Surf Air and Aircraft Noise Issue Update

Dear Athertonians:

Several months ago I was appointed by the City Council to be one of its representatives on an Ad Hoc Council Committee to study and work to alleviate aircraft noise that mainly results from the advent of Surf Air flying into San Carlos Airport, beginning in June 2013.  This committee was originally composed of myself and prior Councilmember Dobbie and now consists of myself and Councilmember Lewis.  We have had many meetings with officials at San Carlos Airport, representatives of Surf Air and representatives of the Atherton, Menlo Park and North Fair Oaks communities.  This group became an official Working Group with a common focus of reducing noise along the GPS flight path into San Carlos.  Among other things, we organized the well attended (110+) community meeting last December at the Pavilion in Holbrook-Palmer Park where Surf Air made a public commitment to vary its flight path by making visual approaches into San Carlos, so that those who live along the GPS flight path would be less subject to the aircraft noise caused by their planes.

Planes are required to use the GPS approach with the weather is such that a pilot cannot see the airport and are able to request a visual, alternate approach whenever the weather is good and they can see the airport. Attached to this message (now posted to the side) is a diagram of the current GPS flight path, with a red highlighted area where the airport believes aircraft noise is the biggest problem.

Surf Air Flight PathAs you may know, at the its last meeting the Working Group decided to support the San Carlos Airport’s effort to seek approval from the FAA for a new GPS approach into the San Carlos Airport.  This new approach would be along the same glide path that is in the attached diagram, but it would be elevated by 500 feet, resulting in a glide path with a 3.77 degree slope, rather than the current 3 degree slope.  All of the Working Group participants believed this new approach is worth examining because it might result in reduced noise over the Menlo Park, Atherton and North Fair Oaks neighborhoods.  We have been asked to reach out to any and all affected residents to seek supportive letters to the FAA for this elevated GPS approach.  Accordingly, attached to this email is a proposed form of letter for you to consider signing to indicate support of this request.  Of course, you are welcome to alter this letter in any way that you may prefer.

Please note that the contemplated new approach is one of several efforts to achieve a material reduction in the aircraft noise that you are experiencing.  The other potential solutions include the visual approach solution whenever the weather allows and modifications to the Surf Air standard operating procedures by not putting down landing gear until much closer to the airport (and therefore using less power, thereby reducing aircraft noise).
We would appreciate it if you could prepare this letter and send it to the FAA sometime over the next week.  Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you for your help,

Rick DeGolia

​Vice Mayor
Town of Atherton​
84 Clay Drive
Atherton, CA 94027
650.793.2800
www.rickdegolia.com
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