Archive for October, 2018

Come Fly with Me

The unfriendly skies over the Southeast Valley got a little unfriendlier on October 18th.

A much anticipated public hearing dealing with the noise of departing jets from Burbank Airport was held at the nearby Buena Vista Library.

About 200 people filled the auditorium, plus more by an open exit door.  Representatives from the airport were in attendance, along with LA City Council Member Paul Krekorian and Congressman Brad Sherman. It was apparent that a large majority of the audience hailed from Studio City.

No one from the FAA was there, a major disappointment, but had the agency sent someone, it would have been the equivalent of Custer riding into the Little Big Horn Valley.  A different valley, this time, but the results would have been the same.

I can understand not wanting to face an angry crowd which has already staked out a position vehemently opposing the increase in departing flights over their neighborhoods, but there are times when one has to face an angry public.  Interestingly, Mayor Garcetti, who seldom faces an unsympathetic group, tried doing that the day before in Venice regarding homeless shelters; perhaps the FAA read this article . By the way, Garcetti was criticized a few times at the Burbank meeting for his lack of involvement on this issue and for being away in general.

Just as the controversy over where to place homeless shelters, flight paths contemplated by the FAA are drawing a passionate response.

There were those who adamantly opposed all but a few flights over their neighborhoods. That point of view primarily came from the residents who live in the hills.  They cited the acoustical effects created by the canyons and hillsides.

Almost all opposed the overall shift in flights to the south of the 101 and called for dispersing the paths over a wider area.

Some stated that real estate values have been adversely impacted.  All other things being equal, that is true, but it is the “all other things” that also impact prices.  Who would have predicted that Porter Ranch would be experiencing a real estate boom only a few years after the Aliso Canyon gas leak? But that’s what was reported in Sunday’s Los Angeles Daily News. The gas field is still there and there is no guarantee against a re-occurrence. There are many factors that go into purchasing a home, certainly noise is one of them, but convenience, architectural style, view, amenities and even zip code enter into the decision.

I suspect even if the FAA agrees to disperse flights, there will still be an outcry from parts of the Valley not previously impacted, but would be if the pattern changed.

One person proposed having more (not all) flights depart directly to the north….and there are conditions that apparently require it.  The rationale being that most flights are heading to destinations in that direction.  I imagine the North Valley, Santa Clarita, Sunland and Tujunga would want to weigh in on that.

There were suggestions for planes to gain altitude at a faster rate so by the time they turned into residential neighborhoods there would be more elevation between them and the ground below.  But that could create more noise for those neighborhoods relatively close to runway 15.

Personally, I have observed some flights out of Burbank with sharper angles of ascent, so it can be done. It is worth noting, though, that planes use the most fuel (up to 25% of the total consumption), and produce the most harmful emissions, during takeoff, according to an article in an on-line publication of the Worldwatch Institute, an organization which deals with sustainability issues.   Does that mean a steeper ascent would create more emissions over a concentrated area? Something to consider.

If the flights paths were dispersed over the Southeast Valley, there is still a question as to the location of the turning points.  Remember, the planes are not flying straight, but in arcs. The timing of the turns would affect the noise level for many Valley communities  to varying degrees.

My statement on behalf of Valley Village opposed concentrations over any single neighborhood (including our own) and urged the FAA, within the framework of safety, to fine flagrant airport curfew violators; to set a timeline for the commercial carriers to replace older 737s with the new and quieter – also more fuel efficient – 737MAX series; and put an immediate freeze on additional flights until the results of an EIR can be evaluated.

Everyone has legitimate gripes, but it would require the Wisdom of Solomon to carve up the skies in a manner that would please the general public.

I have not seen King Solomon’s name listed in the FAA or Burbank Airport’s organization chart, neither is he on any ballot for elected office.

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