What is status of the curfew proposal and the increase in flights June 1?

Per the following news article:  May 20, 2017 Daily Journal article by Anna Schuessler. One paragraph states
“At the meeting 5/18/17, county officials shared the new measures generated since they proposed the curfew in March, which include improving the system used to track flights coming in and out of the airport, developing an incentive program to encourage pilots to fly planes at less disruptive times and hiring a communications specialist to ensure pilots understand noise abatement procedures.”

For many who thought the curfew did not go far enough, particularly those who experience departures starting at 6 am, those County suggested measures were insufficient.

Mike Callagy, Assistant County Manager, emphasized a new Surf owner, a new chief pilot, a new CEO, and a new attitude. There was no mention of an agreement to scrap the curfew or any mention of the increase in flights June 1. Mr. Callagy is new to us to this issue, and he has now been “schooled” by Surf like the rest of us. They have no intention of cooperating or doing anything other than maximizing revenue.

Here is a paraphrase of the County’s response:
“As of the meeting time on Thursday, we had no idea about the proposed 12 new flights by SA into San Carlos. We don’t have any agreement with Surf Air, the Pilots Association or any other charter company in regard to the curfew or any of the other proposed changes. We have had productive conversations with these entities over a period of time and those discussions are ongoing, but these 12 proposed new flights a week by SA cause us all great concern and will be the subject of any future discussions with all involved parties. I did not find out about the proposed new flights until Friday night around 5p.m. In fact, I spoke to the new Chief Pilot Friday at 4 pm about how disappointed I was with this announcement about a deal and he was also shocked that something like that went out when we were just starting to have good discussions. He likewise didn’t say anything about new flights. I called him back on Monday and he confirmed he had no idea SA was adding new flights and neither did his boss. He explained Encompass operates the planes, but don’t have anything to do with the schedule and no one from SA had conferred with him about the schedule.
Curfew is still on the table as an option.”

Community Meeting Regarding San Carlos Airport Noise May 18, 2017

Anna Schuessler of the Daily Journal covers the meeting in her May 20, 2017 article.

The article reads as follows:

County floats efforts to mitigate airport noise: New flight routes, improved tracking among new measures

County officials presented a number of measures aimed at addressing citizen concerns about aircraft noise stemming from the San Carlos Airport Thursday amid continued concerns expressed by Peninsula residents and their neighbors to the south.

Among the new strategies proposed at a community meeting at the FATCO building in downtown Redwood City was the exploration of new flight patterns taking planes over fewer residences, which Assistant County Manager Mike Callagy said had come out of renewed conversations between small-aircraft, members-only Surf Air, the San Carlos Airport Association, which represents many pilots using the airport, and the county in recent weeks.

“These conversations have been fruitful, they have been progressive, they have been good,” he said.

Though no formal agreement had been reached, Callagy said talks between these groups since the county proposed changes to the airport’s policies calling for few flights and even 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. restrictions for certain aircraft has yielded several new measures aimed at addressing resident concerns about flight, takeoff and landing patterns coming in and out of the airport just south of Redwood Shores and east of Highway 101.

Noise from aircraft using the San Carlos Airport has drawn the ire of nearby residents in the last few years since 2013, when Surf Air began routing flights through the general aviation airport where pilots of small aircraft train and store their aircraft. To mitigate the effects of Surf Air flights, a cross-jurisdictional working group, including the Federal Aviation Administration, county Supervisor Warren Slocum, staff from the offices of U.S. representatives Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, and Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, San Carlos airport staff and Surf Air representatives, designed a six-month trial from July to January of a flight route directing Surf Air flights in and out of the San Carlos Airport over the Bay instead of Peninsula neighborhoods. The FAA, which is responsible for approving new flight patterns, is in the process of conducting an environmental review of what was called the Bayside Visual Approach.

At Thursday’s meeting, county officials shared the new measures generated since they proposed the curfew in March, which include improving the system used to track flights coming in and out of the airport, developing an incentive program to encourage pilots to fly planes at less disruptive times and hiring a communications specialist to ensure pilots understand noise abatement procedures.

For Dimitri Vandellos, president of the Greater East San Carlos Neighborhood Association, the new measures did not signal meaningful change. Vandellos expressed frustration that members of his community, which has been active in voicing concerns about the number of planes and training helicopters flying at low altitudes over their homes in recent years, have not been included in recent stakeholder meetings.

