Aircraft Noise

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The City of Santa Clara would like to keep residents informed of aircraft noise-related issues and regional efforts. Santa Clara is served by various area airports, including San Jose International Airport (SJC), San Francisco International Airport (SFO), and smaller airports such as Palo Alto (PAO).

Aircraft Noise - What is the City Doing? 

The City is aware of the recent increased flight activity over portions of Santa Clara from various area airports that may impact Santa Clara neighborhoods. While the City does not have direct authority over air space, the City will participate in regional efforts to mitigate the impact on our residents.

The City is limited in its ability to address resident aircraft noise concerns. However, the City is committed to preserving and enhancing the quality of neighborhoods by maintaining or reducing the levels of noise generated by transportation facilities, including airports.

10/2/2019 Community Meeting

On October 2, 2019, Councilmember Kathy Watanabe (District 1) held a community meeting on airplane noise at the Northside Branch Library. About 45 people attended, include Congressman Ro Khanna (17th District), Mayor Lisa Gillmor, and Councilmember Raj Chahal (District 2). 

For those unable to attend that meeting, here is a link to the audio recording.

Resources from the meeting:

Regional Efforts

Santa Clara/Santa Cruz Community Roundtable on Aircraft Noise

In June 2017, Congressional Representatives Anna Eshoo (18th District), Ro Khanna (17th District), and Jimmy Panetta (20th District) requested the Cities Association of Santa Clara County (Cities Association) assist with the establishment of a long-term forum for aircraft noise concerns in the South Bay.

The Cities Association formed an Ad Hoc Committee to create the framework for establishing a South Bay aircraft noise roundtable. The Ad Hoc Committee successfully developed the framework for a Santa Clara/Santa Cruz Community Roundtable (Roundtable) that would serve as a venue that will facilitate regional collaboration regarding aircraft noise. In June 2018, the Cities Association formally requested that Santa Clara County, Santa Cruz County and their respective cities consider joining the Roundtable.

Councilmember Kathy Watanabe represents Santa Clara on the Roundtable with Councilmember Raj Chahal serving as a the City's alternate representative.

The first Roundtable meeting was held on Feb. 27, 2019. The Roundtable meetings are scheduled for: 

  • Wednesday, March 27, 2019, 1 - 3 p.m.
    County of Santa Clara Government Center, Board of Supervisors Chambers
    70 West Hedding Street, 1st Floor, San Jose, CA

  • Wednesday, April 24, 2019, 1 - 3 p.m.
    City of Santa Clara, Council Chambers
    1500 Warburton Ave. Santa Clara, CA

  • Wednesday, May 22, 2019, 1 - 3 p.m.
    City of Santa Clara, Council Chambers
    1500 Warburton Ave. Santa Clara, CA

  • Wednesday, June 27, 2019, 1 - 3 p.m.
    County of Santa Clara Government Center, Board of Supervisors Chambers
    70 West Hedding Street, 1st Floor, San Jose, CA
  • Wednesday, July 24, 2019, 1 - 3 p.m.
    City of Santa Clara, Council Chambers
    1500 Warburton Ave. Santa Clara, CA
  • Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019, 1 - 3 p.m.
    County of Santa Clara Government Center, Board of Supervisors Chambers
    70 West Hedding Street, 1st Floor, San Jose, CA
  • Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, 1 - 3 p.m.
    County of Santa Clara Government Center, Board of Supervisors Chamber
    70 West Hedding Street, 1st Floor, San Jose, CA
For more information, please visit the Roundtable website.

 

Ad Hoc Advisory Committee for South Flow Arrivals

The Ad Hoc Advisory Committee on South Flow Arrivals was authorized by the San José City Council on October 3, 2017. The Committee was established to explore possible solutions to address the noise impacts on residents when weather conditions over the airfield require the Airport to operate in a “south flow” configuration (when aircraft land from the north of the Airport instead of the usual landing from the south). Santa Clara City Councilmembers participated in the Ad Hoc Advisory Committee to represent the Santa Clara community. After submitting their report to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Ad Hoc Advisory Committee for South Flow Arrivals is no longer active.

For past Ad Hoc Advisory Committee meeting agendas and minutes, visit: https://www.flysanjose.com/Ad_Hoc_Advisory_Committee.

Ad Hoc Advisory Committee produced a report including recommendations for the FAA to consider.

In February 2019, the FAA released its Interim Response to the Ad Hoc Advisory Committee on South Flow Arrivals

What Can I Do? 

The City encourages residents to voice their concerns with the operating entities directly responsible for the aircraft noise/traffic. Please contact the appropriate airport with any noise issues. Providing the airport with as much detail as possible will assist with recording an accurate report. The FAA has also arranged for an ombudsman to gather and log complaints for the region. Please include the FAA Aviation Noise Ombudsman when filing complaints.

FAA Address

Federal Aviation Administration 
Aviation Noise Ombudsman, AEE-2  800 Independence Ave. S.W.  Washington, DC 20591 

Email: 9-AWA-NoiseOmbudsman@faa.gov

Where to Report Noise Impacts

Airports are responsible for their noise impact on the communities they occupy. These noise impacts include noise from arrivals and departures, as well as noise from aircraft in a flight path within the immediate vicinity of the airport. The City encourages residents to express their concerns about aviation-related noise to the appropriate agency as noted below. 

 

Norman Y. Mineta San José International (SJC) 
Main Phone: 408-392-3600 
Noise Hotline: 408-452-0707 
SJC Noise Abatement 
Noise Complaint Email 
Noise Complaint Form 

Palo Alto Airport (PAO) 
Noise Hotline: 650-329-2405 

Moffett Field 
Noise Hotline: 650-386-0666 (recording, please leave message for return call) 
Other noise sources at Moffett Field include wind tunnel facilities and the Outdoor Aerodynamic Research Facility. To report wind tunnel noise, or to get more information, call 650-604-4789. 

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Resources 
Who To Contact If You're Impacted By Aircraft Noise:

Noise and Emissions

San Jose Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) 
FSDO Phone: 408-291-7681

San Francisco Airports District Office 
District Office Phone: 650-827-7600

Other Impacts

Separate issues have been identified as contributors to aircraft noise over Santa Clara.

  1. NextGen. NextGen is an encompassing term for the ongoing, wide-ranging transformation of the US national airspace system which has sometimes been described as an evolution from a ground-based system of air traffic control to a satellite-based system of air traffic management. This new system allows for more direct flight paths, increasing traffic flow with a higher concentration of flights within a narrow flight path. As part of the NextGen initiative, nearby airports have adjusted some of their flight paths which may be causing additional air traffic over Cupertino.  For example, flights into SFO transitioned from the 30-year-old BIGSUR/BSR arrival ground track to a new arrival ground track called SERFR that is slightly more eastward than its predecessor and closer to Cupertino. For more information, visit NextGen.

  2. South Flow and Weather Conditions. Poor weather conditions such as high winds have increased “south flow” operations for the Norman Y. Mineta San Jose Airport. During such events, the prevailing winds change directions and incoming flights are rerouted for a southbound approach, which can result in increased air traffic over parts of Santa Clara.

  3. Stadium fly-overs: During certain events at Levi’s Stadium, there may be a scheduled fly-over as part of the event. If there are concerns about the noise from this activity, visit the Santa Clara Stadium Authority for more information.
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