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Mailbag: JWA flight monitoring just a show

April 18, 2011

This is in response to Amy Senk's article "Flight monitoring meeting shows compliance: Critics not convinced," (Corona del Mar Today, April 3).

The John Wayne Airport people set up a complete Potemkin Village on April 12, during which all the planes flew the agreed upon STREL path down the Back Bay and out to sea.

It was heaven for a couple of hours. The planes never come near Corona del Mar. "You're all crazy," was the message delivered.

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But then the invited guests left, and within a couple of hours things were back to the "new normal," in which our daily activities are being drowned out by airplane noise.

Here's the problem: The airport is not requiring the passenger planes to follow the agreed-upon STREL path down the middle of the Back Bay and out to the ocean before turning. When the pilots call and ask for a deviation, the tower is authorized to permit it. And it is routinely allowed.

So the planes come in droves right over Fashion Island and Old CdM. They cut the corner immediately after takeoff to fly over land, which anyone can see if they go to Eastbluff and watch. It's all to save fuel, which means money for the carriers. Nor are the planes required to use the steep takeoff procedure anymore, so they are lower and louder. And cargo planes can fly anywhere they please.

Airport officials tell us we're imagining things and what we see isn't happening. They even give us a "tracker" website showing the planes are nowhere near us. I look up on my front patio on Orchid Avenue and see them right over me. I can even read the airline lettering. According to the tracker, the planes are not there.

I have lived in Old CdM since 1983 and never had plane noise before. Now, at 7 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 8 a.m. Sunday, I am awakened by the roaring overhead. It continues throughout the day. I can't even talk on the phone on my patio any more, and I certainly can't sleep in. The other day at Begonia Park, one was so low overhead that I thought it was in distress and might crash.

Friday night at Fashion Island the planes were continuously low and overhead as they cut the corner and headed diagonally across Corona del Mar, going right over MacArthur Boulevard. According to JWA officials, this is an "optical illusion" and they're really going down the Back Bay and way out to sea.

Hogwash.

Jennifer L. Keller

Corona del Mar

I read the article by Amy Senk ("Flight monitoring meeting shows compliance: Critics not convinced," Corona del Mar Today, April 3) and it seems no one has discussed the increased noise and plane traffic on the Balboa Peninsula. Since the change to STREL, at least 80% of the traffic now flies over my home on Fernando Street.

Please provide contacts for city, airport officials that I may contact to voice my displeasure.

John R. Hahn

Newport Beach

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