pursue legal remedies, against but not limited to the FAA, to address the egregious concentration of toxic air traffic over Palo Alto due to NextGen, FAA regulatory short cuts and the extreme inequities in regional representation that the FAA leverages to continue NextGen’s Architecture of Concentration over us.

SFO takeoff and landings have only grown by about 10% since the year 2000. Yet, traffic over Palo Alto has grown from around 70 flights per day in 2000 to an average of 250 to 300. Why, because of extreme traffic shifting.

The FAA does listen to communities in positioning its increasingly concentrated corridors. But, they are also fine gerrymandering who they listen to. The FAA’s community relations manual says bring in those who benefit, if others are harmed. Their Net Noise Reduction Model to measure environmental impact is based on giving some relief to a majority, by concentrating traffic on a minority. The FAA’s model is to play winners against losers.

Palo Alto has become the designated dumping ground. And, the reason for this is that we have not stood up and demanded meaningful representation. Yes, we have asked many times, and then been kicked to the curb by SFO, the SFO Round Table, and Congresswoman Eshoo time and again. The City needs to break this cycle, and a lawsuit is the right place to start.

FAA threats to stop working with us are nonsense. First, they aren’t working with us, at all. SFO is going live with GBAS next year, which will enable extremely concentrated rails. BSR will increase noise over us by 2 to 4 decibels DNL according to the FAA. BRIXX is a project to raise BDEGA West, moving it more over us. These changes all center on Palo Alto. Which one are they talking to us about?

Second, the FAA has consistently threatened to stop talking to communities that sue, and then worked directly with them. The FAA threatened in writing to stop talking in response to the Reagan National and BWI lawsuits, and then did nothing different, because they are under pressure to get stuff done. Moreover, the lawsuit did bring a focus and attention to the issue of the FAA moving traffic to communities who were not represented, at the behest of those that were.

Governments in cities in the LA region have gone on record to say their lawsuits caused the FAA to sit down with them and pay attention to their issues. That is what we need.

Pathetic was it was, the FAA did an EA when the SERFR OPD replaced conventional procedures. Now, they are hiding behind the Select Committee to skip an EA for the PIRAT OPD. The facts do exist to take a legal stand. Nobody else is going to help us, you have to.



8 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 11, 2019 at 9:30 pm

The council simply took the course of least exertion. End of matter unless an initiative pops up.


23 people like this
Posted by Rebecca Ward
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 11, 2019 at 11:05 pm

The concentration of jet traffic is about more than noise annoyance. That noise has documented health and learning impacts
Web Link. One of the sections in that presentation discusses the impact of jet noise on children’s learning. It was therefore concerning to hear and read the comments of Lois Shore.

“Lois Shore, who works at JLS Middle School, told the council Monday that the problem has gotten noticeably worse at the school. "We have loud planes going over constantly. When our KJLS broadcasts are recorded, you can just hear, 'Boom!' You don't know what the students say," Shore said.”

From Congressman Adam Smith’s May 20, 2019 written testimony to the the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, “The narrowing of departure and arrival routes has concentrated noise and other impacts over specific areas and those living under these pathways now bear an increased majority of the noise burden”.. “In addition to noise impacts from aviation, ultrafine particles (UFPs) in the atmosphere pose an outsize threat to those living under flight pathways”...“According to the FAA’s preliminary research, fine and ultrafine particles in the atmosphere are considered health risks in humans because of their ability to penetrate deep into the human respiratory system”
Web Link.

Palo Alto has three routes of SFO arrivals on their final approach to the airport, concentrated over it. After four years of inadequate response by the City, undefined “regional efforts” with no public discussion of why the Council expects results different from past “regional efforts”, is truly unacceptable. The FAA used the regional Select Committee (which did not include Palo Alto as a Principal, Web Link) recommendation as their rationale for PIRAT2 Web Link.


24 people like this
Posted by Thomas Paine
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jun 12, 2019 at 8:48 am

Anna Eshoo said she was going to work with the FAA to solve this horrendous issue but she was too busy passing a law to regulate the volume of TV commercials. Turns out her law was not needed since the FCC already had that authority. But she did get a press release for her TV volume regulations.


3 people like this
Posted by BobH
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 12, 2019 at 12:30 pm

BobH is a registered user.

