Palo Alto Airport Day A Resounding Success

PAOOnce again Airport Day attracted a good crowd and people learned a lot about their airport.  As always, the tower tours were a hit as were the EAA Young Eagles flights. The formation flight was impressive and it really showed the interesting things that ordinary GA aircraft can do. We estimate that between 3000 and 4000 attended.  Palo Alto Mayor Yiaway Yeh who gave a brief welcoming statement, was very impressed with the crowd and commented on the range of ages and diversity among attendees.

Most of the food vendors were food trucks for the first time.  This is potentially easier to manage, as they are already licensed and inspected by the county health department.  These trucks have evolved over time to the point where they offer specialized and attractive menus. There was a good display of raptors and they attracted a lot of attention.  The City of Palo Alto supported Airport Day with Emergency Services equipment, including the mobile command center.  Stanford LifeFlight had their helicopter next to the city emergency equipment.  Also, the Junior Museum had a fine display adjacent to the raptors.  The NASA display had excellent attendance.  The Blood mobile had a good number of donations.  Make a Match signed up visitors, collecting information to create files of matching characteristics for potential organ or bone marrow donors.

Of course Airport Day would not be possible without the help of our volunteers.  These included Civil Air Patrol Cadets, Police Explorers, PAAA members who did myriad things from announcing, handling ground communications, setting up and tearing down facilities, organizing tower tours and much more.  County Airports staff provided invaluable assistance during the whole day.  Tower personnel added guiding visitors to their regular duties.  A hearty “thank you” to all who helped to make this a successful Airport Day.


The County report for October shows only one noise complaint for PAO, which came from East Palo Alto. Radar traces showed a number of straight-out departures during the reference time period. Straight-out and left turn departures average one in six overall. These flight tracks cause the most impact for E. Palo Alto.

Palo Alto Airport enjoys a very good record with few noise complaints and pilots are to be congratulated for their care. PAO is fortunate to lie in a largely unpopulated area. However, our departure patterns most often affect E. Palo Alto residents. The 10 degree right turn after departure helps to keep aircraft overflying a mostly industrial area. If acceptable to the tower, try to fly to the Dumbarton auto bridge before making a left turn for a Southerly departure. A right 270 departure also gets you away from E. Palo Alto. Consider reducing power and particularly RPM when climbing over E. Palo Alto.

PAO continues to be the busiest airport in the County, in terms of number of operations, including SJC! Our daily average number of operations stands at 514 for the three month period ending September 30.

 CalPilots Editor’s Note: The Palo Alto Airport Association is a chapter of the California Pilots Association