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Surf Air noise: Will county go beyond voluntary measures?

Original post made on Mar 3, 2016

After years of working with Surf Air to try to find ways the airline could voluntarily do something to reduce the noise its turboprop planes make as they fly over local neighborhoods on the way to and from the San Carlos Airport, San Mateo County may be ready to go beyond voluntary measures.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, March 3, 2016, 10:54 AM

Comments (113)

1 person likes this
Posted by gwenb
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Mar 3, 2016 at 1:24 pm

Great Report, Barbara!


2 people like this
Posted by Hopeful
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Mar 3, 2016 at 1:39 pm

Agree with gwenb.

The winter has been more peaceful in Felton Gables, but my windows have been closed. What is the best way to register complaints once the noise returns? Is one complaint enough, or should I call every time I am bothered?


2 people like this
Posted by margyk
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Mar 3, 2016 at 2:11 pm

Thank you, Barbara, and Almanac staff! I urge everyone who reads this to show up at the meeting and let our representatives know that we are not willing to give up and accept this level and frequency of ongoing noise pollution.


23 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 3, 2016 at 4:21 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

If you don't like it,the county isn't the place to complain. Complain to the FAA. I can tell you what will happen, nothing. This is just more political posturing by our representatives so they can appear to be "doing something" about a problem over which they have zero input. Save your breath.


4 people like this
Posted by RLS
a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Weekend Acres
on Mar 4, 2016 at 11:02 am

Two comments:
First: A GPS approved for instrument flight can be programmed to follow almost any route.
Second: As Menlo Voter suggested, local government options regarding airport operations, especially in-flight operations are severely limited by federal laws and regulations. Without FAA participation, there is very little that county supervisors can do. One would think that these limits would be explicitly identified before the county spent money to address the noise issues. Anything else amounts to posturing.


7 people like this
Posted by Chris S
a resident of another community
on Mar 4, 2016 at 12:49 pm

I live in Redwood City.

This is a complicated issue. When weather is crummy (low clouds / poor visibility at altitude) flights needs to use a GPS approach to get into the airport. The routing of this GPS approach to the airport is not actually flexible - it follows a specific calculated route based on terrain, obstacles, and runway location, and this route does not change. Any chance of popping into a cloud from about Los Gatos to San Carlos will mean the pilots will request a GPS approach. Their job is to safely get their passengers on the ground and on time. Popping into a cloud or other obstruction to visibility when *not* on a published instrument approach is against regulations and can result in a pilot or operator losing their certification. Therefore flying the published approach is the safest, most predictable way to ensure the plane will get to the runway unimpeded by clouds or weather.

When the weather is good and skies are clear (like it is here more often than not), there should be a willingness to fly alternate routing. This must take into consideration the flight paths of neighboring airports like SFO and SJC.

I hope some satisfactory resolution comes of this. I'd like to see Surf Air, other airport users, and residents peacefully coexist.


7 people like this
Posted by Tim
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Mar 4, 2016 at 1:06 pm

It is unfortunate that SA has done very little to adjust their noise profile in ways that *are* within their capability. As pointed out, in VFR (no clouds) conditions they do have the option to fly different paths to spread out the noise. Additionally, if you look using Flight Aware, you can see that they come in far faster than is necessary per the flight manual for the PC-12 aircraft that they fly. They have the option of flying quieter at the cost of a couple minutes in the air, but they have instead chosen to fly fast and loud. This makes their priorities quite clear, and is a position that those of us in the GA (general aviation) community do not subscribe to.


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 4, 2016 at 3:07 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I have certainly noticed a significant effort by SurfAir in flying their approaches "clean" (with wheels and flaps up) and in dispersing their flights laterally on VFR days.

Individuals who are sensitized to any particular irritant will obviously be much more aware of that irritant and hence it is not surprising that some people find the SurfAir flights objectionable.

It is irresponsible for county officials to suggest that there is anything that they can require SurfAir to do that will reduce SurfAir noise footprint - they have no legal authority to require SurfAir to do anything.


10 people like this
Posted by A Pilot
a resident of another community
on Mar 4, 2016 at 3:12 pm

Some clarifications for consideration...
1. While an approach certified GPS can be programmed to follow virtually any path, a GPS approach is a specific defined path which cannot be deviated or modified by the pilot.
2. Under visual conditions, there's no necessity for Surf Air to follow a GPS approach and it seems reasonable to ask them to make visual approaches with noise sensitivity in mind. I don't see any reason, for example, that they could not descend over the bay and make a turn to a "base leg" perpendicular to the runway at the cement plant, then line up with the runway visually. Of course this would not be possible on cloudy or foggy days.
3. Since SurfAir is a commercial part 121 carrier, their departures are almost certainly going to be under Instrument Flight Rules which means the FAA is assigning their departure route. San Carlos is in a tricky location for departures because of the conflicts with a vast amount of traffic related to SFO and some additional constraints imposed by OAK, HWD, and PAO as well as, to a lesser extent, Moffet (NUQ) and SJC.

Do we know what portion of the noise complaints relate to arrivals vs. departures? It seems to me that arrivals are not likely all that loud as they are usually done at relatively low power settings.

Has any effort been made to work with NORCAL TRACON on developing a more noise sensitive Standard Instrument Departure (SID)? Of all the "voluntary" mechanisms mentioned above, I didn't see any indication that ATC was involved in the discussion.

It might, for example, be possible to negotiate a path which turns right and proceeds over the bay which is restricted below the SFO arrival corridor until clear and then climbs out on a less sensitive track.

I know that as a general rule, pilots very much want to work with the community to identify mutually acceptable solutions. I don't know any of the SurfAir leadership, but even at 44 operations per day, they do not, to the best of my knowledge, represent the majority of users at SQL.

They do seem to represent the majority of the complaints. I hope we can work together to find a solution which does not penalize the other good neighbor users of this airport.


11 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 4, 2016 at 3:41 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" I don't see any reason, for example, that they could not descend over the bay and make a turn to a "base leg" perpendicular to the runway at the cement plant, then line up with the runway visually"

Most of their arrivals are from the South and getting "over the bay" would mean transiting Moffat and or Palo Alto Class D airspace or entering SJC's Class C airspace - not straight forward as the PAO airspace is usually busy and SJC's Class C usually routes traffic passing through on the West side of SJC's runways.

