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City Considers Paying Pilots to Fly Elsewhere

Whopping price tag assigned to cost of getting pilots training at Santa Monica Airport to conduct repetitive takeoffs and landings at other airports.

The cost of a quieter ? About $90,000 in six months.

That's the price tag city staffers give an incentive program for flight schools aimed at reducing repetitive takeoff and landings by student pilots.

The program is in response to complaints from neighbors, particularly those who live within hundreds of feet of the airport tarmac, who say they are tormented by aircraft noise.

Participating flight schools would receive $150 for each flight that resulted in a minimum of four takeoffs and four landings conducted at other airports on weekends and federal holidays. City staffers said it has the potential of resulting in up to 4,800 fewer takeoffs and landings during a six-month test period starting July 1.

The "Flight Training Reduction Incentive Test Program" is up for approval Tuesday night by the Santa Monica City Council.

Money for the reimbursements—designed to offset the schools' cost of traveling to a different airport—would come from the city's general fund, a catchall account for services such as the police and fire departments and library system.

About 40 percent of Santa Monica Airport traffic is generated by aircraft that stay within the local traffic pattern or the airport's designated controlled  airspace, and many of those operations are takeoffs and landings by pilots-in-training, according to Airport Services Director Robert Trimborn.

"Airport staff receives numerous noise complaints from residents regarding these repetitive types of local operations especially during weekends and holidays when most people are at home," Trimborn wrote in a memo to the City Council.

City staffers said flight schools support the program and agree it would reduce the number of repetitive takeoffs and landings.

The City Council meets at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, at 1685 Main St. For the night's full agenda, click here.

