Congresswoman Jackie Speier

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Airplane Noise

CONGRESSWOMAN SPEIER - AIRPLANE NOISE TOWN HALL

Click on IMAGE to link to video of the Congresswoman Speier’s Airplane Noise Town Hall held October 23, 2018

 

 

 

 

Click on IMAGE to link to video of “Basics of Airplane Noise Law” by Peter Kirsch -- presentation at the Airplane Noise Town Hall.

 

 

 

Click on IMAGE to link to pdf of Mr. Kirsch’s “Basics of Airplane Noise Law” PowerPoint presentation.

 

 

 

AIRPLANE NOISE IMPACT ON OUR COMMUNITIES - BACKGROUND

Airplane noise has become an ever-increasing concern in our communities. In the fall of 2014, the FAA began implementation of NextGen RNAV flight procedures in the Bay Area. NextGen Performance Based Navigation is part of a nation-wide FAA modernization program which includes new technologies using precise satellite navigation in place of the aging ground-based radio beacon navigation system.

This new technology is lauded because of its ability to design more efficient straight-line flight paths which reduce flight time, fuel and emissions.  But NextGen RNAV procedures are not necessarily a good thing for residents living below. Because of the precision of satellite navigation, airplanes fly a concentrated, repeatable narrow path over the earth; many residents are subjected to an incessant barrage of flights overhead.

In addition, long standing flight paths based on ground based navigation aids were often eliminated and replaced by new NextGen RNAV procedures which shifted noise to new areas. As the installation of NextGen RNAV routes expanded to new areas through 2015, more and more communities were impacted.

Adding to the impact of the new RNAV flight paths, after years of reduced flight operations following the 9/11/01 tragedy and the 2008 recession, the number of SFO flight operations had recovered to pre-2001 levels by 2013 and has been increasing since then.

CONGRESSIONAL INQUIRIES

In response to the dramatically increased noise impact, Congresswoman Speier, along with two of her Bay Area colleagues Anna Eshoo and Sam Farr, initially met with FAA Administrator Michael Huerta in the spring of 2015 in Washington, DC to explain in no uncertain terms that more and more residents were being subjected to intolerable airplane noise…and the FAA needed to fix it.

FAA'S RESPONSE TO CONGRESSIONAL INQURIES

As part of the FAA Administrator’s response to these Congressional complaints, FAA Western-Pacific Regional Administrator Glen Martin appeared at Congresswoman Speier’s August 2015 meeting of elected and community leaders. At this meeting, Mr. Martin heard how families could not sleep through the night, how conversations would be disrupted throughout the day and that the noise was unrelenting. These community leaders also shared suggestions to improve flight procedures to reduce the noise impact.

FAA INITIATIVE REPORT AND PROCESS

In response to Congresswoman Speier’s initial inquires and the forthright community comments to the FAA at her meeting as well as additional input, the FAA compiled the FAA Initiative to Address Noise Concerns of Santa Cruz/Santa Clara/San Mateo/San Francisco Counties: Compiled at the Request of Representatives Farr, Eshoo and Speier. This FAA Initiative, presented to these three Members of Congress in November 2015, listed a number of suggested changes to flight procedures. Since that time, the FAA has been evaluating those items using the FAA’s seven step process: 1. Detailed Analysis, 2. Fly-ability Assessment, 3. Operational Assessment, 4. Feasibility Determination, 5. Stakeholder Feedback, 6. Environmental Review, 7. Safety Assessment.

PUBLIC FORUMS

As part of the FAA process, the three Members of Congress established the Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals (SCSBA). The SCSBA and the long-standing SFO Airport/Community Roundtable provided forums for public input to the FAA Initiative reports.

The SCSBA has focused on South Bay arrivals, especially the SERFR Arrival, including its impact on Peninsula cities underneath the flight path in the vicinity of MENLO intersection. The Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals has considered other FAA Initiative items as well as additional noise issues.

The SFO Airport/Community Roundtable has focused on departures and arrivals which impact the City and County of San Francisco and San Mateo County and its cities.

