The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Wednesday night to have the Federal Aviation Administration look into new rule changes it says have led to a 600 percent increase in noise complaints near Van Nuys Airport.
Those who live in the San Fernando Valley neighborhoods surrounding the airport — from Encino to Sherman Oaks — are grappling with overwhelming noise from dawn until past midnight, residents told the council during Wednesday’s meeting. The council is now asking Los Angeles World Airports to call on the FAA to perform a noise study and look into existing procedures that could possibly be changed, according to the city council’s motion.
In 2017, the FAA made some rules changes requiring that departing aircraft not make turns in the air until reaching south of the Sepulveda Basin, according to the motion. This has meant jets are making turns at low altitudes over widely populated neighborhoods rather than the unpopulated Sepulveda Basin, which is where planes would previously make such turns.
During Wednesday’s meeting, a female resident played some blaring sounds before the council that she says go on from 6:45 a.m. until 2 a.m.
“This is what we’re living with 24/7 — there is no break,” she said. “This is how loud it is inside my house.”
Ben Cruz, a mechanic for Western Jet Aviation, said he understands residents’ concerns — particularly given how low some aircrafts are flying — but traffic patterns make it difficult to change the areas where turns are made.
“It’s almost like you could reach up and touch them,” Cruz said of aircrafts he’s seen turning in the hills above Sepulveda.
“But you gotta keep in mind above this pattern is the pattern for Burbank Airport,” he said. “So we really can’t turn around, and make a u-turn right away, because we have traffic coming in from Burbank right above us.”
Ten years ago, the FAA worked to reduce noise coming from the airport with the approval of policies including one that requires certain takeoff techniques for different types of aircraft and the later phase-out of some jet engines.