FAA Releases Draft Environmental Assessment for Southern California Airspace Improvements
The U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is seeking public comment on the Draft Environmental Assessment (Draft EA) for the Southern California Metroplex project, a comprehensive proposal to improve the flow of air traffic into and out of Southern California by making the airspace safer and more efficient.
The project proposes to replace dozens of existing conventional air traffic procedures with new satellite-based procedures, which are a key component of the FAA’s Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). The Metroplex proposal encompasses most of Southern California and includes six major airports.
The FAA issued the project’s Draft EA today for public review and comment for 30 days. The FAA will hold 11 public workshops between June 16 and July 1, 2015, where people can learn about the proposal and how to submit comments on it. After evaluating and responding to all substantive public comments, the FAA could adopt the entire proposal, adopt portions of it, or modify it.
“Public engagement and participation in the Southern California Metroplex process is critical,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “We take public input very seriously, and we strongly encourage people, agencies and officials to learn about, and weigh in on, this proposal.”
Michael Huerta on the Draft Environmental Assessment (Draft EA) for the Southern California Metroplex project
About the FAA’s Southern California Metroplex Initiative:
A Metroplex is a region with multiple airports serving major metropolitan areas where heavy airport activity and environmental constraints combine to hinder the efficient movement of air traffic. Metroplex initiatives are completed, under way or planned in more than a dozen metropolitan areas across the country, including Northern California, Houston, Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Charlotte.
Many of the current air traffic procedures in Southern California are decades old. While they are all safe, some are inefficient because they rely on ground-based navigation aids, which limit available flight paths.
Some procedures are longer than necessary, while others converge and occupy the same airspace. As a result, air traffic controllers issue a series of instructions to pilots to vector aircraft onto more direct routes and to keep aircraft safely separated from each other. Vectoring, in turn, results in irregular and less predictable flight paths and increases pilot-controller communications and workload.
Satellite-based procedures, by contrast, allow for more direct routing with fixed routes, altitudes and speeds. Their precise flight tracks help keep routes automatically separated. This in turn reduces the need for vectoring and reduces controller-pilot communications.
In all, the proposed Southern California Metroplex project includes 109 new satellite-based procedures – 50 departures, 37 arrivals and 22 approach procedures that guide aircraft down until they’re very close to their destination airports. The project also expands the number of entry and exit points into and out of the Southern California airspace, which is like creating more on- and off-ramps in the sky.
The noise modeling that the FAA conducted for the project’s Draft EA calculated noise at more than 175,000 points throughout the study area. It indicates the proposed action would not result in any significant or reportable noise impacts.
The public comment period ends on July 10. The public workshops for the project will take place throughout Southern California between June 16 and July 1. People can submit comments on the project by email (9-ANM-SoCalOAPM@faa.gov), in person at the public workshops, and by writing to:
SoCal Metroplex EA
Federal Aviation Administration
Western Service Center – Operations Support Group
1601 Lind Avenue SW
Renton, WA 98057
The Draft EA is available online at:http://www.metroplexenvironmental.com/socal_metroplex/socal_introduction.html.
Electronic versions of the Draft EA have been sent to 40 libraries and hard copies are available at five libraries. A complete list of libraries with electronic and hard copies is available online.
Additional information on the Metroplex Program can also be found athttp://www.metroplexenvironmental.com/.
The public workshop dates and locations are as follows. The public can attend workshops anytime between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.
- June 16: Santa Ana. McFadden Intermediate School, 2701 S. Raitt St., Santa Ana, CA 92704
- June 17: Santa Monica. Santa Monica Public Library – Main Branch, 601 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401
- June 18: Los Angeles. Proud Bird Restaurant, 11022 Aviation Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90045
- June 22: San Diego. Logan Heights Library, 567 S. 28th St., San Diego, CA 92113
- June 23: Palm Desert. Palm Desert Library, 73-300 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert, CA 92260
- June 24: Torrance. Ken Miller Auditorium, 3341 Torrance Blvd., Torrance, CA 90503
- June 25: Long Beach. Beach High School, 3701 E. Willow St., Long Beach, CA 9081
- June 26:Ontario. Ontario International Airport Administration Building, 1923 East Avion Street, Ontario, CA 91761
- June 29: Ventura. E.P. Foster Library, 651 E. Main St., Ventura, CA 9300
- June 30: Santa Barbara. The Westside Neighborhood Center, 423 W. Victoria St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101
- July 1: Burbank. Burbank Community Services Building, 150 N 3rd St., Burbank, CA 91502