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Atherton pushes for action to limit Surf Air

Original post made on Sep 15, 2015

Atherton has send a letter demanding something be done about the noise impacts of Surf Air flights, asking for action by the San Carlos Airport, county officials, the FAA and the body that governs the airport.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, September 14, 2015, 11:49 PM

Comments (45)

Posted by Ronald wardrop
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 15, 2015 at 12:10 pm

I don't think there is a problem, really. some of us are over reacting, in my opinion

Posted by Member
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 15, 2015 at 12:25 pm

Sadly what I see here is that people in Atherton are up in arms for only one reason, and that is not the expansion or the noice or the activity at the local airport. The reason that I see is financial. The startup of Surfair was not done with the "capital" from Silicon Valley itself, but came from Orange County. Because some locals in Atherton have not been able to do what Surfair has done, and the plans they had locally to have something like this, did not work, does not mean that Surfair needs to paid the price. Is good business and is not like people in Atherton are sitting in their back yard every day waiting for Surfair to pass over their house. I live in the area and I can tell you that 95%of the people in Atherton are not in the back yard during the day...not even during the night...maybe during the weekend...They are also unhappy because Palo Alto is not included in their hub. How can you include an airport with no infrastructure or good maitenace, which has been fighting to see if they are part of the county...who is in charge?
It is sad to say the least that they are against the local pilot community that has brought more business and more movement to the local area. Is the weather that attract us here, is the community in San Carlos that attrack us here, and it is a well organized airport with great management. Under the helm of Ms Kelly that place has been great for all of us, from the Hiller Museum to the local flying schools that have brought business. Surfair is something that is easy for the traveler with access to different places to work and easy access to go for one place to another one. Please put the blame on what it is. Let Surfair be what it is. If they reach a point that the local airport will not be able to support them, they can move to San Jose...but remeber that it was form for the local business man and women that need to be in LA or Sacramento or San Diego in a flash. Is good business to have them locally and yes, Don't be jelous of their success.

Posted by Taran
a resident of Atherton: other
on Sep 15, 2015 at 12:26 pm

How do you propose we change the air routes to accommodate us? Wouldn't they just fly over another area, causing the same issue just over yonder? In this day and age of triple pane glass to block out blaring train horns, and endless noise from every direction, I don't think we have a chance of changing things. Sorry, bigger fish to fry elsewhere in our worlds.

Posted by Arthur H.
a resident of Atherton: other
on Sep 15, 2015 at 12:29 pm

I personally would choose to use SurfAir rather than HSR for business trips, noise be damned. They both are loud in our area, but the train noise bothers me more.

Posted by NFO resident
a resident of another community
on Sep 15, 2015 at 12:34 pm

If many of the Atherton residents find Surf Air noise offensive, let me add that those of us in North Fair Oaks find it as bad or worse, since we are further along the descent path. They are so frequent that, while I'm not an 'plane spotter' or someone who follows what is flying overhead, I can certainly tell a Surf Air plane by its sound alone, as well as by appearance. It drowns out the radio I listen to in the morning, as well as phone conversations. I hear them late at night, too. Because I am often home then, Sunday afternoons and evenings are a particularly busy time.

Posted by Marie
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Sep 15, 2015 at 1:40 pm

I support Atherton's attempts with regard to Surf Air. I don't live in Atherton, I live in Ladera, a moderately priced area when I bought my home many years ago. I chose to live away from the noise of a city, despite the fact that I'd have a lengthy commute to work. To me the inconvenience of a commute was worth it to have a peaceful environment; now that trade-off is gone.
The redirection of air traffic has destroyed the peaceful enjoyment of my home and lacking the wealth of some who comment here, triple window panes are not an option. Nor would they restore the enjoyment of my garden.

It is not only Atherton that is impacted, it is all the surrounding areas such as Fair Oaks, parts of Redwood City and East Palo Alto, Palo Alto, Portola Valley, . . .
I'm glad Atherton is speaking up and I would encourage ALL impacted neighborhoods to join the action.

Since there are no residential areas over the ocean, I wonder why planes have to descend over heavily populated areas. Sure it saves airlines some money, but the cost to people's health is greater. To those who think that noise is not a significant health issue, I suggest you do some research.

Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 15, 2015 at 1:46 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

"Since there are no residential areas over the ocean, I wonder why planes have to descend over heavily populated areas."

Have you looked at a map of the bay area and the location of the airports? They can't land without passing over heavily populated areas.

Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Atherton: other
on Sep 15, 2015 at 2:09 pm

Thank you to the Atherton City Council for submitting this letter on our behalf. I have been to the public meetings and heard representations from different staff members of Surf Air that were intentional or unintentional lies/misrepresentations about Surf Air numbers, traffic, noise and future expansion. It was suggested by more than one person at these meetings a lawsuit may be the final remedy. Surf Air has announced it will be ordering up to 5o planes. We are subjected to too much noise with the 6 planes they have now. It may be appropriate at some point to also take legal action against the airport itself to stop the expansion of their commercial services at our public airport. My suggestion is to put an immediate 6 month moratorium on any expansion of services, commercial or public at the airport. The basis being a deleterious effect on quality of life.
While the FAA has the final say I would request the County Board of Supervisors discuss with their counsel an immediate moratorium on any new contracts, expansions, negotiations, specifically re; Surf Air but including any other operations at or around the airport under their control. I also suggest any documents, letters, e-mails. voice mails and any other correspondence between any airport authority, Surf Air and FAA representatives pertaining to Surf Air be preserved.

Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 15, 2015 at 2:17 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.


The FAA is not going to allow it. The board of supervisors tried it years ago when the residents of Redwood Shores wanted to close the airport or vastly curtail its use. It went nowhere because the FAA wasn't having it. They won't be having it now either. The FAA has the final say.

Posted by hmmm
a resident of another community
on Sep 15, 2015 at 2:28 pm

First, let me just say that while I don't live in Atherton, I am glad that some concerned resident are pressing ahead with this. I live in another area that is also affected and all I can tell you, from experience, is that the people making fun of this issue really have no idea what they are talking about and should feel lucky to not be impacted. As for the continuous Atherton bashing...that's another topic all together, so I'll leave it at that. Insert smiley face here.

Anyway, there are multiple variables in play here, one being the expansion of SurfAir, but also the recently implemented NextGen initiative which has modified the flight paths over the peninsula (and all over the country), making them narrower and thus increasing the density of flights. In addition, NextGen requires less abrupt but lower altitude approaches meaning that flights are buzzing over our heads at a lower altitude than in the past. This impact all flights, ie SFO as well.

Back to SurfAir, they're promoting an "open house" this Thursday and Friday to their prospects to celebrate their succes. I don't think it's designed with impacted residents in mind, but I will try to pay them a visit to educate myself:

Web Link

It would be great if someone from The Almanac could attend and report back

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 15, 2015 at 2:36 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The probability the FAA allowing the County to impose limits on the number of SurfAir flights is, in my opinion, zero.

It is unfortunate that the Atherton letter did not propose specific flight path and airplane configuration issues which could both reduce the ground noise footprint and distribute that footprint more broadly.

Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 15, 2015 at 3:01 pm

I have more concern about increasing hazards by narrowing the approach corridor than I do about noise. Train noise is worse for me than plane noise. It depends on specific locations, weather, sound bounce from newly constructed buildings and individual tolerance. Out of curiosity, does anyone know what percentage of Surf Air members live in Atherton? Fair Oaks?

Posted by SurfSucks
a resident of another community
on Sep 15, 2015 at 3:39 pm

Surf Air mainly benefits one person, and that is the owner. Air traffic over the Peninsula is at an all time high, and is getting worse by the minute. Why should anyone argue to have even more planes overhead? The FAA is an absolute joke----they are concerned only with keeping as many planes in the air as possible, at all times. The could not care less about the impact it has on communities, no matter where they are.

I applaud Atherton for aggressively advocating for themselves. Nobody is jealous of Surf Air's owner----they just want to smack him. I wonder where he lives?

Posted by johngslater
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Sep 15, 2015 at 3:40 pm

I live in North Fair Oaks. I can't open my garage door in the morning and get on my bike without being buzzed by some SurfAir plane directly overhead.

