I am including a summary of the most salient and important points to Mission Beach:
1. There was a decision made by, no one knows or is admitting to the being involved, several decades ago to move all post 10 pm flights on what was the 275 departure over Pt. Loma and Ocean Beach to a new 290 degree departure, referred to as the nighttime noise abatement procedure. It has been described as a handshake between then City Councilmember, a Congressman, and the ATC. It appears from all that we know that this dramatic shift in noise from Pt. Loma/OB towards Mission Beach, Pacific Beach and La Jolla, was done illegally. There is no documentation supporting this move. It should have triggered a NEPA (Federal government) or CEQA (State of California) assessment. The NEPA process that was discussed in depth on the first day of the symposium should have been triggered according to FAA and Mitre people who presented the overview. The fact of the matter is that most likely this change was politically motivated.
While the original change is long past a possibility for challenge, there is another change that is being implemented as we speak that will result in a nightmarish increase in nighttime noise in Mission Beach. It is important to become familiar with this process, since it comes into play even now. Apparently there was no analysis, so the implementation fails in the chart below.
The chart below describes the process. As far as we can tell, none of these steps were taken. Therefore the implementation of the nighttime noise abatement agree was flawed and should never have happened.
NEPA can also be triggered if federal money is used for a project at the airport.
A second issue that came up is the most recent attempt by the FAA to increase nighttime noise over Mission Beach. The picture below from Google Earth shows a number of lines emanating from the most likely point where the aircraft have completed their turn towards Mission Beach. The yellow line shows the 290 degree nighttime departure vector and the blue line shows one at 295 degrees (approximately PADRZ). Clearly the yellow line is the preferred departure for those living in Mission Beach.
The chart below shows two main groupings of departures by color. The red dots are the 290 degree departure and the green dots are the PADRZ SID. If the change goes through, then all of the red dots will center on the median of the green dots. The spread for the green dots is sbustantially less than for the reds dots, meaning the the concentration will increase the noise further. Finally, the average altitude for the red dots 2,290 feet compared to 3,060 feet for the green dots. The primary reason for the difference in altitude is that the red dot aircraft have much longer distance destinations and are using larger aircraft. In conclusion, the nighttime noise levels are anticipated to increase dramatically over SMB if this change is implemented.
While at the symposium, I was told by the noise abatement manager, Ms. Sjohnna Knack, that the FAA was moving forward with this change without any significant noise assessment. Given that we in Mission Beach have no recourse (our ANAC representative is in bed with the Noise abatement office and our local councilmember has been no help), I have then begun the complaint process directly to the FAA. But, there is a time limit on complaints and I am not sure how long we have nor when the clock started.
In 2017, an ANAC Subcommittee developed a list of 22 recommendations, many that proposed procedure changes to both the NexGen SIDs and STARs. During the next two years, the Airport Authority brought in consultants to support two committees, the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) and the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC). The consultants found issues with virtually every recommendation.
In contrast, community representatives and other airports reported at the symposium a number of ongoing studies to develop solutions. Examples include Chicago O'Hara and John Wayne. At O'Hara, studies are ongoing to rotate runways and flight tracks to reduce putting all of the noise into one area. At John Wayne, Uniter is conducting flights tests of different departure thrust profiles from high thrust to low thrust and visa versa. When confronted by this work, the SDIA Airport Authority Noise Abatement Manager tried to claim this was only being done in Canada.
I will add a few words about the use of the 65 dB CNEL as the primary noise metric. The Congress mandated that the FAA study this issue. Accordingly the FAA reported that the work has been completed, the report written, and it is currently in review. One clue that wa mentioned was that multiple criteria must ultimately be used to address the total airspace around the airport. So for example, a different criterion might be concluded to be more appropriate for areas outside the 65 dB CNEL that may determine that the single event noise levels justify noise insulation support from the FAA.