Letter: New information on low flying aircraft into HMB Airport

Letter to the editor

Posted by on Mon, December 10, 2007

I’ve been complaining for months about this topic ... the noise is overwhelming us as they fly so close to our home.

Just found out the best way to report these people is by capturing a picture of it (showing landmarks), its tail number, and date & time. Then contact the FAA & find out the proper way to get the information to them.  Only if enough of this is done will they act on investigating these illegal acts.

I know this takes alot of work, but too many of us are being forced to stay in our homes; put earplugs on, and replace our windows to doublepane.  And thus we enjoy our quiet spaces?

Lack of noise pollution & our safety are "our" rights; not the pilots.  Please help us & spread the word.


Carole Skegas

Comment 1
Wed, December 12, 2007 10:50pm
DJ Montoya
All my comments

Living next to an airport and complaining about the noise is right up there with living on the coast and wondering why it isn’t hot in the summer .

I live across the highway from the airport.  My wife and I don’t have any issues with the air traffic.  I frequently walk in the the open space near by.  Recently I’ve noticed more traffic right around sunset.  I would certainly not call it overwhelming nor excessively low.

Just in case you were wondering.  I’m not a pilot, nor do I own a plane.  The closet tie I have to the airport is enjoying breakfast at the 3-0 once a month.

Comment 2
Thu, December 13, 2007 10:23pm
Frank Long
All my comments

I believe it was Barb Mauz who, several months ago, had given us a great explanation about the County’s reluctance to upgrade the airport operating plan in order to accommodate a higher level of build-out here on the coast before they got too many complaints and had to actually do something about it. That’s what I recall anyway.

Comment 3
Fri, December 14, 2007 8:18am
Susan Webb
All my comments

Yes Frank. I heard the same thing.  They want to keep the present regulations, which would allow commuter jets to come in.  Maybe then, others in other locations will be bombarded by the unbearable noise we’re exposed to.

GREAT news!!  We’ve started capturing tail #‘s of the ones that are not only violating the low flying rule, but also the “noise pollution” & flying over unauthorized locations.  Now onto to the FAA.

Hopefully others are hopping on this train to save the “peace” that once was here.

Comment 4
Fri, December 14, 2007 9:41am
Frank Long
All my comments

Well, two things come to my mind, anyway; either the County is just doing the typical administrative foot dragging ........ OR, as I thought after reading Babbara’s piece, might there be some who are intentionally at work to keep the airport’s operating plan from being brought up to date ........ like, for developmental reasons?

In response to “living next to an airport and complaining about the noise”, I doubt that those people who had moved into that area around the airport would have had any reason to expect that the air traffic was soon to include a raft of corporate jets taking people to the Ritz for cocktails. It appears that, while the rest of the world is having to come to grips with global warming, this group is depending on everyone else to “do their part”.

Comment 5
Fri, December 14, 2007 10:10am
Susan Webb
All my comments

Forgot to add that we do “not” live by the airport.  We are “out” of their flight patterns, but doesn’t seem to be a problem for anyone, but those of us who are subjected to it.

Comment 6
Fri, December 14, 2007 4:12pm
Dan Blick
All my comments

First, let me say that 1) yes, the Airport was here before I was, and 2) I love planes and I hope to get my pilot’s license someday.

That said, the current situation is not just annoying, but unsafe.  Probably 1/4 of all the 12 approaches (from the North) and maybe 10% of the 30 ascents over our home in Moss Beach are way, WAY below the FAA’s minimum altitude.

I realize that this is arguably the 2nd most scenic approach around (behind Carmel, from what I hear),  and I’m glad folks can enjoy it, but come on.

If everyone follows the FAA regs, I have no problem.  But when some yahoo’s prop tips are going supersonic 150 ft over my house, making the windows shake and freakin’ the cat out, I’ve got a big problem with that.

So, Pilots:  Can you guys police yourselves, please?  That means 1) being aware of the minimum altitudes over all those shaded areas on the map, and 2) having some empathy, however temporary, for us poor gravity-bound folks who support you 100%—as long as you “keep it up,” so to speak.

Then maybe I’ll let you fly my Gulfstream—when I get it.  ;-)


Frank, the comments regarding the County’s foot-dragging on updating the HMB Airport Master Plan are here:  https://coastsider.com/index.php/site/news/noise_abatement_violations_over_montara/
See comments dated 10/02 from Barbara and from me.

I suspect that the County is waiting for the LCP Update to be approved by the Coastal Commission, because if they update the Airport Plan first they would be required to incorporate the latest FAA safety standards and then they would have to adjust (almost certainly expand) the AO (Airport Overlay) zone, and they don’t want to do that because the AO restricts development.

Long ago (Joe Gore was on the Midcoast Community Council), the County said that due to staff constraints the HMB Airport Master Plan Update would have to wait to be done until after the San Carlos Airport MP was completed.  Well, I’m pretty sure that was completed a number of years ago.

Comment 8
Fri, December 14, 2007 6:06pm
Frank Long
All my comments

Is there any particular day or time that is worse, like Sunday afternoons, perhaps? I’d like to see this for myself.

I did my flying in Korea and the East Coast and have never flown here in Half Moon Bay, but here’s what I’ve got on the topic. Maybe someone more familiar can shed some light as to why pilots find it necessary to fly so low.

