The FAA has just released full details of their new Metroplex plan.
The entire document can be dowloaded from the FAA site here (you want the PDF document titled: SoCal Metroplex DEA Full Document (70 MB)), however this is 70 MB and extremely difficult to manipulate and understand. To help you CASMAT has extracted just the portions you will need to look into what is changing regarding SMO.
CASMAT is in the process of analyzing the document so we will be updating this post regularly as we discover more information.
The FAA (in table 3.2 page 3-17 of the original document) defines all the procedures that may change. The ones that impact SMO are as follows:
- A runway transition is counted if there is at least one waypoint or fix beyond (or prior to) the common route to create a defined segment between the runway and common route. (i.e. a defined route between two fixes or waypoints).
- N/A=Not Applicable DME=Distance Measuring
- STAR=Standard Terminal Arrival
- SID=Standard Instrument
- VOR=VHF Omnidirectional
- RNAV=Area Navigation VORTAC=VHF Omnidirectional
In addition Table 3.3 (page 3-25) defines two new RNP approaches for SMO viz:
An RNP equipped aircraft aircraft navigation system provides a more accurate location (down to less than a mile from the intended path) and will follow a highly predictable path. The enhanced accuracy and predictability makes it possible to implement procedures within controlled airspace that are not always possible under the current air traffic system.
To download the PDF of what all the paths look like under the no action alternative click here: Page 67.pdf and download to your computer (you can’t manipulate it on the web). When aircraft depart or arrive to the Southern California Metroplex on an assigned route or SID/STAR, transfer of control occurs between multiple air traffic facilities. Under the No Action Alternative, the transfer areas would remain unchanged from existing conditions.
To download the PDF of what all the paths will look like under the FAA’s proposed action approach click here: Page 79.pdf and download to your computer (you can’t manipulate it on the web).
To manipulate these documents (use the isolated documents Page 67.pdf or Page 79.pdf, not the original as it is slow to manipulate) you will need to use Adobe Acrobat Reader. When you open the document (in this case Page 79.pdf), you may have to show the “Layers” tool using the menu (as shown in the screen shot below):
First thing to do is turn off the introductory box (so you can see the map) by scrolling to the top of the layers list and un-checking the “Introduction” layer. Now scroll to the bottom of the layers list and un-check “Airports” and “Airport Symbols” (otherwise they will obscure the routes). Now scroll so that the SMO procedures are centered in your layers list and you can turn them on/off individually to see what they look like.
Now zoom in to around SMO (the Marquee Zoom in the menu is the quickest way) and turn on a path (in the diagram below I have enabled SMO CTRUS WEST DEP – RNAV), you should see the envelope for the procedure. Note that this new departure procedure appears to route aircraft directly over the same areas of the City that the infamous 250 degree heading test once did! So we can clearly see that the public is likely to have an issue with this new path.
Unfortunately as you can see the envelope is very broad and so the exact path is not clear. Apparently at the FAA workshop they have stated that they will have more accurate maps for people to look at.
OK, you should be in a position to examine paths yourself now, perhaps by opening both the page 67 and 79 documents, zooming them to the same area, and then turning on corresponding paths using the table above. The “Proposed Action Procedure” path should be shown in the page 79 document, the “No Action Procedure” (which corresponds to the situation as it is right now) in the 67. This way you can clearly see the differences.
We will update this post as we learn more. And remember, you need to come to the FAA’s workshop on the 17th and ask questions/express your concerns since that will become part of the permanent record.
This workshop is scheduled for June 17, 2015 at Santa Monica Main Public Library Multipurpose Room from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The purpose of these public workshops is to provide an opportunity for the public to learn about the SoCal Metroplex project and to submit their comments. Representatives from the FAA will be available during the workshop to provide information about the project.
The quotes below are from the City’s Advisory encouraging people to attend this this workshop:
It provides for new flight procedures that are more precise and creates a narrower flight path resulting in a concentration of flights over certain areas.
The City is not a sponsor of this project and has not been involved in identifying or evaluating changes to flight procedures. City staff continues to reiterate to the FAA, Santa Monica’s opposition to any modifications that would change headings on takeoff from the current heading, by which aircraft fly directly to the coast, rather than over Santa Monica’s hills and more residences.
The City urges the community to learn about the FAA’s SoCal Metroplex project by attending one of these workshops and to submit comments directly to the FAA. Representatives from the FAA will be available during the workshops to provide information about the project.