Almost all of the SurfAir complaints are with regard to its arrivals. The PC 12 is a noisy airplane and SurfAir flies fast approaches with high power settings. They also fly a 4 prop plane but have indicated that they plan to upgrade new purchases to a quieter 5 prop version.


2 people like this
Posted by PeterSpeak
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Mar 4, 2016 at 4:05 pm

Peter Says:
"It is irresponsible for county officials to suggest that there is anything that they can require SurfAir to do that will reduce SurfAir noise footprint - they have no legal authority to require SurfAir to do anything."

The article/county says:
".....since the measures are voluntary, the report says, the county "cannot require compliance and can do little or nothing to force operations to comply with such measures. When, or if, voluntary measures prove unsuccessful, it is appropriate to look at other mandatory measures that might be more effective."

They didn't say that Peter. Why are you suggesting they did?


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 4, 2016 at 4:08 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

""It is irresponsible for county officials to suggest that there is anything that they can require SurfAir to do that will reduce SurfAir noise footprint"

Here is exactly what they said "When, or if, voluntary measures prove unsuccessful, it is appropriate to look at other MANDATORY measures that might be more effective.""


2 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 4, 2016 at 5:08 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

a pilot:

correction, SA is a Part 135 carrier.


2 people like this
Posted by Adam Ullman
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Mar 4, 2016 at 5:10 pm

Respectfully, to everyone who is saying the County cannot do anything is missing the point of this meeting.

1) The County as the airport owner/operator has an obligation under California law to do everything it can to mitigate the impact of airplane noise.
2) The FAA Airport Compliance manual, Order 5190.6B, sections 13.2(a)(3) & 13.2(b)(2) states: “State and local governments may protect their citizens through land use controls and other police power measures not affecting airspace management or aircraft operations…Airport sponsors are primarily
responsible for planning and implementing action designed to reduce the effect of noise on residents of the
surrounding area. Such actions include…restrictions on airport use that do not unjustly discriminate
against any user, impede the federal interest in safety and management of the air navigation system, or
unreasonably interfere with interstate or foreign commerce."

This meeting is to discuss actions the County should take to fulfill its legal obligation as spelled out by the FAA. For the pilots, we are not trying to shut you down...we just don't want our neighborhood to feel like it's right next to SFO.


3 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 4, 2016 at 5:16 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Adam:

except that is in conflict with what the FAA requires when they provide funds to the airport, which they do. We went through the same thing back in the 90's when the people living in Redwood Shores decided the airport shouldn't be allowed to disturb them. We went through the same song and dance with the county supervisors and what was done? That's right, NOTHING. Same thing will happen this time.

The fact is SA is already taking steps to mitigate their noise footprint. They fly over my house in MP frequently and that track is NOT on the GPS approach. In addition, they are usually flying "clean", flaps and gear up.


3 people like this
Posted by Adam Ullman
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Mar 4, 2016 at 5:28 pm

Menlo Voter,

I am not sure where you come up with a statement "except that is in conflict with what the FAA requires when they provide funds to the airport." Sponsor Grant Assurance 22 spells out that anything the County does needs to be non-discriminatory. Surely there are things that can be done for all aircraft as a whole. The you will likely argue the Airport Noise and Capacity Act of 1990. The catch there is that ANCA is specifically designated for Stage 2 and Stage 3 aircraft. So, the County can pass a non-discriminatory, mandatory law that would go into effect for everyone, unless otherwise pre-empted by federal law, which would then exclude the law from impacting Stage 2 and Stage 3 aircraft. ;-)


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 4, 2016 at 5:54 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

A non-discriminatory San Carlos airport policy would have to apply to EVERY plane using that airport.

It is irresponsible for elected officials to suggest that they could act to alter in any way the SurfAir flights without also applying any such limitation to every other plane using San Carlos. And the County's degree of freedom applies ONLY to what happens ON the airport not once the planes are in the air. Even a night time curfew applying to all planes using San Carlos would require the advice and consent of the FAA.

For elected officials to suggest or promise something that they cannot deliver damages the trust which we should all have in our elected officials and raises unreasonable expectations among the citizen whom they serve.


3 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 4, 2016 at 6:16 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Adam:

noise abatement procedures for ALL aircraft are already in place.

Web Link


4 people like this
Posted by PeterSpeak
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Mar 4, 2016 at 6:35 pm

Peter said:
"A non-discriminatory San Carlos airport policy would have to apply to EVERY plane using that airport"

And your point is what? That's a bad idea?

Peter said:
"And the County's degree of freedom applies ONLY to what happens ON the airport not once the planes are in the air."

If airport restrictions negatively impact Surf Air's ability to fly as frequently as they wish to fly into KSQL, then mission accomplished. Sadly, others at the airport may be impacted, but so be it.


2 people like this
Posted by PeterSpeak
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Mar 4, 2016 at 6:35 pm

Peter said:
"A non-discriminatory San Carlos airport policy would have to apply to EVERY plane using that airport"

And your point is what? That's a bad idea?

Peter said:
"And the County's degree of freedom applies ONLY to what happens ON the airport not once the planes are in the air."

If airport restrictions negatively impact Surf Air's ability to fly as frequently as they wish to fly into KSQL, then mission accomplished. Sadly, others at the airport may be impacted, but so be it.


3 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 4, 2016 at 6:42 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Sadly, others at the airport may be impacted, but so be it."

This is a perfect example of shooting yourself in the foot.

The flight activity at San Carlos airport supports a lot of local business, trains a lot of local flight students and provides a lot of non-SurfAir transportation. So you want to just shut all that down to deal with 22 flights a day?

And the terms of the FAA Grant Assurance do not permit closing the airport to all users. Many other localities have tried to do that and failed - after spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on legal fees!

Why are SurfAir opponents so inwilling to deal with the facts of the situation? The FAA has total control of planes once they leave the ground and the County has ZERO control of planes once they leave the ground.


4 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 4, 2016 at 6:52 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"Sadly, others at the airport may be impacted, but so be it"

So you're ok with screwing with the incomes of other people that work at SQL such as other air taxi operations and flight instructors and flight schools? Not to mention the businesses that support those businesses such as aircraft mechanics? Just so you can continue the fantasy that you live in the country somewhere as opposed to where you actually live, A MAJOR METROPOLITAN AREA WITH THREE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORTS AND NUMEROUS SMALLER AIRPORTS? Nice.

