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Jets everywhere this morning??!!

Original post made by Neighbor, Greenmeadow, on Jul 2, 2014

Anyone know what is happening? Have heard jets roaring an whining overhead since 7am this morning -- are these Google jets or? They didn't sound like the usual commercial airliners.

Comments (66)

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Posted by Questions
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 2, 2014 at 9:39 am

Why not call the FAA?


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Posted by Doubting Thomas
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 2, 2014 at 9:47 am

Everywhere? Really?
I live in midtown and have not heard anything out of the ordinary. Where do you live.
Check flight tracker and see how many planes are actually over the city.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 2, 2014 at 9:51 am

I looked at the San Jose flight tracker. The flights into San Jose are staging a north to south landing. Typically they are south to north.
They are flying up over Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto where they are turning back down to San Jose. SWA2171 was at 2,900 feet over Palo Alto.
So San Jose flights are dropping in altitude over our heads to prepare for landing. This is unusual.


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Posted by In the pits
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 2, 2014 at 10:02 am

Now you know what residents of the Rose Garden in San Jose go through day and night, with their proximity to Mineta Airport.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 2, 2014 at 1:18 pm

There are times of the day for heavy air traffic. 6-9AM is one of the busy times. There is a slow down - should pick up around 5-8 PM. Possibly the wind will shift and San Jose will resume regular flight pattern and bring planes up from the southern end of the runway


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 2, 2014 at 1:36 pm

In the pits,

In Palo Alto we might not know what it is like to live with SJC air traffic, but we have 180-200 SFO bound jet aircraft a day transiting Palo Alto airspace on their way to SFO (most at about 4,000'). Palo Alto is to SFO, what Milpitas is to SJC... a dumping ground for the undesirable waste product of a large for-profit industrial facility owned and operated by the City of San Francisco in San Mateo County, which is also known as SFO.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 2, 2014 at 1:47 pm

Resident 1,

There may be more involved here than just a shift in the traffic pattern.

Last evening it was one after the other. As soon as the noise from one jet faded into the distance, the noise from another approaching jet would start to build. I usually sleep through the late night flights, but was awakened twice last night around 2:30am and 4;30an (didn't write the exact time down). The noise was louder than usual, and I could also feel a vibration when they were overhead.

Palo Alto had a problem with noise from Shoreline amphitheater, which turned out to be due to an inversion layer that had a peculiar way of reflecting sound. On one block it would sound like Shoreline was only few blocks away, but a few blocks away you couldn't hear a thing. I wonder if the inversion layer could be playing a part in the aircraft noise problem.


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Posted by Doubting Thomas
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 2, 2014 at 1:47 pm

Jet man- why don't you tell us where you wantbto planes to go. Which city should they flyover instead of palo,alto? [Portion removed.]


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Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 2, 2014 at 2:13 pm

All the incoming SFO planes above Palo Alto are a byproduct of affluent San Mateo County cities such as Woodside being vocal about the noise issue and obtaining relief from it in years past. Once upon a time, SFO incoming traffic did not cross over Palo Alto but further up north.

We are not asking for planes to stop flying over Palo Alto. However, we would like to see some measures taken, such as respecting a minimum flight altitude, for example. We were promised 5000 feet in 2000 by the FAA. This promise has not been kept and planes routinely fly at around 4000 feet in Palo Alto which increases the planes' noise levels by about 40% on the ground. Also, the burden should be shared more equally between communities. As Jetman said, PA gets 200 incoming SFO flights a day, including a high number of very large jets. This does not count traffic related to other airports. We also get Oakland traffic, and SJC traffic when the winds shift, as explained above.

It has become unbearable.


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Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Jul 2, 2014 at 2:17 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Doubting Thomas
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 2, 2014 at 2:27 pm

Jetman claims that 200+ planes are flying over palo alto each day. This is based on which data, over what time period. [Portion removed.]
Midtowner claims that the burden is not shared equally. This is based on what data? Has total traffic increased over the years and this why we have more planes. Midtowner claims that " affluent" cities are obtaining relief-- is palo alto not affluent?
What viable solution do they suggest? Do they want the airports closed? IMHO, the claims of airplane noise are greatly over exaggerated.


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Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 2, 2014 at 2:30 pm

On Webtrak (Web Link) I see that today, Palo Alto has been "graced" with airplanes flying both into SFO and SJC. I don't know why SJC-bound jets are flying this route. It is not their normal path. At around 8 AM, for example, Palo Alto was being overflown by both SFO-bound planes flying at about 5500 feet, and SJC-bound passenger jets that were as low as 2900 feet, in order to dodge the SFO planes most likely!

No wonder it has been unbearable. This is a new low, literally and figuratively speaking.