Each of these forums has worked with FAA staff on technical issues, held public meetings, study sessions and technical meetings, received written communications and heard public input at meetings. After much consideration, discussion and debate, each of these two forums has voted on recommendations which have been presented to Representatives Speier, Eshoo and Farr.

RECOMMENDATIONS SUBMITTED TO THE FAA

The final report and recommendations from SFO/Airport Community Roundtable can be downloaded HERE.

The final report and recommendations from the Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals can be downloaded HERE.

Representatives Speier, Eshoo and Farr transmitted these two reports with recommendations to FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta with a letter requesting future progress updates.

The recommendations made by both the SFO Airport/Community Roundtable and the SCSBA had to undergo the same FAA research, analysis and feasibility determination as was performed for the initial recommendations in the May 16, 2016 FAA Feasibility Study.

The Members urged the Administrator to take action as soon as possible to respond to these recommendations to remedy the disturbing noise impacts which affect the health and well-being of their constituents. Read the letter HERE.

FAA INITIAL RESPONSE

While awaiting the final report from the FAA Administrator Huerta, he provided a brief progress report to Representatives Speier, Eshoo and Panetta stating that the FAA "is carefully reviewing, analyzing, and considering the detailed report and recommendations." Read his letter from February 6, 2017 HERE.

The FAA continued to analyze the numerous recommendations submitted to the FAA in the November 17, 2016 reports by the SFO Airport/Community Roundtable and the Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals.

In mid-May, Congresswoman Speier, along with her colleagues Rep. Anna Eshoo and Rep. Jimmy Panetta, had conversations with FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, urging him to release the final response report. The Administrator informed each of the Members that the draft response document was in his office and after appropriate review, within about a month, would be forwarded to the Department of Transportation for review. Click HERE to read the May 17, 2017 Joint Statement of the Members of Congress.

On July 25, 2017, the FAA released to the offices of Representatives Speier, Eshoo and Panetta the FAA Initiative - Phase Two. This FAA report is in response to the Recommendations submitted by the SFO Airport/Community Roundtable and the Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals.

FAA INITIATIVE - PHASE TWO FINAL RESPONSE REPORT

On November 16, 2017, the offices of Representatives Speier, Eshoo and Panetta released the FINAL FAA Initiative - Phase Two. This final FAA report is in response to the 203 separate Recommendations submitted by the SFO Airport/Community Roundtable and the Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals.

This final report is divided into four major categories based on the status of each recommendation: 1. Addressed Concern: These recommendations are already being addressed - primarily by NCT TRACON. This does not necessarily mean that an individual item has been completely addressed and solved, but that it is known and is being addressed;
2. Feasible and could be implemented in the Short Term (less than 2 years);
3. Feasible and could be implemented in the Long Term (more than 2 years);
4. Not Endorsed by the FAA: These recommendations are not feasible by the FAA based on some aspect of their non-compliance with FAA standards.
Some remaining recommendations are categorized as: “Not endorsed by the Select Committee” and “Not under the FAA’s jurisdiction.”  (The SFO RT only submitted recommendations that they endorsed – unanimously.)

Feasible recommendations in this final FAA Report of particular interest to residents of Congresswoman Speier’s District include recommendations to make improvements to nighttime overflights by routing most southbound SFO and OAK departures over the Bay and Ocean rather than over residential land; by routing most arrivals from the north over the Bay - rather down over the Peninsula. Other feasible items include a return to close to the historical split of arrivals from the north which will result in increased arrivals from the north to fly over the Bay and fewer arrivals from the north to fly over the Peninsula.

Promising recommendations deemed not feasible by the FAA include: the creation of dual offset approaches to SFO Runways 28, which would have provided for two flight paths closer to the mid-Bay than to Foster City, the implementation of an RNAV overlay of the traditional OFFSHORE Departure, and the creation of a Runway 10 RNAV departure overlay of the traditional DUMBARTON Departure.

