Town Square

Post a New Topic

jets overhead -- 7:50am

Original post made by neighbor, Greenmeadow, on May 14, 2013

Anyone know what's up with all the jets flying overhead this morning? VERY noisy!

Comments (31)

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Palo Parent
a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 14, 2013 at 8:40 am

Jet to work day?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on May 14, 2013 at 10:46 am


Planes landing at SFO regularly fly low above Palo Alto and are quite loud. What is surprising is that there is not more of an uproar about it in this town.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Privates
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 14, 2013 at 10:58 am

My hubby and I have noticed that at least two of them are rather large PRIVATE jets!
Google and Larry Ellison, maybe?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Barnes
a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 14, 2013 at 11:16 am

Midtowner: imagine if you lived in Menlo, RWC, San Mateo, Foster City, Burlingame, Milbrae or San Bruno. Imagine being on the other side: SSF or Daly City - during takeoff.

All closer and on the flight path, all lower altitude, all noisier. A lot of jets don't fly over PA, but come into the path over Woodside and Menlo. You can see them make the turn north of PA.

Yes, I hear them, but I know how much noisier they are up the Peninsula. Take a shoreline walk in Foster City.

> What is surprising is that there is not more of an uproar about it in this town.

Nah. Your uproar is pretty surprising, though....


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on May 14, 2013 at 6:35 pm

@ Barnes

I don't need to imagine any of that. You see, we bought our house in PA in large part to escape airplane noise we used to have. Then, lo and behold SFO and San Mateo County signed an agreement to reroute most of the airplanes elsewhere, including above... Palo Alto and Santa Clara County

I can't feel sorry for people who bought houses clse to SFO. They had to know what they were getting into. Then they managed to get the noise rerouted over us. There no sense and no fairness in what happened.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Barnes
a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 14, 2013 at 6:42 pm

Sorry... it just isn't that loud. you just admitted it's worse up the peninsula.

Ain't that bad. Trains bother me much more.

Just move out to the foothills if you require perfect silence.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Been There
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 14, 2013 at 7:07 pm

Move to rural Minnesota if you want complete silence. When my mom would visit, she said she slept the best at our house. But there are other downsides to living there . . . such as the silence (of the people and the surroundings) will eventually drive one to be starved for socialization and knowledge (think CNN 24/7, excess emailing/chatting with friends, wondering if your vocal cords are dormant).


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on May 14, 2013 at 8:44 pm

@ Barnes?

How did I admit it's worse up the Peninsula? I said it used to be worse up the Peninsula... until San Mateo County cut a deal to move the noise away from San Mateo County to other areas, such as Palo Alto. Palo Alto did not use to be on the approach to SFO. A few years ago it was suddenly put under a flight path.

I am not asking for perfect silence. I do think it's not normal that people who knowingly moved near SFO then went on to battle the airport and managed to have a large proportion of the noise moved to us.

And before moving to Minnesota, I'd move to Europe where they actually close airports at night.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 15, 2013 at 9:29 am

I have read that it the past -- that a signed agreement with San Mateo County increased airplane noise (and altitude, btw) over Palo Alto. It has increased in recent years and I wonder if it would help to submit noise complaints Web Link

This site also allows live view of air traffic. The planes flying over Palo Alto are flying in the 4000ft range, which is why it is so noisy. This seems very low. Those leaving SFO an flying over the foothills are at 9000ft+.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 15, 2013 at 9:51 am

I ask the original poster a question about this.

Do you mean the regular airline jets that we frequently get due to flight patterns approaching SFO and SJC?

Or, do you mean the occasional military jets that are flying into Moffett?

I haven't noticed anything recently flying into Moffett, but there are times that military jets fly low over our house and make the house shake and my eardrums hurt. I usually run outside to see if I can see them, but they have often passed out of sight while the noise is still loud.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 15, 2013 at 10:03 am

