Representatives from several community groups made it clear to the Southern San Fernando Valley Airplane Noise Task Force this week that they want an immediate end to aircraft flying over their neighborhoods.
Frustrated residents from Studio City, Sherman Oaks and the south San Fernando Valley area attended the third task force meeting Wednesday at the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport to provide officials with additional information and suggestions about how to remedy noise issues resulting from departing flights out of Hollywood Burbank and Van Nuys airports.
The noise complaints have centered around an increased number of airplanes departing from Hollywood Burbank making their northbound turns over the south San Fernando Valley.
The majority of flights departing from the Burbank airport take off to the south and have, in the past, made their northbound turns over the 101 Freeway.
However, since 2017, several residents from the south San Fernando Valley said they have noticed more and more airplanes flying over their neighborhoods, making their southward shifts closer to them.
A study conducted by consulting firm Landrum & Brown in October 2018 determined that flights out of Hollywood Burbank have indeed shifted south, from the 101 Freeway to Sherman Oaks and Studio City.
Aviation consultant HMMH Inc., which was hired by the task force to conduct the meetings and provide additional research on the issue, released additional visual evidence on Wednesday that confirmed the previous study.
Several residents and community groups have blamed the Federal Aviation Administration and the implementation of its Next Generation Air Transportation System, known as NextGen, in the region.
NextGen, a satellite-based radar system used to make flights across the country more efficient and safer, was implemented in the region — identified as the Southern California Metroplex — in March 2017, which is about the time when some residents from the south San Fernando Valley started noticing an increase in the number of aircraft over their neighborhoods.
In July, FAA officials agreed that the flight paths had moved but stated that flight procedures have not changed even after NextGen was operational in Southern California.
Three community groups — Studio City for Quiet Skies, Advocates for Viable Airport Solutions and Sherman Oaks/Encino for Quiet Skies — as well as a representative from the Benedict Hills Estates/Homeowners Assn. gave similar suggestions about what should be done to minimize the concentration of flights over their neighborhoods.
Suellen Wagner and Kimberly Turner, co-founders of Studio City for Quiet Skies, told the task force there needs to be immediate relief before the group considers long-term solutions.
Turner said the FAA should follow the suggestions given by former Hollywood Burbank Airport executive director Dan Feger during a previous meeting in September that were reiterated on Wednesday — direct pilots to fly out of the airport at a steeper climb, have air traffic controllers tell pilots to make their northbound turns sooner and fan out the departures.
Wagner added that there have been instances during the past two years when pilots have flown that route.
“Jets can get up and out of the [San Fernando] Valley,” Wagner said.
Representatives from Studio City for Quiet Skies also suggested that all runways at Hollywood Burbank should be used for departing flights, especially directing pilots to take off to the north as they did last month when President Donald Trump was in Los Angeles and during the recent Getty fire.
Solutions from Sherman Oaks/Encino for Quiet Skies were similar to the other groups, emphasizing their changes more toward Van Nuys Airport.
Gina Silverstein, a co-founder of Sherman Oaks/Encino for Quiet Skies, told task force members that the routes for flights out of Van Nuys — which are primarily general-aviation operations such as charter planes and private jets — need to be reverted back to their previous paths.
Some residents from those neighborhoods said they have been experiencing similar southbound shifts from departing flights from Van Nuys.
“Our communities will not accept soundproofing as a viable option,” Silverstein said. “This does not account for noise when outdoors, around homes or protected parks, overlooks and open spaces.”
In October, Los Angeles City Atty. Mike Feuer’s office issued a 30-day notice to the FAA to revert operations at Hollywood Burbank to what they were before NextGen was implemented.
Task force member and Los Angeles Councilman Paul Koretz, whose council district includes Encino, concurred with the community groups and suggested that operations go back to what they were before the flight paths were moved.
“Why would we not at least go back where we were and then figure out how to solve your problems rather than destroy these peoples’ lives?” Koretz said to FAA representatives during the meeting. “You’ve made a lot of these peoples’ lives a living hell.”
The next Southern San Fernando Valley Airplane Noise Task Force meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 4 at the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport, 2500 N. Hollywood Way, Burbank.