Low-flying aircraft still trouble local towns Around Town, posted by Editor, The Almanac Online, on Dec 2, 2012 at 2:10 pm
For years, at Peninsula community roundtable discussions with noise-abatement officials, representatives from Portola Valley and Woodside have complained about arriving commercial aircraft flying too low, and too noisily, as they pass over a navigation beacon in the Woodside hills.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, November 28, 2012, 12:00 AM
Posted by Jerome Leugers, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Dec 2, 2012 at 2:10 pm
European countries are more conscious of aircraft generated noise. They have numerous noise sensors near airports, and, at some airports, controllers inform pilots of the number of miles until touchdown. With this information we can adjust our configuration (flaps, landing gear, speed brakes) to adjust our rate of descent for fuel conservation and noise abatement.
In our neighborhood of Lindenwood, Palo Alto airport traffic seems to generate more noise than large commercial aircraft inbound to SFO.
Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of the Menlo Park: other neighborhood, on Dec 2, 2012 at 3:53 pm
It truly amazes me that people buy homes in what has to be some of the most congested air space in the country and then complain they hear aircraft. Really!!!?? You hear aircraft within a few miles of three major commercial airports!!!??? Really!!!?? What a blinding flash of the obvious. Folks, if you don't like airplane noise, move someplace they don't fly. Otherwise you're going to hear airplanes over head. It's kind of like when you move in next to a pig farm knowing full well it's there and then complaining about the smell. If you dind't want to smell it you shouldn't have bought a home next to it.
We have SFO, Oakland and San Jose all with intermeshed and overlapping air spaces. Add to that Palo Alto and San Carlos airports. Where I live we regularly have aircraft on approach to SFO flying over. We also get a pretty fair amount of SanCarlos air traffic. I knew it when I bought. Fact is, I don't think I've lived anywhere in the bay area that I didn't hear aircraft over-flying where I lived. Get used to it folks, there's only going to be more air traffic as this area continues to grow, not less. Like I said, if you don't like it, move.
Posted by Familiar, a resident of another community, on Dec 3, 2012 at 12:06 am
Aircraft noise over Menlo Park has increased to near intolerable levels. Just try to enjoy an outdoor activity; Lunch in a park or a pool event in your backyard. You often have to interrupt and stop your conversation or raise your voice over the din of jets flying over head every two minutes. (Really - time it - every 1 to 2 min.) One neighbor would complain this destroyed the value of his property before he moved. Others say they tune out the noise, but still admit it is always there. Wow. That's quality of life.
I challenge anyone outdoors in Menlo Park to find any five minute period from 6:00AM to 2:00AM when one will not hear noise generated by an aircraft. You really notice this when you vacation and realize this constant noise source is absent. Traffic, leaf blowers, sirens, trains, construction only add to the cacophony. These later sources may be less irritating without the constant aircraft sound. When I go to Palo Alto, Mt. View or Belmont I notice aircraft noise is less noticeable. Menlo Park, Woodside, Portola Valley and Atherton alone seem burdened by the excess aircraft noise.
This aircraft noise has steadily increased from all types of aircraft. I thought it was just more SFO bound jets directed over Woodside VOR (the beacon above the intersection of Hwy. 84 & 35), but there are many other overflights from every direction. Because the jets are supposed to fly higher overhead, the smaller aircraft must fly lower, making even more noise. As for jets, I have noticed United Airlines and the Chinese carriers are the lowest flying window rattlers. Are there any enforced sanctions for low flying violating pilots?
Is there a solution? Two. Stop using Dumbarton Bridge as the visual target for the approach path? Move Woodside VOR beacon somewhere else. Or, build another VOR at a distance and alternate between them to give southern San Mateo County an occasional break.
Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of the Menlo Park: other neighborhood, on Dec 3, 2012 at 6:42 am
I challenge you to find anywhere in the Bay Area that does not have aircraft noise. It's part of living in a large urban area with three major airports. As I said before if you don't like it, move somewhere away from urban areas with airports. The fact is, the airports aren't going away and you knew they were here when you purchased your home, didn't you?
Posted by POGO, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Dec 3, 2012 at 9:01 am
Well, we're clearly not as bad off as Foster City, Brisbane, South San Francisco and other cities that experience the noise from departing aircraft - which create far more noise than landing aircraft.
That said, there are several things that SFO and TRACON (the radar approach facility for SFO) are trying to do to lower noise levels. One of things that produces noise on landings, is the lowering of flaps to slow the plane as it descends.
TRACON is about to deploy a new approach system that is supposed to put arriving airplanes on an approach pattern earlier and provides a more gradual, linear descent which is intended to eliminate the need for such dramatic braking. This should also reduce some of the noise we experience.
Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardina, a resident of the Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park neighborhood, on Dec 3, 2012 at 10:42 am
As a life long Bay Area pilot, I think everyone needs to keep a couple things in perspective.
1. Most of our local airports were built on empty land, before all of us decided to build near them.
2. The aircraft we all fly are quieter than the ones from just 10 years ago.
3. The nearby airports (KPAO, KSQL) are LESS busy than they were a decade ago. KPAO has approximately 500 flight operations per day that is down nearly 40% and the majority of them are over water and practicing landings (this is an airport that is used extensively for training) many of those operations are repeated takeoffs and landings "in the pattern" over the bay.
4. Neither GA airport has any traffic patterns on the west side of the airport.
I fly my airplane out of Hayward (KHWD) where there are noise abatement procedures, and I know that all the approaches to SFO have been modified (higher altitude) to help with Noise Abatement.
So the number of aircraft flying into these airports has diminished, their noise has been GREATLY reduced (listen to an old 727 or 707 land to get a real grasp of how much quieter the new engines are)
And for the record all these airports were probably in operation before any of you bought your homes.........
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Dec 3, 2012 at 11:54 am Peter Carpenter is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online
I just spent the last hour walking in Lindenwood and during that time i saw/heard exactly two commercial planes and two general aviation planes - none of which were loud or lasted more than 60 seconds.
Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community, on Dec 3, 2012 at 5:52 pm
I was in Menlo Park today, in the western area, as well as downtown, for 4 hours, much of it outdoors & I don't recall hearing any jet noise. I was in a quiet backyard for a big chunk of time, no jet noise. I was also at Burgess Park, again, no jet noise. It's not that I don't hear it ever, it's just that today I didn't. I also looked into the gorgeous sky today a lot & was outside long enough that loud airplane noise would've made an impression on me.
I'm very sorry for those that it bothers because noise pollution is insidious. Much of the time, noise pollution comes from inconsiderate, uncivil types or those who loooooove what a long leafblowing session does for their yard.
Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of the Menlo Park: other neighborhood, on Dec 3, 2012 at 6:23 pm
I think the basic problem is that the people that complain, buy in this semi-rural setting thinking it will be like a truly rural setting. It's not rural. It never will be rural. And the demands of these folks that it be like a truly rural local are totally unreasonable. I'd also bet that each and every one of the complainers has flown, does fly or will fly out of one of our three major airports. Hypocrytes anyone?
Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community, on Dec 3, 2012 at 7:11 pm
It's hard to balance what our individual complaints are against the overall needs of a metro area. I've spent a lot of time in more rural areas & there's a downside to them of course, too. This area has gotten so busy, so noisy, so trafficky that I really commiserate w/these type of complaints, but I also wonder if some of these folks are more sensitive to noise than others are? I know that I am, at least compared to my obnoxious neighbors.
I've spent miserable times cheek by jowl w/headache causers - a jumpy house set up less than 10 feet from our house that went more than TWELVE hours in one day - more than once, ALL the yards being leaf blown on a street - that takes a few hours of constant noise - blasting loud car stereos from scofflaws who refuse to get the message even when security shows up - the next day, they're at it again. Workers in neighboring yards who play music outdoors ALL DAY while working. Yeah, yeah, it's EPA, but it only got this bad the last couple of years w/the lousy bazillionaire conglomerate landlord. We also have a local shuttle driver who drives so fast that our cheap windows literally rattle. Hey, a free shuttle's a marvelous thing for many in this community, but for us it's a total nuisance because it's incredibly disruptive.
But this is the thing - it's hard to find a balance when it's a problem that's beyond the scope of one's town. If a decent quality of life matters to us, then we have to stand up for it. But we also have to give ourselves a good reality check. On occasion I'm bothered by airplane noise so I do wonder if people might be willing to wear earplugs? Or do they feel that they shouldn't have to? These types of issues aren't going to get better any time soon, so we'll hear more complaints.
Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of the Menlo Park: other neighborhood, on Dec 3, 2012 at 7:49 pm
I think it's about expectations. I don't have any expectations that my life or space won't be intruded upon by aircraft noise. I think those that are upset about it have an unreasonable expectation that they won't be disturbed by aircraft noise. As a pilot I also understand how our airspace system works and what is involved in the safe arrival of flights. With that information I don't get the least bit upset when a plane passes over head. I'm happy that it lands safely and understand that it is where it is for a reason, primarily one of safety.
Posted by N, a resident of the Menlo Park: The Willows neighborhood, on Dec 3, 2012 at 8:00 pm
We're right under the usual flight approach path to SFO, but I don't find the jets bother me as much as other noise sources. At least they pass quickly and go somewhere off else. The neighbors' leafblowers are the worst -- they stay around! Little planes, from PA airport I'd guess, with engines that sound like overblown mopeds or lawnmowers, go around in circles and irritate constantly on fine days. Helicopters buzz around over Stanford while there are games there. (But I do miss the dirigible already - just a low putter and friendly.)