D. Lawson June 14, 2012 at 03:11 PM
Dick thinks he's gonna get a park. Now that is funny.
Bill June 14, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Lets make it an airport park !!
bob reed June 14, 2012 at 09:01 PM
Comparing kitty-kats to lions really does you no justice against "the tired old argument". Try again please with something that actually is comparable.
bob reed June 14, 2012 at 09:29 PM
I believe we may be MISSING THE POINT on the "Airport Was Here First" argument. Probably 25 years ago I was asked to testify in court (as an audio expert) during a lawsuit wherein a Homeowner purchased a home across the street from a bar/nightclub - at well BELOW market value for the area, simply because of the location, location, location (close to a noisy bar). Then several years later tried to close the bar because of "noise" issues. In that case - "the tired old argument" - the bar was here first WON. I have no particulars in this Santa Monica case, but I believe research might show that the homes around the airport have a lower overall value (near a noisy airport) than other homes of similar style in the area. It has always irritated me when someone gets a good deal (for a reason) and later cries wolf and now tries to change the circumstance to suit themselves. I can't comment on the SMO jet traffic, but I can attest to the declining pilot population as well as reduced aircraft activity. I produce aviation safety videos and host them for free on my website. I have been a private pilot for 25 years and I see the decline all the time at airports and at safety seminars. As an American citizen, I believe opportunity should be available to everyone. It what made this country great. Local pilots should have the opprotunity to participate in aviation. I looked on the map and for the size of the LA region, there certainly is not an overabundance of airports.
JeanB June 14, 2012 at 10:35 PM
Analogy - Analogy is a cognitive process of transferring information or meaning from a particular subject (the analogue or source) to another particular subject (the target), and a linguistic expression corresponding to such a process.
j sharkey June 15, 2012 at 12:06 AM
To anyone doing business at SMO, come on over to Ventura County. We've got three GA airports and would love to have you!
D. Lawson June 15, 2012 at 03:04 PM
I would like nothing better than to walk away from this place and watch the anti airport people welcome the developers and all that will come with them. They think they are gonna get a park with green grass, grazing sheep and wind mills. The traffic at this airport is way way down from what it was but they seem to want development and thousands of new neighbors. Hate blinds people. Funny part is that many of the hated jets are carrying people they voted for. Talk about being played.
Richard B June 15, 2012 at 04:38 PM
The airport was small and cute and had local pilots and now it is big and nasty and with too many flight schools and jet planes. Its like moving next to a little league field and then they build Dodger Stadium. I will take my chances with the development or park ideas. No hate here just want a quiet and pollution free backyard.
HCM June 16, 2012 at 12:48 PM
I think the Council just might be on to something but just have it a bit backwards. Maybe a better solution would pay those complaining the $150 for one 'flight' to move away from the airport.
Greg Fry June 19, 2012 at 01:23 AM
Would you do the same to all of the school kids on their campuses affected by your pollution--and your outrageous sense of entitlement for continuing to do so?
Greg Fry June 19, 2012 at 05:37 AM
@Bob Reed In the case of SMO, you would also have to consider the issues of large jet traffic later being allowed into an established neighborhood while spewing their toxins directly into neighboring houses, newly discovered health and safety issues regarding lead pollution by even smaller aircraft, and the fact that children in nearby schools and businesses are also affected by all this pollution. This isn't an issue of a noisy bar--this is an issue of health and safety affecting a wide area. And if you believe that airport traffic has been "reduced", and are unaware of the existence of nearby airports such as Hawthorne, then you really are off the radar of what is and has been going on!
D. Lawson June 19, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Greg, I work next to the runway everyday. Fact, the traffic here is way down from what it was. Period ! If the airport is such a toxic pit then why did the city place a campus and two parks next to it ? Dick, understood but we are living in L.A. My bet is that it will continue to grow and grow. With people comes pollution in all forms. You may be shooting yourself in the foot by inviting developers. You are talking about a lot of new neighbors.
Greg Fry June 19, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Traffic down from when? Furthermore, there were at least 2 takeoffs spewing pollution into the neighborhood after 10 p.m. over the last couple of weeks. Even existing regulations are not being respected. The parks are away from the pollution, which is directed like a cannon from firing jet engines directly into the neighborhoods east of the runway. Likewise the illegal fuel dumps onto that same neighborhood by planes landing at SMO.
D. Lawson June 19, 2012 at 05:28 PM
Come on over and have a cup of coffee and we'll count airplane together. But as part of the deal you have to go sit on the corner of Ocean Park and Bundy for the same amount of time. As for the jet, yep, they do that. Should have thought that one through before purchasing a home at the end of a runway. The after curfew departure were most likely the guys you voted for. They are special and get a free pass on that type of thing. Saw Mitt here last week, If I see him again I'll let him know how you feel.
Glenn E Grab June 19, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Fry, your liberal-buddy Congressmen and women use this airport for the free rides they get back and forth from Sacramento and Washington so they don't have to endure the TSA BS at the big commuter airports....your chances of getting them to ban jet traffic out of SM Airport are nil, "money talks, BS walks".....
Greg Fry June 19, 2012 at 07:21 PM
Neither one of you are making a wonderful case for your point of view--but do keep it up so that we can all see how those who represent pro-airport interests really feel! I take it that neither of you have kids at Richland Elementary or Webster Middle School--so why should you care, right? Shut down a whole neighborhood just so the selfish few can keep flying and polluting the surrounding area, crash into a few homes, businesses and schools now and then, and do so all on Santa Monica taxpayers' dole? Simply amazing...
Richard B June 22, 2012 at 01:40 AM
Jet Traffic is a huge problem not just the flight schools. Perhaps they should pay the corporate jets to fly somewhere else. Oh wait the city council and our elected officials fly their private jets from SMO. I see a huge conflict of interests.
Richard B June 22, 2012 at 01:42 AM
But wait the Native Americans were here first. Long before there was an airport.
Richard B June 22, 2012 at 01:45 AM
Pay the jets to leave.
an interested observer June 28, 2012 at 09:53 PM
yeah, DICK, glad you revealed the "truth" about SM politico's. You've revealed they all own jets and their nothing but dishonest politico's who don't have your best interest at heart.
Glenn E Grab June 29, 2012 at 12:27 AM
these are the big liberals you guys voted in, at least the right-wingers are up front about their private jet use...and free rides...
Greg Fry June 30, 2012 at 01:21 AM
So your point is that because some (I won't say all) politicians are corrupt, that that justifies your continued pollution of a vast area and all the cumulative damage that results from such, plus the damage caused by errant planes, plus what amounts to "welfare" payments to you through local tax subsidies? You do bring up a legitimate point though: until all politicians are held accountable for their actual actions (or lack thereof), democracy and everything else we take for granted in in our country liberty and justice wise is under threat.
Bill July 12, 2012 at 05:57 PM
You got that wrong . The point is that the traffic is way less than it was in years past . True the jet traffic was far less in that time , but it was far noisier and polluting , In the 1960-1990 time frame the flight schools and general flying traffic was far more intense than today The airport had many more airplanes than now , and a lot more parking available . We had DC3's ( which were built here ) and many other varieties , including many more twins Politicians are just a drop in the bucket ( and should be treated that way ) , so liberal or conservative make no real difference , because they all deficate the same way !
Bill Heard July 12, 2012 at 06:15 PM
We all know of the corruption from our elected politicals , so how are we going to get THAT fixed ?? Realize this fact !! The Santa Monica Airport is but a shadow of what it was . There used to be about twice the airplanes based here and the jets then were far noisier and more polluting . Weekend flight school traffis was far more intense and personal flying was far busier . SMO was one of the busiest general aviation ( single runway ) airports in CA , if not the country . It was far more dangerous to fly in that time era , than it is now , due to the fact that there were far less regulations to absorb the pilot . Today the pilot almost has to have a schooling degree to keep up with the new regulations and equipment workings .
Richard B July 12, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Perhaps pay the big corporate jets to fly somewhere else? What near by airports still allow these monstrousities? And who on the city staff and council uses the airport and how often? and do they own their own jets and planes? Let the transparency begin!
Richard B July 12, 2012 at 06:23 PM
Johney Rocket what a stud. So bold and masculine.
an interested observer July 12, 2012 at 07:54 PM
Yes, we want to know what SM officials secretly own airplanes to the detriment of SM citizens. Good for you Dick. This could be another Watergate!
Greg Fry July 13, 2012 at 02:54 AM
SOME influence on SM officials leads them to disregard the massive tax subsidies already paid by the citizens of Santa Monica to keep SMO limping along, and rather than seeking to reign in such subsidies those officials seek to up the ante by providing MORE tax money to subsidize private operations. What do YOU think is influencing such, Mr. Interested Observer?
Bill Heard July 13, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Greg Fry , Perhaps you need to understand more about the workings of the airport ! The airport earns money for the city , or it would never survive ! Anybody with economic sense would not and cannot allow negative cash input .
Greg Fry July 13, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Bill, check this out: http://www.smgov.net/Departments/Airport/Commission_Meetings/2012/20120227/02-27-12_Commissioner_Goddard_Item_re_SMO_Budget_Eval.aspx Even considering rents collected from non-aviation activities--those activities which are not at all dependent on continued airport operations and could continue to earn the city revenue whether the airport closes or not--there was an overall deficit on the campus of a little over $100k. Airport operations themselves and all activities directly related to those operations ran a total deficit in excess of $800k--subsidized through taxes paid by the citizens of Santa Monica. Does it make economic sense to continue airport operations? Of course not--at least not for the taxpayers of the city of Santa Monica--and that's even before considering health and safety impacts of noise, pollution and occasional accidents which devastate the entire community.

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