It is the weekend of October 16 and all is quiet in Sunset Park, (for the most part anyways). As I sit in my home office, there is something amiss and then it dawns on me, it is overcast and cloudy with a slight mist in the air and I am not hearing the incessant whine and roar of airplanes taking off from Santa Monica Airpot. There is the occasional jet and prop taking off, maybe one every 20 to 25 minutes. This is a far cry from the average weekend when the sun is shining and there can be upwards of 20 to 25 takeoff and landings per hour.
Part of the reason for this is because of the flight school students practicing takeoffs and landings in prop planes. They will take off initially to the west, turn south and circle over Mar Vista returning to the east end of the field, and will continue doing this for eight to 10 cycles. In essence, one flight becomes eight to 10 and starts when the schools and runway open and continue throughout the day. In between, we have the louder jets taking off at full power, not having any consideration to power back after take off, some do but very few.
At last count, there are 17,000 homes in Sunset Park and Ocean Park, at a bare minimum, that represents over 40,000 people, give or take a few. There are five to six flight schools at SMO and are here for a reason, location, location, location as it has easy access for their clients/students.
Now imagine for just a moment the flight schools being located in a less populated area along with the class C and D jets no longer being permitted to use SMO. If this were the case, more than 40,000 residents could enjoy every day like Saturday and Sunday October 16 and 17 with considerably less noise and pollution (five to six flight schools and 40,000 people, not counting Venice and Mar Vista – Do The Math).
We have lived here for over 33 years and can remember the “Sounds of Silence,” complete silence with exception to the occasional plane taking off, but that was before the jets and the increasing number of flight school arrivals and departures along with the privately owned prop and turbo prop planes.
There are those who say, just move if you don’t like the noise. Have they looked at what housing prices are today? With the decrease of home values overall, coupled with the “Airport Noise and Pollution Factor,” homes in Sunset and Ocean Park are less likely to sell – never mind at a reasonable and fare price. Both realtors and lending institutions are now taking this into account. When you come down to it, SMO is costing me money!
This past weekend was almost as nice as when the airport was closed for four days last month and the forecast promises for more clouds and overcast in the coming days.
I never thought I would see the day come when I would look forward to overcast skies in Santa Monica so that I could enjoy “The Sounds of Silence.”
Lloyd Saunders, Santa Monica