Posted by Observer, a member of the Woodside High School community, on Dec 4, 2012 at 1:15 am
the point of the aircraft noise is that there may be some ways to mitigate effectively.
@Menlo Voter I understand your point, but once guidelines are set, it is reasonable to see them used. eg one may live near a highway, but one is within reason to flag when the trucks start using engine braking, especially when it is posted to not do so. Just buying a home near an airport does not give a blank check to the airport/aircraft to do what they want. As another example, if there were a helicopter hovering over your house, the fact that the airport was there before you is simply not relevant.
Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of the Menlo Park: other neighborhood, on Dec 4, 2012 at 7:25 am
the fact that the airport was in place before I purchased my home is absolutely relevent. I knew there were airports there. To not expect overflying aircraft to make noise is unreasonable. To expect that I or you can impose on pilots how they should operate their aircraft outside of what is required by the regulations is not only unreasonable it could be unsafe.
Posted by skywagon pilot, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Dec 4, 2012 at 12:24 pm
I have grown up at local airports, have a private pilot's license, and love the sound of airplanes overhead... BUT... there is alot to be said about airline pilots that are coming in to SFO in the early morning hours between 3-6 am... I can tell that some of these pilots are coming in with way to much speed/power and are realizing its time to slow it down fast... Proper approach planning can truly help! We flew out of San Carlos Airport for years and many of the locals didn't appreciate us full powering our way to the bay on takeoff.. We learned to climb to a safe altitude and then power back to a safe RPM and limit the noise over the housing below in Redwood Shores.
There's no reason we can't request noise abatement procedures on approach during evenings, weekends etc.
I love them flying overhead! I would appreciate less announcements in the middle of the night..
I always will enjoy the flights overhead! Keep em flying!
Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community, on Dec 4, 2012 at 12:38 pm
I just heard a plane or two overhead. It was slightly disruptive - I'm indoors. I'm not sure if it was a local PAO plane of jet - I didn't pay that much attention. But compared to having to call the boss of the contractors next door who for multiple days have been playing music while talking loudly most of the day, the airplane noise wasn't very intrusive.
I'm not fan of small planes & what I consider the issues they cause. But I do really wonder what's realistic to expect on the peninsula re airplane noise. The folks who are so bothered by this type of noise - how do you experience it? Out of doors in your yard, while out hiking, while working from home, when you're trying to sleep?
Posted by Enough, a resident of the Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks neighborhood, on Dec 4, 2012 at 7:54 pm
The Harley-Davidson's blasting through our neighborhood are far more disruptive to our family than the planes flying overhead. And yes, we get helicopter noise from the LifeFlights in and out of Stanford, but again, the Harley's trump all of that.
Posted by Observer, a resident of the Woodside: Woodside Glens neighborhood, on Dec 5, 2012 at 10:33 am
I've never complained about the noise-- like most folks, I have learned to deal with it, and get on with my life... I have even taken some flying lessons (lol)-- but I was struck by the hyperbole and imperious tone in your initial post. You seem to loudly imagine that all the people in favor of noise abatement moved here well after the noise level became so pronounced, and that they are stupid, and should move away if they don't like the situation. Pretty judgmental and haughty stuff.
You say that you are “amazed,” well it may surprise you even more to learn that many folks in the Woodside/PV area (and probably other local communities) have lived here well before the current noise level. Not so very long ago there was no I-280, very little vehicular traffic, and barely any airplane noise. (The Oakland and SJ airports were not busy, and even air traffic at SFO was far lower-- especially as regards Pacific Rim travel-- plus, relatively few people owned private planes). I'm still in my fifties, and remember how peaceful it used to be (yeah, boo hoo... I know). The peace and quiet was one of the reasons people moved... and stayed... here. Not everyone has lived here as long as I have, but that doesn't mean that it wasn't quieter when they moved in, and that they are idiots and crybabies who need to get out of Dodge, just because they are concerned about the noise. The imperious order for folks to get used to it or leave, was out of line.
I understand that you are a pilot, and have your bias in the situation, but there is no need for the dismissive and insulting stereotyping, and exaggerations about all those who disagree with you. (“... you move in next to a pig farm knowing full well it's there and then complaining about the smell. If you dind't want to smell it you shouldn't have bought a home next to it.“)
I suspect that on some level, even if you are unable to empathize with people who are effected by the noise, you realize that it is not always so easy to just give up and move away, as you would command that people do. I also suspect that you would fight and rant on, should the situation become reversed, rather than readily evacuate the area when you believe something is worth fighting for. Perhaps, you are more like the folks you believe to be complaining about the noise, than you realize.