When a 747 (which is quieter) flies overhead, I know the noise I hear is the price for having 400 people being able to fly 1000 miles at 600 m.p.h. My guess is that SurfAir flights have about 2 passengers, fly less than 100 miles, at 200 m.p.h. So the cost/benefit ratio about 5,000 times worse.

Thank you Atherton for pushing for some sanity!

Posted by Familiar
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 15, 2015 at 4:15 pm

Aircraft noise has been a problem for many years and getting so much worse. In the Bay Area, there is never a time when one will not hear noise generated by an aircraft.

No one has yet suggested a method to buy Surf Air and its assets and wrap up their operations. May be the most effective means.

Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 15, 2015 at 5:09 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.


they carry at least six people and they fly at 280 knots(322 mph). They provide a service, just like a taxi. Just like a 747 flies a large number of people like a bus. They all have legitimate uses.

Surfair flies over my house regularly as do 747's. Depending on the altitude of the 747, quite often they are noisier than Surfair.

Posted by Noutup
a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Sep 15, 2015 at 6:05 pm

For many years, Atherton has enjoyed a well deserved reputation for having too many retirees with too much time on their hands. This debate, over nothing, underscores that.

The CalTrain noise is far more intrusive.

Posted by Will you make fun of me too?
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Sep 15, 2015 at 6:41 pm

On Saturday morning, when I was having a cup of coffee in bed, a (very very) loud surf airplane flew low overhead on its landing path and my house literally shook. The wall at my back and the bed beneath me shook. I am not retired, I am not loaded with money (at all, lol), and I would love to see people stop slinging mud. I also do not live in a flimsy house, but a sturdy '40s bungalow. It's firm on it's foundation.
I am grateful to the residents of Atherton. People are working here on this issue, too, but Atherton taking this step will only benefit those of us affected--if only to dilute such harsh judgement from some neighbors a bit further away as well as a system that is not really listening.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Sep 15, 2015 at 10:10 pm

the noise monitor placed in Atherton showed noise levels that exceeded those allowed by the ALUC.

I suggest the county sponsor a noise monitor be placed in the Fair Oaks area. Some 2 miles closer to the Airport.

As opposed to Atherton, Redwood City, Palo Alto, etc. Fair Oaks is not incorporated and therefore has no city council to represent them, are less affluent, and suffer the most from airport noise.

For more information google ALUC San Mateo County go to part pertaining to San Carlos for information referenced in Atherton's letter re; noise,

Posted by neighbor
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Sep 15, 2015 at 10:20 pm

For Surf Air noise complaints call, 571-438-8001, ask for Mr. Potter

According to Mr. Potter, CEO, He'll fly as many planes as he wants to into San Carlos,

A bit arrogant I'd say.

The only true way to get action is to call and complain

Posted by Menlo Park resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Sep 16, 2015 at 7:46 am

There are times when it sounds like the plane is going to crash into a house. That's how low it appears to be flying. Often we have to pause our conversation just because we can't hear one another. On Monday, I was speaking on the phone and had to stop the conversation for more than a few seconds. We have lived here since the mid 80's and we've never experienced so many planes flying over our neighborhood.

Posted by James
a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge
on Sep 16, 2015 at 1:40 pm

The test monitor did show noise above the limit; not only that, the monitor was placed in an area of Atherton where noise would register less than it would in hilly areas, with echoes, like Portola Valley or in closer areas like Fair Oaks. In short, it was manipulated to allow for more noise. The Next Gen changes plus Surf Air are making living here quite unpleasant. I am assuming we have to declare this noise when we sell our houses and that will likely affect property values. My family is trying to decide how much longer we can have our sleep disturbed at 11:00 p.m. then again at midnight, and then again at 5:00 a.m. (I think it was around 4:30 a.m. this morning. We are seriously considering selling our home while prices remain high.

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 16, 2015 at 2:07 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"We are seriously considering selling our home while prices remain high."

Moving out of an area which no longer meets your needs is certainly a rational response.

And any buyer would be someone who accepted the conditions that exist.