I am pleased that the city council decided to not file a lawsuit against the FCC.

I am not in favor of more airplane noise, but I don't support a lawsuit because the city would not win this lawsuit, as the FCC has full jurisdiction of the airspace and as far as I can tell the city has none. It would be a big waste of our tax money to do this with no chance of winning.




18 people like this
Posted by Disillusioned
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 12, 2019 at 1:07 pm

This is a genuine problem that emerged several years ago when Atherton/San Mateo County successfully got their air traffic shifted to and concentrated upon....us. Owing to tangled bureaucracy, it’s not direct or easy to protest this. We’re at the very north of Santa Clara County, famously monies are taken from us for the benefit of San Jose down towards the south of the county. Clearly, see: transit. The lack of interest in Palo Alto (besides as a piggy bank) is clear.
But PA IS an important center of: finance, education, entrepreneurship and jobs. Oh, let’s “punish” Palo Alto any way we can, say most government officials (!)
Nevertheless, this current loud, heavy air traffic situation represents a lack of representation and advocacy by our local and county government officials on a huge quality of life and city property value issue. It was CHANGED, and Zi don’t blame FAA programs solely. San Mateo County and SFO appear gleeful.
I am disgusted by these politicians who cannot prioritize important issues of their constituents. Some are thrilled, too, that our single family zoning will be removed owing to the persistence of State Senator Scott Wiener. Our representatives don’t care.


8 people like this
Posted by Tired of Noise
a resident of another community
on Jun 12, 2019 at 2:07 pm

The chance of a lawsuit against the FAA achieving anything is slim. The FAA does not need to take into account noise; it has been allowed by our "representatives" in DC to ignore the impact of changes it makes. The FAA is a captive agency, and the aviation industry cares only about profits. NEXTGEN is about packing more planes into the sky, regardless of the cost to the environment.

In fact, despite the anger over noise throughout the US and elsewhere, the plans are to give us more: continued expansion of commercial and general aviation, delivery drones, flying taxis, supersonic (and if you think a commercial jet is loud, wait until you hear a supersonic with its fighter jet engines come in for a landing over your house).

Instead of asking the city to sue, your time and effort would be better spent creating a coalition of groups encompassing the whole bay area. Then you could put pressure as a unified whole on the entire industry: FAA, airports and carriers. Even better, join with other groups all over the US and demand that congress:
- institute meaningful noise limits, based on a per instance maximum, not an average
- set higher minimum altitude and minimum approach/departure angles
- take measures to reduce aviation, the most polluting form of transportation, such as a heavy tax on all aviation fuels, a ban on frequent-flyer programs, penalties on frequent fliers through escalating fees, cutting off all subsidies of aviation, etc.
- return control of airports to communities, so that if a community wants, for example, a curfew, it can have one

At the very least, stop using aviation. Don't fly unless you absolutely have to and don't have anything shipped by air.


9 people like this
Posted by Jennifer Landesmann
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 12, 2019 at 4:50 pm

Tired of Noise,

"The FAA does not need to take into account noise;"

Actually, FAA does need to take into account noise. Every airspace action has an environmental determination.
FAA is required to observe National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). To do that FAA has agency rules to observe NEPA. FAA's rules to observe NEPA are in Order 1050.1F Web Link

While FAA's thresholds of pain are very insensitive - +5db in an area of 45-60 DNL and use a single metric, *Order 1050.1F provides for the use of supplemental metrics.* It is not forbidden by FAA for say airports and communities to work out some extra metrics to use in evaluations.

The only reason FAA does not take into account noise is because everybody lets them not account for noise.

If you keep allowing FAA to never count the noise, or substantiate their declarations of "no change" of course FAA doesn't account noise.



9 people like this
Posted by Tired of Noise
a resident of another community
on Jun 13, 2019 at 9:00 am

Jennifer L. - that's my point, the Congress allowed the FAA to determine that there was "no significant impact" regarding these changes, which is clearly ridiculous but points to the larger issue here: that they were allowed to do that at all.

Even if a change is made that increases the noise above 65 DNL, it can still be done (just look at the issue of F35s in Vermont). So no, the FAA doesn't really have to restrict its behavior regarding noise. Requiring them to do a study is useless if they can still carry out the same behavior.

