Pattern Flying at SMO during Proscribed Periods

This report provides a detailed study of pattern flying activity during proscribed periods (i.e., when supposedly banned) at SMO for every day over a three and a half month period.  The report used WebTrak to document over 1,300 pattern loops.  This took CASMAT volunteers literally man weeks just to gather the data required.  The report finds that pattern flying is pervasive during times (evenings and weekends) when it is supposedly banned.  This activity is made possible by the poor wording of the SMO pattern flying ordinance that permits it to be circumvented by executing a taxi-back maneuver on the ground.

More importantly, the report documents what appears to be evidence of cooperation between Santa Monica Airport staff and the SMO flight schools with the intent to manipulate city policy towards airport matters.  It appears that staff have ‘instructed’ flight schools to start and stop pattern flying activity in order to cause staff reports on the matter to show that the problem is smaller than it actually is.  In addition, a month long lull in pattern flying on the weekends appears to have been designed to influence city policy to ensure that the pattern flying ordinance was not tightened up in order to bring the activity under control.

Pattern Flying Study – Full report