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Case of fight vs. flight takeoffs

New flight procedure at JWA intends to divert noisy air traffic, but residents say they don’t notice any difference.

April 15, 2010|By Brianna Bailey

Residents from Newport Beach’s Bluffs neighborhood complain that a corrected satellite-guided takeoff procedure for jets from John Wayne Airport doesn’t shift noisy air traffic from over their heads as the Federal Aviation Administration said it would.

In theory, the new procedure, called DUUKE TWO, is designed to shift outbound air traffic an eighth of a mile north toward the center of Upper Newport Bay.

Bluffs residents say they still hear constant noise from jets that interrupts their phone conversations and drowns out their favorite TV programs.

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Federal aviation officials say they still need time to evaluate the efficacy of the new procedure.

“I haven’t noticed it any difference, at all,” said Newport Beach resident Carol Strauss, who has lived in the Bluffs neighborhood for the past 22 years.

Strauss said she frequently looks up during one of her regular runs around the neighborhood to see the belly of a commercial airliner flying directly overhead.

“I don’t run down the middle of the Back Bay, and they aren’t flying down the middle of it either,” Strauss said.

Federal aviation officials began using the new satellite takeoff procedure last week.

DUUKE TWO replaced DUUKE ONE, which Bluffs residents complained shifted air traffic toward the east side of Upper Newport Bay.

FAA officials acknowledged that a charting error was made in plotting the coordinates for DUUKE ONE, which caused flights to drift slightly off their intended track.

“If their goal is to fly down the middle of the bay, then it’s not working,” said Bluffs resident Chuck Adams, who has lived in the neighborhood for the past two years. “They just cut right across the Bluffs.”

Adams claims he counted six or seven jets that flew directly over his house Thursday morning alone.

The noise is most noticeable in the morning, when flights begin taking off as early as 7, he said.

The FAA will reevaluate DUUKE TWO after it has been in use for a few weeks, said Ian Gregor, the agency’s regional spokesman.

About 95 departures from John Wayne Airport use the DUUKE TWO procedure each day, he said.

“We are monitoring the flights now that pilots are using DUUKE TWO,” Jenny Wedge, spokeswoman for JWA, said in an e-mail. “We have not had an opportunity to talk with the FAA about how this new departure procedure is going.

“I imagine that will happen soon so we can take a look at how it’s going from a perspective of flight tracks.”

Newport Beach Councilwoman Leslie Daigle, who chairs the city’s Citizens Aviation committee, said that city, county and federal officials would work together to refine the takeoff procedure if it isn’t performing as designed.

“We still have to see if there is a part of it that is broken, and what it is,” Daigle said.

JWA will share data it has collected on DUUKE TWO flight paths at the aviation committee’s next meeting, 8 a.m. April 26, in the Friends Room of the Newport Beach Public Library, 1000 Avocado Ave.


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