Doors to Arrival featured in LA Weekly

In a prompt response the LA Weekly made the connection between the 147,422 complaints from the NorCal NextGen implementation and our proposed SoCal implementation.


Reporter Darralynn Hutson @darralynnhutson delivers a strong article with choice quotes from community members June Lehrman, Ken Palmer, Denny Schneider, Marty Rubin and “technical blogger Stephen Murray.”  LA Weekly managing editor Jill Stewart @jillstewart also took effort sifting through research data and further shaping the article despite being on vacation.

In a rare journalistic coup, when it comes to reporting on airplane noise, the LA Weekly balanced the FAA and community point of view. The  community issues that drive the story are:

  • People are scared after the 2700% jump in Bay Area noise complaints where the FAA said “no impact” in its NextGen EA- Same as they said for LA’s.
  • Economic growth, combined with NextGen, will bring noise to areas not accustomed to it- and make it worse for areas that are stuck with noise
  • Not everyone trusts the FAA
  • The unspoken fear that the FAA is already testing NextGen

Unfortunately the video horribly mashes up the Existing Santa Monica Airport Jet issue with NextGen- but that was created separate from the article.

Doors to Arrival maps are featured throughout. They sifted through my CartodB maps and found my “Negative change in noise map.” I don’t mention this elsewhere but its a map that shows all the places where an increase in noise occurs due to NextGen.

Below is the context of some of my quotes against the FAA’s position that there have been no procedural changes ( and that people are just imagining things) :

“The FAA is of two parts: One part creates flight path procedures and the other does Air Traffic Control(ATC).

Flight path changes are public documents released for pilots and airports to follow- they are very visible and every year they are republished.

There have been changes. At LAX, Culver City had a change to its feeding arrival route (called SADDE) via a RNAV implementation in 2012, and the northbound departures (called LOOP) in 2014. Both of these procedural changes happened during the Nextgen design period, the FAA NextGen project team cites them and used these new procedures to base their noise analysis on instead of the “pre NextGen” procedures.

So, technically, NextGen isn’t implemented but some paths have been pre-upgraded during the NextGen process. These are the only recent changes.

ATC instructions, on the other hand, are like a black box that only pilots hear- there is no paper trail that explains why a plane was routed the way it was even if it was counter to a published procedure.

A suspicion is that a combination of flight path changes and ATC instructions are dropping planes lower and slowly “boiling the frog” with progressive increases in noise.

In terms of economic growth we aren’t near the pre 9/11 number of flights but we’re approaching the 2007 pre-recession levels. Passenger use is up due to larger planes which brings extra issues to the mix.”