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New JWA flight path may lessen noise

Eastbluff residents should hear fewer loud airplanes under revised procedure, airport says.

April 06, 2010|By Mike Reicher

Starting Thursday, some planes taking off from John Wayne Airport will fly about a football field’s distance west of their current route, if the Federal Aviation Administration’s new flight procedure works as intended.

The FAA changed the route after discovering that a worker had incorrectly entered the altitude where planes are required to turn — a “minor charting error” — an FAA spokesman said.

The revised changes should make the flights slightly less noisy for residents on the east side of Upper Newport Bay, while the general flying public probably won’t notice a change.

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Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the FAA, said that when the flight path was last modified in September it caused some planes to turn early and fly over homes in the Eastbluff community.

“The altitude shouldn’t have been there,” he said. “We wanted them to go down the middle of Back Bay.”

Gregor added that the error wasn’t dangerous, though, because it applied only to departing planes heading in the same direction. Ultimately, planes will turn about a second later and will fly closer to the center of the bay, he said, after the new flight path takes effect.

Eastbluff residents had complained to city officials about increased noise.

John “Jock” Marlo III, president of the Eastbluff Homeowners Assn., said his neighbors complained about loud planes right away.

“They noticed it significantly. It appeared they were coming more and more toward our direction,” he said.

After the Eastbluff board brought the issue to the attention of the city, airport and FAA officials joined the discussion. The human error was recognized, Gregor said, and the FAA made an adjustment to the flight procedure. Along the way, activist groups had also complained about the new procedure.

Last week a group of more than 20 officials met to discuss the problem, including representatives from Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, JWA, the FAA and others.

“The FAA was more than cordial and the airport has been equally helpful,” Newport Councilwoman Leslie Daigle, who chairs the Citizens Aviation Committee, said in an e-mail. She also represents the district that includes Eastbluff.

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