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air-traffic-control-baytracon-sfoSan Francisco bay area major jet arrival and departure routes

Three major routes into SFO intersect over Palo Alto. The FAA implemented NextGen, changed flight procedures, and moved vastly quantities of jet traffic over Palo Alto.   Traffic will continue to increase and concentrate over Palo Alto unless we succeed in protecting our health and well being.

Please help. Email us at info@skypossepaloalto.org

full-size map and advocacy information.




Palo Alto plan reduces total noise for people on the ground

We hear the the City of Palo Alto proposed plans will “devastate” Mountain View and Sunnyvale. This is complete nonsense.

Here are two noise contours using the latest FAA modeling software. The medium purple color represents area exposed to 45-50 dB DNL and the serfr contourblue area represents 50-55 dB. The ambient level in suburban areas is ~45 dB. These contours assume that all of the northbound traffic will pass alongSerfr Eddyy contour these pathways.

The first figure is the current contour for SERFR. The blue area (50-55 dB) covers a small part of Los Altos, covers a wide swath through Palo alto then turns over the Bay.

The second figure is the proposed SERFR-EDDYY route. The blue area is entirely over water. The purple area is shifted very slightly to the southeast. The total noise, experienced by people, is reduced.

City of Palo Alto route recommendations

The City has recommended to the Select Committee, rerouting northbound flights, adhering to these principles: 1) reduce noise for everyone as much as possible and 2) disperse noise which cannot be reduced so everyone shares.  Details here.

13 specific recommendations for FAA consideration

3legsWe have an opportunity to fix this problem. Below are listed 13 specific suggestions Sky Posse has submitted to the FAA, more details here and here

1) Abandon the using the MENLO way point; 2) Direct Pt Reyes arrivals to use primarily the Pt Reyes east leg (over the Bay); 3) Use the full length of the Bay by approaching from the southern shore of the Bay; 4) Use the highest possible angle of descent; 5) Route night traffic over the full length of the Bay; 6) Sequence planes over the ocean or unpopulated areas; 7) Fix unstable descent and low altitude vectoring, level flying, and speed changes; 8) Consider a ‘herringbone’ or ‘trident’ approach pattern to reduce concentration over populated areas; 9) Address SJC operations that impact the residential areas of the mid-peninsula; 10) Require airlines to install vortex generators on A320 family planes; 11) Use modeling tool (AEDT 2b) to evaluate noise impact and dispersion of air pollutants; 12) Integrate noise abatement planning between SFO and SJC; 13) Implement a continuous improvement program .

It is as bad as it seems

The number of flights over Palo Alto has more than doubled. The path has shifted slightly to the northeast. The proportion of flights near the bottom of the 4000-5000 foot altitude wemergstdsgimpindow has increased. The altitudes have a bimodal distribution. Sky Posse advocates for “Equitable Distribution” This is not equitable distribution.


Substantial traffic increases via MENLO Waypoint

Flights from the north, south and west converge over a waypoint near the intersection of Willow Road and 101. They aim for an altitude of 4000 feet at MENLO and from there, take the final approach into SFO. James Sun analyzed traffic growth between 3K and 5K feet. The number of flights from the south and southeast has grown substantially. Why? Traffic that used to fly other routes was moved over us.















Airbus 320 whine/howl/keening petition

Certain jets flying over us emit a high-pitched whining noise that is particularly offensive to the human ear. They account for 17%-20% of the noisiest SF Peninsula over flights. Luckily, there is an inexpensive solution to this huge noise issueAirbus+RetrofitImage. Sign the petition  to ask the airlines to spend less than $5000 per jet to retrofit their fleets with simple air flow deflectors that STOP the horrible loud “whistling” sound affecting millions on the peninsula.






Select Committee On South Bay Arrivals

On December 2, Representatives Eshoo, Farr and Speier sent to a letter to the FAA Administrator along with reports from the Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals and the SFO Airport/Community Roundtable.  The three representatives: accepted the Select Committee’s and Roundtable’s recommendations; requested the FAA move towards implementation  “as soon as possible; requested the FAA provide a progress update within 60 days.

The letter also cites the Committee’s recommendation that a successor organization be formed to be made up of local elected officials from the members’ three Congressional Districts.  The Representatives state that they “will work with [their] incoming colleagues in the next Congress to determine how best to move forward with that recommendation.”  Palo Alto – which experiences the highest number of overflights and is most impacted by SFO arrivals – should have a seat at the table.  Send us email if you’re able to help with this.

The Committee and Roundtable reports contain a multitude of proposed solutions to mitigate aircraft noise over the three affected districts.  We recommend the FAA  prioritize these two recommendations: assess one or more alternate waypoints for southern arrivals into SFO; address the problem of low-altitude night flights.