Part of the problem with the complaints regarding aircraft noise is that people are demanding studies and to be informed of changes; neither does a bit of good if the aviation industry can continue to violate our rights.

Noise kills. If PA found significant lead in the water, the arguments wouldn't be "let's do a study", or "you should have told us you were going to put lead in the water", or "PA has more lead then neighboring communities, let's share it out equally." No, the only suitable response would be to remove the lead.


5 people like this
Posted by Jennifer Landesmann
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 13, 2019 at 10:03 am

Tired of Noise,

"Even if a change is made that increases the noise above 65 DNL, it can still be done"

While FAA can do anything or refuse to do something, the time they are required to consider noise is when making an environmental determination which also provides for the right level of community engagement and looking at alternatives to make the least impact on the ground. FAA has mandated tools analyze changes and potential impacts which FAA has yet to provide for a project in the Bay Area. They are still bringing flight track maps which are just lines and no noise projections.

If you want attention to something, your last call is when you see a problem. Not after FAA has moved on to the next change that will add even more noise to the last determination when you let them say, nothing to look at here.

Also, FAA doesn't have a file "regional agreements" so if you want attention to your particular issues, the most responsible thing to do is to ensure that there are adequate reviews and *timing is everything.*

Spending years getting together to do this or the other is OK but and letting flawed environmental reviews pass is not.


7 people like this
Posted by Tired of Noise
a resident of another community
on Jun 13, 2019 at 10:36 am

Jennifer L. - I don't consider the type of environmental review the FAA would do the "right level of community engagement" simply because they can ignore all community concerns and environmental impacts. The FAA is regulating itself, which basically means the aviation industry is regulating itself since the FAA is a captive agency.

It's not enough to demand to be heard when what you say can be ignored.

"Spending years getting together to do this or the other is OK but letting flawed environmental reviews pass is not." Years have already been spent. You will get nothing but a flawed environmental review from the FAA because they are not required to provide anything else.


4 people like this
Posted by Jennifer Landesmann
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 13, 2019 at 11:12 am

Tired of Noise,

"You will get nothing but a flawed environmental review from the FAA because they are not required to provide anything else."

Our City's decision seems to follow that thinking and why I appreciate the actions of cities that have boldly and successfully been helping raise the standards for FAA's environmental reviews. And even FAA is rising to the challenge.

The Phoenix Catex has printed material, color maps, what if scenarios, alternatives to look at - and that is with a Catex. Much better than nothing and better than letting fibs fester. It's not perfect, it doesn't mean problem solved, it means you are working off some better material and there's room for improvement.

Palo Alto resigning to the idea that FAA will only do "what is required" (while watching FAA not provide basic information on the PIRAT Catex..say compared to Phoenix) is what those with more political pull benefit from while they get lots of stuff way beyond "what is required."


11 people like this
Posted by Say what
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 13, 2019 at 12:14 pm

I’m trying to understand council’s position on this.

Is it:

A) I’m not one of the hundreds of people under the flights who has not had good sleep for years and is enduring increased cancer risk etc., so throw them under the bus. They are collateral damage to the huge benefit of my leadership role.

B) I care about this and know it is serious but what can I, as an inept country bumpkin, do against a huge beauracracy? After all, it’s not like we have political clout, people with money, or intellectual horsepower in Palo Alto!

C) Straws are more important.


4 people like this
Posted by Tired of Noise
a resident of another community
on Jun 13, 2019 at 12:27 pm

Jennifer L. - how have the standards been raised? The FAA still makes decisions based on models, not real world measurements, and the only noise restriction is meaningless since it's 1: too high and 2: can be exceeded without real consequence. Great, they have pretty diagrams showing alternatives, but still no right to control what happens at their airport, even though the city owns it, and no right to not be subjected to noise that is proven to harm human health and the environment. Only the historic part of the city might get some relative relief, but others are still complaining.

And don't forget, most other lawsuits trying to challenge the aviation industry have had no luck, so there was little chance PA would have gotten even what Phoenix has, as pathetic as that is.


