At the Santa Monica Airport Commission meeting on June 27, Airport Manager Stelios Makrides presented his monthly operations report. This report included data on aircraft operations, noise violations, airplane and helicopter deviations and curfew departures for the month of May 2016.
It was worthwhile to note that, of the 7,101 aircraft operations recorded during May, 99.8 percent were in full compliance with SMO’s noise ordinance, which, by the way, is one of the strictest in the nation. Thus, only 0.02 percent (13 aircraft operations) were in violation of the noise ordinance. Makrides presented a chart showing a breakdown of violations by decibel level, which reveals that of these 13 violations in May, a total of six aircraft (46 percent) were in violation by less than one decibel.
It was explained by Joe Bates, a pilot who took the stand to offer public comment, that weather, humidity, wind direction and other factors can influence the decibel levels recorded by the monitoring stations. He said it’s rare, if ever, that pilots simply thumb their noses at Santa Monica and Westside residents. The vast majority of pilots take seriously Santa Monica’s Fly Friendly policy.
Another aspect of the report detailed aircraft-related complaints. During the month of May, there were 212 complaints received from a total of 55 different households: 42 of these complaints were from households that made only one call each; five were from households that made only two calls each; and three were from households that made between 5-10 calls.
Do the math!
The remaining complaints — over 70 percent — came from only three households. That is, only three households in the entire Santa Monica/Westside area called in to complain about airplane noise a total of 150 times, averaging 50 calls each, in just one month’s time. This same pattern can be seen over the three years that SMO has been collecting and analyzing caller data. This data clearly does not reflect a broad base of community discontent regarding the airport, but rather shows a very small number of cranky callers who, year after year, obsessively complain about airplane noise in an apparent effort to close down the airport.
Perhaps SMO should begin collecting data on those who value the airport as the vital civic asset that it is.