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Efforts to Quiet San Carlos Airport Noise Move Forward

The city of Atherton is hosting a community meeting Monday night to discuss the issue. One proposal is to create a second flight path into the small airport that would avoid neighborhoods flyovers.

Pilatus PC-12. Credit: AviationNews.eu
Pilatus PC-12. Credit: AviationNews.eu
An aircraft flight service company whose business involves flying in and out of San Carlos airport as many as eight times a day has begun a program to try to lessen the noise its planes create for area neighborhoods.

According to the Almanac Online, Surf Air planes have begun a visual approach into the San Carlos airport which "moves the flight path around" somewhat to allow pilots to try to fly over areas less dense, says Airport Manager Gretchen Kelly.

Residents have complained recently about the airport noise since Surf Air began using heavier, noisier Pilatus PC-12 single-engine turboprop planes for the San Carlos route during the summer.

The city of Atherton is hosting a community meeting Monday, Dec. 9, in the Pavilion at Holbrook-Palmer Park, 150 Watkins Ave. to discuss the aircraft noise issue. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m.

A recent Patch reader opinion article about airport noise at SFO generated strong response to the issue on the northern Peninsula. 
Peter Carpenter December 09, 2013 at 10:24 AM
Living almost under the San Carlos IFR approach and having dealt with aircraft noise issues for almost 20 years (ten as Chair) while on the Palo Alto Airport Joint Community Relations Committee I have the following thoughts: First, based on my experience, the FAA will be very slow to change anything, particularly any published approaches. Second, simply moving the SurfAir flight paths to the East is just causing the noise to move east - not to Palo Alto but to EastPalo Alto and East Menlo Park. The fairness, politics and optics of dumping Atherton's noise problems on East Palo Alto and East Menlo Park are obvious. Third, the best and easiest to implement change is for SurfAir to move the beginning of their approach to a point west of the Stanford stadium where the floor of the SFO Class B airspace is 4000 Ft rather than the 2500 Ft floor east of the stadium. From that more western point SurfAir can perform a Controlled Descent Approach in VFR conditions that will, at all times prior to short final, be higher than the current lower, step down high power approach path and will be a much lower powered, hence less noise, approach. The net effect of this approach would be to significantly reduce the noise footprint for ALL the communities under the Surf Air flight path. In summary, in order to decrease aircraft noise you can either increase the distance from the ground or reduce the noise generated or both - the CDA I have suggested does both. Moving the flight path east to East Palo Alto and East Menlo Park does neither,

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