Very recently we were startled and noticed breathtakingly loud, low commercial aircraft flying (several minutes apart) in what I would assume to be the REVERSE route for SFO (or some other airport) -- in any case, it was the reverse of what we have ever experienced previously, RIGHT over our home, and SEVERE. They were low, too.
We have double paned windows and periodic routine aircraft noise is not an issue.
This was worse than the occasional helicopter that goes by overhead.
Either there were low clouds or some new routing scheme for SFO or Oakland?!
Instead of coming in for a landing, I took our situation to be aircraft taking off and heading out over the ocean - like I said, without putting a fine examination on it and without insider knowledge, it appeared to be a reverse of whatever patterns we have noticed previously.
I thought when one area starts objecting, the flight patterns are altered to affect another area - until they start complaining.
Property values in Palo Alto, a residential suburban area, are no the same as Daly City and South San Francisco, Burlingame, 101 near SFO...and expectations are different.
Perhaps increasing the engines rather than throttling back -
I had to do something right away, or else I would have considered phoning PA non emergency Police number to inquire how to lodge a complaint. We do NOT live right by an airport, and this noise was SCARY LOUD and NOT ROUTINE.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 15, 2013 at 10:06 am

Sepaking for myself, I am certain I was not remarking about military aircraft - they were large commercial. Sorry I can't recall the airline.
I used to live in Sunnyvale, and planes coming in to Moffett were nothing like what we heard/saw in the post I wrote above -- this was MUCH worse here in Palo Alto.
Subchasers and even Air Force One and occasional other military (though slightly to our side, not RIGHT overhead) really weren't a problem in any regard for us in Sunnyvale.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 15, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Occasionally flight patterns are reversed due to wind direction changes. For example, SJC approach sometimes will be over PA instead of coming up the Santa Clara Valley.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Magic jets!!!!
a resident of Professorville
on May 15, 2013 at 1:30 pm

I CLEARLY do not understand the physics of this statement:

> I said it used to be worse up the Peninsula... until San Mateo County cut a deal to move the noise away from San Mateo County to other areas, such as Palo Alto.

How did they move the jets away from San Mateo County, when the planes ACTUALLY LAND IN San Mateo County?!?!!?

Magic?

And this one is fun:

> I'd move to Europe where they actually close airports at night.

Munich's open at night. Heathrow's a 24 hour operation.

Any more magical "opinions"?
Can't imagine the folk in Menlo Park think planes suddenly disappeared because of the Midtowner's magical "deal".

Nor the folk in Foster City.

Also do not understand Midtowner's magic where planes taking off are quiet until they reach 9,000 feet.

Quite magical indeed.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Magic jets!!!!
a resident of Professorville
on May 15, 2013 at 1:32 pm

Wow, that posted poorly... should be:

- - - - - - -

I CLEARLY do not understand the physics of this statement:

> I said it used to be worse up the Peninsula... until San Mateo County cut a deal to move the noise away from San Mateo County to other areas, such as Palo Alto.

How did they move the jets away from San Mateo County, when the planes ACTUALLY LAND IN San Mateo County?!?!!?

Magic?

Can't imagine the folk in Menlo Park think planes suddenly disappeared because of the Midtowner's magical "deal".

Nor the folk in Foster City.

Also do not understand Midtowner's magic where planes taking off are quiet until they reach 9,000 feet.

Quite magical indeed.

- - - - - - -

And this one is fun:

> I'd move to Europe where they actually close airports at night.

Munich's open at night. Heathrow's a 24 hour operation.

Any more magical "opinions"?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 17, 2013 at 1:28 am

If you think commercial jet noise has increased in the last few months... you are correct. In August 2013 the South China Morning Post reported that the FAA, in response to the Asiana crash at SFO, had begun advising Foreign Airlines to stop using the 5,000' visual approach to SFO, and to only fly 3,000' GPS final approach routes. These overseas flights, which typically use older four engined aircraft, are the jets rattling your windows, and vibrating your walls.

The smaller two-engined jets that emit a high pitched whistle are flying a new approach to SFO known as "NextGen" which the FAA began to roll-out at Bay Area airports in January 2013. Under "NextGen", aircraft "coast" down from altitude at high speed along several precisely navigated approaches. If you live under one of the "NextGen" approach routes, you better get used to it. The precision navigation used in the "Nextgen" system will channel air traffic into several narrow flight paths, and allow air traffic control to use much tighter aircraft-to-aircraft spacing. While the "Nextgen" approach should reduce the noise emitted by an aircraft's engines, residents living under a "Nextgen" approach route will experience increased noise due to the lower altitude of the "NextGen" flight profile, and a much greater number of aircraft passing overhead.