How about I start screwing with your income?

As noted above, noise abatement procedures for all aircraft are already in place. The way I read your post, what you would prefer is that the airport be shut down. That isn't going to happen. So do you have a suggestion to help remedy teh situation that might ACTUALLY happen?


4 people like this
Posted by Private Pilot
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 4, 2016 at 7:30 pm

Private Pilot is a registered user.


Thanks to Supervisors Horsley and Slocum for attempting to work with Surf Air. I'm a little perplexed as to why the study session which is announced here in the Almanac article is scheduled 4 days later at 9:30 a.m.on a tuesday and invite the public. Most people can not attend a meeting at 9:30 a.m. on a work day.

After 3 years of asking SA to voluntarily make adjustments to their approaches to SQL it's probably time to move on to other options. As has been mentioned SA could easily spread their approaches latterly on VFR days, they do so on occasion yet not enough. They are giving all aviation a bad name, and especially bringing negative attention to SQL. The personal who run the airport spend way too much time fielding calls and complaints which takes away from efficiently running the airport and hence compromises safety.

There is currently a very strong contingent trying to close Palo Alto Airport for noise and other types of pollution. Let's don't let the same attention be placed on San Carlos.

We have been and are currently in the bad weather months. My concern is when Spring officially arrives and we would like to have friends over for a BBQ or just enjoy our beautiful outdoor weather it will be SA planes buzzing us instead of pleasant conversation. Or just have our windows open for some fresh air we will be constantly hearing SA. They fly 22 operations a day into SQL now, w/ approx. 6 aircraft. They have indicated ordering up to 50 aircraft. Do the numbers it will be intolerable.

To our Supervisors please continue working on this but I think it's time to move on to other options.

I only ask that Menlo Voter not respond to my post,


Like this comment
Posted by PeterSpeak
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Mar 4, 2016 at 7:40 pm

Peter said:
"... So you want to just shut all that down to deal with 22 flights a day?.."

Nope, I never said that - yet another misquote by Peter. If ground ops can negatively impact how many flights per day Surf can fly, so be it. I hope the airport stays open and I hope that Surf points their aircraft elsewhere as a result of tighter ground restrictions.

Peter said:
"Why are SurfAir opponents so inwilling to deal with the facts of the situation? The FAA has total control of planes once they leave the ground and the County has ZERO control of planes once they leave the ground."

Uhhhh, you're off topic. We know that about the FAA and the air rules they manage. This thread moved past that and is about ground restrictions that have the potential to reduce Surf flights. But since you bring it up, I'm glad that the FAA makes our skies safe. They do a good job of it. They just do a crappy job when it comes to noise mitigation because they got the Reagan administration to vote the EPA out of their sand box years ago. How convenient.


Peter said:
"This is a perfect example of shooting yourself in the foot."

That's why I don't like guns. I probably would shoot my foot.


4 people like this
Posted by PeterSpeak
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Mar 4, 2016 at 8:08 pm

@Menlo Voter, [portion removed]

Menlo Voter said:
"The way I read your post, what you would prefer is that the airport be shut down."

See, you really are Peter misquoting me again. Or do you guys just coordinate your responses? Nope, see above. Airport should stay. Surf should go. It's all about ground restrictions.

Menlo Voter said:
"...Just so you can continue the fantasy that you live in the country somewhere as opposed to where you actually live..."

Ya, that's right, I live a fantasy life. Living in the country is what I think I do everyday, picking fruit and watching the animals grazing... Oh wait, that was a Caltrain horn, and there's another siren...more SFO traffic overhead, and are those more gunshots coming from the Avenues again? Three leaf blowers going simultaneously.... Thank goodness all that good noise keeps me grounded in reality. Why not throw in more noise courtesy of Surf Air? Who would want to trade all that for country life where I'd lose my city smarts!

Somehow, along the way, you've lost track of what constitutes 'reasonable noise". This type of aircraft flying 1100 feet over my head, over 20 times a day are louder then any of the above mentioned noise. Even SFO traffic isn't that noisy or annoying. All the other noise footprints have never caused issues, but Surf does. Go figure.

Menlo Voter said:
"How about I start screwing with your income?"

If I had some, you are welcome to try. I'm working for free right now. The good news is that it's super easy to do taxes.


3 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 4, 2016 at 8:19 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Peterspeak:

Train noise, sirens, etc. so what are you complaining about? I hear the same noise as you and get many of the same over flights. So what? I'm not whining about it like you.


1 person likes this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 4, 2016 at 8:20 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

" This type of aircraft flying 1100 feet over my head, over 20 times a day are louder then any of the above mentioned noise."

Factually and demonstrably false. Try again.


1 person likes this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 4, 2016 at 8:22 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"After 3 years of asking SA to voluntarily make adjustments to their approaches to SQL it's probably time to move on to other options. "

They've done exactly that. What about that don't you understand?


1 person likes this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 4, 2016 at 8:25 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

" As has been mentioned SA could easily spread their approaches latterly on VFR days, they do so on occasion yet not enough."

It's not "on occasion" it's regularly. As I've previously posted they FREQUENTLY fly over my home which is well to the west of the GPS approach. Please stop posting misinformation.


2 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 4, 2016 at 8:29 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"I only ask that Menlo Voter not respond to my post,"

Why? You don't want to deal with actual facts?

That's how most of the folks up in arms about SA want it. Give them facts and they deflect to something else or tell those confronting them with facts to "shut up." Sorry, we all have freedom of speech and I choose to exercise mine.


3 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 4, 2016 at 8:33 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"They fly 22 operations a day into SQL now, w/ approx. 6 aircraft."

Which isn't a pimple on the rear end of the total number of operations in and out out SQL. Yet, all you're bitching about is SA. Why?


4 people like this
Posted by PeterSpeak
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Mar 4, 2016 at 9:02 pm

Menlo Voter said:
"Train noise, sirens, etc. so what are you complaining about?"

Hmmm. I thought I was clear. I'm complaining about Surf Air. Louder: I'M COMPLAINING ABOUT SURF AIR!!! They fly noisy Pilatus. Just look up or listen. One will be overhead any minute...

Menlo Voter said:
" I hear the same noise as you and get many of the same over flights. So what? "

Exactly, so what's your point? You have hearing problems? You like noise? You're an aviation fan boy?

Menlo Voter said:
"I'm not whining about it like you."

