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The Hidden Airport Crisis in SoCal: How One Airport Closure Is Creating Major Problems

For the last several years, a crisis has been quietly brewing in airports across Southern California, and to an extent, the rest of California: the closure of airports and reduction of services. Given how hard it is to open an airport, the loss of any airport feels especially permanent, more so in Southern California than anywhere else. ( More...

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Torsten Hoff 29
What most people who live near KSMO don't realize is that the jets were already far quieter than the aircraft that used to fly in and out of the airport on a daily basis.

Santa Monica used to be the home of Donald Douglas Aircraft Corporation, and thousands of DC-3s and other planes were produced there. Those big radials were far louder than today's jets.

But people started building and buying homes near the airport, including on the land that became available when aircraft production ended in Santa Monica, and then were shocked to be exposed to aircraft noise. Their first step was to rid themselves of aircraft they found to be too loud by banning specific models including the DC-3, but the long-term goal has always been to close the airport entirely. The fact that this will also greatly increase the value of their homes is surely no accident.

Besides banning aircraft by type and shortening the runway, other steps that the city has undertaken to make the airport more expensive and thus less attractive to GA was to increase landing fees, eliminate hangars, and eliminate the majority of the open-air parking. Fewer opportunities to keep an aircraft parked at KSMO meant higher rent for the remaining spaces, and fewer aircraft. And what have the geniuses from the city done with the fenced-off space that was previously used for GA parking? Nothing. It's collecting dust and growing weeds.

Full disclosure: I live about a mile from the end of RWY 21.
I agree with you entirely Torsten, people build houses near airports, knowing that it will be noisy, then they complain it is too noisy. Also, as you say the planes today are a lot quieter than we they set up the noise abatement procedures/overnight curfews!
They bought houses near the airport, with the appropriate disclosure and discount factored in, and then complained that the airport was hurting their property values. (insert descriptive foul language here).
Steve Stein 13
Many years ago I was flying out of SNA and my seatmate was a 747 captain deadheading to DEN. We talked about the airport’s noise abatement and the throttle back going over Newport Beach. She laughed and said “You know who lives down there? A lot of airline personnel.” She was one of them.
John Gideon 9
This seems a common theme around the country. I've seen it attempted in Atlanta with KPDK and Florida with KSUA. People will intentionally buy property that is undervalued because of its proximity to an airport, then lobby hard to have the airport closed so that their property values will get a large jump and they can flip them. They use the whole class warfare idea (this airport only exists for the 1% and us poor upper middle class need the government to save us). I wonder if something similar was happening with KCGX.
Bandrunner 1
Yep, it's a dirty trick that's been going on for years, near airports, race circuits, etc.
The NIMBYs are well able to appeal to the greedy instincts.
Jim Quinn 11
I'm sure that if you look deep enough, you'll find more than one commercial developer ready to pounce on that land if it's available for sale in the foreseeable future. I am convinced that many significant "anti-airplane-noise" groups are sponsored and/or financed by the developers.
panam1971 14
Someone needs to fly a 727-200 or a DC9-14 in there and show these people what real aircraft noise sounds like.
pjshield 8
Don't overlook the BAC 111. One of the loudest IMO, but a beautiful loud.
Peter Fuller 7
I remember many trips around the northeast aboard the One Eleven, in the 60s-70s-80s, on American and Mohawk/Allegheny/USAir. Wonderful distinctive sound from inside as the RR Speys spooled up, but really loud from outside if you were near a One Eleven takeoff and initial climb.
JW Wilson 5
Anyone got a DC-8 handy?
Doyle Kaufman 2
Yeah. For many reasons, four engines are better than two.
Tony Smith 15
California entitled NIMBYs at their finest. I work in aviation, grew there and left in 2007 never to look back. People who complain should be put on a no fly lost just like the unruly passengers. If they don't want any of the things they don't like they shouldn't have the privilege (not right) to fly anywhere in an airplane.
victorbravo77 5
I've lived in my house near the departure end of 04 @ ksch for almost 30 years. Couldn't be happier.
I grew up in Inwood, Long Island in the flight path of runway 31L at JFK and, this was before the day of noise abatement. I remember 747 taking off in the middle of summer, at night, rattling the windows. This is where my love for aviation came from. I still stop and look up to watch an aircraft fly overhead.
Roger Edson 5
Reminds me, exactly, about those fancy retirement communities outside Luke AFB (AZ)...who was there first?
kent terveen 4
Those of us who live near Luke love the Sound Of Freedom even though on some high-flight days my garage door opener won't work.
Roger Edson 2
Nice to hear a change in attitude...that was not the case back when the DelWeb communities were starting in the 70s and 80s.
ADXbear 12
Typical California complainers... if you don't want airplane noise, DONT BUY NEAR AN F'ING AIRPORT.... Im so Glad we moved away from there and back to a civilized state!
sweeper239 3
and don't forget what mayor Daly did in 2003 taking bulldozers in the middle of the night to close Meigs Field. I always enjoyed flying into that airport
Robin Bailey 2
On a visit to the UK one USA President (Trump I think) questioned why the Queen had built Windsor Castle under one of London Heathrow's landing/take-off routes. Oh Dear! Maybe the same ignorance applies to the people you all refer to who buy properties near/adjacent to Airports. Have any of those tried to bring lawsuits against the seller? (You didn't tell me that big silver/white bird was a jet) Duh.
John Dalinsky 1
BULLSHIT! I heard that old U.K. joke at least ten years before Trump was elected President.
Doodybutch 3
The best thing to do with this contiguous large pierce of land when it is no longer an airport is to turn it into a prison. Se how the beautiful people like that. No more airplane noise.
avionik99 -5
Well this is what you get when you have liberals in charge of nearly the entire state. Put up a rainbow and a green eco flag at the airport and then they will embrace it!!

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

Greg S 8
"waaaa, waaaa, everybody who disagrees with me is a fascist, waaaa, waaaa, where's my pacifier!!!"
Great idea it would probably work. Better still claim the airports have "Vortex's" like Sedona AZ does and hang crystals from strings around the perimeter. Rename the airport a "wellness" center.


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