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Thursday, Dec 8, 2022
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Residents Rail Against Flight Changes at Airfields

The issue of noisy jets flying out of Van Nuys and Hollywood Burbank airports has reached a boiling point. At a public informational meeting earlier this month, citizens shouted at representatives of the Federal Aviation Administration. Residents from Valley neighborhoods such as Studio City, Encino and Sherman Oaks are upset over changes that the FAA made to flight paths about two years ago. The redesigned flight paths were part of a metroplex program to use satellite-based navigation to reduce fuel burn and aircraft exhaust emissions while improving on-time performance. But residents complain that the new flight paths caused more jet engine noise. A “metroplex” is a region with multiple airports and complex air traffic flows; the Southern California metroplex includes Van Nuys, Hollywood Burbank, Los Angeles International and other airports stretching down to San Diego. Valley residents have banded together to form groups such as UproarLA, which advocates for changes to Burbank airport flight paths; and Sherman Oaks and Encino For Quiet Skies, which is addressing the changes at both Van Nuys and Burbank airports. About 50 residents turned out on Aug. 6 to hear from representatives of the FAA talk about the agency’s plans to address the issue of flight paths out of Van Nuys Airport. The meeting of the Van Nuys Airport Citizens Advisory Council was tense at times, with some audience members shouting, “Shame on you!” as Shawn Kozica and five other FAA officials left the meeting room at the Airtel Plaza Hotel in Van Nuys. Kozica, the agency’s manager of operations support in the Western U.S., spoke about the FAA’s plans to reduce the noise from aircraft flying out of the San Fernando Valley by bringing the flight paths back as close as possible to those used previously. Advisory council member Wayne Williams asked Kozica if the FAA could just go back to the previous flight paths immediately. Kozica responded that it wasn’t a process that could just be “turned on and off.” The process would take between 18 and 24 months, Kozica said. When Kozica added that it was a good thing the process took that long, audience members were derisive with shouts of “No, it’s not” and “We’re dying out here.” Also, the audience was not happy with Council Chairman Jason Price limiting comments from the public to just 10 minutes. Among the most impassioned speakers was David Kimball, a 20-year Studio City resident who said that he had never seen so many planes flying so low over his home. “You are destroying our neighborhoods,” Kimball said before asking whether FAA reps cared about the effects of aircraft on Valley residents. After the presentation and public comments, the FAA officials left. Later, Price gave an additional 10 minutes for public comments on the flight path issue, but audience members were still not happy as the FAA representatives had left before then and could not hear what they had to say. The meeting was informational and not convened to arrive at a decision. However, a noise task force will be established to address the flight path issues from both Van Nuys and Hollywood Burbank airports. In June, the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority, owner of the Burbank airport, voted to support a resolution to ask the FAA to change the flight paths out of the airport. It was hearing from residents complaints about planes shifting from flying over the 101 freeway to Studio City and Sherman Oaks instead. In October, global aviation consultancy firm Landrum & Brown Inc., in Cincinnati, completed a report for the Burbank airport that analyzed the flight paths. It found no direct connection between the implementation of the metroplex plan and the increase in the number and frequency of flights in and out of the airport. “However, a connection was found between the metroplex implementation and the increase in the number of flights over areas south of the 101 freeway,” the report said. Curt Castagna, president of the Van Nuys Airport Association which represents airport tenants, said the association was not taking a position on the issue. “Like everyone else, we are watching and learning and figuring out what is going on,” said Castagna, who also serves as chief executive of Aeroplex/Aerolease Group, which leases hangar and office space at the airport. The issues created by the flight path changes are not exclusive to Los Angeles, Castagna added, and noise complaints are not new. For operators at the airport, safety is their top priority, Castagna continued. “The operators are studying (air space), but it’s from a standpoint of what are the safest operations that can take place within the system the FAA designs.” he said.

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
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