AIRPLANE NOISE IMPACT ON OUR COMMUNITIES
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 procedures which shifted noise to new areas. As the installation of NextGen routes expanded to new areas through 2015, more and more communities were impacted.
In response to the noise impact of these new NextGen procedures, Congresswoman Speier, along with two of her Bay Area colleagues Anna Eshoo and Sam Farr, 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 NextGen 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
The first four steps in this initial FAA process have been completed for items in the FAA Initiative to Address Noise Concerns of Santa Cruz/Santa Clara/San Mateo/San Francisco Counties Feasibiltiy Study. As part of Step 5 in the FAA process - Stakeholder Feedback - 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 feedback on 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 to its termination at 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.
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 have transmitted these two reports to FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta with a letter requesting a progress update. The Members have urged the Administrator to take action as soon as possible to remedy disturbing noise impacts which affect the health and well-being of their constituents. Read the letter HERE.
Administrator Huerta has 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 continues 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. The FAA indicates that it is reviewing a combined SCSBA and SFO RT total of 107 recommendations. The FAA has not yet set a publication date for this substantive response report.
Congresswoman Speier will continue to work with Dennis Roberts, FAA Regional Administrator, Glen Martin, FAA Vice President of Air Traffic Services, FAA staff, the SFO Airport/Community Roundtable, elected officials, community leaders and the residents of her District to urge the FAA to do everything in its power to bring desperately needed noise relief to her constituents in San Francisco and San Mateo Counties.
∙ 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.
∙ 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
FAA Initiative to Address Noise Concerns of Santa Cruz/Santa Clara/San Mateo/San Francisco Counties- released by the FAA May 16, 2016
∙ Phase One Report
∙ Phase One Report Appendices
∙ Executive Summary Feasibility Study
∙Click on the image to download the FINAL REPORT of the Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals
∙ There are no upcoming meetings of the Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals
PREVIOUS MEETINGS OF SCSBA
SFO AIRPORT/COMMUNITY ROUNDTABLE
Click on the image to download the SFO Airport/Community Roundtable Final Report to the FAA Initiative
∙ Upcoming meetings of the SFO Airport/Community Roundtable
Wednesday, April 5, 2017, 7:00 p.m.
Regular Roundtable Meeting
Chetcuti Community Room - Millbrae City Hall
450 Poplar Avenue, Millbrae, CA 94030
Regular Roundtable Meeting
SFO Airport/Community Roundtable Special Meeting
November 2, 2016, 7 p.m.
SFO–OAK–SJC · HOW TO FILE A NOISE COMPLAINT AND LOCAL 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
∙ SFO Airport/Community Roundtable: Learn about SFO procedures and efforts to improve noise impact
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
∙ Noisequest: Information on airports, airplane operations, noise, government regulations. (Pennsylvania State University website supported by FAA grants)