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Posted by Doubting Thomas
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 2, 2014 at 2:49 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Mary Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 2, 2014 at 3:01 pm

Thomas may doubt, but the real problem isn't really altitude or inversion layers. It is as Jetman pointed out in one of his posts above, the volume of air traffic (number of flights) that pass over Palo Alto on the way to SFO. These flights were at one time dispersed over most of San Mateo County. But politicians from those SMC cities (prominently Atherton and Woodside) complained, Congresswoman Eshoo got involved and eventually most of the cross-Peninsula sfo bound air traffic was re-routed over Palo Alto (not coincidentally, the northern most city in Santa Clara County, which was not a party to the discussion with SFO.

Any examination of the flight tracker data referenced above will reveal not only that Palo Alto has 200 or more overflights on most days, but that traffic over San Mateo County is much less (though not zero).

We need a more equitable sharing of the noise burden of SFO. It's a resource that benefits the entire Bay Area. There's no reason for Palo Alto to bear the brunt of the burden.


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Posted by New Crescent Park Resident
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 2, 2014 at 3:08 pm

Hi - I am new living in Palo Alto but have worked down here for the past 6+ years. My wife and I recently bought a house in Crescent Park and have found the noise to be insufferable. It would be ideal to have clean, verifiable data as to which block/street/part of PA has the most traffic and we could all sit down at Starbucks and parse it and look at it objectively. Until that happens, we will all have to subjectively discuss the topic. I am more than happy to call anyone and put my speaker on so you can hear the aircraft jet and the sound at 11:30PM coming over my house. But I think what Jetman and Midtowner are tying to say is there are reasonable/logical steps to mitigate the strength of the impact of the noise

Some ideas
- Enforce the maximum height of 5k but even raise it to 6k or more. When I hear a loud plane outside, invariably I can read the tail #. While I dont have a tape measure or can reach 4,000 feet up, you can see on Webtrack the altitude is not about 4K feet. Anyone with two eyes can verify this. The noise amplifies dramatically (I used to be a scientist so someone verify the noise increase per foot) but its ridiculous how loud it is. Its not the height alone, but also the speed at which the planes fly over head. They are descending onto their glide path and as a result are lower and over the area more time. Does that mean we all want the planes to rapidly descend from 10k feet in 10 seconds? No - it means there are reasonable steps to be taken to create maximum benefit. Enforcing the laws on the books is one easy start - working to get the height raised would be another plan.

Distribution of planes - It would be great to post the images you can get from the SFO airport people on this forum but someone ask nicely for my email and I can show you the physical print out of the density of flights over PA vs. Other areas of the peninsula. The data is from the SFO person in charge of tracking it. You can re-create or edit it - its from them. It looks like someone decided to create a Rorschach test over midtown/crescent park area. If you look objectively at the data, the burden is not shared, not even close. Jetman - is there good data to share? I am not positive doubting thomas might believe it - he might claim you made it up! The reality is there should be better distribution of the flights as a means of relief. THat is called logic...... not sure why that argument escapes smart people.

Just to answer Doubting Thomas's post: Palo Alto is affluent but what does that have to do with the price of apples? Nothing. People in Woodside mobilized and cared enough and made it an issue and donated their time and money to the issue. Just because Palo Alto is affluent but hasnt mobilized doesnt mean its not worth pushing for relief. People speak with their time as much as their money and your throw away comment isnt really worth responding too but I hate weak logic.

As a new resident, this is a problem. Anyone is welcome to come over to my house and count the planes with me from 8pm - 2am and see if they disagree with me. Palo Alto needs a clear logical, data driven approach and voice to this subject and all residents, regardless of whether it bothers them or not, should take it seriously.

As this is my first post on this forum, I am looking forward to the hate mail telling me I am blind and cant count planes or that because I hear the noise I must be sensitive.


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Posted by Doubting Thomas
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 2, 2014 at 3:50 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 2, 2014 at 4:11 pm

Thomas,

Please read my comments carefully. I did not say the problem is caused by an inversion layer. I speculated the inversion layer "could be playing a part".

The role of altitude is not in doubt. Sound pressure follows the inverse distance law (1/r) where r is the distance to the source of the noise. Lower is louder (much louder). As a rule of thumb aircraft noise doubles for every 1,000' reduction in altitude.

