SMO — Rep. Henry Waxman (D-30th District) has joined Santa Monica neighborhood activists and City Hall officials in criticizing the Federal Aviation Administration over an experimental flight path for small propeller-powered planes taking off from Santa Monica Airport.

Residents in Sunset Park and Ocean Park have complained the new flight path has led to increased fly-over noise since the test began in December.

In a letter to FAA Administrator J. Randolph Babbitt on Tuesday, Waxman, who represents parts of the Westside including Santa Monica, urged the agency to “immediately suspend the test” and to “initiate a public process for all flight path changes involving the airport.”

He also repeated the charge leveled by City Hall officials last week that the FAA erred by failing to hold public hearings before implementing the six-month test.

“The lack of public outreach as these decisions are made is unacceptable,” Waxman wrote.

FAA Spokesman Ian Gregor on Tuesday said his agency needed time to review the letter before responding.

About 10 percent of the 155 planes that takeoff from SMO each day are subject to the test route, which requires the planes to fly north toward the Santa Monica Pier after takeoff, instead of heading directly to the coast, said Airport Manager Bob Trimborn.

A group of residents in recent weeks has barraged airport officials with complaints about noise they say is related to the test takeoff route.

The test, which is set to end June 8, is aimed at reducing jet delays at SMO and LAX by clearing the smaller planes from airspace they previously shared with jets, according to the FAA.

nickt@smdp.com

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