SF Gate ~ FAA plan seeks more direct air routes in Bay Area
Tuesday, January 15, 2013 Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 17, 2013 at 1:19 pm

Thank you, Jetman, I remember reading this also (followup to the Asiana pilots' apparent inabilities or lack of competence in landing at SFO) and it explains part of it.
I KNOW the lowflying major jets have increased - for us in N Palo Alto it seems to be 4 engine huge planes coming in from Asia (both size of plane and route and schedule appear to corroborate this informally). I think Palo Alto is being taken advantage of, and our city officials should object to this excess noise frequently overhead now. We did NOT have this previously.
By the way, I lived in Sunnyvale and even back in the olden Moffett Field days the noise was less than here.
Don't get me started on the sweetheart taxpayer subsidized deal Google management has for their aircraft fuel at Moffett.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 23, 2013 at 12:58 am

The diagram linked below illustrates the approach and departure plan for bay area airports, under the prevailing westerly wind pattern. Three out of five approach routes into SFO fly over Palo Alto.

Only one approach flies over San Francisco (from the north), crossing San Francisco at an altitude 11,000'. This same route descends to 3,000-3,200 by the time it crosses 101 in Palo Alto.

Approach and Departure Plan for Bay Area Airports: Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Just too loud
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 23, 2013 at 11:26 am

Yes, the problem is that these planes are very low by the time they turn over Palo Alto.

And so they are very noisy over certain parts of Palo Alto.

Thanks for the clear picture showing PA getting the worst of it.

Perhaps we should arrange a field trip for the council to the parts of the city where they can hear this level of noise?

Is there any organized effort to improve the situation?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mary Carlstead
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 23, 2013 at 11:38 am

I was part of a five city committee re: excessive airline noise in the '80's and early 90's. When Gary Fazzino was mayor and Joe Simitian was in his first term as a supervisor, all collaborated with Anna Eshoo who negotiated what was known as the Eschoo Agreement with SFO - that commercial planes could fly NO LOWER than 5K feet over the "Menlo Triangle" of which is Palo Alto is one 'leg' and no lower than 8K feet over Woodside, Portola Valley. The San Francisco Airport Roundtable Committee, organized by San Mateo north county cities to advocate for the cities affected by take offs from SFO ,refused to recognize that our area had a problem. It finally allowed San Mateo County southern cities representation or even recognition but not Palo Alto or Los Altos, and we attended some 'contentious' meetings. The Eshoo Agreement worked, and I have never heard it had been cancelled.The Palo Alto Weekly did a stellar article on the entire situation, and Gary Fazzino held a 'press conference' on City Hall Plaza along with Eshoo, etc. to announce the agreement - when a 747 came over so low, it was almost 'on cue'. We all 'waved'. Press and TV were there as well as other dignitaries. But somebody someplace has forgotten this. We also got a phone # to call in complaints to the airport and got rid of the number called from Santa Clara County as a 'toll call'. Here's the number. It still works 1-877-206-8290. The airport thinks we don't HAVE a problem - unless we tell them. So call - during the daytime - get the time - a description of the plane - color, markings, type - how many engines, etc. At night call in the time - put the # by your bedside phone. The airport must report - or is supposed to - the number of complaints by city and area - to the oversight committee. It's up to us to do this. I think that really low one at about noon is Asiana . There is an early bird in the morning from Hawaii. Southwest from LAX still follows the rules and a precise flight path. Some big planes, especially from Asia do not and also some of the European flights. We should get a new 'committee' down here. Maybe Surf Air has to follow the rules too. Ann Eshoo is home for the holidays. A delegation should meet with her. PS. I'm 'retired'.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 23, 2013 at 11:50 am

Note about that approach diagram, don't use SJO for San Jose or you'll land in Costa Rica.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 23, 2013 at 12:42 pm

The key part of what Mary says above is that SFO and San Mateo County agreed to a deal to reduce noise over San Mateo County. Period.

Palo Alto has never been part of the above deal. So we get noise that we did not use to get before the deal between SFO and San Mateo Co, even though some San Mateo Co residents want to have you believe otherwise (for obvious reasons).

There definitely is a severe (mostly SFO bound) jet airplane noise problem over Palo Alto including in the wee hours.