Whining? I'm not whining about it. I'm doing something about it! On this forum, I'm responding to your, well.... shall we say... "interesting" way of looking at this problem and I'm fascinated by how you make legitimate comments seem inconsequential and meaningless. You have a remarkable (and albeit super annoying) ability to devalue everyone's input that opposes your views on this topic. [part removed.]

Clearly you choose to be unwilling to understand or accept another viewpoint. [part removed.]





5 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 4, 2016 at 9:33 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"This type of aircraft flying 1100 feet over my head, over 20 times a day are louder then any of the above mentioned noise."

Wrong. Read the Atherton report -
Emergency Sirens 63.89 Lmax
Residents 66.53
Birds 61.02
Dogs 81.13
Landscaping 76.40

were all greater noise generators than were Propeller Aircraft 38 71.48


6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 4, 2016 at 9:34 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Forgot these two noise generators:

Jet Aircraft 74.64
Roadway 77.31


Like this comment
Posted by Familiar
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 5, 2016 at 1:46 am


Several studies find years of exposure to airport / aircraft noise increases heart disease and stroke risk.

Greatest health risk from such noise is to children.

Web Link


3 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 5, 2016 at 6:58 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

from the linked report above: " the researchers said: “It MAY be that aircraft noise at night affects sleep and this is a potential mechanism for the observed observations.” MAY

Hardly the solid link familiar infers.


5 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 5, 2016 at 7:20 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" Noise from road traffic was linked to a similar increase in heart disease "

So note the relative contributors to noise in the Atherton study:

Roadway 77.31 Lmax
Dogs 81.13
Landscaping 76.40


Compared to Propeller Aircraft 71.48 and Jet Aircraft 74.64.


Does this mean that Atherton should ban cars, trucks, pets and landscaping activities in order to protect people from heart disease?


6 people like this
Posted by Robert M
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 5, 2016 at 7:46 am

A group of my neighbors has organized. They call and complain based on the published departure schedule of Surf Air. Sometimes, the flight is not even in the air.

Nothing more than a bunch of wealthy people trying to get their way. Sure they all support capitalism, until it impacts them at all. Then they suddenly become socialist.

A few even have memberships with Surf air and others have their own planes at San Carlos.

Petty 1% trying to get their way, give the rest of us a bad name


3 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 5, 2016 at 8:03 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Peter said:
"... So you want to just shut all that down to deal with 22 flights a day?.."

PeterSpeak replied "Nope, I never said that"

However PeterSpeak also stated " Sadly, others at the airport may be impacted, but so be it. "


Like this comment
Posted by PeterSpeak
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Mar 5, 2016 at 8:55 am

Peter says:
"So note the relative contributors to noise in the Atherton study..."

Oh brother. Peter always has lots of facts to share. Are you saying the Atherton Study is definitive? I can play that game too:

SEATAC study:
Pilatus PC12 77.4 (SEL) (same aircraft that Surf flies)
Gulfstream 5 70.8
737-400 72.2
777-300ER 72.8

What you consistently fail to acknowledge is that sound studies are complex and difficult to get right. And they don't capture what residents have consistently and regularly commented about regarding Surf Air: The noise the Pilatus makes is not just loud, it's annoying. The engine emits a whining that is distinct and difficult to describe, but you know it when they are approaching.

Scratching nails on a chalkboard isn't loud, but damn, it can be super annoying. And the Pilatus that Surf flies is just that annoying.


3 people like this
Posted by PeterSpeak
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Mar 5, 2016 at 9:00 am

@Private Pilot,

I've spoken to many pilots (great people!) working out of KSQL. It's amazing how hard you guys work to ensure our communities are minimally impacted by aircraft noise. Kudos to all of you. Too bad Surf doesn't want to listen to you guys about noise mitigation.

And you are correct. Surf is really messing things up for everyone. Most of us didn't even know there was a place called KSQL up the road until Surf arrived on the scene. One bad apple...


5 people like this
Posted by San Mateo
a resident of another community
on Mar 5, 2016 at 9:48 am

Is this airport even necessary? Maybe we as county voters should just press to shut it down? The county could get much more benefit for all residents by selling the land. This airport is a dinosaur and doesn't belong in the modern peninsula. We don't need flight lessons and joy rides not to mention surf air taking off from the heart of the peninsula. These flights should move to nearby, yet outlying airports.


7 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 5, 2016 at 10:29 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" These flights should move to nearby, yet outlying airports. "

Perfect - solve my perceived problem by giving it to someone else.


3 people like this
Posted by PeterSpeak
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Mar 5, 2016 at 11:24 am

Peter says:
"... perceived problem..."

Wrong. It's a real problem. The increase in the number of airport complaints easily confirms that it's a real problem.


8 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 5, 2016 at 12:23 pm

As someone who spent decades monitoring and responding to airport noise complaints I can assure you that:
1 - the current number of SQL complaints is quite small when compared to the population of the surrounding area,

2 - the number of unique individual complainers is a small fraction of the number of complaints.

Do people who complain believe/think/perceive that they have a real problem? Yes

Should society make decisions based on the perceived needs of a very small group? No


2 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Mar 5, 2016 at 1:41 pm

Peter
Fact check
Surf Air had 1/3 of 1% of all flights into sql yet fenerated 1/3 of all noise complaints

Thats a staggering number and was as per staff at sql


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 5, 2016 at 2:13 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

1/3 of a very small number is itself an even smaller number.


7 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 5, 2016 at 4:37 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

It is important for readers to understand the selection bias that occurs both in Forum topics like this one (which attract people who are bothered by noise and which are of little interest to others) and in airplane noise complaints (which are, by definition, complaints from people who are bothered by airplane noise).

A useful reference is the Palo Alto Airport 2015 Annual Aircraft Noise Complaints Report.

Web Link

"Since the City of Palo Alto assumed operational control of the airport, 179 noise complaints from 53 households have been logged."

The 49 complaints from East Palo Alto residents came from just 4 households.

The 77 complaints from Palo Alto residents came from just 22 households.

There are probably well over 500,000 households in the communities included in the PAO report and yet only 53 households submitted PAO noise complaints.

The point is not that the people who complain are not impacted by airplane noise but that they represent a very small fraction of the entire community.


