Thursday, October 22, 2015

Federal Aviation Administration changes at Monterey Regional Airport (KMRY) are putting more aircraft near homes

When Carmel Valley attorney Zan Henson was flying his small plane back from Mexico in November 2008, a mechanical failure caused him to crash near the entrance of Monterey Pines Golf Course, less than a mile from the runway at Monterey Regional Airport. (Henson and his friend survived.)

In 2013, shortly after a small private plane took off from Monterey, its passenger door came off and fell clean through the roof of El Castell Motel on north Fremont Street.

At a Monterey Peninsula Airport District board meeting Oct. 15, a handful of residents were on hand with a clear message: There may have never been an incident on the runway, but there have been plenty outside the airport.

Safety concerns of nearby residents – particularly in the Casanova/Oak Knoll neighborhood (CONA) just to the airport’s north – have come to a head in recent months after the Federal Aviation Administration implemented new flight paths for the Monterey Regional Airport last spring. Unlike the old flight paths, the newer ones can put planes right above densely populated neighborhoods shortly before takeoff and landing.

Aside from creating safety concerns, the new paths have increased noise.

The FAA-imposed changes were the subject of the recent airport board meeting, and the question at hand was: What can be done about it?

The changes stem from the U.S. Congress’ Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act of 2003, which aimed to upgrade the airspace system by, among other things, converting flight navigation from radio – to GPS-based.

Congress pressured the FAA to complete the upgrade by 2025, and the FAA has been changing flight paths nationwide since. Among the legislation’s goals are reductions in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, which has caused the curves on some flight paths to straighten out, putting them above homes.

At the meeting, board chair William Sabo made clear it’s not only Monterey that’s dealing with the problem.

“It’s going on everywhere,” Sabo said. “In Phoenix, they’re on the streets with pickets and torches.”

Airport Executive Director Mike La Pier added that the FAA never contacted airport officials about the changes, and they only learned of them after they were implemented.

Requested changes in flight paths usually take 18-24 months. La Pier suggested that Sabo send a letter to the office of U.S. Rep. Sam Farr, D-Carmel, to use his leverage to speed the process.

Residents, in public comment, suggested the letter emphasize safety.

“There are times I’m wondering if [planes] are going to clear my house,” said CONA resident Karen Conger.

The letter was sent to Farr Oct. 15. Airport officials continue to encourage the FAA to tell pilots to avoid densely populated areas after takeoff, La Pierre says. (Arrival paths are tightly regulated while departures allow pilot discretion.)

CONA residents are hoping that cooperation comes soon: Mike Brassfield says birds are a huge issue in the neighborhood. He once counted 2,000 crows in one hour, which makes low-flying planes just overhead harrowing.
If just one bird gets sucked into an engine, he says, “we would [be] eating airplane parts.”

- Source: http://www.montereycountyweekly.com


http://registry.faa.gov/N2383R 
 
NTSB Identification: WPR09LA046
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, November 25, 2008 in Monterey, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/23/2009
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-180, registration: N2383R
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot reported that after an uneventful flight he entered the traffic pattern for the active runway. As he turned from downwind to base leg, the engine lost power. The pilot stated that he realized that he "had forgotten to switch the fuel tanks and had run the right fuel tank dry." He immediately switched to the left fuel tank and noted that he already had the fuel boost pump on in anticipation for landing. Despite his efforts, the engine did not restart and the airplane descended into trees and subsequently impacted the ground. The pilot stated that, "if I had used my landing checklist, I would have not run the right tank dry because I would have turned to the fullest tank for landing." Examination of the airplane revealed that it came to rest in a vertical position within a parking lot. The right wing was partially separated from the fuselage and exhibited structural damage. The horizontal stabilator was also structurally damaged. During removal of the airplane, recovery crews reported that they drained 24 ounces of fuel from the left wing fuel tank and 8 ounces of fuel from the right wing fuel tank.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's inadequate fuel system management and inflight planning that led to a loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's failure to use the landing checklist.

On November 25, 2008, about 1745 Pacific standard time, a Piper PA-28-180 airplane, N2383R, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and subsequently terrain following a loss of engine power while on final approach to the Monterey Peninsula Airport (MRY), Monterey, California. The airplane was registered to private individuals and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The private pilot sustained minor injuries and his passenger sustained serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight. The cross-country flight originated from Calexico International Airport (CXL), Calexico, California, about 1430 with an intended destination of MRY.

The pilot reported that after an uneventful flight, he entered the traffic pattern for runway 10 left. As he turned from downwind to base at an altitude of about 800 feet above ground level (agl), the engine lost power. The pilot stated that he realized he "had forgotten to switch the fuel tanks and had run the right fuel tank dry." He immediately switched to the left fuel tank and noted that he already had the fuel boost pump on in anticipation for landing. Despite his efforts, the engine did not restart and the airplane descended into trees and subsequently impacted the ground. 

The pilot further reported that prior to departure from CXL; he had topped off the airplane with fuel in Mexicali, Mexico. He then flew 15 minutes to CXL where he underwent an inspection by the US Customs and Border Protection for re-entry into the United States. 

The pilot added in the Operator/Owner Safety Recommendation section of the Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report Form, "if I had used my landing checklist, I would have not run the right tank dry because I would have turned to the fullest tank for landing." 

Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed that the airplane came to rest in a vertical position within a parking lot. The right wing was partially separated from the fuselage and exhibited structural damage. The horizontal stabilator was also structurally damaged. During removal of the airplane, recovery crews reported that they drained 24 ounces of fuel from the left wing fuel tank and 8 ounces of fuel from the right wing fuel tank.

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