A Tuesday night presentation by Federal Aviation Administration officials about flight paths out of Van Nuys Airport turned boisterous when residents demanded changes.
About 50 people attended the meeting of the Van Nuys Airport Citizens Advisory Council. The proceedings turned tense at times, with some audience members shouting, “Shame on you!” as Shawn Kozica and five other FAA officials left the meeting room at the Airtel Plaza Hotel in Van Nuys.
Kozica, the agency’s manager of operations support, spoke about the FAA’s plans to reduce the noise from aircraft flying out of the San Fernando Valley airfield by bringing the flight paths back as close as possible to those used previously.
The FAA had changed the flight paths out of the airport about 18 months ago as part of a plan for the entire L.A. metroplex region to use satellite-based navigation to reduce fuel consumption and aircraft exhaust emissions while improving on-time performance.
A “metroplex” is an area with multiple airports and complex air traffic flows. The Southern California metroplex includes Van Nuys, Hollywood Burbank Airport, Los Angeles International Airport and other facilities stretching down to San Diego.
Advisory Council member Wayne Williams asked Kozica point blank if the FAA could just go back to the previous flight paths immediately. Kozica responded that it wasn’t a process that could just be “turned on and off.” The process to change the flight paths would take between 18 and 24 months to complete, Kozica said.
When Kozica added that it was a good thing the process took that long, audience members became derisive. There were shouts of “No it’s not” and “We’re dying out here.”
The audience was not happy also with Council Chairman Jason Price limiting to just 10 minutes comments from the public.
Among the most impassioned speakers was David Kimball, a 20-year Studio City resident who said that he had never seen so many planes flying so low over his home.
“You are destroying our neighborhoods,” Kimball said before asking whether FAA reps cared about the effects of aircraft on Valley residents.
After the presentation and public comments, the FAA officials left.
Later, Price gave an additional 10 minutes for public comments on the flight path issue, but audience members were still not happy as the FAA representatives had left before then and could not hear what they had to say.
The meeting was informational and not convened to arrive at a decision on the issue. However, a noise task force will be established to address the flight path issues from both Van Nuys and Hollywood Burbank airports. Its first meeting is scheduled to take place later this month.