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Letters to the Editor: FAA decision to reroute flights infuriates residents

JWA takeoff
A plane takes off on a recent morning from John Wayne Airport over the Bluffs neighborhood in Newport Beach.
(Photo by Hillary Davis)

Re: “Huntington Beach residents say excessive airplane noise is hurting their quality of life,”: Concerned about possible noise impacts of the new Metroplex air traffic control project, we attended two public educational workshops offered by the Federal Aviation Administration early this year to learn more. At both workshops, we feel we were misled regarding the project’s impact on our neighborhood.

At the first workshop in Newport Beach, a staffer entered our address into a database and informed us we would experience no net change in aircraft noise from the project. This assertion was made despite the change in the southerly approach to LAX that would concentrate flights directly over our home using precise GPS navigation, flights that previously had been more dispersed over our area.

Puzzled and suspicious, we attended a second FAA workshop in Long Beach. There, we were told that we would see but not hear aircraft flying overhead, due to more efficient descent procedures enabled by Metroplex. Standing in our backyard, it’s obvious to anyone’s ears that both assertions were wrong when as many as 35 jets per hour streak overhead.

Our neighborhood is now directly under the third-busiest approach to Los Angeles International Airport, which is the third-busiest airport in the U.S. and seventh busiest in the world. In addition, flights approaching John Wayne Airport from the north now fly directly over Huntington Beach; previously those flights flew south over the ocean toward Catalina Island before turning north toward John Wayne.


Ever more frequent flights into Long Beach Airport now sweep lower and louder over our neighborhood, the city of Long Beach having lost control of its airport noise situation according to recent reports of airline curfew violations and increased fines.

Lastly, light planes piloted by recreational fliers noisily crisscross the sky, especially on weekends. One of these types of planes was involved in the disastrous mid-air collision over Cerritos in 1986.

The Metroplex project may have yielded benefits to the FAA and commercial airlines but, as air traffic continues to grow over Southern California, the almost-constant sound of jet aircraft will be increasingly insufferable for many of our communities’ residents and will impact our property values and our health and safety.

Gordon Smith and Patricia Bril


Huntington Beach

It’s loud on both sides of Back Bay

For the record, the new John Wayne Airport departure patterns disturb residents on both sides of the bay. For 35 years my wife and I have been confronted with noise and soot residue as the planes lift off, not staying over the bay, but rather over our Cliffhaven neighborhood near Newport Harbor High School.

Why can’t all of the planes take off over the middle of the bay rather than the residential neighbor’s properties? Some plane paths go right over our house, blocks from the bay. The FAA needs to monitor more closely. Do the pilots have that much freedom to vary their takeoffs — off course?

Lana Larsen

Newport Beach

Let’s stop acting like ‘the chosen ones’

I’m always amused by the ignorance displayed by the local residents of Newport Beach who feel their lives are being singled out for disruption by John Wayne Airport. These are people who have choosen to live under the flight path of the big jets that fly in and out of our local airport daily. The letter writer and her complaints will be falling on deaf ears now and forever more.

Sorry, but you are about 40 years too late. If the airport bothers you as much as you describe, perhaps you should live somewhere else. Trust me. That airport is here to stay.

Forty or so years ago, a similar dilema existed out by the city of Irvine. Next to Irvine was a military airport that the Newport Beach fathers wanted to convert to a regional airport. Newport Beach wanted someone else to enjoy the sights and sounds of a big airport. The Marines were leaving El Toro Marine Air Station in the 1990s and the runways of that airport could be put to use as a local airport.


The Newport Beach brain trust were sold on the idea of turning El Toro into the LAX of Orange County. And we Newporters thought that was that. Case closed.

But, oh how wrong we were. This was the second time Newport Beach locals were content in thinking the world revolves around us. If we had a pie chart, we could show how Newport is this little slice, and the rest of the world is this really big piece. The first time we Newport Beach-ers knew the world revolves around us was when the state wanted to put a freeway through Newport Heights. That idea got shot down before anybody could think twice.

Hopefully, any more ridiculous ideas will meet the same fate. Such as an airport with the planes taking off and landing over our beautiful city by the bay. After all, this is Newport Beach, and we are the chosen ones.

One of the problems I have with people complaining about the noise and disruption caused by the airplanes is their indifference toward their neighbors. It has been my observation that people are only concerned about the disruption to themselves. I have never heard anyone complain about the airplane noise and how it affects their neighbors.

Perhaps this says something about Newport Beach residents and how selfish we are. Never have I ever heard someone complain about the airplane noise and how it affects the community.

This is important because the airplane gods have recently changed the path the airplanes follow when taking off. Now, people who never experienced airplane noise and disruption are in for a surprise. With the new flight paths, they too will have to listen to daily disruptions. I can hear them complaining now:

“It’s not fair! It’s not fair!’

“I’m one of the chosen ones.”


“I live in Newport Beach!”

And then there’s me. I live in Newport Heights, and I’ve been listening to the planes for years. I’ve gotten used to it. To me, it’s no big deal.

Rob Macfarlane

Newport Heights

‘Mother!’ is a smart thriller

Suspense and drama ain’t quite what it used to be, folks, owing largely to the degeneration of the collective intellect of previous 50 years. Yet the film “Mother!” is a modern-day, top-drawer Satanic psychological thriller that satisfies and is worth seeing (without giving anything away).

Ralph Freda

Newport Beach

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