In 2000 we had about 70 SFO bound planes transiting Palo Alto airspace every day at 5,000'. Today we have 180-200 planes per day transiting Palo Alto airspace at 4,000'. Bottom line... we now have almost three times the number of SFO bound aircraft transiting Palo Alto airspace, and each one is about twice as loud as in the year 2000.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 2, 2014 at 4:21 pm

Anyone can go to the San Jose Airport main site, go to flight tracker to see what type traffic is going on. You can click on the plane and get the flight number, tail number, and altitude. You can look at the current period - or look at what occurred in a previous time period - you choose it.
It is all there.
It is not an inversion layer - the San Jose planes are arriving and departing in a reverse order to what we normally see. Over PA they are preparing to land so decreasing altitude.
There has been a lot of small plane activity with the holiday coming up - both for San Carlos and PAO. The small planes are all over the place at very low altitudes.
I went on the San Jose site this morning and sent a notification that the flights were too low - below FAA standards. Have not heard back from them.


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Posted by Ridiculous
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 2, 2014 at 4:32 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


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Posted by New Crescent Park Residen
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 2, 2014 at 4:40 pm

I think all comments are valid and we shouldn't delete them. It only inflames the situation and we cant possibly agree if we dont hear each other.


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Posted by Property Values
a resident of another community
on Jul 2, 2014 at 4:44 pm

New Crescent Park Resident:

Did your real estate agent or the person who sold you your new house disclose the airplane noise problem? Were other new property owners who are surprised by the noise also kept in the dark about the noise during their decisions to buy their houses? The negative impact of the airplane noise needed to be disclosed by the seller. Competent real estate professionals also have a duty to disclose the airplane noise to their clients.


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Posted by New Crescent Park Resident
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 2, 2014 at 4:51 pm

Property Values - Oddly when we looked at a house in Atherton, it was in the disclosures. Now, they also disclosed the next door neighbor's dog liked to bark so they could be accused of disclosing too much. But, they did not disclose it outright in the documents.

I think they should have but I dont think it would have deterred me from moving to Palo Alto. So to many of the people who post on here and say "go to the woods its quiet there". That isnt a viable solution. The solution is reachable and manageable if people want to discuss the options and speak uniformly with our representatives. There will always be air noise/traffic in the bay area - its a high class / first world problem to have. So we need to manage it just like we attempt to manage bus routes/bike lanes/open spaces which is shared resources among us all.

What myself and others are saying is this does rise to the level of discussion with our representatives the same way people fight for good schools, access space, public transportation.


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Posted by Doubting thomas
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 2, 2014 at 5:22 pm

Mary Anne-- the problem is altitude. If the planes were higher, there would not be a problem. See jetmans post.
Inversion layers may also play a role, as Jetman states above. How many planes fly over San Mateo county? Since SFO is n San Mateo county, there would be more planes flying over San Mateo county than Palo Alto, unless every plane that goes to SFO flys over Palo Alto.
What does one expect from a densely populated area with 3 airports? What are viable solutions to the problem. Not sure palo,alto,is being " over burdened" with air traffic.


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Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 2, 2014 at 5:31 pm

Anyone interested in joining our recently formed group to fight airplane noise in Palo Alto (as well as adjacent areas impacted by the same flights), please contact:

veroforyou@gmail.com


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Posted by Follow the rules!
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jul 2, 2014 at 6:28 pm

Don't FAA regulations specify that no aircraft is to fly under a 5000 foot ceiling in a populated area? Why were planes flying at 2900 feet, and why didn't anyone call the FAA?

A few years ago, some idiot with a new Gulfstream kept buzzing a riding stable in Newark. It was spooking horses and people were getting injured. Someone called the FAA ( she was also an amateur pilot), and this Gulfstream disappeared within minutes!


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Posted by Doubting thomas
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 2, 2014 at 6:48 pm

Follow the rules:

Web Link
"(b) Over congested areas. Over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open air assembly of persons, an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft."


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Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 2, 2014 at 7:03 pm

Well, we were promised 5000 feet by the FAA a few years back, notwithstanding FAA rules. Ask Anna Eshoo. She worked out that deal with the FAA.

Also, as much as we realize that we live in a busy urban area, Palo Alto is 20 miles from SFO and 14 miles from SJC (even farther away from Oakland) and nothing excuses large passenger jets flying so low at that kind of distance from the airports.

The only reason they fly so low is that the FAA is sending all kinds of planes our way, and we have SFO, SJC and Oakland bound jets crossing paths above our town, dodging each other. This is ludicrous. The burden should be shared with neighboring towns so that no one has to endure such low flights this far away from the large airports.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 2, 2014 at 7:14 pm

Thomas,

Can you explain how the regulation you linked to, relates to the rules that govern class B airspace (floor for class B airspace is 4,000' over most of PA), and the FAA's year 2000 agreement with Anna Eshoo to maintain a minimum altitude of 5,000' over the Menlo IAF in eastern Menlo Park?


