Informed Opinions on Today’s Topics : Questions Arise on Air Traffic Noise Pollution

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Noise pollution from commercial jets, private planes and helicopters operating out of Van Nuys and Burbank airports has prompted some San Fernando Valley residents to distribute flyers with telephone numbers residents can call to lodge complaints. Changing flight patterns and schedules are among suggestions residents have made, while pilots and airlines insist they are doing everything they can to minimize noise.


Should the flight patterns of airlines and independent aircraft operating out of Burbank and Van Nuys airports be changed to reduce noise pollution in the San Fernando Valley?

Tony Lucente, president, Studio City Residents Assn.:

“Yes, absolutely. It’s time for them to realize that while the Glendale, Burbank and Pasadena area has its own authority outside the city of Los Angeles, we live in a major city and the airport does impact communities like Studio City and Sherman Oaks. Any responsible viewpoint would include considerations of the impacts on these communities. The community overwhelmingly supports the presence of Burbank and Van Nuys airport operations, but we urge them to adopt the solutions that are available to provide a win-win situation. Specifically, this means ‘share the noise’ using east-bound take-offs for Burbank and adopting helicopter flights over industrial corridors versus residential areas.”


Gerald A. Silver, president, Homeowners of Encino:

“Yes, pilots should be required to fly in and out of both Burbank and Van Nuys over wholly industrial property. Every effort should be made to avoid residential neighborhoods. With respect to Van Nuys, that is much more feasible. The Stagg Street route allows planes to egress and ingress without going over any residential areas . . . That’s quite safe to do, but what they often want to do is take the more expedient route which is often the most economical. With respect to Burbank, there’s no reason they can’t depart to the east. That would, of course, take them over far fewer residential neighborhoods . . .”

Nigel Turner, president of Heli USA, a Santa Monica-based helicopter service that also operates out of Van Nuys Airport:

“The major thing is that safety ought to come first whether you are for or against changes. Airspace over the San Fernando Valley is very complicated . . . To change airspace is very difficult, but there are ways to improve, particularly with changing altitude to alleviate the noise . . . Airlines coming into Burbank have to fly over Van Nuys, and the (other) flights coming into Van Nuys have to be lower than those planes and helicopters have to be even lower. One possibility that we’re working on is to produce a helicopter corridor along the Ventura Freeway.”

Sandor Winger, chairman of the Van Nuys Airport Citizens Advisory Council:

“Now, everything is not roses, but the regulations we have at Van Nuys are pretty good. The problems that we run into are with individual pilots who might turn in a little early at take-off or with helicopters that fly too low. . . . The biggest problem we have is the fact that once the wheels leave the ground it becomes the problem of the FAA, but that’s not to say we can’t do something to regulate them. We can say if you cannot abide by recommended policy, we won’t let you stay here at Van Nuys Airport, which leads to a host of legal issues.”