Check out this crazy scenario: The U.S. Congress and the Federal Aviation Administration, which implemented the new NextGen flight path system to benefit the airline industry, essentially created a nationwide problem by forgetting to consider the impact of such a change on people on the ground.
The subsequent increase in airplane noise spurred millions of protests in metropolitan areas across the nation. Noise generated by flights into and out of San Francisco International Airport alone generated hundreds of thousands of complaints and spawned the organization of dozens of protest groups.
To their credit, Congress and the FAA acknowledged their error. But the situation got crazier: They asked the noise victims – laypersons with no knowledge of aviation – to recommend solutions to the problem Congress and the agency created.
Despite the so-called pros asking the amateurs for solutions, amateurs in the affected communities on the Peninsula (including Los Altos) took their own crash course in airplane flight management and emerged with an excellent set of recommendations.
The Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals – comprising 12 representatives of communities from South San Francisco to Capitola – presented its final report last week to local congressional representatives, including ours, U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo. A culmination of six months of hard work and dozens of public meetings, the 30-page report offers detailed suggestions previously lost on FAA officials and concludes with some basic common-sense solutions: fly at higher altitudes; fly over locations with fewer people; avoid noisy flight maneuvers; and implement noise-reducing retrofits where possible.
Gee, why didn’t Congress and the FAA think of that?