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City Council Meeting: July 10, 2012 Agenda Item: To: From: Subject: Mayor and City Council Martin Pastucha, Director of Public Works Flight Training Reduction Incentive Test Program
Recommended Action Staff recommends that the City Council: 1. Approve a six-month voluntary flight training reduction incentive test program at Santa Monica Airport in a not to exceed amount of $90,000 to reimburse flight schools who conduct repetitive takeoff and landing practice at other area airports during weekends and federal holidays only. 2. Appropriate the budget increases as outlined in the Financial Budget Actions section of this report. Executive Summary The proposed voluntary flight training reduction incentive test program is designed to reimburse flight schools who conduct repetitive takeoff and landing practice at other area airports that would have normally occurred at Santa Monica Airport. This program would reduce the noise impact associated with repetitive aircraft operations during weekends and holidays. Flight schools participating in the program would receive $150.00 per eligible flight, which would result in one takeoff and landing at Santa Monica Airport with the repetitive operations occurring elsewhere. It is anticipated that the test program would effectively reduce the number of repetitive takeoffs and landings during the test period. The incentive program would commence upon Council approval and terminate on December 31,2012, unless otherwise modified by the City. Background Currently, about 40% of Santa Monica Airport's traffic is considered local flights. Local flights are those operations performed by aircraft that remain in the local traffic pattern or the designated controlled airspace for the airport, generally within 5 nautical miles of the Airport. Many of these operations performed are repetitive takeoffs Airport staff and landings being numerous noise Impacts and
as part of pilot flight training.
complaints from residents regarding these repetitive types of local operations especially during weekends and holidays when most people are at home. The impact of the noise
from these operations is more disruptive because it is a constant presence in the area, even though the volume fluctuates.
During the May 8, 2012, City Council recommendations these
heard a series of staff
to reduce the operational impacts of Santa Monica Airport. One of proposed reducing flight school operations through a
reimbursement program by moving a portion of their operations to airports better suited to accommodate patterned flying. As a result, staff developed a six-month voluntary test program designed to offset the cost of traveling to another airport for local flight schools to encourage their flight instructors to perform repetitive takeoff and landing practice at other airports, thereby reducing the noise impacts on local residential areas.
Discussion Reimbursement for this proposed program would be for the time to and from other
airports for the practicing of repetitive takeoff and landings. Only Santa Monica Airport based flight schools would be eligible to participate in the program. Reimbursement would be limited to dual flight instruction repetitive takeoff and landing training flights conducted at other airports. A qualified flight instructor must be an employee of an eligible flight school. A minimum of four takeoffs and four landings must be conducted at other airports to qualify for the reimbursement. The funding level proposed by staff would encourage a maximum of 600 training flights to use other area airports. This represents a potential reduction of up to 4,800 takeoffs and landings on weekends and holidays during the six-month test period.
To be reimbursed reimbursement
for a given flight, a flight instructor must complete
and sign a
request form cosigned by the student pilot. The flight instructor must
include a photocopy of the page in the student's log book indicating the appropriate entry with the date and time of the flight, route of flight, airport used, and number of repetitive takeoffs and landings performed at that airport. The log book entry must contain the signature of the authorized flight instructor. The use of the log book is
important because it is the pilot's official record of flight operation recognized by the FAA. To falsify a log book is a violation of FAA rules.
Airport staff would use various flight tracking systems and data to monitor compliance with the program. Staff would also rely upon the student logbook entry to verify that the flight fully complied with the requirements of the program and that the requisite number of repetitive takeoffs and landings at other airports were practiced.
