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Hollywood Burbank Airport noise rattles residents, who want flights spread over wider area

Hollywood Burbank Airport
The Southern San Fernando Valley Airport Noise Task Force is seeking suggestions about how to address airplane noise in the region.
(Raul Roa / Burbank Leader)

Residents seeking relief from jet noise at the Hollywood Burbank and Van Nuys airports are sharing ideas with officials on how to quiet the airspace.

The Southern San Fernando Valley Airplane Noise Task Force, which is seeking suggestions about how to address airplane noise in the region, met for the second time Wednesday night, and community group UproarLA offered possible solutions.

For the last two years, residents in the south San Fernando Valley have been frustrated with the number and frequency of airplanes departing from Hollywood Burbank Airport that make their northbound turns over their homes.

Several residents have blamed the Federal Aviation Administration and its Next Generation Air Transportation System, known as NextGen, for the departing flight paths from the Burbank airport shifting from over the 101 Freeway to above Studio City and Sherman Oaks.

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Others have said they think the changes were caused by a recovering economy and adjustments to weather and weight loads.

Dan Feger, the former executive director of the Hollywood Burbank Airport, believes officials can remedy the noise concerns if they work with the airlines.

UproarLA members Kim Biddle and Lisa Carloss, both Studio City residents, gave the task force four suggestions for improving the noise problem:

  • Spread out departing flights over a wider area to distribute the noise
  • Have the airplanes ascend faster when leaving the airport
  • Continue having San Fernando Valley neighborhoods involved in the process
  • Restore the departing flight paths out of Hollywood Burbank to where they were before NextGen was implemented in Southern California in March 2017.

With the help of Dan Feger, the former executive director of the Hollywood Burbank Airport, UproarLA also provided a solution it thinks can be implemented now to alleviate airplane noise.

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Feger’s suggestion, called Operation Twist, involves having all planes departing from Hollywood Burbank make their northbound turns sooner. He suggested directing air-traffic controllers to immediately tell pilots to make their turns once reaching the minimum vectoring altitude and asking the FAA to issue “notices to airmen,” telling pilots to establish a higher minimum climb rate and to make their turns as quickly as possible.

Carloss said the goal is not to take away all the airplane noise, but to have jets farther up in the sky and over a wider area to disperse the noise.

“We’re asking for a dispersal of the takeoffs,” she said. “We don’t want to put a narrow superhighway over anybody else. What we’re going through right now, we would not wish on anyone in L.A. County.”

While many were in agreement with UproarLA, Sherman Oaks resident Lisa Petrus said she thinks the flights have already been spread out enough.

Petrus, second vice president of the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council whose district is south of the 101 Freeway and next to the 405, said her constituents have had to deal with airplane noise for many years, along with noise from the nearby freeways.

When the flight paths started changing in 2017, Petrus said she noticed the noise being spread out toward the hillside.

“The people in the hills have never had to deal with any airplane noise at all,” Petrus said. “When they changed the flight paths, they widened it, and now the people in the hillside are getting some of it, but we are still getting plenty of aircraft noise.”

Petrus said moving the flight path back to where it was would again negatively impact the area around the 101 Freeway, which she said is densely populated with apartments, schools, houses of worship and hospitals.

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“My constituents are the most impacted residents of the San Fernando Valley,” she said. “We take the brunt of it where we are. I’m not saying to take my noise and shove it on them. We need to share this burden.”

The task force will review suggestions in the coming weeks. The next meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 17 at the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport, 2500 N. Hollywood Way.


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