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Posted by Concerned resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 2, 2014 at 7:29 pm

Hi,

There are two possibilities for the increased air traffic and shifts in tracks:

1. The coming Fourth of July holiday, like all other major holidays such as Christmas, Easter, etc. mean droves more people over the usual throngs are flying in and out of SFO and SJ airports.

2. Today the Department of Homeland Security increased their actions to assure safety. This might have impacted our area. Also-Isis made threats to attack European and United States interets in past day or two which may have also sprung DHS into action.


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Posted by Sparty
a resident of another community
on Jul 2, 2014 at 7:33 pm

Sparty is a registered user.

Crescent Park????

What street exactly (oh, maybe not EXACTLY) do you live on that you hear so much jet noise? In over 10 years I've only barely heard it. no more than anywhere else. A whole lot less than say California Ave where you can hear the planes throttle back allll dayyyy lonnngggggg.


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Posted by Amelia earhart
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 2, 2014 at 7:43 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by village fool
a resident of another community
on Jul 2, 2014 at 11:39 pm

Dear Amelia,
Thank you for taking the time to share your insights about an issue that must be close to your heart. I am sorry I missed your post, I am very curious.
Should your schedule enable, I'll deeply appreciate if you could email me your insights shared above, and your thoughts as to the reasons that had your comment removed
Thank you,
vf
forvillagefool AT gmail.com


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 3, 2014 at 8:39 am

Air traffic into SFO has a number of avenues. If you look at SFO's flight tracker the planes that come over PA are typically the trans-Pacific planes; LAX to SFO - hourly with Delta Commuter, other hourly commuters; some commuter planes from Pacific Northwest that need to come down the peninsula and turn back up for arrival at SFO, and a number of planes that are in a go-around mode - second time approach attempt.

Planes from the east coast are approaching over the Fremont area and do not typically enter the air space over PA.

There are also Oakland planes going to Hawaii - Alaska and Hawaiian. So now we have seen the SJA change it's flight path so that it is landing from the north side, versus the typical south side. That requires a turn south over PA at which time it is going into it's decline in altitude below the FAA standard we have come to expect.

No one is claiming that every plane going to SFO is over PA. We are claiming that certain flight paths from incoming locations do cross PA.

Many attended the workshops put on by the FAA at 4 locations in the bay area for each of the airports so everyone recognizes the problem and the FAA feels compelled to engage the communities on this topic. Many sent in responses to the FAA regarding the topic in the change of flight paths and noise abatement. The FAA recognizes the problem and is trying to resolve issues.
This is not a start from scratch discussion, lots of actual work has been done. People who are not directly in the decision making mode for the FAA, city of PA, etc. can doubt all they want but all else is moving forward.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 3, 2014 at 10:30 am

Concerned Resident- the typical flight path into San Jose is mostly over under-populated farm land and open space until you eventually get to the city of San Jose. The revised fight path took the planes in over Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto, and Mountain View to land at San Jose. This is the most populated area in the peninsula and home to most of the Silicon Valley major companies. And the planes were below 4,000 feet. So where is the security in that? The FAA and SJA need to be on the hook if and when they are changing up the use of air space from less populated to most populated sections of the available area. They can make choices in their approaches that do not endanger multiple cities and do not fly below the allowed airspace limitations.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 3, 2014 at 10:44 am

new Crescent Park resident,
I just returned from a trip last night (using SFO)and there are problems at SFO because of the runway work. I don't know for certain if this impacts approaches and departures but our pilot blamed some of our woes last night on approach (late; had to wait to get a gate also)
He noted late rerouting vectors given to our plane that he had to obey, leading to people missing their connections at SFO; we were held in our seats while a bunch of people ran off) on this:
SFO "...only using two runways instead of the four" because of the current runway work, which I think was mandated by FAA. I wonder if more people on the ground in various communities are being impacted lately by these delaying vectors...
However, I don't think this explains all the extra noise over Palo Alto, but it may contribute?
All I know, is I have lived in my home for over 10 years now, and the past couple of years have had greatly and noticeably increased jets visually low overhead and tremendous more noise. I have double-paned windows, too.
I believe I see some of the 747s from Asia right overhead as they fly into SFO. They "seem" low to me. This was not like this 5 or 8 years ago...
We understand some small neighboring communities in San Mateo County have effectively lobbied to have the approach route re-routed so it goes over Palo Alto, the northern-most edge of Santa Clara County, hence off the radar so to speak of the county seat offices, which are way down there in San Jose. Clever.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 3, 2014 at 11:20 am

Anonymous,

By flying over Santa Clara County, they also avoid the 29 automated noise monitoring stations peppered throughout San Mateo County and San Francisco.

They also avoid the automated noise monitoring station near Menlo IAF (in eastern Menlo Park) that SFO never installed despite a Y2K agreement with Anna Eshoo to install an automated noise monitoring station at that location.


