Sunday, June 4, 2017

Lake Arrowhead, San Bernardino County, California: New airport landing path annoys residents

A recently changed landing path for jetliners approaching Ontario International Airport has resulted in an uproar over the roar of low-flying jets in the sky above Lake Arrowhead and numerous complaints from residents.

The changed flight path, instituted April 27 by the Federal Aviation Administration, is a part of the agency’s Southern California Metroplex project, which was designed to make air traffic in and out of the region more fuel efficient. By following a more direct, satellite-guided flight path towards Ontario, LAX and a handful of other Southern California airports, airlines figure to shave an estimated $7.8 million off of fuel costs.

Paul Van de Riet told The Alpenhorn News he moved to Lake Arrowhead from Glendale two years ago to escape all the noise from helicopters and other aircraft. Noting that he’s a light sleeper de Riet complained, “A plane, possibly UPS, woke me up at 4:30 a.m. last Tuesday (May 16).

Taking the lead in the fight against the FAA and Ontario airport authorities is Lake Arrowhead resident David Caine, who organized a May 22 community meeting in Blue Jay, which lured over two dozen angry and concerned local citizens. Chief among complaints from those attending was that the FAA, since 2015, had held 27 workshops throughout Southern California to gather public input and yet held no meetings in the mountain communities. Not only that, voiced one frustrated resident, “They never asked us. It wasn’t in the local newspapers. They sneaked it in.”

After hosting two years of public workshops, Caine said, “The FAA issued a finding of no significant consequence.” The FAA’s finding did not resonate well with those attending last week’s meeting at a conference room in Blue Jay Village.

Other audience complaints included the loud, rumbling noise caused by jets flying 3,000 feet above the community, at times barely above treetop level, flying at all hours of the day and night, sleep deprivation, potential difficulty in selling their house, lower property values and pollution caused by jet exhaust falling onto homes and into the lake, as well as the possibility of a plane clipping a tree and crashing into a home or school.

“We need to get ahold of (County Supervisor) Rutherford and have her communicate with state and federal legislators,” Cain said noting that Congressman Cook’s Washington office had already been notified of local concerns. On a local Facebook page Rutherford responded, “I was in DC last week and talked with Congressman Cook. I’ll be communicating with the FAA to express the community’s concerns and request additional review. However, the FAA is a federal agency, so we need the Congressman’s help, which he is giving.”

Noting that many of the aircraft flying into Ontario have yet to be equipped with the instrumentation to use the new flight path, Caine said, “This summer, it’s going to get even worse.” Prior to the April 27 change in the landing path, airliners approaching Ontario had been routed over the mostly unpopulated Cajon Pass, much to the chagrin of many nearby Crestline residents.

Before closing last week’s meeting in Blue Jay, Caine suggested setting up a large-scale community meeting at Lake Arrowhead Resort and inviting Supervisor Rutherford and State Senator Morrell.

Asked how the change in the Ontario flight path has affected him personally, Cain told The Alpenhorn News, “There are anywhere from 40 to 50 flights right over my house or very near and the planes are loud, whiny and wake me up in the early hours as UPS and FedEx deliver their load to Ontario. The planes come over off and on all day and into the night. All of this is cumulatively stressful and frustrating.”

Commenting on the meeting Caine said, “There seemed to be agreement that we need a community meeting to both educate and activate the people of the mountains so we all work on the issue to achieve a desired result. I find that energizing and applaud those that came tonight.”

Original article can be found here:

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