FAA disputes increase in noise from San Diego Airport departures
by DAVE SCHWAB
Published - 02/05/17 - 07:21 AM | 4 4 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print
An airplane flies over palm trees in Point Loma. /  PHOTO BY THOMAS MELVILLE
An airplane flies over palm trees in Point Loma. / PHOTO BY THOMAS MELVILLE
slideshow
A growing perception by some coastal residents from Point Loma to La Jolla that they are hearing more noise from commercial airplanes was disputed by a Federal Aviation Administration official at a Jan. 18 Airport Noise Advisory Committee subcommittee meeting in Liberty Station.

At that meeting, which was to assess historical versus current San Diego International Airport arrivals and departures, the conversation turned instead to spreading noise complaints from residents in Mission and Pacific beaches, as well as La Jolla Shores and Bird Rock. Some long-term residents are insisting they're hearing loud airplane noises in areas where they never have before.

FAA air traffic manager Barry Davis gave a slideshow presentation Jan. 18 discussing new noise complaints that have been filed throughout the region. He explained the federal agency's take on those complaints.

“We tracked data from different targeted neighborhoods that have been causing anxiety in the communities,” said Davis, who concluded the lion's share of new noise complaints were attributable to “low-flying general aviation aircraft largely from Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport in Kearny Mesa, and from helicopters.”

Noting perceived airplane noise can be greatly affected by weather conditions, including overcast skies that tend to magnify sound, Davis went neighborhood by neighborhood, showing graphs of new noise complaints. Concerning the majority of new noise complaints, Davis said the FAA determined that “88 percent of those were attributed to general aviation (private) aircraft and helicopters,” adding “Montgomery Field is the culprit.”

Davis conceded, however, that “the [FAA] still has some work to do.”

Responding to Davis' remarks, airport watchdog Casey Schnoor, representing Point Loma on the ANAC subcommittee, argued, “New noise complaints are not a valid benchmark. A lot of people are still experiencing noise problems. They're just not reporting them.”

Following the Jan. 18 subcommittee meeting, Schnoor added, “I strongly do not believe that the information presented can support a conclusion that residents hearing ‘extra noise are misinterpreting what noise is out there to be commercial airlines, when it's actually general aviation/helicopters.’”

Schnoor noted the ANAC subcommittee then determined that the (FAA) presentation “was incomplete as it was intended to study historical migration (if any) of flight tracks from one geographic area to another (i.e. eastbound routes migrating northerly up the Peninsula over time, as was demonstrated to the mayor in October 2015, and requested to be provided).”

Debbie Watkins, ANAC subcommittee chair, said the group's mission is to receive input from all the stakeholders throughout the region, including the various sections of Point Loma, which is most affected due to its proximity to SDIA. She said the goal is to ultimately make recommendations to the full ANAC committee as to what should be done to ensure noise over residential neighborhoods is minimized/mitigated to the largest extent possible.

“We're (subcommittee's) reviewing the accuracy of flight track data, assessing the history of arrivals and departures including FAA overlay data regarding early turns and missed approaches, curfew violations, etc.,” said Watkins.

Watkins added the current Work Plan for the ANAC subcommittee is “in the process of being updated and requires the approval of the full ANAC Committee.” She said that will take place Feb. 15.

The next ANAC subcommittee meeting is scheduled for March 15 to discuss the topic that was initially scheduled for the Jan. 18 meeting, historic data of arrivals and departures, Watkins said.

Get involved

- The next full Airport Noise Advisory Committee is Wednesday, Feb. 15.

- More information is available at www.san.org/Airport-Authority/Meetings-Agendas/ANAC.
Comments
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Myra Harada
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August 30, 2017
In the last weeks the aircraft noise from Lindbergh has been unusually loud, every 5 minutes. I have lived in south Mission Hills for 30 years--with double-paned windows--and found the noise mostly tolerable if not negligible. I almost never see a non-commercial aircraft (I have a panoramic view of the airport) and can remember only occasional police helicopters over the neighborhood. It's not overcast 8/30/17. Take-off is louder than landing, and some aircraft are louder than others.(You've been good about fining noisy aircraft and keeping the 11-6 moratorium.). Is this noise because of allowing noisier aircraft?
Bay Park Resident
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July 24, 2017
I have noticed a big change in the amount of commercial aircraft noise in the last few months. Distant commercial aircraft noise is constant from early in the morning until late at night. I now see commercial aircrafts from the Bay Park area going over Mission Bay, when I have never heard or seen them before.
Formerly of Bay Ho
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February 09, 2017
I sold the home I lived in for 23 years solely because of the increase in unbearable air traffic noise. There is no question jet airplanes are taking off and circling back over PB/Bay Park on ascent, the noise is distinct. It used to be such a quiet canyon and was revered for its peace. In the last year I was there (2013) it got to the point of needing noise-cancelling headphones so I could hear myself think in my home office. And that was with the windows closed! Every five minutes! This is just not authentic information and could easily be debunked.
PL Local
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February 05, 2017
“Montgomery Field is the culprit.”

What a load of bullshit!

"airplane noise can be greatly affected by weather conditions"

So, this is San Diego. SAN DIEGO. Apparently weather is bad here, it is never sunny, and we have hurricane force winds.
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