Residents Want JWA Flight Routes Changed

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The extension of the John Wayne Airport agreement and curfew are cause for celebration. Thanks to the hard work of many groups, Newport Beach residents in the departure pattern will sleep more easily.

The agreement calls for orderly growth of flights and the closure of JWA at 11 p.m. each evening.

While residents are celebrating the curfew, most of us have never stopped to ask why departures from John Wayne turn left and fly over the most densely populated areas of the City. After all, they could easily fly over more sparsely populated areas and even more open water. Alternatively we might have asked why they can’t sometimes vary their departure patterns and distribute the burden over multiple areas, rather than just one.

If you look back at the comments on the recently-approved Environmental Impact Report, you’ll see complaints from many residents of the affected areas. We’re worried about pollutants from the planes and the potential health impacts. We’re concerned about the noise impact and it also concerns us that alternative flight paths—whereby planes depart over less populated areas or varying departures—were never discussed.

The dirty little secret that none of us are being told is that new GPS systems will narrow the departure pattern and in a few years all departures will be in an exact narrow lane. If you live under that departure lane you will have all of the planes flying directly over your house.

Maybe the City of Newport Beach, the County of Orange or the FAA can explain why my neighbors and I have to die slow deaths from jet fuel pollution and be subject to this noise. Is it political? An FAA policy? Did we draw the short straw years ago?

All the FAA has to do is pick a few more points out in the ocean for the planes to target, creating a “fan pattern,” and that would give a break to the residents, and maybe share the noise with a few other unlucky folks whose lives are currently unaffected.

The sheer volume is astonishing. I calculated at 100+ flights per day flying over my head, that over 200,000 airplanes have raised my blood pressure and filled my lungs in the last six years.

A reduction to 75 departures per day flying over my house would be a dream come true.

I have written this letter as a call to action to change this practice.

In a recent survey on Balboa Island, Airport issues were the number one concern of the residents. Residents of Newport Beach including, Promontory Point, Beacon Bay, Harbor Island, Balboa Island and the impacted area of Balboa Peninsula deserve a change.

Will it take an angry crowd to change this practice? I am willing to lead this group. If you have expertise and can help please contact me at [email protected].. We need to change this practice.

 Lee Pearl

Balboa Island


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  1. I’m sorry Lee, but did you NOT know where your house was built when you bought it?.
    Same as the fire rings, they need to keep the original foot print and NOT spread to new areas. People buy their homes in a particular area for a reason and flight paths and fire rings figure in to that plan.