Noise concerns at San Carlos Airport causes complaints
March 13, 2017
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The switch is flipped. The plane engine grinds. The propellers spin. The noise spreads across the city and jolts the residents awake.
This is the case for many residents in Redwood Shores, which is home to the San Carlos Airport. The San Carlos Airport holds over 30 aviation-related business and facilities. By 2007, it had an average of 425 flight operations every day.
Due to the noise of the airport, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors is considering introducing restrictions on flights in and out of the airport as well as an evening curfew. The Board will discuss these potential restrictions in July.
If approved, restrictions will be imposed on certain aircraft based on their certified noise level. Flights for some aircraft will also be prohibited between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. every day.
An exemption will exist for pilots seeking certification, who need to maintain day and night flights to meet licensing requirements.
Within the next 60 days, the Board will line up focus groups, hold a community town hall to answer questions, and eventually meet with key stakeholders such as San Carlos pilots and facilities.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) defines “noisy aircraft” as aircraft that operates at 74.5 decibels or more. Just 17 of the 82 types of aircraft that use San Carlos Airport operate below that threshold, according to the Mercury News.
Some Peninsula residents don’t believe the noise creates as big an impact as others have stated and that these restrictions aren’t necessary.
Carlos Garcia-Perez, a senior, said, “Sometimes there can be a lot of noise, but you can do many things to tune it out, such as going to sleep earlier and wearing headphones.”
Last year, in collaboration with the FAA, the County of San Mateo commissioned a six-month pilot study of the Bayside Visual Approach arrival flight path into the airport which directed flights over the Bay instead of neighborhoods.
Now, the County of San Mateo is requesting that the FAA adopt the Bayside Visual Approach at San Carlos Airport for all flight arrivals in order to reduce noise levels.
The Board of Supervisors hasn’t provided a clear answer as to when they will make their decision. Regardless, county leaders are working to provide citizens relief from the noise.