Posted by Member
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 17, 2015 at 8:21 pm

The people who disagree with the San Carlos Airport/Surf Air noise being an issue should butt out. Clearly you are not affected by the noise like the rest of the area. Judging by the amount of comments here and on Nextdoor, most people are affected and are trying to remedy their situation. Cynical and snide responses do not help! Someone should start a petition on so we can see just how many people are bothered by the noise. It would at least give a good idea of the scope of the problem (something more concrete to show the airport).

Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 18, 2015 at 5:53 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.


excuse me,but Surfair planes fly directly over my home every day. So, I am "affected"by the noise. I'm just not histrionic about it. As previously noted, most complaints are coming from between 450 to 750 people. We should all "butt out" so that small a number of people can have their idiotic belief they live in the country side? Don't think so.

Posted by Member
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 18, 2015 at 8:03 pm

Wow. Snide remarks from Menlo Voter (exactly as I said in my post). So here are a few for you...
Not everyone should butt out but you clearly should. If the noise does not bother you then move on in life. We are trying to find a solution for way more than 450-750 people. You think of the tens of thousands of people that live in Atherton, Menlo Park, Redwood City, etc. that only 450-750 are bothered by this? You are early the one with idiotic beliefs!

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 18, 2015 at 8:26 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Not everyone should butt out but you clearly should. "

Oh Yeah, an intelligent discussion should only include people who agree with you.

An what exactly is the value of such a discussion?

Posted by Resident
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 18, 2015 at 8:41 pm

If you notice Menlo Voter is on most posts here and in Palo Alto, commenting on almost all issues. [Part removed. Please make your point without negative characterization of other posters.]

Surf Air is disturbing to many more people than the number on the petition and those complaining on these threads. It only makes sense.

Thanks to Atherton C.C. for having the guts to put it on the line and in writing and the brains to do the research to back up what they say.

All that being said for those that didn't know the plane that Surf Air flies weighs in at 10,000 lbs, at full fuel,

Just a note as we pass the 911 anniversary. The passengers on Surf Air and their luggage do not go through any screening when they board.

Posted by hi
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Sep 18, 2015 at 8:55 pm

speak out.....
San Carlos Airport

Gretchen Kelly
Airport Manager
620 Airport Drive
San Carlos, CA 94070
650-573-3700 - Main Phone
650-573-2666 - Noise Hotline

Jim Wadleigh
Airport Operations Duty Manager
620 Airport Drive
San Carlos, CA 94070
650-573-3700 - Main Phone
650-573-3482 - Direct Line
650-573-2666 - Noise Hotline

Surf Air

Posted by Resident
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 18, 2015 at 9:34 pm

Surf Air,

Mr. Potter

noise complaint line


Posted by Fed-up
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 18, 2015 at 11:02 pm

In the last three days, at least 100 airplanes have flown over my head. I hear them day and night. I hear them when I wake up in the morning and when I try to sleep at night. I can no longer garden or just sit in my yard and have a peaceful thought. They are menacing and obnoxious and something needs to be done about wiping them out before they turn our beautiful skies into Freeways.
Yes, overhead freeways.
If one business is flourishing another business will want to crop up and give them competition. Before you know it there will be no peaceful outdoor life. Picture three or four planes in the sky at the same time. Wait, that is already the way it is. Picture 9 or ten planes in the sky at the same time. We do not deserve to be treated this way. We are victims of someone people's profit motives.
What they are doing is psychologically debilitating. They should be run out of town with their pants on fire... followed by the selfish, self-centered people who are supporting their effort.
Oh, here comes another plane... 11:00 PM.

Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 19, 2015 at 7:34 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

fed up:

aircraft overhead are a function of living in a highly populated area with three international airports and numerous smaller airports. Those airports serve a need as do the aircraft flying into them. They are meeting the demand for more frequent, less expensive flights. The operators may be making a profit but they wouldn't be if there wasn't a demand. Surfair has a long waiting list. Why do you think that is? Those that don't want aircraft flying overhead shouldn't live in an area like this.

Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 19, 2015 at 7:38 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.


let's say many more than the few hundred making complaints are disturbed. Let's say it's 20,000. That's 20,000 out of a million people those planes fly over every day. That's a tiny percentage of effected people that what want the world to change for them. The vast majority of those effected don't care and are among those that want more frequent cheaper flights. The amount of air traffic in this area serves demand.

Posted by Southern Neighbor
a resident of another community
on Sep 20, 2015 at 3:27 pm

I live south of Atherton and am directly under the Surf Air flight path. Their Pilatus turboprop planes regularly strafe our homes and schools well under 3,000 feet, and the noise they emit was monitored last week in my backyard at well above 70ds (about the sound of a vacuum cleaner). We live two blocks from the train and that sound was monitored in the high 50’s. I have complained to Surf Air, the San Carlos Airport, the FAA and local politicians and will continue to do so, but not just because I am concerned about the noise. I am alarmed at the amount of air pollution low, loud and frequent aircraft are generating above our homes, parks and schools. The air pollution generated by general aviation planes that still use Avgas -LEADED FUEL- [Web Link ] and the jet fuel mix used by Surf Air are having a significant impact on the quality of air we all breathe, no matter where we live. The EPA is only now starting to publicly recognize the environmental impact caused by all kinds of aviation fuel [Web Link ]. San Mateo County should demand an Emission Inventory for the San Carlos Airport. We should all be concerned with the “mixing height” of the jet fuel emissions generated by Surf Air planes and the NextGen pathways extending SFO’s runways over our communities. [ Web Link ]

Posted by Air Surfer
a resident of Atherton: other
on Sep 21, 2015 at 5:33 pm

I live near the train in Atherton and directly under the Surfair flight path. They literally fly directly over my house many times per day. I also have several neighbors with paid landscaping crews that work typically twice per week for several hours. Ranked in order of ridiculous noise.
Ranked worst noise: The Train is almost unbearable, especially the freight train that enjoys the 3am and 4am time slot that last for a few minutes and quite possibly wakes the dead 3 towns over.
Second Place goes to the gardener and his power tools. This is not even that bad, and I prefer to have the yards be kept tidy including my own. I wouldn't even complain about this except that i am making a comparison.
Then we have Surfair that I would compare to less noisy than a car driving on ECR and more similar to a car driving on Fair Oaks lane. It also lasts about 5-6 seconds and barely noticeable. And they do fly directly above my house.
I have since joined Surfair and flown about 3 rounds trips and the service is amazing!! It is extremely convenient and easy to use. I would say that if you had a need to travel around California 1-2 times per month this would blow your mind. Very safe plane and a great service to have access to. hope to see you on a flight soon.

Posted by Peter Oswald
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Sep 21, 2015 at 5:46 pm

When you buy a house near an airport expect air traffic to change over time. With the growth and expansion of any city or town there will be associated impacts on noise and overall quality of life. It's ridiculous that every new transportation option that remotely affects Atherton becomes front page news, people all over our country have been dealing with growth related issues with much less crying.

People tried stopping John Wayne airport in orange county from expanding their flight operations for similar growth reasons. The noise was impacting neighbors but they just changed the requirements on how the jets take off. The images of pastoral living during the 40s and 50s on the peninsula need to be put in perspective since we are now living in 2015, get with the times. Enjoy some cheese with your whine, I can guarantee there is a large percentage of Athertonians who use this clever flight option. It beats spending $10k+ to fuel up the G5 for a day trip down to OC.

Posted by John Thibault
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Sep 21, 2015 at 8:44 pm

Surf Air is an issue affecting all neighborhoods in the area. You can comment or you can actually debate. Real community debate will lead to real legislative change. If the FAA controls the airspace, you have to connect the dots. Let's be clear. Frank LoBiondo (R–NJ–2) Atlantic City, Cape May etc. is the Chairman of the Aviation subcommittee on House Transportation and Infrastructure that oversees the FAA. Web Link So does Frank care or even know what the Peninsula thinks? Not likely. Does Frank or his staff read the local press here in California? What about the other 20 members on the subcommittee? We are a very smart community. It's time to be more strategic about moving legislation forward where we want to make real change. Posting randomly has no impact. You need to focus your efforts. That's why I created iLobby. It's so simple. Bringing the intelligence of government affairs to the regular folks. The Almanac is happy to run my ads because they care about this community. You should too if the noise is driving you crazy.