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Posted by Resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 3, 2014 at 12:41 pm

Recent news in all of the papers / TV news is that there are more sophisticated bombs to blow up planes in the works. Given that the flight paths have been dictated by noise abatement issues we may be in the new age of flight paths which result in least destruction because the planes are in less populated areas.
- The trans pacific planes can spend more time over the ocean and come in over HWY 84 or HWY 92 - this has the lowest population available. The majority on this space is open preserve.
- The LAX to SFO commuters can come up the coast over the ocean and cut in at the same location as above.
- The northwest commuters can come down the coast over the ocean and cut in at the same locations as above.
- The fly-overs for SFO have to regroup over the bay - not the peninsula.
- The San Jose Airport needs to keep its planes over the open space preserves on both the west and east sides of the bay - then cut in just below San Jose.

At this time we have planes now going over the most populated portions of the bay that are the homes of the major corporations.

Since the Silicon Valley Group is now into transportation maybe they should focus on the security of THEIR ASSETS, including the new stadium. The members of the Silicon Valley Group are the major corporations in the valley so protecting the air space should be a priority.

We have a lot of open space preserves in the bay area that can lead us to the airports. We have a lot of water - ocean / bay -if a problem arises then it is not dropping on homes, schools, hospitals, or major businesses.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 3, 2014 at 2:04 pm

@Resident 1,
Yikes! If they're trying to minimize possible impacts from a plane terrorism event, then why are the Asian flights coming in so low in 747s over me in Palo Alto? This IS happening now.
Also, why is Obama clearly permitting open borders on our southern border? I truly don't understand permitting hordes of unknown persons to illegally enter this country, particularly in current times with world tensions.
Prevention is the best cure.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 3, 2014 at 3:53 pm

I agree about the Asian Flights. We have already established that the pilots expect the plane to fly and land itself. They are just along for the ride. I am sure that if they get into the air space with the San Jose planes running off their regular course, and the high number of small planes that are flying around San Carlos and PAO then confusion is in the works.
I wish they would direct those planes to come over HWY 84 so they are in the least populated area and can then continue on over the bay.
I do not know that security is what is driving these changes right now - I am only guessing from what was on the news and in the papers. Today has been a relatively quiet day - not sure if yesterday was driven by some strange activity at San Jose Airport.


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Posted by Doubting thomas
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 3, 2014 at 4:02 pm

Resident 1 states:
"Today has been a relatively quiet day - not sure if yesterday was driven by some strange activity at San Jose Airport."

Someone yesterday explained what was happening yesterday:
"I looked at the San Jose flight tracker. The flights into San Jose are staging a north to south landing. Typically they are south to north.
They are flying up over Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto where they are turning back down to San Jose. SWA2171 was at 2,900 feet over Palo Alto.
So San Jose flights are dropping in altitude over our heads to prepare for landing. This is unusual."

Oh and that someone was you, resident 1!!!!!!!!


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 3, 2014 at 4:14 pm

what is your point? I do not know why San Jose chose to change their flight path - I just know they did.


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Posted by Doubting thomas
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 3, 2014 at 4:26 pm

My point is that today you state that yesterday may have been driven by " strange activity" at SJC. But yesterday you stated what that activity was- north to south landings. Plus you mention that that was unusual. No point-- just my take on some of the strang e comments and claims on this thread


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Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Jul 3, 2014 at 4:50 pm

San Jose and other airports change their flight patterns based on wind speed and direction, for the simple reason that you don't want to take off in the same direction of the wind. This isn't some kind of conspiracy...


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 3, 2014 at 5:10 pm

Robert,

Wind direction is not the only factor that determines the flight paths. 83% of the time the winds at SFO are out of the northwest, and aircraft do final approach and landings at SFO from the southeast. However, final approach is only 12-15 NM long, and there are a whole variety of ways aircraft can fly over the Peninsula, and Palo Alto, to arrive at the point where they begin final approach.

The nominal plan for the SFBA under northwest winds has three of the five routes to final approach crossing over Palo Alto on their way to the point where the aircraft begin final approach to SFO (see link below for illustration)

SFBA Major Jet Arrival & Departure Routes Illustrated: Web Link


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Posted by Ruchard
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 3, 2014 at 5:10 pm

Well said, Robert. Some people in Palo Alto think there is some kind of conspiracy, by more "affluent" communities to send all air traffic over Palo Alto. Some people in Palo Alto think no air traffic should fly over Palo Alto. Some people think that nothing should disturb Palo alto. Wait until tomorrow night with the fireworks at Shoreline!!!
Air traffic is a fact of life. It is distributed over the entire Bay Area.
These forums are full of complaints---usually from the same 4-5 people. i bet you most people do not notice the air traffic and/or do not care.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 3, 2014 at 5:28 pm

