FAA Airplane Crisis Oct 18 Update

As I sit in my office writing this piece, I am wearing a gun range noise cancelling headset and earpbuds tuned to calming sounds and music. It has become a normal part of my lifestyle because it is the only way to cancel out the airplane noise that I've been writing about for the last two years. It has become intolerable for my community and thousands of other residents across the nation who have found themselves living under the flight path of the FAA’s NextGen program. We're talking airplanes about 4500 feet directly above my neighborhood and at its worse, every 5 -10 minutes or less, throughout the day, late into the night and intermittently in the wee hours.  It's been at its worse for a month now. 

This nightmare was designed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to allow for a greater number of flights to take off and land at LAX Airport by changing the flight pattern for planes that used to arrive along various dispersed routes from the north and the east, into a one lane super highway. This highway comes in over Malibu, flies over the Santa Monica Bay, turns at Santa Monica then heads towards downtown flying on a route aligning more or less with the Santa Monica freeway. When they hit Santa Monica they are at about 8900 feet and by the time they get to downtown they have descended down to approximately 3000 ft in a matter of minutes.  When they fly over West Adams, (I live at Arlington and Adams)  they are usually between 3500 and 4500 feet above us and are often accompanied by the whine of brakes as they quickly descend.  

They descend quickly because they need to turn around just east of downtown to join two lanes of flights coming in from the west and must match those altitudes as they merge into those lanes and head towards the runways on the airport.  

So far it's been impossible to get any city or FAA official to discuss this simple solution - why don't they stay up higher at 8,000 ft, turning and merging into the lanes a few minutes further east, matching the higher, quieter altitudes of the incoming flights?  

City council members Herb Wesson, Mike Bonin and Marqueece Harris-Dawson, members from House Representative Karen Bass and Senator Kamala Harris’s office, along with the Los Angeles Airport Round Table have all made a fulsome effort to engage the FAA in order to find solutions, but to no avail.  Over a two year period the planes have just gotten lower and more numerous. The FAA will feign concern knowing it’s not obligated to listen to nor accommodate anyones concern regarding the NexGen program... other than the airlines. So little has come from these efforts other than studies, statistics, charts and graphs to prove what staying one day under the sky freeway can easily prove -Too low, too loud, too often. 

There were recent efforts by the 35 member Clear Skies House Caucus in Washington to address the noise issue as thousand of voters across the country organized and flooded their offices with complaints.  They attempted to get some serious amendments addressing the noise problem inserted into the Federal governments, Republican controlled, Appropriation Committee’s bill to refund the FAA. But only one person, the Chair of the committee could decide if those amendments would ever see the light of day, resulting in the acceptance of a few extremely watered-down amendments. They did little else other than acknowledge the problem existed by offering some tepid solutions and more studies. 

Lawsuits like the one in Phoenix (and won), are the only way to get the FAA to stop and listen. There are two current lawsuits that could help our city. One brought by Culver City and another by a Culver City resident whose lawyer is being funded by donations from West Adams residents. They had “standing” to sue which meant they had filed comments in response to the FAA’s publication of their intentions regarding NextGen.  Los Angeles residents were unable to sue because the Councilmembers from the districts that were going to be impacted by NextGen, failed to adequately alert their constituents resulting in LA residents missing the comment period that would have given them eventual standing to sue.  These two lawsuits have made their way to a hearing in Washington on October 18 and success in either of those two lawsuits could mean relief not only for our communities but could also provide a legal template for others around the country.  You will be able to find out the results of that hearing by going to the facebook pages of Culver City for Quiet Skies or Sky Justice National Network on Oct 18.

Another possible solution might come out of the current negotiations going on between the Los Angeles City Attorney with the FAA and LAX. When the FAA failed to adhere to their own published altitudes it gave the City an opportunity to file a lawsuit. In an effort to head that off the FAA agreed to "negotiate" with the City.  Let's see how that turns out. 

If all else fail,s Plan B is already underway.  Efforts to create a national coalition have begun by this author and others around the country.  As the FAA continues to roll out this  noise and air polluting, badly conceived experiment the number of outraged citizens increases and are looking for ways to take action. Quiet Skies facebook pages have sprung up all over the country.  I created the Sky Justice National Network facebook page and co-administer it with  Cindy L Christianse an activist from the Boston area who has been working with her Senators to address this issue. We have over 500 and growing engaged activists from around the country sharing information and making connections. Out of all these discussions and connections we believe solutions will emerge and already connections have been made with another national coalition of over 10,000 members, and discussions of implementing a national Torte (thousands of individual private lawsuits against the FAA like a swarm of bees) that could lead to a class action lawsuit, have begun with a lawyer who is an aviation expert.  The lawyers are starting to pay attention.

For those of you affected, don’t give up hope or give in to acceptance. Take a simple action along with thousands of others:

-- Join the Sky Justice National Network Facebook page to stay updated, find out about simple actions you can take and when our monthly national phone conferences take place.

-- Join our Clear Skies LA Action Network email group and receive occasional simple actions you can take like sending an email or making a phone call. We have over 500 members and have sent emails and made phone calls to the FAA and local officials.  Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and put Action Network in the subject line.

-- This is the phone number for the FAA's Aviation Noise Ombudsman who allegedly serves as a liaison with the public on issues regarding aircraft noise.(202) 267-3521 Use it and leave a message as often as you want. 500 people leaving 2 messages a day?  I left 10 in one hour. Evenings are best to get through. Leave your address!

OR send them an email every time a plane flies over This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  with "ANOTHER ONE JUST FLEW OVER MY ONCE QUIET NEIGHBORHOOD" in the subject line and your address in the text of the email and airport (LAX).   I just hit ‘reply all’ to resend the original email every time a plane goes over.  

-- You can also make a much needed donation to help fund the West Adams lawyer and help him help You!  


BTW - During this last edit I removed my headset 8 times. Each time a plane was going overhead. What crazy mixed up universe does the FAA live in to think that this is okay?


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Established in August of 2008 by writerartist Dianne V. Lawrence, The Neighborhood News covers the events, people, history, politics and historic architecture of communities throughout the Mid-City and West Adams area in Los Angeles Council District 10.

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