Staff met with the flights schools on May 15, 2012 to present and discuss the proposed Flight Training Reduction Incentive Test Program that would apply to flights during weekends and federal holidays. The flight schools were very supportive of the program and concurred with staff that it would reduce the number of repetitive takeoffs and landings thus reducing the noise and nuisance impact of these operations weekends and federal holidays - the most noise sensitive days of the week. during
The City would reserve the right to terminate the program at any time by giving a 10-day notice to the flight schools. At the end of the test period, staff will analyze the results of the program and report back to the City Council on the effectiveness of the program in reducing local flights with a recommendation program. regarding the continued operation of the
Staff has discussed with the Western-Pacific proposed Voluntary Flight Training
Region representatives of the FAA on the test program. During a
discussion of the structure of the program with the FAA, they indicated that approval would not be required due to the voluntary nature of the proposed program, and no alternate airport to SMO would be designated where the flight operations would take place. The City would use the General Fund to fund for the reimbursement program.
Throughout the test period, staff would continue an open dialogue with the FAA about impacts and effectiveness of the proposed program.
Additionally, staff has conducted environmental analysis of the proposed Flight Training Reduction Incentive Test Program and determined that it is exempt from the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act pursuant to CEQA Guidelines
Section 15061 (b)(3), which applies where it can be seen with certainty that there is no possibility that the activity in question may have a significant effect on the environment. Specifically, the program is limited to a six month test period. There are at least eight other airports within or immediately flying. adjacent to Los Angeles County that can may
The extent to which flight school operators
participate in the program and move a portion of their operations to other airports is a matter of speculation and difficult to predict with any accuracy. Nonetheless, staff has
estimated that the proposed funding level would encourage a maximum of 600 training flights to use other area airports. weekends If the 600 maximum training flights are spread over 26 52 days), this would result in 1.5
during the test period (approximately
training flights per day being diverted to the other area airports during the test period. Even if the 600 potential training flights were shifted to only three other area
airports north of SMO, this would result in only four additional training flights per airport on those days.
The eight nearby airports that could be used for flight school operations are public use facilities that accommodate repetitive patterned flying on a routine basis and are Any minor fluctuation in use that
required to be open and available to these operations.
might occur as a result of the Program during its limited term is consistent with those airports' existing plans and regulations and within their existing baseline of operations.
Therefore, based on the above, the proposed project is exempt from CEQA pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15061 (b)(3). In an additional attempt to further reduce the noise impacts of Airport operations, staff's preliminary research based on a community member suggestion has identified another potential opportunity for aircraft to be fitted with an exhaust silencer to reduce exhaust noise. After contacting several United States and European aircraft exhaust system (FAA) to locate a system
manufacturers as well as the Federal Aviation Administration
that holds a Supplemental
Type Certificate (STC) issued by the FAA approving the The Staff
product for use, one aircraft exhaust silencer company was found in Germany. FAA STC was issued to Gomolzig contacted Gomolzig Flugzeugund Maschinenbau GmbH.
and found that the noise reduction from their silencer varied
between 2.3 dBA to 6.3 dBA depending on the type of propeller installed on the aircraft.
At the Santa Monica Airport, the single engine Cessna 172 is the most popular aircraft used by flight schools. Cessna does not manufacture such systems nor does it approve their installation. Staff did find a second German company, Liese-Flugtechnik, who is
an exhaust silencer manufacturer that holds several FAA STC's none of which are for the Cessna 172. Although this company markets silencers in Europe for the Cessna 172, they only have approvals from German and European authorities and do not wish to pursue FAA STC certification. They cited product liability insurance costs (which
increase by a factor of 10 in the United States market), limited demand, and lack of approval from aircraft and engine manufacturers.
Furthermore, to determine the effectiveness of aircraft exhaust silencer products more investigation is required. The noise reduction claims can vary from 3 dBA with no Staff will
discernible reduction to 10 dBA with a mildly noticeable reduction in noise.
continue to investigate the viability of this technology and will report back to Council on findings and program viability. In addition, these efforts will be discussed throughout the Phase III Visioning effort along with follow-ups on the effectiveness of the proposed Flight Reduction Incentive Test Program.
Financial Impacts and Budget Actions The Flight Training Reduction Incentive Test Program will cost $90,000.
of this program requires an appropriation
of $90,000 for FY 2012-13
from the General Fund to account 01401.555219.
Robert D. Trimborn, Airport Services Director
Forwarded to Council:
Martin Pastucha Director of Public Works
Rod Gould City Manager
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