Posted by John Thibault
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Sep 21, 2015 at 8:49 pm

The aviation subcommittee in the House of Representatives . Web Link

Posted by Resident
a resident of Atherton: other
on Sep 21, 2015 at 8:55 pm

Glad to hear You're enjoying flights,

Personally the train doesn't bother me,

The train was here when I moved here 30 years ago, No problem

The airport was here when I moved here 30 years. No problem

What wasn't here was a noisy whistling turboprop Comercial Air Carrier. Problem,

Keep up the fight Atherton.

Posted by The Old Sage
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 22, 2015 at 3:37 pm

I have been around these parts for the best part of 50 years.
I can honestly say the P-3 Orion Sub chasers out of Moffett Field were a lot noisier and put out a lot more exhaust that I am sure was not good for us- But it was the military keeping our coast safe during the cold war. get over it people it is progress and it will continue - I am sure Stanford got a lot of grief over his loud polluting train from farmers in the area back in the day- The train is still louder than most planes and neither are going anywhere anytime soon...
If you want peace and quiet move to the country - east of sacramento Foothills / El Dorado County will be more than happy to take you and give you a big break on your property taxes (see prop 90) A million dollars will buy you a new home on acreage and you can use SurfAir to get back to the Bay when you need to!

Posted by Matt
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Sep 23, 2015 at 12:34 am

Thanks to our local politicians for proving once again how powerless and ignorant they really are. As I said in previous posts, we are lucky to live in an area that is so free of real problems that our "leaders" have nothing better to do than complain about a few flights per day.

But hey, why bother with reality when there are bored, hysterical citizens to pander to?

Posted by Ruth
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Sep 23, 2015 at 12:13 pm

Wow, talk about "First World" problems!! Having traveled all over the world and seen true life hardships (no house, no food, no safe drinking water, no job, no access to medical care, etc.), I am quite sure that a couple of minutes of airplane noise from the skies above at various times during the day is NOT actually lowering your "quality" of life.

It may annoy you, but your quality of life is not diminished. You still have a roof over your head that doesn't leak when it rains, you still have a Mercedes or two in the garage, food on the table, a housekeeper at least once a week, access to the best medical care in the world. etc. Airplane noise cannot take those things away from you -- the things that actually determine one's "quality" of life. We live in a free market society and in Silicon Valley, where new technologies, new inventions, and new businesses are a given. The fact that you are annoyed by a certain business does not mean that business does not have the right to exist or conduct their business in a way that meets their customers' needs.

Life in Atherton, and the Peninsula, will keep changing as new technologies and services are created to meet the demands and needs of consumers. The need for a quicker, more efficient, and cost-effective way for business people to travel between the Peninsula and So.California was great enough that a new business called Surf Air was created to meet this need. Would you rather have Sacramento waste $68 billion of your taxpayer money building a "high speed rail" that no one wants to use, and increase train noise and traffic behind your luxury homes? I think not.

Surf Air is a brilliant solution to meet the needs of business commuters in the Bay Area, and it is not paid for with your tax dollars. Hurray!!

If you have no greater worries in life than to complain about planes flying overhead during the day, then congratulations!! You are truly blessed in life. I personally know so many people who would love to live in your Atherton homes and listen to planes flying overhead, because it would mean that they 1) owned a house, 2) had money to pay their bills, 3) had their hearing intact.

As I type this, I can hear a turbo-prop plane flying over my house, and my "quality of life" is not disturbed in the least, not does it disrupt my ability to have a conversation. I hear planes fly over my house every day -- here goes another one, sounds like a jet on its way to land at SFO. I can hear the train whistle from my house -- oh well, that's just a fact of life living in a city with a train.

The town of Atherton is on the Peninsula which has SFO and San Jose International airports, as well as San Carlos and Palo Alto regional airports. There will ALWAYS be noise from airplanes, folks, and as more people need more flights, there will be more noise. As another person posted: if you want the pastoral life, move up to El Dorado Hills, Placeville, or surrounding towns. Oh, wait...then you'll have to worry about bears rummaging through your garbage cans. Life is not perfect.

