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.
- The next full Airport Noise Advisory Committee is Wednesday, Feb. 15.
- More information is available at www.san.org/Airport-Authority/Meetings-Agendas/ANAC.