“The county process has suffered from a real lack of transparency,” he said at Thursday’s meeting.

Vandellos said he found the conclusions coming out the conversations between the county, Surf Air and the San Carlos Airport Association to be deeply disappointing because they did not incorporate the input of the various communities affected by the noise.

Several Sunnyvale residents attended the event to voice concerns about use of the Bayside Visual Approach, which has sent an increased number of Surf Air planes over their homes, which are already passed over by several commercial airplanes using San Jose International Airport. Though the flight pattern is still under review, Callagy confirmed that Surf Air has been given authorization to use the route on a case-by-case basis even after its trial ended in January. Sunnyvale Councilman Larry Klein said he was hopeful the agencies involved would identify a solution that addressed the concerns voiced by residents of the many cities affected by increased airplane noise in recent months.

“My biggest concerns are we need better communication and ways for our residents and the rest of the Peninsula to raise noise issues,” he said.

Marsha Cohen, a resident of Redwood City’s North Fair Oaks neighborhood, said she has been involved in community outreach meetings on this topic since 2012. Cohen expressed frustration with the lengthy process, which she said has included several studies by federal, state and local agencies.

“Study after study has been conducted, there seems to be a lot of overlap between these studies, and I think these studies tend to drag on,” she said.

In April, the county began collecting community input on a noise compatibility study the FAA is conducting, expected to take 18 to 24 months to complete and provide a comprehensive assessment of the airport’s traffic. Callagy said he would know more about the feasibility and timeline after county supervisors review some of these measures at their June meeting, and thanked residents for coming to express their views.

“We have a good dialogue going on right now, and we hope to continue that dialogue,” he said.

Read the article >>

Community Meeting to Discuss San Carlos Airport Noise May 18, 2017 at 6pm

This Community Meeting message does not say whether community members will be able to speak for 2 minutes. This posting is not easy to find. The County wants a low turnout, except for the members of the airport community who received notice of this meeting.

From the County of San Mateo Email Updates

Please join us for a Community Meeting to share ideas generated by neighborhood representatives and airport users in recent focus groups and provide input on options the County is currently evaluating for reducing aircraft noise generated by the San Carlos Airport, including the proposed curfew ordinance.

Please join us on Thursday, May 18th at 6:00 PM until 7:30 PM:

FATCO Building
555 Marshall Street
Redwood City, CA 94063

Parking is available (free after 6:00 PM) in the County Parking Garage at 1017 Middlefield Road (between Veterans Blvd & County Center) in Redwood City.

All information presented at the meeting will be available on the Airports website at http://publicworks.smcgov.org/san-carlos-airport. If you are unable to attend the meeting, you can email a comment to SQLFlightRestrictions@smcgov.org. If you have any questions, please contact Airport staff at (650) 573-3700.

To be notified of future meetings, please subscribe to San Mateo County’s GovDelivery Service at: http://cmo.smcgov.org/newsroom.

San Carlos Airport Noise Study

The County and the airport have hired a firm to do a Part 150 study.   There will be four meetings.   First one was the evening of 4/20/17.   Others will be scheduled later and (more) notice provided.   Calmtheskies.org will post them as will the website below.   We are part of the steering committee – the Planning Advisory Committee (PAC).   We will post information from those PAC meetings, including information from the first one held the afternoon of 4/20/17.

This study does not solve our noise issue with Surf Air and others that fly the Pilatus and/or fly at very later or very early hours.  There is minimal noise metering with the study.   This is explained later on this website in the FAQs.   The Open House format will allow you to pick up the same material that you can get on the website.   The consultants will be there to answer questions.   This is not the venue for policy discussions.   The meetings have Comment cards and the website has the Comment section with the same card.   They prefer emailed comments.

“The Public Information Meeting will be an Open House format. Please feel free to drop by the meeting anytime between 6:00 PM and 7:30 PM to gather information and ask questions about the San Carlos Airport Part 150 Noise Study. In the event you are unable to attend, the materials from the Public Information Meeting as well as subsequent meetings will be posted on the following website http://sancarlosnoise.airportstudy.com.”

