Airport Officials Delay Report on Departures Investigation

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John Wayne Airport officials, who were scheduled to report on their investigation of noise generated by departures at this week’s Aviation Committee meeting, claimed that they needed another two to three weeks to analyze the data they’ve collected.

Newport Beach residents have complained that they’ve seen more flights drift more to the west in recent years, generating more noise over the homes that traditionally haven’t been as impacted.

Tom Edwards, the city’s aviation consultant, said it would cost the city $200,000 to conduct the kind of noise monitoring being done by John Wayne Airport.

This phenomenon’s lifespan could be cut short in the near future because of the Federal Aviation Administration’s implementation of a new guidance system for the region, the Southern California Metroplex.

Using a new generation of flight guidance systems, planes leaving John Wayne Airport will be able to fly more accurately on a designated path over Newport Bay. The result will be fewer errant flights paths over homes that shouldn’t be experiencing as much noise.

Edwards tried to describe this “condensation” of flight pattern’s to those attending this week’s aviation committee.

“You have a thinner pipe with a lot more pressure,” he said.

About two weeks ago, the city sent a 26-page letter to the FAA, approved by the Aviation Committee and ratified by the City Council, recommending a flight path that includes two turns aimed at minimizing the noise experienced by residents.

“We don’t know at this point if they’re going to respond at all,” City Manager Dave Kiff said. “We hope and expect they will.”

One resident asked why the city couldn’t move its noise monitors to the west, questioning whether their current placement would get the most accurate picture of the noise generate by planes.

Kiff’s said the movement or addition of monitor stations is controlled by a decades old settlement agreement with the airport.

“We can’t enjoy our patio morning, noon or night,” one woman said.

Kiff simply responded, “we live under an airport.”

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