Time to wake up Palo Alto. The quality of life in this town is becoming very bad.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mary Carlstead
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 23, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Re: the Menlo Triangle. Palo Alto IS/WAS one one of the legs and when negotiated, Palo Alto was a part of that 5K deal. Planes then could safely descend at three hundred ft. per mile, so the 'big birds' were give a wide berth to swing over Palo Alto to reach the Bay and the beacon on or south of the Dumbarton Bridge. This was especially critical for airlines then where the crews were not basically ' English speaking". I remember being told Then that only one person in the cockpit had to speak English - and it didn't necessarily mean the pilot. Bu that was 15 -20 years or more years ago. There are three basic inbound routes into SFO over the Peninsula- the Big Sur Route - LAX planes come in from the Big Sur Beacon to the Bay-Dumbarton beacon and then head to the airport at approx. 5' feet. Southwest is very good on this. #2 are the planes coming down the Peninsula from the Pacific Northwest through the north coast beacon - Mendicino, down the spine of the Peninsula then spread off to San Jose or San Mateo. The 'big birds' coming from Europe and Asia follow the same route but swing around over the Menlo Triangle to lower altitude to
approach the Bay beacon. There is a Woodside beacon too. The other route is straight in from Hawaii and the mid-Pacific over about Pescadero- there's a beacon about 12 miles out - and hit onto the Woodside beacon where it used to be that the altitude there had to be 8K' . Maybe it all changed, maybe people forgot. But that's how it used to be - and it did work. Unfortunately, it a fit of senior-paper tossing, I may have thrown it all out...then retired. But Ann Eshoo should know...and so should the San Francisco Airport Roundtable Committee.
Most of the residents in Atherton, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, etc. who worked so hard on this then in their fifties and sixties and seventies - maybe 15-20 years ago are retired, moved, or deceased. But Anna Eschoo should know.
She got a lot of civic kudos for her efforts as did the late Gary Fassino.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 28, 2013 at 5:35 pm

Mary Carlstead:

Thank you for all your hard work on this issue. Thanks to your effort, Palo Alto has enjoyed a decade of skies, which have been relatively free from commercial aircraft noise. However, with the FAA's roll-out of "NextGen" approach routes at SFO, any "agreement" between Anna Eshoo and SFO seems to have been forgotten.

Apparently, SFO never considered any of the "agreements" they have with local officials to be "agreements" but merely "policies".

Noise from Low-flying Aircraft Still Troubles Towns
Almanac ~ Dec 2, 2012 Web Link

"When Mr. Lyons produced a copy of Ms. Eshoo's letter, Mr. Zwingle said that the identifying number assigned to the letter indicated a policy. "There may be a policy, but there is no rule," he said. "Anna Eshoo can sign letters of agreement or whatever until she's blue in the face."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 28, 2013 at 5:41 pm

Last year Almanac reporter Dave Boyce wrote an excellent article about "NextGen" air traffic control entitled "New Technology Promises Less Noise from Jet Engines, but to Whose Ears?" in which he asked FAA spokesman Ian Gregor many good questions, but received few answers.

"New Technology Promises Less Noise from Jet Engines, but to Whose Ears?"
The Almanac ~ August 29, 2012 Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Not so. Bad
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 28, 2013 at 5:52 pm

The jet noise day and night over Palo Alto is nothing compared to what they get in the Rose Garden section of San Jose. It Is. directly under the line of jets approaching San Jose International. We house sat for friends there recently, and it was impossible to sleep at night, or to watch a movie, or talk on the phone, or even think. The roar and rattle of jets came every fifteen minutes all day and most of the night-- and this is an airport with a curfew! That curfew must be 4:00 am!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by New Flight Paths
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Dec 28, 2013 at 9:18 pm

Within the last two months Atherton residents and members of their City Council have held meetings with airlines including a local new airline that has begun flights into and out of San Carlos airport. This has increased the number of planes flying over Atherton.

Atherton residents are complaining about the increased noise, which they have done before. Whenever they makes a big fuss about noisy planes, I always notice that more planes are directed over south Palo Alto because that is the only way airlines can deal with complainers - just move the flight path somewhere else!!!

