Emotions Run High at FAA Flight Path Public Meeting in Liberty Station

It was standing room only for the unveiling of the FAA's proposed flight path changes in and out of San Diego International Airport.

Emotions ran high for those that oppose the changes at the public meeting held Tuesday evening in Liberty Station.

Planes flying over Point Loma is not new, but what the FAA is currently proposing by most accounts would double eastbound traffic.

The Metroplex proposal, which encompasses several Southern California airports, is meant to increase the efficiency of the way planes come in to those airports primarily by switching them over to the FAA’s Next Generation Air Transportation System, NextGen.

Those who oppose it say the new route would add noise, pollution and risks to the population around the airport that's known to locals as Lindbergh Field.

The FAA and Airport Authority were expecting a lively discussion but not this.

“You work for us,” one Point Loma resident said.

Locals call it the "Point Loma pause", that moment when all conversation is drowned out by the jet engines overhead.

Those at the public hearing with comments felt that same deaf ear moment in front of the blank stare from FAA and Airport Authority representatives.

“We're here for a meeting to give comments but none of our comments are being recorded. None of our questions are being answered,” another resident said.

There were chairs for 400, but the opposition to the FAA's SoCal Metroplex plan was nearly twice that.

The current departing eastbound flight path takes planes north over Point Loma cutting back east at Waypoint Loma.

The proposed plan calls for a sharper turn and cut back through the center of the peninsula.

See proposed departure plan here

Opponents say the FAA's environmental study indicates only a slight increase in the noise level.

“There are pigeons on the noise monitors in Sunset Cliffs. You can't even keep birds off of them,” a Sunset Cliff’s resident said.

FAA Regional administrator Glen Martin says while public comment is part of the process, the meeting format was not his call.

“This is an airport meeting. I didn't set up the format. I didn't set up how it was going to be conducted. So we'll accept the blame for that,” Martin said.

The FAA and its opposition encouraged those who attended Tuesday, to make comments and questions part of the official record through the government website.

When asked whether Martin regrets not recording this hearing, he said, "I don't know that I want to relive this to be honest with you but we heard the folks tonight. That is why we were here,” Martin said.

Residents can weigh in on the Metroplex plan until October 8. The email address for public comment is 9-ANM-SoCalOAPM@faa.gov.

Comments can be sent via mail to:
SoCal Metroplex EA
Federal Aviation Administration
Western Service Center - Operations Support Group
1601 Lind Avenue SW
Renton, WA 98057

Changes to the flight route are scheduled to go into effect November 2016.

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