Comments from the FAA
"It's going to look a lot like SERFR" Glen Martin
"OPD on new route 3 miles west of SERFR is going to have a very similar profile to SERFR" Steve May
"It won't be BIGSUR, it will be a completely different procedure" Steve May
"It's going to be pretty similar to SERFR" Steve May
“Although some people are suggesting that the DAVYJ flight procedure is going to restore the noise to those levels of BSR, this is not the case, which is shown by the FAA in their modeling” Don Gardner
Proposed Flightpath Threatens the San Lorenzo Valley
SLV Residents Move to Stop Proposed Jet Flightpath
September 16, 2016
by Mary Andersen in the Santa Cruz Mountain Bulletin
A new flight path has Happy Valley and Los Gatos/Saratoga residents angry and eager to move it to the San Lorenzo Valley. Some claim that, since their homes are worth more than ours, the path should be shifted out of their neighborhoods and onto ours.
We already have a flight path. It’s called BIGSUR, or BSR, and it routes over downtown Santa Cruz, Pasatiempo, west Scotts Valley, north through SLV to the Summit Skyline area, to San Francisco International Airport (SFO). This path is still in use today and supports older aircraft not equipped with satellite navigation.
In March 2015 the FAA, as part of their Next Generation Air Transportation program (NextGen), implemented a new path, called SERFR, which travels from the coast at Capitola, over Happy Valley and Los Gatos summit towards SFO. This path was designed to accommodate a wide range of aircraft with satellite navigation capabilities. SERFR is low, loud, and concentrated. The FAA says they can fix that.
Neighborhoods under SERFR lodged thousands of complaints. With the assistance of Congressman Sam Farr they organized Save Our Skies Santa Cruz and were later joined by Quiet Skies NorCal. They created a proposal for a new flight path, called DAVYJ, over the City of Santa Cruz, SLV, and communities in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. Keep in mind, this new path would be in addition to the BSR flight path we already have. The proposal was endorsed by Farr and 1st District Supervisor John Leopold.
Community groups from the coast to the airport rejected the Quiet Skies NorCal proposal noting that it eliminated noise for those under SERFR by increasing noise and airplane traffic for communities under the proposed new DAVYJ flight path. In addition, DAVYJ was offered up as the only solution, when in fact other proposals submitted by groups closer to the airport were ignored.
In March, Supervisor Leopold wrote that the proposal constituted a “regional solution” that had been “worked on by all community groups throughout the area.” Congressman Farr stated in his newsletter that he hand-delivered the Quiet Skies NorCal proposal to Michael Huerta, Administrator of the FAA, assuring him that it was “the ideal solution.” Both assertions were false – residents under the proposed DAVYJ flight path in Santa Cruz and SLV were neither informed nor invited to provide input.
In April, Congressional Representatives Anna Eshoo, Jackie Speier, and Sam Farr appointed 12 elected officials (+12 alternates) to a Select Committee on SFO Arrivals. Their charter has been to analyze items labeled “feasible” by the FAA, accept community input, and report to Congress with a set of recommendations.
When the FAA released their study in May, Santa Clara and San Mateo County community groups were frustrated to see that their recommendations were not included. Only suggestions from Quiet Skies NorCal were addressed including the flight path shift to SLV. And the FAA made clear that, while feasible, DAVYJ would be similar to SERFR in its noise impact to SLV. It would be lower, louder, and more concentrated than any flight path we had experienced in the past.
The Select Committee asked why DAVYJ was the only option presented. The FAA said that DAVYJ was the only option offered by Congress. To their credit, the Select Committee is open to other options.
As you might expect, the issue is a political football. In Santa Cruz County SERFR lies primarily in Congressman Farr’s and Supervisor Leopold’s districts. Both SERFR and the proposed DAVYJ are in Supervisor Bruce McPherson’s and Congresswoman Eshoo’s districts. Low flying DAVYJ vectored planes would severely impact Supervisor Ryan Coonerty’s district and the path itself would impact the City of Santa Cruz.
The irony is that the FAA is a $16.4 billion organization with thousands of credentialed aviation experts. Yet, laypeople hoping to remove a flight path from over their homes were allowed to design a new flight path over other communities. That new flight path, DAVYJ, over SLV and Santa Cruz, is currently being vetted by elected officials with limited aviation knowledge, who will then submit recommendations to congressional representatives with even less aviation knowledge, who were misled into believing it was a regional solution when it is not.