PROGRESS UPDATES TO THE FAA INITIATIVE

On March 6, 2018, Reps. Speier, Eshoo and Panetta sent a letter to FAA Acting Administrator Daniel Elwell, requesting a formal update on the progress of the recommendations made by the SFO Airport/Community Roundtable and the Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals. Read letter here.

Reps. Speier, Eshoo and Panetta sent a follow-up letter to Acting Administrator Elwell on March 29, 2018. Read letter here.

An initial FAA Initiative Update Report was published April 27, 2018 and further FAA Updates will be periodically provided to the three Members of Congress for release to the public. See below for individual Update Reports.

April 23, 2019: FURTHER UPDATE REPORT
FAA Initiative to Address Noise Concerns of Santa Cruz/Santa Clara/San Mateo/San Francisco Counties - Phase Two
Click on the image to download the report.

April 23, 2019: REPS. SPEIER, ESHOO, PANETTA PRESS RELEASE
Click here to download the press release.

December 15, 2018: FURTHER UPDATE REPORT
FAA Initiative to Address Noise Concerns of Santa Cruz/Santa Clara/San Mateo/San Francisco Counties - Phase Two
Click on IMAGE to download report

December 12, 2018: REPS. SPEIER, ESHOO, PANETTA PRESS RELEASE
Click here to download the press release.

April 27, 2018: FURTHER UPDATE REPORT
FAA Initiative to Address Noise Concerns of Santa Cruz/Santa Clara/San Mateo/San Francisco Counties - Phase Two
Click on IMAGE to download report

April 27, 2018: REPS. SPEIER, ESHOO, PANETTA PRESS RELEASE
Click here to download the press release.

November 16, 2017: PDF iconFINAL RESPONSE REPORT: FAA Initiative to Address Noise Concerns of Santa Cruz/Santa Clara/San Mateo/San Francisco Counties - Phase Two
This is the initial final FAA Response to the recommendations submitted by the SFO Airport/Community Roundtable and the Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals.

November 16, 2017:  Click here to download the joint press release from Representatives Speier, Eshoo and Farr regarding the release of the FINAL FAA Response to the Recommendations of the SFO Airport/Community Roundtable and the Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals.

July 25, 2017: FAA Initiative to Address Noise Concerns of Santa Cruz/Santa Clara/San Mateo/San Francisco Counties - Phase Two
This is the initial FAA Response to the recommendations submitted by the SFO Airport/Community Roundtable and the Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals.

 

July 25, 2017: Click here to download the joint press release from Representatives Speier, Eshoo and Farr regarding the release of the FAA Response to the Recommendations of the SFO Airport/Community Roundtable and the Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals.

 

May 17, 2017: Click on the image to download the joint press statement of Reps. Speier, Eshoo and Farr regarding the status of the FAA Response to the Recommendations of the SFO Airport / Community Roundtable and the Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals.

 

 

Huerta letterDecember 2, 2016: Click on the image to download the Congressional transmittal letter from Representatives Speier, Eshoo and Farr to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta which accompanied the reports of the SFO Airport/Community Roundtable and the Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals.

 

December 2, 2016: Click here to download the joint press release from Representatives Speier, Eshoo and Farr regarding the transmittal of the reports of the SFO Airport/Community Roundtable and the Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals


∙ May 16, 2016: FAA Initiative to Address Noise Concerns of Santa Cruz/Santa Clara/San Mateo/San Francisco Counties- released by the FAA
∙  Phase One Report
∙  Phase One Report Appendices
∙  Executive Summary Feasibility Study  

EARLIER FAA COMMUNICATIONS CAN BE FOUND BELOW.

SELECT COMMITTEE ON SOUTH BAY ARRIVALS
SCSBA reportNovember 16, 2016: Click on the image to download the FINAL REPORT of the Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals

 

The Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals has permanently adjourned.

