North Arrival FONSI

The FAA issued a Finding of No Significant Impact and Record of Decision (FONSI/ROD) for the So Cal Metroplex Project. They will not proceed to an EIS. They plan to immediately implement the SoCal Metroplex NextGen project starting in November and continuing though April 2017.

Communities, Cities and individuals have 60 days to apply for review of the decision by filing a petition for review in the appropriate U.S. Court of Appeals no later than 60 days after 8/31/2016 in accordance with the provisions of 49 U.S.C. § 46110.

North Arrival Issues

CLIFY Waypoint.
The CLIFY dance continues. CLIFY is the new waypoint which replaces the SMO waypoint. This waypoint controls an Aircraft’s coastal point of entry and the overflight neighborhoods of planes using LAX’s North Arrival routes.

The FAA had published multiple locations for CLIFY during the comment period. It varied from a point close to the existing SMO to over a tree in Santa Monica’s Clover Park. The last official place the FAA put it was in Clover Park. It’s back near SMO now- 120 feet west of the current SMO waypoint.

Those close to SMO may experience slight overflight change. Due to the previously proposed waypoint DAHJR, planes will fly slightly farther north than existing paths for all others on the path. In Culver City the current flight paths fly over Carlson Park and intersect Duquesne at Jefferson. With the CLIFY change, flights will intersect Duquesne farther north over the Police Station.

MDNYT STAR- Over Ocean Procedure.
The Draft EA effectively removed part of the noise abatement efforts of the North Arrival nighttime Over Ocean Procedure by lowering planes to 7000 ft at Santa Monica Airport. Public comment on this has most likely led the FAA to reconsider. The Final EA has restored the previous procedure with a new one called MDNYT STAR. The Final EA maintains the 8000 ft minimum altitude over Santa Monica Airport but promises that flights can fly up to 2000 ft higher over Santa Monica Airport while in Over Ocean Operations.

Altitude of Nighttime Over Ocean Operation at CLIFY
NameOriginOperation Lower AltitudeUpper Altitude
REDEYEOriginalOver Ocean 80008000
BIGBR STARDraft EAOver Ocean70007000
MDNYT STARFinal EAOver Ocean800010000

The MDNYT STAR is to follow the existing path used by the current Over Ocean REDEYE path. This has been confirmed with the released TARGET data.

BIGBR STAR- East-Flow Procedure.
The Draft EA proposal for the BIGBR STAR to replace the East Flow Route BASSET still stands. During Daytime east flow operations (mostly due to Santa Ana winds) Aircraft will cross Santa Monica Airport at the lower 7000 ft. They will also be flying a more northern route that crosses West LA college and the High School.

Altitude of East-Flow at CLIFY
NameOriginOperation Lower AltitudeUpper Altitude
BASSETOriginal East-Flow 80008000
BIGBR STARFinal EA East-Flow70007000

Below are excerpts and comments on the North Arrival issues.

Download (PDF, 4.09MB)

The new arrival paths and CLIFY are much like my original post last year on the Culver City Flight Paths. The post and the google maps have been updated to show the FINAL EA positions.

Below are the center-lines of the (3) new arrival paths (thicker lines) and (2) old arrival paths in a zoomable map [expand link here:]. Note that the MDNYT STAR overlies the REDEYE Over Ocean path. The Actual flight path widths vary between a 1 nautical mile wide radius for the conventional and RNAV procedures, to 1/3 of a mile radius for newer RNP procedures -which happens east of Culver City after DAHJR. Roughly 36% of the traffic is estimated to follow a precise line.

There is no change to LAX departure paths over/near Culver City from the SoCal Nextgen Project.

FAA response to LAX North Arrival
from Page 23-24 of SoCal_Metroplex_FEA_Appendix_F-Vol_I

09 – LAX North Arrivals

Several commenters expressed concern that the Proposed Action procedures would lower or shift aircraft flight paths over the cities of Los Angeles, Culver City, Santa Monica, and other surrounding communities. Primarily, the concern was for LAX north arrivals when LAX is in west flow operations, which is the main direction for LAX arrivals. Most concerns were focused on procedure designs and waypoint information provided by the FAA during the Draft EA public comment period.
During west flow operations, the Proposed Action procedures are designed for LAX northarriving aircraft to cross over the CLIFY waypoint (located at the SMO Airport) before making a right base leg turn for LAX Runway 24 L/R. Currently, aircraft cross over SMO Airport waypoint at 7,000 feet MSL. Under the Proposed Action procedures, aircraft will cross over CLIFY waypoint between 7,000 and 8,000 feet MSL. After crossing the CLIFY waypoint, aircraft on the RNP approach procedures will pass over the next waypoint,
DAHJR, at an altitude restriction of 6,000 feet MSL, which would be slightly higher in altitude compared to current procedures.

CLIFY WAYPOINT – FAA determined that moving CLIFY waypoint south provides more compatibility with other routes and air traffic sector designs. This location of CLIFY, which is a fly-by waypoint, is within historical tracks. The CLIFY waypoint will continue to disperse the traffic and addresses community concerns, yet still meets the purpose and need of the project. Please see Figure 3-2 [above and] in the EA [on Page 73. Discussion on page 71-72, 74 of EA]

NEW MDNYT STAR – Numerous comments were received concerning the possibility of increasing altitudes on LAX arrivals. The FAA considered a number of possibilities for procedure adjustments that would address community concerns, yet still meet the Project’s purpose and need as described in Chapter 2 of the EA. The FAA determined that altitudes could be raised during over-ocean operations, and the MDNYT STAR was designed as part of the SoCal Metroplex Proposed Action procedures. This procedure would be available from midnight to 6:00 a.m. and would allow aircraft to fly at least 2,000 feet MSL higher in certain areas. The MDNYT STAR is also designed to be further over water compared to the current flight path. Please see Figure 3-6 [above and] in the EA [on Page 78. Further description on Page 76 of EA.]