Bill Rosendahl Calls for Permanent Adoption of New FAA Flight Pattern

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Bill Rosendahl

This press release was sent out before the tragic plane crash at Penmar Park yesterday.

From Councilmember Bill Rosendahl:

Councilmember Bill Rosendahl is calling on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to make permanent a test procedure for propeller aircraft at Santa Monica Airport (SMO) that would dramatically reduce the number of idling aircraft that spew aircraft emissions over Los Angeles neighborhoods.

“Los Angeles gets all the take-offs, all the landings, and all the noise and pollution. Current flight procedures result in greater delays at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Santa Monica Airport (SMO),” Rosendahl said.

The procedure, tested recently at the airport, diminished conflicts with LAX traffic, thereby reducing the idling of propeller aircraft that creates a cloud of aircraft emissions that hovers over homes just hundreds of feet away in Venice, Mar Vista and West LA.

“This new procedure is better for people in Venice, Mar Vista and West LA surrounding the airport,” Rosendahl said. “I am grateful that the FAA tested this procedure, and I strongly encourage all my constituents to urge federal officials to implement it permanently.”

Since aircraft from SMO can come within 3 miles of the LAX departure track on take-off, air traffic controllers are often forced to order departing airplanes to hold and idle on the Santa Monica runway until a position clears up in the airspace ahead. Santa Monica officials have stated their opposition to the new procedure and have launched an effort to block its permanent implementation due to potential noise impacts on Santa Monica residents.

“I represent residents living near two airports in my district, SMO and LAX. Nobody needs to tell me about noise impacts from those airports,” said Rosendahl. “But, I can’t ask a kid living in Venice, Mar Vista or West LA to play in a black cloud of aircraft emissions so that someone in Santa Monica is spared the noise impacts.”

A recent FAA review found that primary departure flight tracts at LAX and SMO converge and conflict just west of the airports, resulting in 594 minutes of average flight delay per month. In its March 18, 2010 interim review, the FAA reported that “aircraft operating costs associated with these delays has been estimated to exceed $1,000,000 since June 2008. Additionally, as aircraft wait out the delay, they emit tons of pollutants and emissions.”

Rosendahl explained, “This report makes clear that the slight change in the flight plan would result in better operations across two airports. It is a no brainer that this should be adopted on a permanent basis. It reduces delay time at SMO and LAX by 85% percent, while reducing aircraft emissions and noise at both ends.”

Following complaints from local resident groups who would live under the new flight track, the City of Santa Monica issued a press release calling for a full environmental review and public input into the pending FAA decision to change the departure procedures for propeller aircraft flying under instrument flight rules (IFR) at Santa Monica Airport.

“I welcome a comprehensive environmental review of air safety, air pollution, and both health and noise impacts of Santa Monica Airport, with full public input by all of its neighbors,” said Councilmember Rosendahl. “I ask that the FAA to engage the City of Los Angeles and its residents in the final decision making process as well as Santa Monica.”

Rosendahl urged interested residents in LA to voice their concerns and support the new departure procedure to Santa Monica Airport staff at (310) 458-8692 as well as to their local members of Congress, and Council District 11.

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