2 people like this
Posted by Jennifer Landesmann
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 13, 2019 at 1:17 pm

Tired of Noise,

"how have the standards been raised?"
"The FAA still makes decisions based on models"

The study in Boston, a partnership with MIT, FAA, Massport, and communities is not perfect but is *way above* what we have in the Bay Area.

The Boston study calibrates the models with real noise measurements

It has additional models to refine the modeling work

It informs other FAA work in refining their own model

There is nothing wrong with using modeling if it's done even moderately right and especially with the amount of data that FAA has available, which is extraordinary. Literally every flight in the air is recorded and that data is available for years back.

Until you even try to use what is available though, how can you discount it?

On a practical level, FAA can't be in charge of noise measurements for every city in the US thus modeling makes sense.

It's up to the airports to do better in terms of measurements and where they measure. SFO's noise monitors end in Redwood City.








Like this comment
Posted by Jennifer Landesmann
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 13, 2019 at 1:21 pm

FAA's modeling tools is AEDT
Web Link

Aviation Environmental Design Tool (AEDT)

AEDT is a software system that dynamically models aircraft performance in space and time to produce fuel burn, emissions and noise. Full flight gate-to-gate analyses are possible for study sizes ranging from a single flight at an airport to scenarios at the regional, national, and global levels. AEDT is currently used by the U.S. government to consider the interdependencies between aircraft-related fuel burn, noise and emissions.
You can find information on obtaining AEDT as well as links to AEDT documentation and FAA guidance, on the official website for AEDT at Web Link.



Like this comment
Posted by Jennifer Landesmann
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 13, 2019 at 1:29 pm

Excuse the typos

Meant to say that FAA's modeling tool is AEDT

Instead of all the flight track lines that the Bay Area is used to working with, SFO, SJC, and OAK should be providing these analysis to communities.

The standard for airports being good neighbors is even lower than that for FAA environmental reviews. Regional tables are a forum to provide excuses why this or that is so difficult and to send people off to do things like change legislation for more laws to be defied.


21 people like this
Posted by Jimmy
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 13, 2019 at 1:57 pm

Time to get new leaders in office who care about the welfare of this city, the kids and future generations who will be living here. I recorded a half hour sitting outside in my back yard and within those 30 minutes 12 very loud airplanes went over head. That's a plane every 2.5 minutes! This is REAL and it affects every citizens right to quality of life which this is quickly diminishing. If this council has no guts...then we need representatives who will do exactly that...represent! Having lived here almost all my life, I am so shocked that the City Council took the cowards way out. It's not the way Palo Alto rolls...Even if you don't think you are affected by the noise, please unite as Palo Alto citizens to help each other out and stand with those who are.


2 people like this
Posted by HitTheMoney
a resident of another community
on Jun 13, 2019 at 3:35 pm

Jennifer Landesmann,

What you're focusing on is what the industry, FAA and our Congress are more than happy to focus on (clue #1 you're down the rabbit hole). Substantive results are needed nationwide. Sleep. Peace and rest inside and outdoors. Reduction in aviation use if human health and the environment are prioritized over profit, not expansion worldwide. And certainly a suffering competition is not what's needed, the demands to spread the damage equitably. Stop the damage, that's what's needed. But let's say a place "uniquely burdened" gets 300 low-altitude flights per 24 hrs and another gets 50, so you bump 100 more onto that less burdened place. Each now gets 150 low-flying aircraft. You celebrate that achievement? And as capacity is increased, which is the point of all this hell that's been unleashed by our Congress, then what? Keep it fair, if 50 more for US then 50 more for THEM and so on until both places are at the original level 300 that was so unacceptable? Basically this logic amounts to having no problem with noise torture and air pollution so long as it's spread equally, whatever the destructive, toxic level to humans and the environment.

It seems to be a logic that derives from what the industry banked on, and Congress and its agency the FAA. People will put flying and air shipments on demand and on the cheap above their own health, the health of others and the environment.

Don't worry, all the talk, studies, models, data collection will be yours for the foreseeable. That they can and will continue to do because it's just more public money being spent anyway.

Private industry profits keeps soaring.


5 people like this
Posted by Jennifer Landesmann
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 13, 2019 at 4:08 pm

HitTheMoney,and all in other communities,

Please not change the subject. This is about a Palo Alto decision, which regards stewardship of Palo Alto neighborhoods and the well being of Palo Alto residents and quality of the environment of our schools - which should be a City priority.
As such, turning a blind eye to sloppy environmental reviews of airspace changes is in my view a mistake.

There have been no reasonable analysis with actual noise projections yet for any of the changes that are contemplated and it is long overdue. Reaching conclusions about what is a "realistic" win from asserting on laws meant to protect people is thus premature without even some basic information.

Nice try to take the focus to all the other many issues to deal with, I believe that by observing laws and doing things at the right time can help here. There is 60 years for doing everything else but only 60 days to speak up about a bad judgement of environmental review level.


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Posted by HitTheMoney
a resident of another community
on Jun 13, 2019 at 4:47 pm

Jennifer Landesmann,

Whether sooner or later, people who focus only on their city, neighborhood, etc. (maybe will see focus on a particular street next) will be forced to face the reality that this is a nationwide program. A nationwide injustice. Congress passed the act, the President signed off on it. We're now years into this hell. If this aviation program's destruction is to be stopped it will again take an act of Congress and the President. Not more models, studies, and data and public outreach, but legislation prioritizing human health and the environment over profits in substantive terms, not calls for more studies.

If people want this to end, they need to poke their heads out of their own neighborhood, city, state and wake up.

But if you just want a tweak for your area, I guess keep going in the same direction. It's unlikely you'll get even the tweak, and more unlikely the tweak (e.g. historic neighborhood in Phoenix) will last given FAA can just make another procedural change and declare a finding of no significant impact, as the agency has done nationwide since the program kicked off.

The goal is expansion, ever increasing operations, regardless of the human and environmental costs. The skies nationwide are tarmac airports tarmac to line up arrivals and departures. If you don't question that core assumption, that there's no problem with increasing aviation operations then your fight will remain limited at best and ultimately pointless.


16 people like this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 13, 2019 at 6:11 pm

Hit said:

"Private industry profits keeps soaring"

Airports are a major part of the airline industry and ALL of the major airports (SFO, JFK, DEN, LAX, ATL, Etc) are owned and operated by city governments. The airline industry is impervious to criticism not just because it controls the FAA. The airline industry has also captured city governments through a business model that makes city governments willing and eager participants in the airline industry.


14 people like this
Posted by resident3
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 13, 2019 at 6:50 pm

resident3 is a registered user.

Jetman,

“ The airline industry has also captured city governments through a business model that makes city governments willing and eager participants in the airline industry.”

in a nutshell


4 people like this
Posted by Alicia
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 13, 2019 at 10:08 pm

the airplane noice becomes more and more over the past months. While reading this article, I was recording the instances of passing airplanes. There are one airplane passing almost every 2-3 minutes! Now question is, what our residents can do to fight the noice? The noise has been disturbing everyone’s quality life. I wish there are people who have better knowledge educate us, is there a plan? Any concrete propose that residents can discuss?


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jun 14, 2019 at 6:45 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Any concrete propose that residents can discuss?"

Yes -

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jun 9, 2019 at 5:30 pm
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.
Palo Alto wants the traffic to be moved somewhere else.

Unless Palo Alto can show where to put the traffic so that impacts fewer people then Palo Alto will fail in its efforts.

Please support a better solution!

OK, let’s develop a Draft SFO Approach Protocol which is based on simplicity, equity and technical feasibility.

As a starting point I recommend the following report:

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

Here is the full report:
Web Link

Here are some highly relevant excerpts:

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

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

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

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

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







""those who are familiar with the new technologies suggest the fixes are not nearly so complicated and primarily involve some common sense adjustments to increase altitudes of planes when they cross the Peninsula"

I have posted two different ways to significantly reduce the ground noise problem.
The first proposal shifts all the entry point for SFO approaches to three Initial Approaches (IAF) fixes at the South end of the Bay and those intercerptions would take place at or above 7000 ft.. The negative aspect of the first proposal is that is does concentrate all traffic over the three IAFs and these IAF are above populated areas (although the 7000 ft or above entry altitude greatly reduces the ground level noise below these IAFs.


The second proposal randomly distributes all SFO inbound flights over a series of interception points beginning at 10 miles from SFO and continuing out to 25 miles from SFO. This random distribution would spread traffic over the entire South Bay area and some of it would of necessity be at lower altitudes in order to intercept the SFO glide paths.

Here are the two proposal - apologies for the dead web links but the Forum does not allow pasting documents with active web links:

First proposal:

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

Web Link

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

Web Link


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

Web Link

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

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

Web Link

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are the specific problems with these two proposal?

How can they be improved?

Are they compatible with NextGen technology?

Are they simple?

Are they equitable?


5 people like this
Posted by Jennifer Landesmann
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 14, 2019 at 8:24 am

Alicia,

You should know a couple of things about Peter's comments:

The one about "Palo Alto wants the noise to be moved somewhere else"

This is a fierce comment that suggests that people want to harm others which doesn't help anything and is especially unfair to accuse Palo Alto. Harm has been caused by many other issues and the most harm comes from keeping people in the dark about what is happening in our skies, and why a transparent process is needed.

Prior to 2014, aircraft noise was not a big problem as far away from airports as it is now and nobody had reason to pay attention. Except, from time to time there were issues and the way that the problems were solved was pretty much with political agreements. One such problem in the mid 90's happened because altitudes were lowered for some SFO bound flights and - the Oceanic flights which are the subject of this article - used to cross a few miles North.. Without public notice to Palo Alto residents and without any environmental review process, the folks up North arranged for the Oceanic flights to cross over Palo Alto instead because by moving the crossing to Palo Alto, the planes could fly higher. A collection of issues erupted surrounding some of those changes and eventually what was worked out was that SFO bound planes would fly 5000 and above Palo Alto.

Palo Altans were not as active or busy looking at what the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was doing in private agreements with other communities and as long as the planes were high, nobody was counting how many. And the way planes flew was with a set of flight plans and options which allowed pilots to fly even higher than 5000 feet and still land at SFO safely. Without getting too technical, the way planes flew gave pilots more control, and when weather conditions were good, they were on what is called visual flight plans.

In 2014, FAA started standardizing flight plans and switched pilots to what is called Instrument Flight Procedures which in the past were used mostly for bad weather or unsafe conditions.

What is important to know is that Instrument Flight Procedures require an environmental review process and that process should involve affected communities. FAA did one for some routes called the NorCal OAPM, but decided to not let people know that they would lower altitudes by 1000 feet and change the loads on the routes, putting more planes on these new procedures. FAA did not do an EA for Oceanics in 2014 and are now refusing to say where planes will fly, at what altitude, and how many.

The other thing that is important is that FAA uses the term "overlays" to suggest that no environmental review is needed so after doing an earlier sloppy environmental review, then FAA can go on an "overlay" binge, adding more planes and lowering altitudes even more and you will only know when you are experiencing the noise . But when you call and complain you will be told - the only thing that has changed is that there are more travelers, the economy is strong.


Peter's comment "Unless Palo Alto can show where to put the traffic so that impacts fewer people"

Because FAA has traditionally not affected people farther away from airports, and used to resolve noise problems with side agreements, the main focus of policy was to reduce the number of people affected in the loudest areas of the airport contours or what is called 65 DNL.

This has evolved into a mantra that "fewer people should be affected" which is quite dangerous if you decide that the fewer people should be only one city.


There have been inordinate efforts since 2014 to work out solutions. Many proposals, and now FAA has been arbitrarily picking what to focus on. The regional bodies are supposed to work on consensus but they are consensus from a majority of cities who do not have nearly the same problems that have been dumped on Palo Alto.

The decision by Palo Alto to play regionally is not the problem. The problem is playing regionally without pressing on environmental reviews. The regional tables are precisely to not do what is lawful or fair. It is to negotiate among majority players and compromise. They do not even look at noise. They look at flight track lines.

Peter's comment "Are they equitable?"

This should be a beginning of a regional process, which is that everyone who benefits from the airports and travel should be prepared to share *some* of the impacts. Not all, but some.






6 people like this
Posted by Jennifer Landesmann
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 14, 2019 at 8:59 am

Clarification

The inordinate efforts to find solutions since 2014 have been most successfully played by the folks who don't have nearly the amount of noise here and have time to play smokes and mirrors games with the public.










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Posted by Alicia
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 14, 2019 at 12:05 pm

Thanks Peter Carpenter and Jennifer Landesmann for the information.

searching relative information online, then I found Web Link and other very useful website like Web Link which can help recording number of disturbance. I hope those data been shared with our representatives to feel how we been impacted, badly.


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Posted by HitTheMoney
a resident of another community
on Jun 14, 2019 at 12:39 pm

Jennifer Landesmann,

"The inordinate efforts to find solutions since 2014 have been most successfully played by the folks who don't have nearly the amount of noise here and have time to play smokes and mirrors games with the public."

Such a statement arises from pure ignorance or willful ignorance, neither of which is excusable this late in the game, about the nationwide damage of the NextGen program to human health and the environment. It's this kind of thinking, this kind of selfish and narrow basis for resistance against the program that will ensure these hellish skies are over our country for the foreseeable.

Maybe another 5 or 6 years of this will encourage you to look beyond thr borders of Palo Alto and to stop your myth-making about its unique burden. When this selfish path gets you nowhere then opting for solidarity across even 1 "metroplex" might become more appealing to you.


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Posted by Jennifer Landesmann
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 14, 2019 at 2:08 pm

HTM,

The "Metroplex" project is finished in Northern California.

What is happening now are various implementations which are both *new* actions but in terms of the overall Nextgen program are various features of Nextgen. Nextgen can be used for good, and that is why input from affected people matters because good in the Bay Area means - dump it all on the MidPeninsula.

New actions are the 1 opportunity for communities to get attention to concerns.

For new actions, you get 60 days to act to assert on the environmental issues.

I won't detract this topic from what is happening right now - which is that Palo Alto has shamefully passed on exerting influence to get a higher level environmental review. Political and side agreements get broken, or used against those most affected and it is plain wrong to give a wink to FAA defying statutes which can protect people.

If the regional process aids and abet this nonsense that is really bad. Very separate issue from Nextgen.

I think we can agree to disagree on where the focus needs to be and the timing issues.


3 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jun 14, 2019 at 2:17 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

“Nextgen can be used for good, and that is why input from affected people matters because good in the Bay Area means - dump it all on the MidPeninsula.”

Exactly my point and why I stated the Palo Alto simply wants to move the noise somewhere else. And why I have instead proposed noise sharing plans.


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Posted by Jennifer Landesmann
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 14, 2019 at 2:33 pm

About the Metroplex,

While the Metroplex project is considered done, since 2014/15 FAA has been working with communities to address noise concerns and the Select Committee was set up for that.

Except, as mentioned the Select Committee is being turned into a smokes and mirrors game.



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Posted by HitTheMoney
a resident of another community
on Jun 14, 2019 at 4:42 pm

Jennifer Landesmann,

"The "Metroplex" project is finished in Northern California."

"New actions are the 1 opportunity for communities to get attention to concerns."

Beyond your narrow focus and aiding the divisive myth of the unique burden (many other communities are operating this way with the same ineffective results), you are also focused on "new" changes. Because even if no more changes were in the pipeline the current blight isn't a human health and environmental problem that needs to be fought?

And as far as good things coming out of the NextGen program, what like new technologies? New technology doesn't dictate flying low, abolishing curfews, changing angles of ascent and descent into and out of airports, packing the skies with more and more aircraft and using low altitudes miles and miles from airports to line up arrivals and departures. It doesn't dictate turning the entire country's skies into a airport tarmac and dumpsite for aviation air and noise pollution.

So given there's been no substantive change nationwide since the program started with respect to noise and air pollution and the determination to increase those pollutants, I'm not seeing this good of the program you're seeing, nor are countless other citizens whose quality of life has been destroyed by it, who haven't had even a decent night's sleep since it began.

But if the endless studies, maps, data, committees etc. are what you call results, the FAA and elected officials taking action, then you should be quite pleased because there will be more of that in the pipeline too.

Too many people are "fighting" this the way you are, looking out only for their own backyards, their skies over their own heads, willfully forgetting those skies are connected to everyone else. This isn't a Palo Alto program so don't expect a Palo Alto "win" - expect denser and denser skies. That's the objective of the program nationwide. Your focus is the selfish mire that aids this objective.


