Santa Monica vs. Van Nuys – Pattern Flying

In response to questions raised concerning the absolute magnitude of the pattern flying issue at SMO compared with other local airports, the CASMAT team conducted a comparative study between SMO and Van Nuys (VNY) using both airport WebTrak systems.  Van Nuys is the busiest general aviation airport in the world.  The results are referenced below.  We picked one week going backward from the time we started the study (Friday Sep 16) and gathered weather, loop, and takeoff data for both airports for the period 11 AM to 4 PM each day.

Bottom line, for the time period studied:

1) Over time, SMO has virtually the same number of pattern loops as VNY (the busiest GA airport in the world!), even though total traffic is only 2/3 of VNY’s.
2) SMO pattern loop percentage is much higher than VNY’s (51% vs. 34%).
3) Absolute count of SMO pattern traffic exceeds VNY’s on majority of days.
4) When SMO pattern flying is in full swing, it can drive total SMO traffic above that of VNY!  See data for Thursday.

Link to PDF: Santa Monica vs. Van Nuys – Pattern Flying