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Dec 5, 2012 at 10:47 am Peter Carpenter is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online
We each live here for a variety of personal and different reasons. Those who want peace and quiet need to realize that there simply is less peace and quiet here than there was 200 or even 20 years ago. You now need to decide if the increased noise offsets the other values of living here - if it does then perhaps now is the time to leave. there are a lot of quieter places in the world - but none that have the many other attributes of the Bay Area in my opinion.
I spent an hour outside in Lindenwood for each of the last three days. On both the first and second day I heard two commercial planes and two general aviation planes - none loud or for longer than 60 seconds. Today I did not hear a single plane - i did hear a number of cars and 4 leaf blowers. All in all a very nice place to live.
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Dec 5, 2012 at 1:01 pm Peter Carpenter is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online
If you want o be someplace that is peaceful and quiet just move to one of the many dark spots on this new night image of the US. Don't expect to find a lot of places to buy groceries, get medical care or for culture but you will have a lot of peace and quiet.
Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of the Menlo Park: other neighborhood, on Dec 5, 2012 at 3:10 pm
I live under the approach path of San Carlos Airport. I also live under the approach path for SFO. So, I am affected by aircraft noise. I'd be willing to wager maybe even more so than those in Woodside (with the exception of noise from GA training flights), I just don't whine about it. I too have lived here a long time and remember when things were quieter. However, I also lived in Sunnyvale in the 70's when P3's were still flying at Moffet. We were under their flight path and had the noise from the planes daily, sun up to sunset, as well as the interference to our tv signals when they went over. So, I'm very familiar with aircraft noise and how much quiter it actually is now. The planes are much quieter.
I'm sorry if you find my attitude "imperious," but I really get tired of people complainig about aircraft noise that is just a fact of life in a busy urban area. I also take umbrage with people that think they should be able to dictate to the pilot in command of aircraft how he should conduct the safe operation of his aircraft. There's a reason the FAA has never made noise abatement in this area part of the regualtions. SFO air space over Woodside is 4000 ft to 10000 ft. It's that way for a reason. The safe and efficient movement of aircraft into and out of SFO.
Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community, on Dec 5, 2012 at 4:41 pm
POGO, I've been in more rural areas where sound occurs differently than in more urban & suburban areas. I've spent a lot of time in Sonoma County & that's a perfect example. In the hills towards Petaluma, sounds seem to play tricks given the various acoustics of hills, vegetation, traffic, etc. Regardless, it remains to be seen (or heard) if anything can or will be done about it. I commiserate because I'm noise sensitive, but people in the hills also need to keep in mind that they're on the ridge of urban sprawl, w/all of its attendants inconveniences.
Posted by Jerome Leugers, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Dec 6, 2012 at 9:08 am
"SFO has lots of noise sensors and incoming pilots and the air traffic controllers know exactly how far they are from touchdown."
As a commercial airline pilot for over 27 years we often do not know exactly how far we are from touchdown at most airports, and controllers do not routinely inform us. Approach patterns at SFO in good weather conditions make it easy to determine our distance from touchdown, but we are often given speed changes that we cannot anticipate that require us to change our configuration, creating more noise; when the weather is less than visual meteorological conditions, then SFO is as bad as any airport for determining our mileage to touchdown.
Posted by Gloria of Sacramento, a resident of another community, on Apr 26, 2013 at 8:33 am
NOBODY SEEMS TO ADDRESS THE DANGEROUS FUEL "clouds" left by so many airplanes in the air. Moreover, there are airports where the air traffic controllers have been eliminated altogether. I.E., THERE IS NO CONTROL OVER WHO COMES IN, WHAT THEY ARE CARRYING, WHAT TIME OF NIGHT, HOW LOW THEY FLY, THE HIGH NOISE THEY MAKE, NOTHING! WE AS HUMAN BEINGS NEED TO PUT A STOP TO THE AIR POLLUTION THAT WHEN YOU LOOK UP IN THE SKY, SEEMS LIKE CLOUDS, BUT THEY ARE REALLY SMOKE LEFT BEHIND BY PLANES - BIG AND SMALL. WHEN IS THIS MADNESS GOING TO STOP? THINK OF THE BABIES THAT MORE AND MORE FREQUENTLY ARE GETTING ASTHMA AND OTHER RESPIRATORY ILLNESSES!!!!
Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of the Menlo Park: other neighborhood, on Apr 26, 2013 at 11:47 am
calm down. What your seeing up there in teh sky are likely contrails. Those are condensation trails. Not fuel. And likely those trails are up above 30,000 feet. You don't have much to worry about. The exhaust from light aircraft, which are lower, is no worse than automobile exhaust and I think you'd agree there are far more automobiles putting exhaust in the air than planes.
There are plenty of general aviation airports in this country that are "uncontrolled." Now there are a few more. It's not a big deal.