As a result of community pressure, flight schools at SMO have agreed to a voluntary reduction in pattern flying activity during the evenings. The following was the official city press release today:
SANTA MONICA AIRPORT FLIGHT SCHOOLS AGREE TO IMPLEMENTVOLUNTARY NIGHT FLYING RESTRICTIONSSANTA MONICA, CA – In response to community concerns and in recognition of the negative noise impact of night pattern flying activity, all of the flight schools based at the Santa Monica Airport have agreed to implement a voluntary limit on repeated takeoffs and landings in the pattern at Santa Monica Airport beyond the requirements established in the Santa Monica Municipal Code.Under the voluntary restrictions, renters and instructors will not fly repeated takeoffs and landings in the pattern at Santa Monica Airport after 8:00 P.M. during Pacific Standard Time (November to March) Monday through Saturday. During Pacific Daylight Time (March to November), renters and instructors will not fly repeated takeoffs and landings in the pattern at Santa Monica Airport after 9:00 P.M. Monday through Saturday. The flight schools have also agreed to not fly repeated takeoffs and landings in the pattern after 8:00 P.M. during Sundays throughout the year.The Airport currently has a night departure curfew. No takeoffs or engine starts are permitted between 11:00 P.M. and 7:00 A.M. Monday through Friday, or until 8:00 A.M. on weekends and holidays. Exceptions are allowed for bona fide medical or public safety emergencies only. Additionally, the Airport has a voluntary night arrival curfew. Although arrivals are permitted 24 hours per day, pilots are requested to avoid all operations between 11:00 P.M. and 7:00 A.M. Monday through Friday, or until 8:00 A.M. on weekends and holidays.This voluntary pattern flying restriction will result in a net reduction of 15 hours per week during daylight savings time and 21 hours per week in non-daylight savings time where they could legally engage in repeated takeoffs and landings while pattern flying. They may still fly during those hours, but it would not be repeated takeoffs and landings in the pattern – it would be just one take off and flying elsewhere and then one landing upon their return.Federal Air Regulations require pilots to be proficient in conducting takeoffs and landings during night time hours. These voluntary restrictions will allow sufficient hours for training at Santa Monica Airport to meet the demands of night currency required by the Federal Aviation Regulations and at the same time reduce the amount repeated takeoffs and landings at hours that are more likely to disturb our neighbors.The City of Santa Monica appreciates the effort that the flight schools are taking to reduce their overall impact on the community and enhance the Airport’s fly neighborly program. The City will continue to cooperatively pursue additional strategies and programs with the aircraft community that will result in reduced impacts of aircraft operations to the community.For additional information regarding the Airport’s noise abatement program, please visit the Santa Monica Airport web page at:http://www.smgov.net/departments/airport/.
The original signed statement from the flight schools can be found here. While the community appreciates the symbolic gesture on the part of the flight schools, we must point out that this offer falls far short of compliance with the intent of the SMO pattern flying ordinance: