Planes to stay higher over Peninsula

Publication Date: Wednesday Apr 8, 1998

AIRPORT NOISE: Planes to stay higher over Peninsula

Anti-noise group pleased with plan to lessen impacts

The San Francisco Airport Roundtable approved a plan last week to increase by four hours the time frame during which planes are required to fly at a higher altitude over the Woodside area.

Under an existing plan, planes are required to increase their altitude from 6,000 to 7,000 feet during the hours of 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. The decision at last week's meeting will extend the hours to 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.

"We're very pleased that they have approved a higher altitude," said John Gottsman, spokesperson for the Peninsula anti-aircraft noise group UPROAR, although he added that his group remains cautious about whether the increased altitude will make a difference in perceived noise.

Also at the meeting, the roundtable decided to offset the approach to Runway 28, the southernmost approach, by three degrees, thereby routing planes about 1,500 feet farther over San Francisco Bay and away from Foster City homes.

The airport hired ATAC, a Sunnyvale-based computer-software company that specializes in the aviation industry, to predict whether such a move would cause conflict with other flights approaching SFO, Oakland and San Jose airports using simulation models.

The software helped airport officials recognize that a conflict wouldn't exist.

"This offset instrument landing system which the consulting agency has developed is going to really make a significant difference," said Mary Griffin, Roundtable vice chair.

Gottsman agreed. "That will clearly enable everyone that is interested to identify improved conditions to eliminate commercial aircraft noise over the Peninsula," he said.

Future noise impacts from airport expansion will be more easily predicted, he said, allowing Peninsula residents to learn in advance whether they will be affected by increasing numbers of planes or new routes.

--Elisabeth Traugott 

Back up to the Table of Contents Page