Dear Administrator Babbitt and Chairwoman Hersman:
As you know, a small plane crashed at the east end of the runway at Santa Monica Airport (SMO) over the weekend. While no one was seriously injured, the plane ended up in an airport area adjacent to homes and office buildings.
The community is extremely fortunate that this accident was not more severe. As you may know, approximately 75 percent of the airport is surrounded by residences-some of which are less than 300 feet from the airport perimeter – and many of my constituents live in those neighborhoods. This near tragedy puts an exclamation point on concerns about safety at SMO that resident and I have expressed for many years.
SMO’s one runway was built decades ago and its safety areas, such as they are, are inadequate given that the risk to the surrounding community has continued to grow over the years with the development of new fleets and increased use of SMO by larger business jets.
As you investigate the specific causes of Sunday’s (August 2) crash, I urge you to do so in the context of overall safety issues at SMO and with an eye towards ensuring the residents and SMO personnel are well protected from future and potentially more devastating incidents.
I would be happy to discuss my longstanding concerns about SMO with you following the Congressional recess.