Santa Monica City Manager Rod Gould and City Attorney Marsha Moutrie will travel to Washington, D.C. next week to meet with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials to discuss flight school operations and safety at Santa Monica Airport (SMO).
It is part of a three-step action plan established by the City following the Aug. 29 crash of a single-engine Cessna after taking off from SMO.
Gould would not release the travel dates, but confirmed the trip would take place next week.
“We’re very concerned about the crash that occurred a week and a half ago, and we’re turning over every stone to see what leverage we have in regards to flight schools,” Gould said. “One of those stones is to go talk directly face-to-face with the FAA, and that’s the important thing and that’s what we’re doing next week.”
The City alone cannot restrict flight school operations outside the Santa Monica Municipal Code, Federal Air Regulations, or provisions of their respective lease agreements.
Secondly, City staff has begun a review of flight school leases to ascertain what flexibility they have in relation to their operations.
Finally, City staff will meet with flight school operators to discuss strategies to lessen their impact on the community.
Martin Pastucha, City of Santa Monica Public Works Director, said there were six flight school operators at the airport.
“There’s ongoing discussions certainly all the time about operation issues that relate to being good neighbors, and how to operate within the confines of the restrictions at the Santa Monica Airport,” he said.
He said the meetings with the flight school operators would occur in the near future.
“Obviously you are dealing with a lot of different people’s schedules and trying to set that meeting up,” he said. “It’s something that’s very important to us and it will be happening sooner than later, you can be sure of that.”
National Transportation Safety Board senior investigator Wayne Pollack said the preliminary report for last Monday’s non-fatal crash at Santa Monica Airport would be released on the NTSB website today.
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