FAA Sides With Pilots, Won't Alter Burbank Airport Takeoff Routes

Times Staff Writer

The federal government has decided not to redirect some takeoffs from Burbank airport over Glendale and Burbank, officials said.

Charles B. Aalfs, the Burbank air traffic manager for the Federal Aviation Administration, said Monday that the agency dropped the idea because pilots objected.

In a letter to the FAA, the Air Transport Assn., an organization of pilots and airlines, said it had "no choice but to reject" a proposal to reduce noise over the San Fernando Valley by ordering some departing jets to turn east over Burbank rather than west over the valley. All flights now take off over the valley.

The airport in September proposed the change in takeoffs as part of an agreement with the City of Los Angeles to settle suits over the development of the airport. The FAA in January said the rerouting was "feasible under certain conditions."

The pilot group rejected the proposal because there is no "escape route" to prevent airliners turning east from running into the Verdugo Mountains should problems develop on takeoff, Aalfs said in a letter to airport officials.

He also said such flights would conflict with private air traffic at Whiteman Airpark in Pacoima and increase noise over Burbank and Glendale.

Richard G. Sorenson, a member of the North Hollywood Homeowners Assn., which has gathered thousands of signatures on anti-noise petitions, said the decision "has all the earmarks of the FAA cooperating with the airport authority" to delay changes in takeoff patterns.

About a fifth of the Burbank airline flights departed to the southeast until last summer, when the FAA changed the flight pattern because of potential interference with flights into Los Angeles International Airport.

Robert Garcin, president of the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority, said he expects the airport will continue studying alternative takeoff patterns under a federally funded noise-abatement study to begin this spring.

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