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Community group offers solution to airplane noise

Hollywood Burbank Airport
The Southern San Fernando Valley Airport Noise Task Force is currently accepting suggestions about how to address the airplane noise of the region.
(File Photo)

Ideas about how to address noise issues stemming from Hollywood Burbank and Van Nuys airports were shared with officials this week, but several residents are demanding immediate relief.

The Southern San Fernando Valley Airplane Noise Task Force held its second meeting Wednesday night at the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport, where a community group called UproarLA presented a possible solution regarding how to deal with the noise from aircraft flying over their neighborhoods.

For the past two years, some residents living in Los Angeles neighborhoods in the south San Fernando Valley have been frustrated with the number and frequency of airplanes departing from Hollywood Burbank Airport and making their northbound turns over their areas.

Several people from those neighborhoods 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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Other people have said they think the changes were due to a recovering economy and adjustments to weather and weight loads.

UproarLA members Kim Biddle and Lisa Carloss, who are both Studio City residents, told the task force that their best long-term solution for the issue was to fan out the 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 this process and 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 an interim solution they think can be implemented now to alleviate noise over their neighborhoods.

Feger had a three-pronged approach to addressing the noise issue but only focused on the first method on Wednesday, which he called “Operation Twist,” which involves having all airplanes departing from Hollywood Burbank make their northbound turns sooner.

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In this approach, he listed six measures that would help make the plan successful, which included asking the FAA to conform to its existing policy regarding vectoring altitudes requiring a minimum 1,000-foot gap between a plane and obstacles in non-mountainous areas or 2,000-foot gap in mountainous areas.

Other measures Feger presented involved directing air-traffic control personnel 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.

“We’re asking for a dispersal of the takeoffs,” Carloss 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.”

Task force staff will be reviewing the suggestions over the following weeks.

Carloss added that the goal is not to take away all the airplane noise but to have airplanes farther up in the sky and over a wider area to disperse the noise, which has taken a toll on some of her neighbors.

“I’m pretty tough, and I have double-pane windows at my house, but some of my neighbors are falling apart,” Carloss said. “The psychological and physical effects are just visible.”

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

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

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

“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.

“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 next task force 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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