Town Square

Atherton residents rattled by noise of 'executive' planes from San Carlos Airport

Original post made by Bill, Barron Park, on Nov 19, 2013

Saw this story in the SJ Mercury: Web Link

Found it interesting because Surf Air had proposed using the Palo Alto Airport for their flights. I guess we should be grateful their plan at PAO didn't work out.


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Posted by David
a resident of Atherton
on Nov 20, 2013 at 11:52 am

Palo Alto is impacted. The Surf Air flights are at 2000 ft near Walter Hays school and start their descent into San Carlos, flying directly over downtown (University) and the surrounding neighborhoods. They follow a path that parallels Middlefield, while descending.

This is a broad community problem that affects multiple cities and multiple counties. Surf is about to increase flights from 7 per day to 10 per day in early December. They have plans to increase to even more flights in the months ahead.

You should be concerned because noise, property values and safety are being compromised. Surf, or any other scheduled service could just as easily move to or start at KPAO.

If you want to get involved, sign the petition here: Web Link

And make sure you let your elected officials know that you are concerned.

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Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Nov 21, 2013 at 1:00 pm

There are two threads going on the same topic - Surf Air - and overall increase in air traffic over PA. A lot of posts on the other thread. Maybe On-line can combine into 1 thread.

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Posted by Gwen Books
a resident of Menlo Park
on Nov 30, 2013 at 12:59 pm

Please join us at a Community event to discuss
Disruptive Airplane Noise Over Our Neighborhoods
December 9th at 6PM Holbrook-Palmer Park, Atherton
Did you know:
• Your home is under (or near) a flight path that allows noisy aircraft to land at San Carlos Airport (KSQL) at any time of day or night.
• Surf Airlines, a charter members only airline startup, flies over (or near) your home and currently lands 7 times per day. They will have 10 flights each day starting on December 9th.
• Surf Airlines is planning to expand service to more cities that will result in even more flights over our neighborhoods each and every day, including weekends.
Why are you receiving this notice?
A large and growing group of your neighbors are working to solve the noise problem related to Surf Air, and we want you to stay informed, and get involved. Atherton City Council has formed a sub committe to work with residents of Menlo Park, NFO, Atherton, Redwood City, Palo Alto and any other communities interested in helping. The mayors of Atherton and Menlo Park are personally involved and we have additional support from San Mateo County.
Why You Should Care
Excessive noise is not healthy, regardless of whether it occurs from vehicle traffic, leaf blowers or aircraft. In addition, aircraft noise decreases your property value and creates a harsher environment for those that work at home or want to enjoy their back yards. Aircraft flying the exact same route ten times a day poses a higher safety risk for anyone living near the flight path, or attending one of the many nearby schools.
See the map on the reverse side for how you may be affected. What You Can Do To Help
It’s easy. Voice your concerns, let your opinions be heard. You can do that by the following:
Sign the petition: Web Link
Call the San Carlos Airport Noise Hotline: 650-573-2666
Join the conversation on Web Link
Attend the upcoming community meeting where representatives from Surf Air, San Carlos Airport, the Mayors from Atherton and Menlo Park, and residents will discuss the problem.
When: December 9th, 6 to 8 PM
Where: The Pavillion at Holbrook-Palmer Park, 150 Watkins Ave, Atherton
Get involved. Stay Informed.

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Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Nov 30, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Gwen - you know that there are extensive postings on the Almanac site. The topic at hand includes a lot of issues. We have a lot of discussion going on as to how a number of agencies are interacting regarding noise from airplanes - both incoming and outgoing - major SFO plus Palo Alto Airport and San Carlos Airport. The noise issue concerns the SFO incoming commercial airlines as well as San Carlos Airport.

This is at a time when Senate Bill 375 is looking to increase housing density on transit routes. Is Atherton looking to increase housing density?

Note that Redwood City has two towers going up on the old Malibu raceway next to 101. The building of high rises creates buffer zones regarding airport flight of small planes. Maybe Atherton should consider some high rise buildings on Middlefield, or proximity, as at this time you are the lowest point in the bay area. Maybe you all need to shake up your sky line so you have some high altitude density.

I visited the San Carlos Airport to check out the scene, talked to the airport manager - she is very aware that there is a lot of discussion going on concerning this topic, as is Surf Air. The city of San Carlos is planning to build along El Camino, several blocks, so that will equate to more buffer zone for San Carlos. Something to think about - push the incoming line down over the Sunnyvale Golf Course to the bay.

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Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 30, 2013 at 8:34 pm

It's not just San Carlos bound airplanes.

Here in Midtown, just south of Oregon Expressway, at times it's every other minute that we are flown over by large San Francisco Airport bound passenger jets. They often fly right at or below 5000 feet as the bank to reach the bay around the Dumbarton Bridge. You can check this online in real time on web sites that track air traffic in the area.

It will wake me up in the wee hours of the morning and also be disruptive and bothersome at other times of the day, when everything else is otherwise quiet.

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Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Dec 1, 2013 at 11:05 am

In the SF Chronicle today - Matier & Ross they confirmed that the air traffic has grown greatly at SFO, in part due to airlines switching from Oakland Airport. We are very aware of that in PA as the incoming air traffic is continual.

One thought that needs to be checked out is the Asiana Crash in August. They were too low, too slow here at the 17 mile junction when they made their turn into the northbound arrival path. They were inexperienced pilots. Is it possible that they ran into other airline traffic that confused them? Was Surf in the air at the same time they were?
That needs to be checked out - Surf is assuming that everyone knows what they are doing - while foreign pilots who have no training on the plane they are driving are also in the air and vulnerable to mistakes and errors.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Dec 10, 2013 at 11:13 pm

I attended the community meeting 9 December in Atherton. The meeting was attended by representatives from Surf, San Carlos Airport, and other airline related agencies. Many community speakers on the noise level specific to areas of Atherton and surrounding neighborhoods - all complaining about the Surf jet noise.

It should be noted that Atherton is at the mile point for incoming SFO traffic in which the planes have already been lined up in their north approach to SFO over the bay so incoming SFO traffic is not a great disturbance to Atherton. Palo Alto is back at the transition point where the inbound west to east are arriving and starting their north bound turn. Meanwhile Surf is on a south to north approach over Middlefield so is at a cross purpose to the incoming SFO traffic at this point. Palo alto has more noise overall. Hopefully there will be a resolution to the route used by Surf air - presumably out over the bay then cut in at San Carlos.

The Palo alto Airport cannot be used as the flight line / runway is too short for the airplane used. Also at PA there will be a lot of land movement due to the golf course being redesigned / restructured and the flood plain re-engineered - it is at the end of the runway. The flood plain is a top priority now.

I was very impressed by the Mayor of Atherton who ran a good meeting. The mayor of Menlo Park is the best - he made it clear that the problems had to be resolved or Surf had to relocate. He is a winner.

Best relocation for Surf Air would be San Jose Airport which has a private plane section on the west side of the runway. Google and Oracle have their planes there. They would also have a fully compliant flight line and services - hotels and car rental. If you consider the current aggravation to the homeowners it would really be a better deal for Surf.
San Carlos has a financial commitment to make this work for them and is trying to get a good solution. It should be noted that San Carlos says they have to be open 24 hours a day, while San Jose Airport has a 11:00PM curfew. In san Jose they understand NOISE.
Side note: The traffic on Middlefield was unbelievable at 5:30 PM. It took me a long time to get there just on the amount of traffic. That was a real eye opener.