The screen shot below (click to enlarge) compares all Eastern arrivals (new to the left, old to the right). As can be seen, although a number of new procedures have been added, it appears not much has changed in terms of where the aircraft will be flying for Eastern arrivals.
The screen shot below (click to enlarge) compares all Western arrivals (new to the left, old to the right). As can be seen the only significant change is the new SMO BONJO WEST procedure which vectors aircraft more directly down from the north (new new white area shown on the left over Beverly Hills and Holmby Hills).
The screen shot below (click to enlarge) compares all Western departures (new to the left, old to the right). As can be seen, the major difference in this diagram is the addition of the new CMO CTRUS WEST departure mentioned earlier which looks pretty much line the much hated 250 degree heading that caused over 44,000 complaints when the FAA tested it back in 2010. This is clearly a major threat to the peace and quiet of people in most of the City, but particularly in Ocean Park and Sunset Park, and something that the public needs to address vigorously at the FAA workshop.
Finally, the screen shot below (click to enlarge) compares all Eastern departures (new to the left, old to the right). As can be seen the outline is pretty much unchanged although the new PEVEE EAST departure can be seen like a kind of hook overlaying the SMO EAST (Radar Vectors) departure. Presumably this means more planes will be executing this takeoff inland followed by a sharp turn and passing back over Venice to the Ocean. If this does indeed imply more planes following this path (which is not clear), this change could be of concern for Mar Vista and Venice residents. However, it is quite rare that planes take off in this direction so the impact may not be significant.
So, it appears that the major impact that we can identify for sure is the reincarnation of the 250 heading as the new CTRUS WEST departure (or is it perhaps the mysterious Santa Monica 1 – which is not shown in the new layers despite being mentioned in the table?). To understand this in more detail, we need to download the SoCal Study Team Final Report (7 MB) document from the same FAA page 100 (section 4.4.1 – SMO/LAX Interactions), we see what is going on. In section “220.127.116.11 Runway 21 RNAV SID” there it is:
– The OST designed an RNAV SID with multiple transitions as shown in Figure 64 that
is procedurally deconflicted from LAX Runways 24L/R departures.
– The proposed SMO Runway 21 SID is procedurally deconflicted from LAX
departures by approximately 3.25 miles, which meets minimum separation
– The deconfliction of the SMO and LAX procedures will result in reduced vectoring,
improved fuel planning, reduced departure and arrival delays, and minimized
– The new procedures will allow for simultaneous operations at both airports with the
sole constraint being limitations to the 270 degree heading that is used for prop
aircraft from LAX Runways 24L/R.
In other words, assuming I’m reading this right (which I’ll confirm ASAP) the hated 250 heading is back, only now its a 260 heading. The reasoning is identical to that that used by the FAA last time, that is to maintain the 3.25 mile separation with LAX takeoffs (despite all the new technology that should clearly make this consideration irrelevant). By the way section 18.104.22.168 also mentions that the new ‘missed approach’ for a plane landing from the East (i.e., that is unable to land and must go around again for whatever reason) will also follow the new path (over the hill – sounds safe doesn’t it!). Note also that diagram 64 describes an approach whereas the text discusses a departure procedure. Perhaps they intend both – RNAV approaches for both runway 03 and 21? Can you say jetport?
I hate to say it folks, but if this is true, it looks like we need to gear up once again for a fight. See you all at the FAA Workshop!
A later City Advisory with more details on paths has now been issued.
FAA Extends comment period for Metroplex till Sept 8, 2015 (email, July 9, 2015)
Comment Period extended again until October 8, 2015 (email, September 8, 2015)
September 15, 2015 – The FAA has now posted improved data in Google Earth format here: http://www.metroplexenvironmental.com/socal_metroplex/socal_docs.html. Unlike the previous data, this data is actually useable by normal people, and now includes flight tracks etc. (see images below):
To access and use this data, you must download and install the Google Earth (or Google Earth Pro) application from: https://www.google.com/intl/ALL_ALL/earth/explore/products/desktop.html. Then download the “.kml” file you wish to examine (likely SoCal Metroplex Draft EA Procedures – Los Angeles – Inland Empire Area). Open the “.kml” file in Google Earth (or GE Pro), be aware that it may take a while to display anything, when it does, un-check the “Introduction” (since it will hide the map until you get rid of it). Then zoom in to SMO and enable the various overlays in the left hand list as shown in the images above.