4 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 5, 2016 at 5:12 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

San Mateo:

you can't vote to "simply shut it down." The county does and has taken money from the FAA. As such they cannot shut it down. More than just "instruction and joy rides" go on at SQL. Clearly there is a demand for SA or they wouldn't be planning on adding aircraft and flights.

Where exactly would you have SA move? Half Moon Bay?

SQL:"San Carlos Airport is home to over 30 (that's THIRTY) aviation related businesses. Facilities and FBOs at KSQL include: Bay Aerial Helicopter Service, Rabbit Aviation Services, Surf Air, Zanette Aviation Insurance, West Valley Flying Club, Bel-Air International, Air West Aircraft Engines, Diamond Aviation, and the San Carlos Flight Center."

Let's just shut down 30 businesses so a few people aren't disturbed. Entitled much?


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Posted by Private Pilot
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 5, 2016 at 5:51 pm

Private Pilot is a registered user.

While I can live with SA. be careful how you treat the numbers. Especially if your numbers are correct if 53 households can cause so much attention to PAO just think what a larger percentage could do to SQL. Do you have the stats for SQL before and after SA showed up. I read somewhere 800 people have put pen to paper and gone through the trouble and exposure to sign a petition against SA.

If Surf Air would go away, limit the number of flights, and or spread their approaches enough to lower complaints we could go back to being a quiet general aviation airport. How about sending some to Palo Alto and share the burden.

Not sure what to say to the less affluent people at the tip of the funnel effect of spreading the approaches. Hopefully Sup. Horsely speaks for them.


2 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 5, 2016 at 6:15 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"How about sending some to Palo Alto and share the burden."

PAO has a shorter runway. Not sure if the PC-12 can operate into a 2443' runway.


2 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 5, 2016 at 6:21 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

The problem doesn't appear to be getting in, but getting out. It needs 2600'.

Web Link


2 people like this
Posted by Ben
a resident of another community
on Mar 5, 2016 at 7:23 pm

It is clear that Surf Air could care less about noise complaints and how their business impacts literally thousands in their flight path. I suspect that most people affected by Surf Air, and Surf Air's non-response to an escalating problem, could not care less about Surf Air's business, or their customers. I would therefore suggest that the County investigate the unilateral process of closing or restricting airport operations. A fixed number of non-emergency flights during specific hours, for example. I realize that would be a very difficult process, but it seems that dialog is not working.


3 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 5, 2016 at 7:26 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Ben:

please see comments above. The county CANNOT close the airport. The FAA will not allow it. So, let's look at other possible solutions. Closing the airport isn't one of them.


3 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 5, 2016 at 7:29 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"It is clear that Surf Air could care less about noise complaints and how their business impacts literally thousands in their flight path."

Actually, if they didn't care they wouldn't be spreading their flights or flying clean on approach. They'd be right down the GPS approach every time with gear and flaps extended. But they're not. They're spreading their flights out in VFR weather and flying clean approaches. Why do you suppose that is?


2 people like this
Posted by Private Pilot
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 5, 2016 at 7:52 pm

Private Pilot is a registered user.


Would like to know how far out they are still flying clean.


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 5, 2016 at 8:38 pm

SurFAir is flying clean at least as far out as Lindenwood.


3 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 5, 2016 at 8:55 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

I'm near El Camino and Encinal and they fly clean over my house.


4 people like this
Posted by pearl
a resident of another community
on Mar 5, 2016 at 10:53 pm

pearl is a registered user.

I can see the SA planes taking off and landing at the San Carlos Airport, but I can't hear them.

I don't fly. What does "flying clean" mean?

Thank you.


6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 6, 2016 at 7:42 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Flying their approaches "clean" means with the landing gear up and the flaps not extended.

Lowering the landing gear and extending the flaps causes more aerodynamic drag and hence creates more noise.


2 people like this
Posted by Too Loud
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 6, 2016 at 8:00 am

The San Carlos airport was meant for private aviation. Surf Air worked around it by having a members only airline. The County should have closed that loop hole as soon as this all started. Our supervisor, esp Wassen Slocum did NOTHING. Now it is a big problem and they claim there is nothing they can do. Things should have been addressed from the start. Maybe they were interested in the airport fees.

Peter Carpenter's "clean" approach does nothing if you are in the flight path, which he is not. It is easy to say things are ok if you do not suffer the effect

The loop hole needs closing and our elected officials in DC need to help.


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 6, 2016 at 8:07 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Peter Carpenter's "clean" approach does nothing if you are in the flight path, which he is not. It is easy to say things are ok if you do not suffer the effect"

I can see the bottom of every SurfAir flight that is on the AMEBY approach so I clearly am in their flight path.

SurfAir's SQL operations are not via some 'loophole' but are fully authorized by FAA regulations.


4 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 6, 2016 at 8:26 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Too loud:

SA frequently flies over my house. They are quieter flying clean.

As Peter noted, they are not operating at SQL because of a "loophole." They are operating there because it is allowed by FAA regulations. There is nothing the Supervisors could have done before or now.


6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 6, 2016 at 8:38 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The San Carlos airport was meant for private aviation."

Wrong.

"The FAA's National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS) classifies San Carlos as a reliever airport for San Francisco International Airport."

"Reliever Airports (264)
Due to different operating requirements between small general aviation aircraft and large commercial aircraft, general aviation pilots often find it difficult to use a congested commercial service airport.
In recognition of this, FAA has encouraged the development of high-capacity
general aviation airports in major metropolitan areas. These specialized airports, called relievers, provide pilots with attractive alternatives to using congested hub airports. They also provide general aviation access to the surrounding area. To be eligible for reliever designation, these airports must
be open to the public, have 100 or more based aircraft, or have 25,000 annual itinerant operations."


4 people like this
Posted by CC
a resident of Woodside: other
on Mar 6, 2016 at 12:46 pm

The key point for me is that San Carlos Airport was never intended as a commercial airport. What Surf Air has built there was never intended, nor foreseen as a use for San Carlos Airport. It seems to me they can define more clearly what is allowed and not allowed as to commercial use of the airport, which would have the effect of dramatically limiting Surf Airs daily flights. It truly isn't fair to the residents who are effected given they had no reasonable belief this could or would happen.


4 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 6, 2016 at 1:33 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

" It seems to me they can define more clearly what is allowed and not allowed as to commercial use of the airport, which would have the effect of dramatically limiting Surf Airs daily flights."

CC:

NO, they can't. The FAA WILL NOT allow it.


