Karen Marshall in Hidden Valley can even pinpoint the exact day she first began hearing loud planes overhead.
“It was Nov. 20, 2016,” said Marshall, a former flight attendant, who added, “I'm devastated. The way they're doing it now (flight paths) is bizarre — it just doesn't make sense.”
More than a year ago, flight path changes in The SoCal Metroplex Study were proposed throughout Southern California by the FAA. Those changes were intended to cut fuel costs and improve efficiency at San Diego International and other regional airports.
Marshall added she'd like to see the FAA do a full-blown environmental report analyzing airport noise on people and also on wildlife in La Jolla, which includes the San Diego-La Jolla Underwater Park, as well as several other Marine Protected Areas.
Realtor Cameron Volker, a lifelong La Jolla Shores resident who lives on Vallecitos Court, speaking on behalf of her neighborhood said, “We all have similar concerns. We've all lived here for 30 years — and there's never been airplane noise.”
But just before November 2016, Volker said that all changed.
“Before November there was one flight that came over once a night at 10 p.m.,” she said. “All of a sudden, after November, it's been one flight after another. This has been going on non-stop, all times of the day and night. And they come right over our houses in La Jolla Shores.”
But La Jolla Shores isn't the only neighborhood in La Jolla adversely affected. Beatriz Pardo of Bird Rock, who lives in the 5600 block of Linda Rosa Avenue, first heard airplane noise Oct. 21 of last year.
“I know that because I had out-of-town guests,” Pardo said. “We were sitting at the dinner table and all of a sudden we heard this, 'vrrrrooom, Oh my God what in the world was that?' “
Another La Jollan, Len Gross, has been documenting and analyzing the current status of La Jolla airplane noise. In a recent report, Gross claims new heretofore unheard of airplane noises are coming from three sources: commercial airlines from SAN, arrivals and departures; small private planes mostly from Montgomery Field; and police, military and private helicopters.
“Over a period of 24 hours, the airliners are generally the largest noise source simply because there are a lot of them, they are big, and when close-by they are quite noisy,” said Gross' report. “There are approximately 500 commercial flights in/out of SAN every day … more than 100 departures and 100 arrivals pass near/over La Jolla every day. That is a lot of traffic.”
Noting the FAA's contention that “there were no formal changes during November 2016 to flight procedures that would have noticeably affected La Jolla,” Gross agreed, noting historical data from WebTrak monitoring commercial airline flight paths indicates “paths taken by aircraft near /over La Jolla have not significantly changed recently.”
However, Gross concluded, “Some members of the community have done a limited review that found that there have been changes over a longer time period.”
“In the near-term, we must continue to make all elected officials, the Airport Authority, and the FAA aware that the current aircraft traffic is having a significant negative impact on the quality of life in La Jolla,” concluded Gross' report. “Additionally, it is very important that many separate individuals report noise issues using the Airports WebTrak application or other means.”
“The solution to the current noise is likely to be a complex negotiation/tradeoff that involves different levels of government; it is not likely that there is a 'silver bullet' solution to the problem,” Gross said. “A positive step in that direction is the acknowledgment that La Jolla should get a seat on the ANAC subcommittee that addresses community concerns (about airline noise).”
Pardo said the newly minted commercial airline is annoying enough for her family to consider moving.
“I really will sell if we can't get the FAA to make some changes,” said Pardo, who added she's logged 1,500 noise complaints with the FAA over the past two months. She's also started a community petition drive to get the FAA to address La Jollan's complaints about new airport noise.
What changes would Pardo and Marshall like to see the FAA make?
“I want the environmental (study),” said Marshall.
“All I really want them to do is to undo everything they've done since 2014,” said Pardo. “In 2014 they had 200 complaints the entire year. Last year, they had 31,000.”