The Santa Cruz FAA Meeting at Loma Prieta

The LATEST update on this meeting:
On 7/31/2015, the Save Our Skies Santa Cruz executive committee released their summary of the meeting. Review the PDF here.

UPDATE 10p pacific:
What happened?

Most people who attended the Loma Prieta meeting, agreed the FAA listened.

It was flatly stated that the reason the meeting happened at all, was because of Congressman Sam Farr.
That pressure is unwanted and the FAA wants it to stop. They are willing to continue dialog via e-mail, as long as it is limited and viewed as productive.

The FAA committed to fast-tracking any changes (6 months, instead of 2 years) and will review why things aren’t working. Our neighbors were able to document several issues regarding the performance of the route: Violations of airspeed limits and issues related to adjacent SFO Class-B airspace were discussed.

The FAA also stated (and we know this) that the closer you get to the airport, the more routes become interdependent and in conflict with each other. Therefore, the harder things become to change. The FAA also stated that any “Federal Action” on the Northern California Metroplex is closed. Thus, significant changes will be new Federal Actions.

1. The SERFR1 arrival procedure is not working as it should and will be reviewed for possible modification. Fanning out planes on descent was stated to be a possible mitigation to the well documented intensity.

2. SERFR1 alignment on ANJEE may be possible but problematic. When first presented to the public by the FAA it was clearly stated the route should transition thru ANJEE and that the design was incomplete.

3. Altitudes for planes crossing BRIX could be raised if constraints were be added to SERFR1.

4. The FAA clearly resisted PORTE departure changes. Glen Martin clearly stated that he cannot design an efficient transportation system with lots of restrictions on departures. We believe this is touted as one of the ways that NextGen saves fuel by getting departures pointed at their destinations sooner. On a side-note, this is a big sticking point in Phoenix.

It was pointed out that if the PORTE fan out was moved slightly further out, the crossing altitudes could be increased. The cost of that should be considered against that of property owners on the ground.

During the meeting, it was made clear reduced fuel cost is being traded for larger noise impact areas and inescapably reduced property values and (your) quality of life.

We believe there was some acknowledgment that this balance/trade-off could be considered in route designs, but because there is no policy guidance on this issue – it is not a consideration for the FAA when noise levels are below the official noise impact thresholds that are only relevant in the immediate area of the airport (65DNL).

This is something for Congresswoman Eshoo and Congressman Farr to consider – how to codify such lack of balance.

Click below to review additional media coverage:

KION & KSBW

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UPDATE 7:39p pacific
According to the Sentinel:

Meanwhile, at Loma Prieta Elementary School on Summit Road, representatives from the FAA met with leaders from the neighborhood group Save Our Skies Santa Cruz and local elected officials and their aides in a private meeting. Neither the public nor the press were allowed to attend the meeting. From the FAA, regional manager Glen Martin and his assistant Steve May, vice president of Mission Control Elizabeth Ray and FAA spokesman Ian Gregor attended the meeting.

“We found the FAA much more responsive than we thought they might be,” said Patrick Meyer, co-founder of Save Our Skies. “They listened to our concerns and talked about a timeline in terms of getting back to us on a number of things.”

Regarding the speed breaks, the FAA said that’s something it could start working on now. As for raising the altitude of descending planes, the FAA said it would get back to Save Our Skies in about six months.

The FAA also expressed interest in a future public meeting.

“The meeting was productive. It’s a good first step,” said Alec Arago, district director for Rep. Sam Farr, D-Carmel. “I think the congressman feels this is the dialogue that should have preceded the decision to move the route.”

Find the link to the article here:
http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/20150724/residents-protest-new-flight-path-during-private-faa-meeting

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Update 3:00p pacific
The meeting is underway and we anticipate today’s first meeting with the FAA to center on:

1. Explaining our perceived impact in Santa Cruz, and
2. Exploring process issues which have been identified
3. And, of course, the next steps.

One of our most competent neighbors is attending the discussion. We feel confident the most important issues will be brought forward clearly.

If the FAA has learned anything, they could leave us with something practical before they manage a better, sustainable implementation!

We are not an acoustical open sewer for the FAA and Administrator Huerta, as one of our neighbors put it.

More to come.