9 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 6, 2016 at 1:34 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The key point for me is that San Carlos Airport was never intended as a commercial airport. "

Wrong.

"The San Carlos Airport is home to approximately 500 aircraft and over 25 aviation related businesses. Last year, San Carlos Airport generated over 130,000 aircraft "operations". Approximately HALF of the operations are business related or revenue generating.

The Airport is an important business and transportation asset to the community. Local businesses use their own aircraft or local air charter services to be more efficient, productive and competitive in their business markets.

San Carlos Airport provides a variety of emergency service and response functions including Air-Ambulance, Medivac flights, law enforcement patrols and it provides a base for other important emergency service activities and government agencies that add to the safety and security of the community.

The Airport is self-funded through airport user and business fees and receives no money from the County’s General Fund. Aviation is the top employer in San Mateo County and the Airport provides an important source of education and training for the pilots, mechanics and airport employees that fill the jobs in the industry."


4 people like this
Posted by Private Pilot
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 6, 2016 at 3:03 pm

Private Pilot is a registered user.


I think we can all agree there's a problem, Let's try to come up with a solution,

BTW SA is not clean at 3miles out, (Lindenwood) I see them half a dozen times a day or more, (All dirty)


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 6, 2016 at 3:06 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"BTW SA is not clean at 3miles out, (Lindenwood) I see them half a dozen times a day or more, (All dirty)"

I disagree - I see them all the time over Lindenwood and 90% of the time they are flaps up and wheels up.


4 people like this
Posted by jbcham
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Mar 6, 2016 at 3:12 pm

I see them 2-3 times everyday in the afternoon over the Menlo College athletic fields and they are always "flying clean."


5 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 6, 2016 at 3:38 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

I've become so accustomed to seeing them flying clean that I make a mental note when I don't. Yes, I always look up. Pilot's habit.


2 people like this
Posted by Matt
a resident of Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on Mar 6, 2016 at 5:42 pm

I'm curious why our County Officials neglect to mention any discussions with the FAA -- or if they're even bothering to work with them. This speaks volumes, because the FAA (not you or I or SurfAir) is ultimately responsible for setting the approaches and airspace rules.

Seems unfair, at best, to single out SurfAir and demand "voluntary restrictions" (whatever that means) when you're not even acknowledging that it's a federal problem. Then again, I suppose Mr. Horsley wants to look like he's doing something, and admitting that he has no say on this would cost him a few dozen emotional votes.


2 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 6, 2016 at 5:45 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

" I suppose Mr. Horsley wants to look like he's doing something,"..

Bingo! This all political posturing. The supes can't do anything. It's up to the FAA and they have already spoken on this topic numerous time. SA will continue to fly from SQL.


12 people like this
Posted by Private Pilot
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 7, 2016 at 12:09 am

Private Pilot is a registered user.

I've seen them at Menlo College, Over Felton Gables, Over Encinal, Over Lindenwood, over Suburban Park and over Bellehaven, at 3 miles out. They are not clean, I know the difference and they are low enough to see. 1,000-1200'


2 people like this
Posted by Private Pilot
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 7, 2016 at 12:17 am

Private Pilot is a registered user.



As a pilot that first flew into SQL in 1975, and regularly to PAO, If SA would be cooperative we would lose negative attention at PAO and SQL. Cooperation brings about solutions.

Don't underestimate the power of local money. You can say it hasn't been done but that doesn't mean it can't be done,

Look at Ellison v SJO, Money trumps all Ellison proved that.


6 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 7, 2016 at 7:13 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

private pilot:

they already ARE cooperating. They have spread out their flights on VFR days and are flying clean most of the time, at least that is my observation. What more would you have them do? If they weren't cooperating they would just fly the AMEBY approach every time.

As far as money is concerned, who do you think uses SA? People with a lot of money.


10 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 7, 2016 at 10:03 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

SurfAir is flying 90+% of their flights clean until at least March Road, they are spreading their flights out laterally on VFR days and their new planes were ordered with quieter 5 blade props.

What else could they possible do?


3 people like this
Posted by Matt
a resident of Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on Mar 7, 2016 at 12:32 pm

Our politicians have to be really careful about singling out SurfAir for vilification. It's illegal to discriminate against lawfully operating businesses and "ask" them to "voluntarily" change their practices, right? I mean, if they went to Ducky's car wash and said "there's a water shortage, you should only wash 50 cars a day" wouldn't that be actionable?

It amounts to a shakedown and it's a really slippery slope. I'd hate to expose the taxpayers to additional costs from lawsuits, on top of what we're spending for SurfAir "studies".


2 people like this
Posted by PeterSpeak
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Mar 7, 2016 at 1:44 pm

Peter says:
"What else could they possible do?"

Really? They can fly to different Bay Area airport. NOTHING is preventing them from doing that. Nothing. But of course in Peter's world, that's a detail that seems to get conveniently forgotten. And I'll save you responding with "....and make it someone else's problem..." I call BS on that. SFO is a much more capable airport for handling large volume commercial flights. As is OAK and SJC. They already fly to SJC due to weather, so they can fly all their flights there.

Your turn.


5 people like this
Posted by jbcham
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Mar 7, 2016 at 1:54 pm

Private Pilot:
I guess your view is different from mine. I coach high school baseball at Menlo School from 3:30 P M to 5:30 P M every afternoon and 2-3 SA flights go over everyday. They are not too noisy, but loud enough for me to look up and they are always "flying clean."


5 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 7, 2016 at 2:44 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Peterspeak:

Great idea. Have them move away from their client base. The whole point of SA's business model is for the convenience of the wealthy folks that can afford to use them. And the wealthy folks sure appreciate it as they are flocking to SA.

SA isn't going anywhere and they are being good neighbors in trying to moderate their noise impact. An impact that is hardly noticed by the majority that live under it, judging by the actual number of people complaining (not the number of complaints).


6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 7, 2016 at 3:19 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Really? They can fly to different Bay Area airport."

So if you move in next to me and behave legally and I don't like you then you should have to move somewhere else?


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Posted by PeterSpeak
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Mar 7, 2016 at 4:13 pm

Peter says:
"What else could they possible do?"

Stay on topic: You asked, what else they could do. I gave you a valid option. As usual, you don't like answers that don't fit into your world.