Here’s the county’s website for the Half Moon Bay Airport. http://www.co.sanmateo.ca.us/smc/department/dpw/home/0,,5562541_5562589_10266848,00.html

The available length to take off and land a small plane is roughly 4200 to 5000 feet, and depending on which figures you use, a Cessna 172 can get airborne in roughly 900 to 1600 feet of that. With any good headwind, those distances could be shortened considerably.

Comment 9
Sat, December 15, 2007 7:58am
Susan Webb
All my comments

I cannot believe the County’s post about this airport, so it’s promoting the “big change”!!
Of course, they’re “over the hill”, and won’t be affected by this noise pollution & safety issues.

Dan, a very polite request that these pilots? put their legal hats on, and maybe add a little compassion for those of us being affected by their lack of respect for others.

Like you, our animals are in terror when they come so close to our sensitive horses; I mean a few hundred feet above so that we can read their numbers. 

I’m not as kind as you; perhaps due to my disability & inability to handle noise which is why we found this “then” peaceful property. 

When I was reporting them to the airport, they said often the pilots don’t even “acknowledge” their request to follow the guidelines.  Plus they told me there’s no way to track these planes.  Well there goes our “security”.

P.S. about the days we see them; totally unpredictable, except usually between 10/11 any day & can go on all day, or pick up around 3PM.

Comment 10
Sat, December 15, 2007 9:45pm
El Granada
All my comments

Thank you for the great info on how to “catch” the offenders.  I’m home most of the day and have several cameras, both video and still.  I’ll get some great shots.  I have called down to the airport when a particular red plane sounds louder than usual…they are proud to tell me it is a special propeller that makes the plane louder than usual.  I have also taken to limiting my visits to the restaurant, just to make me feel better about being abused by the “low & slow” flying crowd.

Joe Kirsch

Comment 11
Sun, December 16, 2007 10:49pm
Frank Long
All my comments

I kinda like the idea of a paintball gun, myself. I think the sound of a harmless “THUNK” on the underside sends a nice message, but beside the paint probably not sticking to the finished surfaces of the aircraft, they’d probably call in Homeland Security and 40 other doughnut chomping agencies and put the Coastside under a terrorist alert.

Comment 12
Mon, December 17, 2007 8:32am
Susan Webb
All my comments

Yes, that loud red one.  Like isn’t that in itself “noise pollution”, and it’s constant.
Great that you’re going to get some good shots.  Just remember to get the information of connecting with the FAA, and keep copies of every bit of your communication/pictures, etc.

Well Frank, I have had that experience.  Being an ex-sheriff, my age, disability, etc. they gave me a break of not being “charged” for my threatening complaints. 

So is this how it works?  The victims complain (perhaps inappropriately) & become terrorist risks.  And yet there’s no way these planes are being monitored?  So who are they and do the FBI or whoever do a search of them, or watch for safety hazards?  Or are they just waiting for one to “show up”. e.g. as up in the Northwest a few years back.  Go figure.

Comment 13
Tue, December 18, 2007 9:43am
Susan Webb
All my comments

The noise has “stopped”!!  So the only peace we get is when the weather’s too bad for those planes to fly.

Doing more research, and when I googled Half Moon Bay Airport Noise, I came up with a lot of information, in the event some haven’t found it.

Somebody had monitored planes breaking rule after rule.  He listed names; where the planes came from, etc.  Starting in March, he noted 3 planes; up to September when he noted 22!!

There are links on this page to the FAA.  I would so much like to connect with the person who took the time & effort to list all the violators.  If anyone can help me with this, please e-mail me.


Comment 14
Tue, December 18, 2007 10:58am
K. Loegering
All my comments

Hi Carol,

Would you mind sharing the information you googled, specifically the address for the link?


Comment 15
Tue, December 18, 2007 11:33am
Susan Webb
All my comments

K….....to get to this site, I just googled   Half Moon Bay Airport Noise.  The lst page will show you the listing of all the violators I mentioned.

Then on the side, you’ll see the “links” to FAA, the HMB’s airport info on how planes are to come in & leave, etc. and too much info for me to put online.


Comment 16
Mon, December 24, 2007 8:55am
Susan Webb
All my comments

I just don’t “get it”!!  Yesterday was like Pearl Harbor all over again.  We happened to to to a market near Hwy 1 & Vermont.

I could not believe the horrendous noise from those low flying planes.  I have great compassion for the people having to “put up” with this.  You can’t even talk, they’re so loud.

My question is to the people who live in that area why someone hasn’t put together a group who will work together to provide the evidence needed for the FAA to get involved.  One person down there told me her windows were shattering.
What’s going on down there is totally unacceptable.  PLEASE…......WHERE ARE YOU ALL & WHY ARE YOU PUTTING UP WITH IT?????

Comment 17
Tue, December 25, 2007 9:34am
Susan Webb
All my comments

An “Idea” someone just gave me.  To get in touch with a T.V. station that would be interested in getting involved in covering this issue.

The media can give great coverage, and open up a few minds that may help stop the injustice that has been going on forever.

Someone told me one reason there are more planes is due to the increase of the San Carlos Instructor’s charges.  Hearsay, but could be a piece of it.

If anyone out there is interested in getting the media involved, and have suggestions how to start this, please post. 

Thanks & hoping today will be a peaceful holiday for all.