Ruchard,

The shifting of air routes out of San Mateo County, and onto Palo Alto, and Santa Clara County is not a conspiracy... its just politics.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 3, 2014 at 9:57 pm

Richard - The main topic of this thread is about the noise resulting from a change in the pattern of the San Jose landings. Palo Alto is the pivot point for the planes to switch the approach into San Jose. That is visible on the San Jose Airport flight tracker. You can watch the planes come down then pivot direction. Palo Alto is at the end of the bay with an airport at the end with a FAA office. It is a matter of geography relative to the San Jose runway. If you look at the flight tracker and the other activity going on with the SFO planes and small planes it is obvious that this is where the major transitions in flight are occurring.
I think the folks in Mountain View were very verbal about the possibility of Fed-ex and small planes using Moffatt Field so Mountain View is not clean on this topic.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 4, 2014 at 8:38 am

Mountain View did not register much noise from this event because the planes were over the industrial portion of the city. But Mountain View hit the papers big time today. Google is going to build high rise buildings in the city - It is obvious that a lot of Mountain View people are NOT HAPPY about this. So MV people working to put this to a vote.

As the landscape changes with high rise buildings then the air traffic has to change to maintain altitude restrictions. We have the same problem in PA - Google is buying buildings on either side of 101 in PA for redevelopment which will change up the flight paths at SJA, SFO, and PAO.

The question then is if the flight paths are being directed over homes leading into the 101 / bay transition point - the point of least resistance.

It should be noted that San Diego is rated as one the 10 most difficult airports in the world according to PBS - if you have flown in then you know that there are high rises directly under the incoming flight path. Nepal is number 1 - no buildings but high mountains and wind changes with sheer drop off on landing strip.

I think it is quiet because the events for the 4th are putting a lot of combustibles going from San Jose up to SF and the bay. Lots of fire power is on the ground.

Time to get on with the 4th - and yes I will be at the Shoreline for the big event.




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Posted by Anna
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 4, 2014 at 9:57 am

The increased plane traffic and noise in Palo Alto is very real. In Downtown North PA we are right under a flight path to SFO and the increase in traffic and low flying planes is getting worse. I was so disturbed by it that I started to look at the San Jose Flight Tracker and was shocked to see how many planes fly over Palo Alto compared to other neighboring cities. It is disproportionate and quite concerning that Palo Alto hasn't taken a seat at the SFO roundtable to represent our community regarding plane traffic and noise. For me, it's the large jets that are the problem. I don't understand why the planes coming from LAX can't fly up the 85 freeway to the bay and then start their descent over the bay. Instead they fly over Los Altos/Stanford hills, then over Palo Alto, then over Menlo Park, then over East Palo Alto and out to the bay.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 5, 2014 at 8:37 am

Comments on Palo Alto and planes. If you drive down 101 and El Camino from San Jose to San Francisco note where the major housing tracks are and commercial / industrial space. Certain cities on the peninsula are housing from border to border with relatively little commercial space - that is PA.

If you go from PA to Mountain View it is big box stores, light manufacturing and heavy commercial space, plus golf course and Moffatt Field with heavy corporate presence in technology. Keep going south - mostly commercial space.

In PA they are trying to turn the one big box store - FRY's into housing, and people want the golf course to go away. There is some drive to turn everything into housing. Commercial space is mostly up-hill in Stanford Research Park and SSL next to the PA-MV border, and Stanford Shopping Center.

Likewise going north Redwood City upward it is mostly commercial space.
That leaves Atherton with no commercial space except for El Camino. Menlo Park is a mixed bag. People who are at their jobs or shopping are not paying attention to outside noise.

Palo Alto has no buffers - homes are not industrial strength against airplane noise. These are not new homes - they were built long ago with no assumptions of high traffic levels. Planes are streaming down an area with no high rises - it is the path of least resistance. A lot of new homes may have more stable noise protection built in by design - but they are not the norm.