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Posted by PeterSpeak
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Mar 7, 2016 at 4:16 pm

Menlo Voter said:
"Great idea".

Thanks for agreeing. We finally have something in common.


3 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 7, 2016 at 5:48 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"We finally have something in common."

Sorry, we don't have anything in common. I don't expect a company doing legal business to shut down or move because I'm being disturbed, unlike you.

Can I suggest ear phones?


2 people like this
Posted by pearl
a resident of another community
on Mar 7, 2016 at 6:52 pm

pearl is a registered user.

I emailed this article to Supervisor Don Horsley today, suggesting he read the reader "Comments", as well.


1 person likes this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 7, 2016 at 7:32 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

pearl:

supervisor Horsley knows quite well that there isn't a damn thing he can do in this situation. This is posturing.


6 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 7, 2016 at 7:35 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"You asked, what else they could do. I gave you a valid option. As usual, you don't like answers that don't fit into your world."

Here's as valid an option as what you suggested, why don't YOU move? Just as valid as your ridiculous assertion. After all, I'm betting the airport was here long before you were.


7 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 7, 2016 at 7:41 pm

A valid option in any civil discussion is one that you would personally be willing to accept.

Sort of like "do unto others...."


3 people like this
Posted by Matt
a resident of Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on Mar 8, 2016 at 6:05 am

Regarding the absurd "suggestion" that SA should simply move to other airports: they already do fly out of Oakland and are expanding to regular SJ service as well. This is because customers love the product. And by the way there are far more of those customers than the 800 people who signed an online petition.

Reading these comments, it's clear that no amount of logic or compromise will ever appease the haters. You're being led down a path by opportunistic politicians, and it's sad to see. I've said it before and I'll say it again: if SA was not (wrongly) perceived as a service for billionaires, the complaints would be few and far between.

We should all feel blessed to live in such a prosperous county that our big controversy is over 20 flights a day.


2 people like this
Posted by Menlo resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Mar 8, 2016 at 7:59 am

Where is this meeting taking place?


2 people like this
Posted by Barbara Wood
Almanac staff writer
on Mar 8, 2016 at 8:08 am

Barbara Wood is a registered user.

The Board of Supervisors' meeting room is on the first floor of the county courthouse, 400 Government Center, Redwood City.


4 people like this
Posted by pearl
a resident of another community
on Mar 8, 2016 at 5:23 pm

pearl is a registered user.

So, what happened at the Board of Supervisors meeting this morning? Seems more people would be able to attend if it was an early evening meeting, as opposed to a morning meeting when everyone's likely to be at work.

Editor's note: Update: Supervisors ask for noise study on San Carlos Airport: Web Link


4 people like this
Posted by lurker
a resident of another community
on Mar 8, 2016 at 8:58 pm

Attendance was limited to about 110 by size of room and fire rules. Maybe 50 more people seated in hallway overflow area. Hit this agenda topic around 10am and went 3+ hours with one 12-minute break. Mostly 2-minute comments from the public by 62 people stepping to the podium (by my count). About 2/3 seemed satisfied with the status quo, or worried that any restrictions would have negative impacts on their lives. These were mostly pilot and airport business community, plus a few Surf Air customers. Nice to see several young people passionate about aviation and speaking up. About 1/3 of the speakers were significantly bothered by aircraft noise, focused mostly on those 22 daily PC12 arrivals. I guess in the end nobody wants to shut down the whole airport, but many would be happier if commercial passengers spent their money elsewhere. Going forward it looks like more discussion with the FAA and Surf Air to at least try to distribute the arrivals differently. And spend money on more studies. I'm assuming someone more attuned to the politics will report on this meeting. Don't rely on me -- just filling a vacuum right now.


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Posted by pearl
a resident of another community
on Mar 8, 2016 at 9:50 pm

pearl is a registered user.

Lurker: Thanks for the report on the meeting. The possibility of spending taxpayer dollars for more studies (on anything in this county) bothers me. We'll have to think positive that progress will be made, and a solution soon reached that will satisfy all involved in this predicament.


4 people like this
Posted by Private Pilot
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 9, 2016 at 12:10 am

Private Pilot is a registered user.

To Lurker,

Thanks for reporting back on the meeting. Myself and a lot of other people would have attended had they been given more notice and not held the meeting at 9:30 a.m. on a workday. Who thought that up? Given that 160 people were able to attend on a workday at 9:30 is astounding. I would have expected 10. As a pilot I would like to go back to the good old days before SA showed up. I started flying their over 40 years ago and it hadn't changed a bit since then. Now people are threatening all kinds of things since Surf Air arrived.

I'm old fashioned, the airport is old fashioned, nothing changes, like if it ain't broke don't fix it. Nobody even knew we were here.

Now Surf Air has shown up with plans for 50 more planes and people want to shut it down.


5 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 9, 2016 at 8:08 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

private pilot:

perhaps you don't remember the big huzzah back in 1999 or 2000 when the fine residents of Redwood Shores decided the airport should be closed because they din't like the planes flying overhead. The supervisors put on a big show just like now and the FAA said they could do nothing. Noise abatement procedures were already in place at that time. SA and the airport aren't going anywhere.


6 people like this
Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Mar 9, 2016 at 1:52 pm

I try to remain neutral on the matter of Surf Air as both a fan of general aviation and because I like to see small businesses succeed, but there's no discounting the fact that these daily Surf Air flights are a nuisance. I live right under the flight path in Menlo Park, have reasonably good hearing, and I assure you there is little in my neighborhood as jarring as the approach of one of these Pilatus aircraft, flying "clean" or otherwise. Before the arrival of Surf Air my wife and I barely noticed the air traffic on approach to KSQL -- that is sadly no longer the case.

More to the point of this article, San Mateo County owns KSQL so to state they can do nothing about Surf Air or commercial operations in general at the airport is fatuous, at best. Are there other commercial operators at KSQL with as many daily flights as SA? Could the county simply cap the number of commercial flights for all operators at some reasonable number, whatever "reasonable" may be in this case? I'm not suggesting the county take this approach but they/we clearly do have leverage where operations such as SA are concerned.

Gern


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 9, 2016 at 3:15 pm

SQL cannot discriminate either between different commercial aviation operators OR between commercial and non commercial operations.

It would help the discussion if posters would read the often posted FAA rules before proposing to do something which those rules prohibit.


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Posted by Private Pilot
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 9, 2016 at 4:15 pm

Private Pilot is a registered user.