∙ Members of the Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals

There are no upcoming meetings of the Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals

 

SFO AIRPORT/COMMUNITY ROUNDTABLE

SFO Roundtable Image

∙ November 16, 2016: Click on the image to download the SFO Airport/Community Roundtable Final Report to the FAA Initiative

 

Members of the SFO Airport/Community Roundtable

SFO Airport/Community Roundtable website

Sign up for SFO Airport/Community Roundtable e-mail list to receive meeting announcements and agendas, post-meeting follow-up and eNews announcements.

∙ UPCOMING MEETINGS OF THE SFO AIRPORT/COMMUNITY ROUNDTABLE

SFO Roundtable FUTURE meetings – agendas – minutes can be found HERE

SFO Roundtable Regular Meetings are generally held every other months at 7pm at the Checuti Community Room, 450 Poplar, Millbrae

∙ PREVIOUS MEETINGS OF THE SFO AIRPORT/COMMUNITY ROUNDTABLE
SFO Roundtable meetings are archived on audio and video (video only for more recent meetings)
 

SFO–OAK–SJC · HOW TO FILE A NOISE COMPLAINT AND NOISE RESOURCES
∙ File a SFO/San Francisco Airport Noise Complaint
∙ File an OAK/Oakland Airport noise complaint
∙ File a SJC/San Jose Airport noise complaint
∙ Flight tracking: real time and historical flight tracking in the Bay Area
∙ Learn about SFO noise abatement flight procedures 

Noisequest: Information on airports, airplane operations, noise, government regulations.  (Pennsylvania State University website supported by FAA grants)   


FAA INITIATIVE REPORTS AND PROCESS INFORMATION
∙ May 31, 2015 Congresswoman Speier’s letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta
∙ November 13, 2015 FAA Initiative to Address Noise Concerns of Santa Cruz/Santa Clara/San Mateo/San Francisco Counties:  Compiled at the Request of Representatives Farr, Eshoo and Speier. (original document)
∙ November 13, 2015 Press release by Reps Speier, Eshoo, Farr regarding the release of the FAA Initiative to Address Noise Concerns of Santa Cruz/Santa Clara/San Mateo/San Francisco Counties
 March 4, 2016 FAA Initiative to Address Noise Concerns of Santa Cruz/Santa Clara/San Mateo/San Francisco Counties: Compiled at the Request of Representatives Farr, Eshoo and Speier.  (updated with milestones)
∙ March 4, 2016 FAA PowerPoint:  Feasibility Study Overview
∙ March 4, 2016 FAA Video – Day in the Life of Bay Area Air Traffic Control
∙ March 14, 2016 Congresswoman Speier’s letter to the SFO Airport/Community Roundtable outlining the roles of the SFO RT and the Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals in the FAA Initiative process
∙ April 1, 2016 Reps. Speier, Eshoo, Farr Press Release announcing formation of Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals SCSBA), the roles of the Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals and the SFO Airport/Community Roundtable; includes list of SCSBA Members and Alternates.
∙ May 16, 2016 FAA Initiative to Address Noise Concerns of Santa Cruz/Santa Clara/San Mateo/San Francisco Counties

∙ May 16, 2016 Reps. Speier, Eshoo, Farr press release announcing release of the FAA Initiative to Address Noise Concerns of Santa Cruz/Santa Clara/San Mateo/San Francisco Counties Feasibility Study
       
FAA NEXTGEN · BACKGROUND INFORMATION
∙ FAA Fact Sheet: NextGen and Performance Based Navigation
∙ FAA Video: NextGen See, Navigate & Communicate

FAA AIRCRAFT NOISE · BACKGROUND INFORMATION
∙ FAA noise website: Who to Contact if You're Impacted by Aircraft Noise  
∙ FAA Airport Noise Page: with links to U.S. law, FAA regulations and other resources

More on Airplane Noise

April 27, 2018 Press Release

Washington, DC - Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) announced the inclusion of her amendment requiring the federal government to take steps to reduce the noise and health impacts of commercial air traffic in her District, and for millions of Americans in communities across the country, as part of the bill to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration through 2023 that passed in the U.S. House of Representatives today.