I can assure you that many people take issue to what ever economies drive this city. Turning everything into homes - single and multi-development is not where most people want to go. But somehow that is happening. We also resist high rises - as is Mountain View who wants to put this on their ballot.
It all comes down to location relative to the coast range logical drop points and the bay - location between Moffett field, San Jose and SF airports.
It is not that PA is special - it is the historic position on where and why housing is where it is, and why commercial space is located in designated areas, and location on the bay.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 5, 2014 at 10:56 am

If you look at how aircraft approach SFO from the east, it would appear that the route tries to avoid flying over populated areas, with the route passing in a straight NNW direction over the narrowest strip of population between the sparsely populated foothills and the Bay, and then proceeding NNW over the Bay for final approach to SFO

By contrast, so-called "teardrop" that aircraft use to approach SFO from the north has aircraft flying south over the entire Peninsula into Palo Alto, then executing a near 180 u-turn over Palo Alto, then flying NNE over Palo Alto, and EPA, or eastern Menlo Park before finally crossing over the Bay to turn NNW for approach to SFO.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 6, 2014 at 9:37 am

On the ABC news was a report on the Salt Lake City Airport regarding a near miss between a Delta plane and an Asian based plane - and this was over the airport - this occurred in the last three days. The Air Controllers had to scramble to avert a mid-air crash. So things are not so ducky out there. And the Salt lake City Airport is not in what would be considered a difficult, hyper busy location. I am looking for more info on that but it seems to be in an "investigative" mode.


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Posted by Doubting thomas
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 6, 2014 at 11:30 am

Resident 1- perhaps you can provide a link to the story. I googled it and could not find it. The ABC affiliate in Salt Lake City has nothing on its website about it. Also SLC has no,flights to and from Asia and it is not served by any Asian airlines.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 6, 2014 at 11:38 am

Side note on Salt lake City Airport - it is a hub for Delta Airlines. I had to transition to Air France at that location from SFO. Other partners with Delta are a mixed bag including Korean Airlines. This is the airline mentioned in the near-collision. Many strange airlines may arrive at SFO from SLC as a result of the partnership relationship.
Given the Delta partners I can imagine the security stress at that location. Many strange "bad boy" countries in this mix.

Other side note - my Air France Paris to SFO was sidelined for two hours - with all passengers on board for a "baggage handler " problem. Everyone else left on time except us. Look at the people on the plane - bad boy city.
SFO is a magnet for bad boy country people heading here to "demonstrate".


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Posted by Doubting thomas
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 6, 2014 at 11:52 am

Resident 1-- you can go to SLC website and see what airlines fly there:
Web Link
You may have been on a code share with air France or a Korean airline, but you were on a delta flight. Air France does not fly out of SLC. And SLC does not handle many international flights.
In fact if you go to the SFO website and look for flights from SLC,
Web Link
You will see they are all operated by delta, united or Alaska. Many are code shares with Europeans and Asian airlines, but they are all operated by US airlines.

Not sure what all the " bad boy" references have to do with the narrative, but please provide a link to,the story of this supposed near miss in SLC.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 6, 2014 at 1:18 pm

Doubting Thomas - I know that. It was a Delta operated flight but a Air France plane and crew. A relative came in from Portland, Oregon - another Delta hub to join the flight in SLC. On the return flight said relative had to go through Minneapolis - a Delta hub - to get to Portland. Guess what - Minneapolis is home to the Somali's who were in the movie regarding the pirating of ships off the coast of Africa. One of Delta's partners is Kenyan Airways.
You can come up with a lot of combinations that are interconnected but not obvious on the face of it all.
So we all know that.
The end destination of this trip in 2013 was Yerevan, Armenia. Check on how many possibilities there are to get there - all decisions made by how much time spent at the connecting airports. Yerevan has a great new airport.
East coast relatives came through Russia on a Russian airlines - lost the luggage - had to wait three days to get it. Forget Russian airlines - very cheap but noisy.
So why are you belaboring your great knowledge of air travel? You sound like someone else who lives in the next city over.
Still no published info on the incident - HS probably has it under wraps, as well as the SLC airport. ABC probably got their hands slapped for reporting it.


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Posted by Doubting thomas
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 6, 2014 at 1:20 pm

Resident 1-- if you go to the air France website
Web Link
And try to book a flight from SLC to Paris, you fly delta to either Cincinnati, Atlanta or Detroit to get your air France flight to Paris.


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Posted by Doubting thomas
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 6, 2014 at 1:28 pm

Sorry, resident 1, that is not how the code share works. Air France does not fly out of SLC. Delta code shares the flight-- they provide the plane and crew-- it may have an air France. flight number, but it is a delta flight
What do Somalis in Minneapolis have to do with jet noise in Palo Alto. What does the fact that delta may code share with Kenya airlines have to do with anything?
[Portion removed.]


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Posted by busted
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 6, 2014 at 1:45 pm

Looks like resident 1 was busted!.flights from Russia, lost luggage, Somalis, bad boys-wow.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 6, 2014 at 9:34 pm

Not clear what you mean. On Friday, June 14, 2013 I was on flight AF3641. operated by Delta Airlines as flight DL0089. This was Salt lake City - SLC to CDG - Paris-Degaulle. Arrived in CDG Saturday, 11:15 AM.
Other east coast relatives took Russian flight - end destination Yerevan, Armenia, out of DC - transition in Moscow. That is the typical route out of east coast. If you go into Delta's reservation system and put in SFO to EVN you will come up with a bunch of choices. If you put in Wash DC to EVN you will come up with a bunch of choices. This is not rocket science.