SQL can cap the number of flights in if there is not enough space to park and manuever the planes. Once they're on the ground they are totally under SQL control. When I was there watching them unload and load they take up quite a bit of prime space. AsI understand it from airport operations personel they are running out of room.


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Mar 9, 2016 at 4:19 pm

"SQL cannot discriminate either between different commercial aviation operators OR between commercial and non commercial operations."

I've read the lone comment in this thread defining "reliever" status for an airport and see no reason why that definition precludes airport owner-defined operational limits, so long as the airport still maintains the somewhat lax thresholds found in the definition. Also seems sections A and B under General in the somewhat dated County of San Mateo Airport Regulations document (Web Link) would give the county some leeway in negotiating operational limits. If the FAA's "reliever" designation supersedes owner control over these operational aspects I'd appreciate a source, Peter (and apologies if I missed it in the lengthy comment thread above).

Gern


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Posted by Private Pilot
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 9, 2016 at 4:40 pm

Private Pilot is a registered user.


I also find it a safety issue based on where the park their planes right outside the terminal door. It's a large aircraft. along with other aircraft and pedestrians, their is no one guiding the plane in as it taxis in and out to their parking space. Perhaps they could find a space away from the terminal door for their velvet rope. It's literally feet from the front door. With that many flights day and night it's inevitable someone not familiar with their operations will walk into a prop.


5 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 9, 2016 at 5:31 pm

Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 14, 2015 at 1:16 pm
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.
"Can anyone tell me how "for profit" airlines like SurfAir are allowed to use a municipal airport like the one in San Carlos for commercial flights?"

San Carlos is an officially designated reliever airport and a long time and continuing recipient of FAA Airport Improvement Grants which OBLIGATE them to permit airplane operations on a nondiscriminatory basis. Therefore San Carlos cannot prohibit Surf Air or anybody else from operating for-profit flights.

Here is the Grant Assurance language:
"22. Economic Nondiscrimination.
a. It will make the airport available as an airport for public use on reasonable terms and without unjust discrimination to all types, kinds and classes of aeronautical activities, including commercial aeronautical activities offering services to the public at the airport."


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Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Mar 9, 2016 at 5:53 pm

Peter, that information is helpful but does the section 22 language preclude limiting the extent (not the type) of commercial and other uses at a reliever airport? Clearly, as others have pointed out, there must be sufficient aircraft parking as one limitation, but may airport owners set reasonable arbitrary limits on, say, the number of daily flights? I know some airports restrict the hours for certain classes of aircraft, as one example.

Gern


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Posted by Apple
a resident of Atherton: other
on Mar 9, 2016 at 6:19 pm

SJC has a curfew program that limits noisier aircraft to certain hours:
Web Link

I suppose if you took this to the extreme, you could have a really restrictive curfew that was 24 hours for the noisiest aircraft. The FAA would need to approve it though, which I doubt they would.


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 9, 2016 at 6:36 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"does the section 22 language preclude limiting the extent (not the type) of commercial and other uses at a reliever airport?"

Yes, any limitation must apply to all types of aircraft equally. And the FAA will not allow the County to close the airport to all airplanes so the airport cannot be closed to some aircraft except for those aircraft which may not safely use the airport due to the imitations of runway length.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 9, 2016 at 7:28 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"SQL can cap the number of flights in if there is not enough space to park and manuever the planes. "

Probably not.

"9.7. Availability of Leased Space.
The sponsor’s federal obligation under Grant Assurance 22, Economic Nondiscrimination, to operate the airport for the public’s use and
benefit is not satisfied simply by keeping the runways open to all classes of users. The assurance federally obligates the sponsor to make available suitable areas or space on reasonable terms to those willing and qualified to offer aeronautical services to the public (e.g. air carrier, air taxi, charter, flight training, or crop dusting services) or support services (e.g. fuel, storage, tie-down, or flightline maintenance services) to aircraft operators. Sponsors are also obligated to make space available to support aeronautical
activity of noncommercial aeronautical users (i.e., hangars and
tie-down space for individual aircraft owners). This means that unless it undertakes to provide these services itself, the sponsor has a duty to
negotiate in good faith for the lease of premises available to conduct aeronautical activities."


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Posted by Private Pilot
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 9, 2016 at 8:11 pm

Private Pilot is a registered user.

"SQL can cap the number of flights in if there is not enough space to park and manuever the planes. "

"Probably not."

Peter you might want to check w/ airport management on that,

but thanks for at least leaving room for the possibility


4 people like this
Posted by Jon Carlson
a resident of another community
on Sep 8, 2016 at 7:20 pm

Noise from takeoffs at San Carlos Airport from Surf Air and other prop planes over Redwood Shores are excruciating.


4 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 8, 2016 at 7:27 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Jon:

Why did you buy a home at the departure end of an airport? Did someone tell you there wasn't an airport there? Do you not know how to look at maps? Did you not see the airport when you drove by on the way to the home you were going to purchase? I'd be willing to bet there was a disclosure in your disclosure packet for your home. Did you not see it? Or did you ignore it?


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Posted by David
a resident of another community
on Oct 8, 2016 at 7:09 pm

It's time to shut down San Carlos Airport. I've lived in my neighborhood in San Carlos for over twenty years. Noise from Helicopters and aircraft has gotten beyond acceptable limits. Shut it down!


4 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 8, 2016 at 7:16 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

David:

why did you buy a home near an airport? Did you think there wouldn't be noise?


3 people like this
Posted by Livesnearairports
a resident of another community
on Jan 10, 2017 at 12:59 pm

Has anyone really considered how much noise SA is really producing?
At 22 flights a day, that's 22 takeoffs and 22 landings on average, they are over your home and within earshot for approximately 10-20 seconds. Now considering that the airplanes land into the wind, it is likely they are either landing or taking off over your home, not both. giving a total time of interruption of approximately 7 1/2 minutes a day. Spread throughout the day. It's just not that much, it's just not that noisy. The Airport has been there since before the surrounding towns existed, All Homeowners had to sign an agreement that they understood they lived near an airport and that there would be airplane noise. On that alone, you all have already agreed to the noise that the airport produces now and into the future. My suggestion is find a way to deal with it just as you deal with road noise from the freeway. Air travel is a necessary mode of transportation and just because it is not common for you does not give you the right to try and shut it down.


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