Posted by Onlooker
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Sep 23, 2015 at 10:53 pm

It is almost laughable that the Atherton city council is objecting to SurfAir noise while at the same time fighting Caltrain electrification which would reduce the noise and pollution of the current diesel locomotives. They should also do something to eliminate the locomotive horn blowing at grade crossings. Many cities have done this so it can be done. So City Council fight a battle you can win to help your citizens!

Posted by Confused West Menlo Park
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 4, 2015 at 11:38 pm

So, 9% of our community flies on Surf Air...that's a pretty big percentage...

This said, with the residents of San Bruno upset whenever a jet takes off from SFO when they are departing past San Bruno Mountain, should we then tell American, Jet Blue, Southwest, United, Virgin America and every other carrier that they have to restrict their flights to conform to their wishes and desires.

All you residents want to do is move the noise. So guess what, Surf Air can move their flight path, and put it over the residents of West Menlo, Portola Valley and Woodside.

Surf Air does not use leaded fuel (otherwise known as 100 Low Lead, 100LL). Though it does still produce exhaust, keep in mind that it is still a much lesser amount than if you were to go for a walk along ECR.

As for that noise study that "Southern Neighbor" referred to, Surf Air actually was measured at below 50 dB, WELL below the unbearable level. Ironically, the loudest spikes were the ambient noise from leaf blowers and other gardening tools that residents like to have show up at 8am to clean their yard.

Just some food for thought...

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 5, 2015 at 7:29 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
0 hours ago
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.
Because there are two threads currently running on this topic and In the interest of full disclosure and repeating what I have posted many times:

1 - I am a now retired pilot - SEL, IFR, Glider

2 - I served for 19 years on the Joint Community Relations Committee of the Palo Alto Airport (including ten years as Chair) as an appointee of the Palo Alto City Council and am intimately familiar with airplane operations in the Bay Area, the community's reactions both positive and negative to those operations and the range of tools which are available to impact/alter those operations.

3 - During my ten years as Chair of the JCRC I personally responded to every noise complaint so I am intimately familiar with the issues and perceptions involved in the varying individual response to airplane sounds.

4 - Sound is the physical objective measurement of the energy produced by any source within the frequencies being observed.

5 - Noise is an individual's subjective response to any particular level and type of sound

6 - There is a broad individual range of awareness and sensitivity to any specific sound level and source

7 - Once an individual is sensitized to a sound source which they deem to be obtrusive then their awareness of the occurrence of that type of sound increases

8 - An individual's awareness and sensitivity, or lack thereof, to any particular sound level or source is neither good or bad - it is simply a fact.

9 - Priorities in a democratic society policy are driven by what is important to a majority of the people including not causing irreparable or avoidable harm to others.

10- In my opinion the sounds from airplanes in our urban community have not risen to a level that requires disruptive changes in those airplane activities - others may disagree.

11 - Any solution must be one that does not simply move the problem to a less affluent and less politically powerful community.

Because many readers do not look back at all of the comments which have been made on these topics let me attempt to structure some of the issues:

A - The FAA has absolute authority over airplane operations to/from/near/over San Carlos Airport

B - San Mateo County has a contractual obligation to continue to operate the San Carlos Airport on a non-discriminatory basis for at least the next 19 years as a consequence of accepting Airport Improvement Grants from the FAA

C - The County has ZERO authority to control airplane noise.

D - Santa Monica Airport's Noise Ordinance was enacted before the Airport Noise and Capacity Act (1990) came law.

E - Since the Airport Noise and Capacity Act (1990) became law it requires an Act of Congress for an airport to impose more stringent noise regulations. That has happened only once in the case of John Wayne Airport.

F - The operations that SurfAir performs and the flight paths it follows all comply with FAA regulations.

7 - In my opinion treating SurfAir as either the enemy or as the offending party is counterproductive.

8 - In my opinion the ONLY way to improve the current concentration of flights which follow the IFR AMBEY approach is to work WITH SurfAir to, in VFR conditions, distribute those flights over a larger area, i.e the above posted herringbone pattern.

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