Proposed San Carlos Airport Ordinance

The Board of Supervisors will likely consider noise abatement solutions, including the potential restrictions in July. The proposed operational changes at the airport are the latest step to address continued community concerns about the number of flights into the airport and noise levels, especially during hours when more residents are at home. The proposal calls for fewer flights for some aircraft, based on their certified noise level. If approved, flights for some aircraft will also be prohibited between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. every day.

Comments regarding the proposed ordinance should be emailed to: SQLFlightRestrictions@smcgov.org. If clicking on the link does not open your email client, you can open your email and send directly to SQLFlightRestrictions@smcgov.org. The suggested Subject Line for the email is SQL Flight Restrictions.

We encourage you to communicate your support for the proposed ordinance (curfew).

Angered by noise from Pilatus PC-12s operated by Surf Air, residents of San Mateo county have taken a new tack in their fight to shut down the operation. A proposed curfew ordinance, drafted by the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, would limit any operator to one take-off and one landing of a noisy airplane between 6pm and 9pm and prohibit all operations after 9pm. In a thinly-veiled attempt to target Surf Air s PC-12 specifically, the definition of noisy airplane is one whose FAA certificated noise level exceeds 74.5dBA. There are several PC-12 configurations, but the quietest one is rated at 74.6dBA.

Read the full article >>

Read the Curfew Ordinance (Draft) >>

Related article in the Almanac, March 6, 2017

Bair Island and Turboprop Plane Noise

Noise from turboprop planes is affecting the visitor experience at the National Wildlife Refuge on Bair Island in Redwood City.

Bair Island in Redwood City provides public trails, observation decks, wildlife viewing, spring wildflowers, and outstanding educational exhibits. As a National Wildlife Refuge, it is a place for public recreation and appreciation of nature, and personal renewal in the midst of our urbanized lives. Bair Island was preserved only through the efforts of many dedicated people who stopped the plan for a massive “South Shores” development. Several of these stalwart champions are no longer with us, never having had the chance to enjoy the restored island as we do today.

The levee separating Inner Bair Island from San Francisco Bay was breached in December 2015, returning tidal waters to the island after over one hundred years of separation.

Unfortunately, while the island was closed to the public for habitat restoration, commercial turboprop planes began flying into nearby San Carlos Airport in 2013. Over the past three years, these flights have increased to up to 24 per day. This video shows how the noise from turboprop planes is affecting the visitor experience at Bair Island. The airport is owned and operated by San Mateo County, but officials have told County residents that they are powerless to stop the negative impacts of turboprop planes on our quality of life, and enjoyment of the Refuge.

This video was made with a Nikon D5200 camera on one day, with the microphone volume setting constant throughout the recording.

San Carlos Airport Noise Issues Town Hall Meeting September 14, 2016

To address San Carlos Airport noise issues ONLY.

The second and final Town Hall meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 14, 2016 at 6:30 PM at:

Fair Oaks Community Center
2600 Middlefield Rd
Redwood City CA

County Staff will not be prepared to address aircraft noise from other Bay Area airports at this meeting.

The community is invited to attend one or both meetings to discuss San Carlos Airport noise disturbance issues.

Mercury News Article regarding San Mateo Airport Airplane Noise

Read more about the meeting held on August 16, 2016 in Hollbrock Palmer Park.

Atherton: Angry crowd rips Surf Air at town hall meeting

By John Orr, Daily News Staff Writer

Posted:   08/18/2016 04:57:06 AM PDT | Updated:   3 days ago


The pavilion at Atherton’s Holbrook-Palmer Park was filled to overflowing on Tuesday night, as 185 people showed up to talk about noise from Surf Air airplanes flying out of San Carlos Airport. The third meeting on the topic, it was the largest crowd to date, according to City Council member Rick DeGolia.

Many were angry about Surf Air, which began operations in 2013 with a few flights per day from San Carlos to Los Angeles and back. It has expanded to 22 outgoing and 22 incoming flights a day, using noisy Pilatus PC-12 turboprop airplanes.

There have been thousands of complaints, citing annoyances such as ruined phone calls, woken babies (and adults) and glassware shaking on shelves caused by low-flying aircraft.

During the public comment part of the meeting, some speakers said they call to complain about the noise several times a day. Gretchen Kelly, San Mateo County airports manager, confirmed that her department, which used to get very few complaint calls, has been averaging 85 a day recently.