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Additional contributors: George Wylie, Nancy Gerdt, Glenn Lyons, Roz Alley, Alastair Fyfe, Jacqui Rice, Beth Carlisle, Terry Hollenbeck, and Thomas Andersen
September 9, 2016
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN -
In simple terms, this 'new' flight path would result in simply 'moving the noise' from one community to another which I understand is absolutely against the overriding congressional mandated charter of the 'Select Committee.' Further, the notion of 'moving it back' to the old 'BSUR' ground track is fundamentally flawed. Based on my understanding, there is no way to 'move it back' because any resulting 'new' flight path (by any name) will be low altitudes, loud and extremely concentrated due to many factors including overall flight increase into the Bay Area Metroplex (~2,000 planes per day) and a more rigidly defined 'route' into the Bay Area airports. Also, it is my absolute understanding that any 'new' flight path will be very similar to 'SERFR' due to increased safety concerns limiting steep descent profiles etc, modern equipment and satellite based navigation system, varying descent profiles (CDA, IPD, OPD), lower altitudes over land and fixed waypoints. Not to mention, the aviation 'glitch' erroneously created by the FAA when developing these new flight paths resulting in unsafe cross-overs and interchanges with Class B airspace. Any 'fixes', as I understand it, will take minimally 18 months with more realistic estimates of 24 -36 months.
In closing, please do NOT vote to relocate 'SERFR' to any other location BUT instead vote to 'FIX IT IN PLACE.' If the 'fixes' are readily available and already deemed 'feasible' by the FAA, i.e. full implementation of OPD, elimination of issues associated with Class B airspace etc., then this 'new' flight path can be fixed where ever it is located and affected communities and residents will find relief. As a taxpayer, I agree with FAA representative, Glen Martin, when he indicated at the 1 September 2016 meeting that it will be 'far more costly' to relocate 'SERFR', undo what the FAA did and then fix it VERSUS just 'fixing it in place' along with fixing other long standing legacy issues affecting Mid-Peninsula communities.
Thank you for reading.
Colleen A. Miller
Clifford C. Stow
October 9, 2016
Dear Select Committee Members,
Please accept your community’s sincere appreciation and thanks for the herculean work you have done (and continue to do) as a member of the Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals. You are to be commended for your steady hand during this technically complex and controversial discussion.
It is unfortunate that you and your staff have been subjected to several hundreds of emails and other correspondences falsely suggesting that moving SERFR to DAVYJ will somehow ‘fix’ the jet noise problem that is SERFR; or that DAVYJ will singularly and independently cause the Class B airspace problem to be repaired; or that, if DAVYJ is implemented, we can “go back in time to February, 2015.” A deluge of emails from QSNC may signal an orchestrated effort to make a point, but false statements, repeated thousands of times, are still false.
The problem is not SERFR. The problem is NextGen – a program that was developed at a time when the nation was in a deep recession. Because of then-existing budget cuts the FAA was given unfettered license to proceed with the implementation of NextGen without meaningful consideration of resulting noise impacts over communities across America. And because of NextGen, we now have SERFR.
The solution is not DAVYJ, which would only serve to repeat the SERFR nightmare over a different set of unsuspecting and, according to the 2010 census, more highly populated communities. DAVYJ is a narrowly reactive and short term band aid that would help only some of our more vocal community members at the clear expense and harm of other communities. It is anything but a 'regional solution'.
The only viable and proactive 'regional' solution is to demand that FAA employ its trained and well-paid experts (instead of local laypersons with an axe to grind) to find an optimal flight path and descent profile that results in the least amount of jet noise for the largest number of community members. The FAA must also relax its overly dogmatic stance stating “We are not going to undo NextGen.” Specifically, the FAA needs to amend NextGen to reflect and require that all aircraft flight routing be designed and flown with the avoidance of jet noise pollution over communities as the primary objective, second only to that of flight safety. Pushing back on the FAA may sound like an unattractive or difficult option, but it would be morally corrupt for the Select Committee to allow the FAA to duplicate NextGen caused jet noise (lower, louder, more frequent - like SERFR) over the DAVYJ ground track.
Page 11 of the FAA Initiative document requires that “…communities under the BSR and SERFR (arrivals) be in agreement regarding any potential movement.” There are over 1,150 signatures on the petition specifically opposing movement of the SERFR flight path to the BSR (DAVYJ) track. Our communities are not in agreement, and it would be a serious misrepresentation of fact for the Select Committee to suggest to Congress that community consensus exists, when it clearly does not.
Again – thank you for your dedicated and vitally important service on the Select Committee. As community members we ask that you maintain as your first priority the goal of reducing jet-noise pollution for everyone within the Metroplex region, not just for the vocal few.
Career U.S. Navy / United Airlines pilot (retired)
Trustee, San Lorenzo Valley USD Board of Education