I wish members of our City Council would get involved like Athertons. Hold meetings with the PA community, SFO and the airlines and perhaps we can push the flight path even further south over Sunnyvale and Santa Clara!!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jan 2, 2014 at 1:27 pm

I attended a community meeting in Atherton regarding Surf Air. Representatives from Surf Air, San Carlos Airport, and FAA were in attendance. This was a well organized meeting - I am impressed with the mayor of Menlo Park and Atherton who are trying to get a better position regarding the line of flight for this small, charter plane. It is important that we have a rep from Palo Alto to participate. There has been a very active line of discussion in the Almanac - on-line version for Atherton and Menlo Park.

Surf Air is a small, private charter company jet that is flying a north/south route over/between Middlefield and 101 and is very low and noisy. It is not part of the SFO controlled commercial jets which are flying west/east over Palo Alto to make their northbound turn up to SFO. Palo Alto is at the approximate 17 mile marker while Atherton is approximate at the 13 mile marker which means the commercial SFO traffic is already positioned over the bay in a north bound arrival route. Atherton is not complaining about the SFO traffic - it is complaining about the San Carlos Surf traffic which at that point is very low. This plane is very noticeable when it goes over Palo Alto - it is very whiney.

Since it is flying over the main educational corridor of Palo alto we need to exert some influence to have it move over the bay.
I think we need some political muscle to make that happen and concentrated co-city effort.

Go to Surf Air in Google to get information regarding their business plan and future plans - you will see that this is at our expense.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 2, 2014 at 2:44 pm

I could be wrong about this, but I don't see Surf Air moving their approach to the south and over PA. Recall that there's another airport in the way!

If they moved any further south for their approach, they would get in the way of the normal PAO take off pattern.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2014 at 5:05 pm

Resident 1:

The problem of aircraft noise will be batted around, until it comes to rest in the community that poses the least resistance. The Palo Alto City Council needs to be more active, and to become a more potent force, with respect to the problem of aircraft noise, or Palo Alto will continue to be used as a dumping ground for the problems associated with air traffic on the Peninsula.

Although Surf Air is under the spotlight today, Surf Air sits in a larger social, technical, and political morass.

Palo Alto already bears a disproportionate burden of the SFO arrival noise, with three out of the five arrival routes under the prevailing westerly winds transiting Palo Alto at low altitude on their way to final approach at SFO. With the roll-out of the "NextGen" air traffic control at SFO, some Palo Alto residents, who are unfortunate enough to live under the new "NextGen" routes, will emerge from their closed home in the spring to find an incessant stream of commercial jets flying over their property at 6-12 minute intervals.

A near future goal (2015) of the goal of "NextGen" air traffic control is to make the US airspace compatible with the operation of Unmanned Aerial Systems (drones). Government and military drones have been designed for spying, and are likely to be quite stealthy, however commercial drones are likely to use the same noisy internal combustion piston engines and prop-drive used in general aviation aircraft.

The drone business has been estimated to be an $82 billion business. This may be the secret behind Surf Air's ability to raise capital based on the dubious "all you can fly" business model. "The best way to make a million dollars in the airline business is to start with a billion" is an oft-quoted maxim in the aviation industry. Surf Air's founder, Wade Eyerly, has a background in intelligence and national security, and was once an Advance Representative for VP Cheney. Surf Air may serve as a sort of advance work for the drone industry. By establishing landing rights and operational facilities at smaller regional airports, Surf Air establishes a presence on what will become prime real-estate for drone operators. Surf Air could eventually abandon its business as an air carrier, and transition to business as a drone operator. Subsequently selling surf air to a company that serves as a front company for one of the intelligence services might then prove to be a lucrative "exit strategy" for the founders of Surf Air.

The Palo Alto City Council meets every Monday night, and anyone who fills out a card (available at the entrance to the council chambers) can speak to the council for two minutes, usually before or after the council begins the published agenda. Any effort to use this approach to get the attention of the City Council would carry more weight if several concerned citizens were to speak at the same council meeting.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 3, 2014 at 10:11 am

This morning was particularly bad.

Is there a group forming in midtown to try to impact this?


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Easy Living
By Sally Torbey | 11 comments | 2,373 views

I Told My Mom She's Dying
By Chandrama Anderson | 10 comments | 2,238 views

Grab a Bowl of Heaven soon in Mountain View
By Elena Kadvany | 0 comments | 1,361 views

Fancy Fast and Fun!
By Laura Stec | 3 comments | 772 views

Campaign Endorsements: Behind the Curtain
By Douglas Moran | 1 comment | 468 views