San Mateo County Supervisor Don Horsley, host of the meeting, told the crowd that when Surf Air began operations, the county was surprised, and asked the Federal Aviation Administration, “How did we end up with a commercial airline in what had been a general aviation airport?”

The county was told, Horsley said, that not only were there no regulations stopping Surf Air from operating out of San Carlos Airport, but that there are federal regulations that make it so the county can’t stop Surf Air, at least not while it is receiving federal transportation grant money.


 The county has already tried a number of schemes to slow Surf Air, such as reducing the amount of parking available. Talks and studies are underway, but, Horsley said, “Government is like a cruise ship — no, it’s like a giant barge. It moves slowly and it’s hard to make a turn.”

Horsley said that the county had asked Surf Air to cap its number of flights per day, but had been refused. He said that the county was continuing to study the problem, and that the reports are expected before the Board of Supervisors in October.Surf Air did agree to use a different flight path when possible for landings, said Horsley, using visual flight rules (VFR) to swing out over San Francisco Bay, starting at Moffett Field, when possible. If visibility is reduced in any way, however, the planes take their original GPS-guided path over Menlo Park, Atherton, North Fair Oaks and Redwood City. The airline has used VFR for about 67 percent of its landings since beginning trial use of the path, Horsley said.

One of the speakers from the crowd noted that the VFR change only affects incoming flights. Outgoing flights all go over the same areas as before.

A few speakers said they were from Sunnyvale, which gets a lot more noise from the Surf Air planes when they use the VFR approach.

“What gave you the right to dump your trash in your neighbor’s yard?” said one Sunnyvale resident.

Atherton Mayor Elizabeth Lewis also spoke to the crowd, noting that Surf Air executives, including CEO Jeff Potter, have come to some of the meetings of the working group of county and municipal leaders to discuss the issue, but that even as they attended the sessions, they continued to grow the numbers of flights.

Potter and other Surf Air executives were on hand, and Potter said the company is committed to continuing to meet to discuss the issue, but that they all had to leave by 7:30 p.m., because they hadn’t realized the meeting would go so late, and had scheduled a business flight for that evening.

“Don’t you own the airline?” someone in the crowd shouted. “Can’t you just have the flight wait?”

“It doesn’t work that way,” said Potter, shouting over hoots and jeers.

Before leaving, the Surf Air execs heard an audience member say that some of the Surf Air pilots seemed to know how to make the airplanes quieter, because some seemed louder than others. Jim Sullivan, Surf Air senior vice president for operations, responded that they would need to know the times and locations of those quieter flights, to study the situation, and was largely greeted by hoots of derision and disbelief.

The noise made by the airplanes has been studied in various ways, including by an unnamed Google executive who set up a sound meter in his front yard, said Joe Stratton, a neighbor of that Google exec and a member of the group Calm the Skies. Stratton brought in a device before the meeting and plugged it into the sound system to play the sound of a Surf Air plane flying over that yard.

More than 40 members of the public spoke at the meeting. Lewis told the crowd that they would be restricted to two minutes each, but many spoke longer.

Several speakers indicated they had some sympathy for Surf Air and its business model, but questioned its practices.

“How can the desires of nine people (the number of passengers Surf Air planes can carry) mean more than the lives of the 150,000 people they are disturbing?”

Adam Ullman, of Quiet the Skies, said he had sued the county in small claims court over the Surf Air noise, and won. The county is appealing that case, Horsley said, because it had no jurisdiction regarding Surf Air flights.

“They are suing the wrong people,” Horsley said.

Ullman told the crowd they should all file such suits.

“It would be a death of a thousand cuts,” Ullman said, to enthusiastic applause.

Another speaker was John Warrace, of Menlo Park, who complained about the noise, then suggested that maybe sometime a bunch of cars could surround the airport and all have mechanical troubles at the same time, to block access for Surf Air pilots and passengers. That idea drew general applause.

Other speakers included general aviation pilots who urged the crowd to be careful, and not follow the example of Santa Monica Airport, where the community has waged a campaign to shut it down, which it may be forced to do by 2023.

There is an increasing shortage of pilots, said one speaker, and general aviation airports are needed to help pilots get the hours they need to get jobs in commercial aviation.

Read the full article >>