2 people like this
Posted by Liam
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 15, 2019 at 4:37 pm

I live in Mountain View, and feel there a couple of facts that need to be reinforced... given this much emotion and more than a few misunderstandings.

1) An SFO bound plane passes over my house every three minutes during the morning and evening commutes. They are not flying high enough to ignore (5,000 feet or more), but typically come through at around 3,500 feet... perhaps not as loud as the ones that go over Addison at maybe 2,600 feet - which is pretty ugly - but loud as hell nonetheles. You’re not alone. Note, this is SFO arrivals only, and during bad weather the diverted SJC traffic is even hairier, as it has to stay under the already-low SFO traffic.

2) The subject under consideration here is merely the Oceanic arrivals, only 5% of SFO arrivals which scatter randomly over the entire range from Menlo to Mountain and as such are not very important despite the misguided anger.

3) The Big Kahunas afflicting the Midpeninsula are the BDGA West arrivals to SFO - 22% of SFO arrivals, flying first over Los Altos then over MV to the Bay south of San Antonio. And the the other Big Kahuna is SRFR, SoCal arrivals at 30% flying first over Stanford then Palo Alto and going out to the Bay over the Willow/101 interchange. Unfortunately for Mountain View and Los Altos, during commute hours about a fourth to a fifth of the PA traffic gets shifted onto LA/MV by SFO air traffic control, to spread out the spacing safely on final approach. So, adjusting for this “vectoring” the Stanford/PA traffic and the LA/MV traffic into SFO are almost exactly equitably distributed at a little less than 30% each. The remaining 43% enters the Bay final approach over the East Bay Hills.

Why am I telling you this? Not to pick a fight but to clear up the emotion over the misperception that this is a Palo Alto-only problem. It’s ugly for many of the rest of us as well, and if you were to talk to Sunnyvale people they suffer similar ugly.

I’m telling you this to say that solutions have be regional, and please avoid fanning any one city’s culture of grievance.

By the way: Raise the altitudes to 5,000 or 6,000 feet, descending to below 4,000 only once over the water and our perception will change dramatically for the better!: Noise diminishes by the square of the extra distance to the ground. That’s a big deal.

3). So, the emotion is


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jun 15, 2019 at 4:44 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"By the way: Raise the altitudes to 5,000 or 6,000 feet, descending to below 4,000 only once over the water and our perception will change dramatically for the better!: Noise diminishes by the square of the extra distance to the ground. That’s a big deal."

That is exactly what both of my proposals posted above do.


6 people like this
Posted by resident3
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 15, 2019 at 5:01 pm

resident3 is a registered user.



Oceanics are the night low altitude flights and freighters

All night & 4:30 AM - so 5% of traffic could be 50% of your grief because it wrecks your sleep.

Obviously altitudes are an issue, they are too low all around

No emotion, just facts that everyone has known for five years


7 people like this
Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 15, 2019 at 7:33 pm

@ Liam in Mt View

Some of your facts are inaccurate and misleading.

BDEGA West arrivals are not all flying south of San Antonio, far from it. We get a big share of them in Palo Alto, and also at times north of Palo Alto (Menlo Park). Only a fraction of them end up in Mt View.

SJC's south flow arrivals also impact a large swath of Palo Alto, including over my own neighborhood, where they fly as low at 1,800 feet (we are talking about full size commercial jets flying this low above us, including almost all the ones that fly in late after curfew). Actually, flights below 3,000 feet in Palo Alto are much more likely to be SJC bound than SFO bound, not that the noise impact is any less painful.

I agree with you on some key things. It is true that SERFR gets vectored an awful lot. Unfortunately, in my neighborhood, I get both SERFR noise and vectored flights...

I also agree that altitude is a huge factor. At times, when the skies are quieter here (it tends to happen just before Palo Alto has a big city meeting on airplane noise - go figure), I see that planes have not disappeared but more are flying above the East Bay, as opposed to SERFR (flights from places such as Phoenix or Dallas). Then, whatever flights are still flying above us fly higher and it is much more bearable...

I also agree that the race to cram more and more flights in the sky is the root of our problem. It is crazy, participates in polluting our area as well as precipitating climate change. Things have to change! People have to stop flying to places like LA. Build that train!


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