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Posted by Doubting Thomas
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 7, 2014 at 5:21 am

Resident 1- correct. You were on a delta flight from SLC. So??? What does your relatives travel itinerary to Armenia have to with anything? What does that have to do,with jet noise in palo,alto. We are discussing your claims of a near miss over SLC Please provide a link to your claim of a near miss over SLC.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2014 at 6:54 pm

I noticed that the skies over Palo Alto were a bit quieter than usual, so I opened my windows and spent from 5:00-6:00pm watching and listening to the planes, and comparing their altitudes on Webtrak Web Link

A lot of the aircraft are flying over Palo Alto from 500'-1,500' higher than the 4,000' that has become the norm. Not completely scientific but... the aircraft passing over at 5,000' are a lot less disturbing than the aircraft at 4,000, and the noise from aircraft passing over at 6,000' is essentially lost in the ambient sound level.

Weather at PAO
Date / time: July 07, 2014 17:47
Conditions: Partly Cloudy
Temperature: 77 F (25 C)
Dewpoint: Unknown
Visibility: 30 miles
Wind: NW 12 mph
Sky Conditions: Broken layer at 16000 feet.
Barometer: 29.86
Humidity: 60%


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 8, 2014 at 8:34 am

Jetman - yes - a reprieve - but it is back to business as usual this morning.
Thank you for putting that data on the system.
I do not plan on opening or providing any web links on this site.
My computer is cranky and do not want to add to any other person's crankiness.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 8, 2014 at 7:49 pm

Resident 1,

Yes, this morning it did sound like we were back to business as usual, but I did not have time monitor the skies on Webtrak.

It did seem a bit quieter this afternoon, so I decided to monitor the skies again this evening from 16:50-17:50, and I tried to be a little more scientific. The altitudes of aircraft flying the Big Sur route from the south, and the "teardrop" from the north were monitored. The altitude of aircraft on the Big Sur route were noted as they crossed over Downtown Palo Alto (DTPA), and the altitude of aircraft flying the "teardrop" from the north were recorded at the midpoint of their u-turn:

AAL 0209 @ 16:51 6,500' (Big Sur Route)
UAL 1251 @ 16:54 5,000' (Big Sur Route)
CPZ 6440 @ 16:56 5,200' (Big Sur Route)
BAW 0287 @ 17:05 4,000' (CCW Teardrop over N. Fair Oaks)
ASA 0376 @ 17:09 4,400' (CW Teardrop over Bay N. of Dumbarton)
UAL 1240 @ 17:24 4,900' (Big Sur Route)
JAL 0002 @ 17;29 4,200' (CCW Teardrop over Menlo Park)
JBU 1436 @ 17:34 4,900' (Big Sur Route)
UAL 0718 @ 17:36 4,300' (Big Sur Route)
EVA 0018 @ 17:37 6,100' (CCW Teardrop over north midtown PA)
SKW 5645 @ 17:43 4,900' (Big Sur Route)
UAL 1446 @ 17:46 5,000' (Big Sur Route)
SKW 4609 @ 17:49 5,200' (CCW teardrop over SoPA, 4,400' over DTPA)

The above is a big change from what we would have seen two weeks ago. Two weeks ago we would have seen virtually all of the aircraft on the Big Sur Route crossing DTPA at 3,900-4,200', and aircraft flying the "teardrop" u-turning at 4,000-5,000" over various parts of Palo Alto.

What have we learned from the above?

1. Contrary to what we have been told, there is something SFO/FAA can do to alleviate the noise over Palo Alto.
2. Aircraft can fly as high as 6,500' over DTPA, and still land at SFO.
3. Aircraft can u-turn over the Bay, and still land at SFO.
4. Aircraft can u-turn over southern SM County, and still land at SFO.
5. Aircraft can u-turn over midtown PA at 6,100' (probably higher), and still land at SFO.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 9, 2014 at 8:42 am

Jetman - great job - thank you. Now we have to keep the pressure on to keep everyone at the top altitudes. It is not just "noise abatement" it is also security - security is going up the scale of importance..


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 9, 2014 at 12:06 pm

Resident 1,

Yes, security is an important (and somewhat overlooked) consideration in all of this.

Speaking of security... starting July 21, 2014 the cost of all airline tickets will be going up because of an increase, and a change in the way TSA security fees (taxes) are accessed.

"TSA will more than double fees they charge many passengers"
Wall Street Journal ~ July 1, 2014 Web Link


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