Video: Presentation on ‘Greener Skies’ air-traffic changes

The past two nights, the Federal Aviation Administration has held open houses as part of the environmental-assessment process of the flight-path/-procedure changes known as Greener Skies. Though the plan affects West Seattle, with more jets turning over Elliott Bay instead of farther north, neither of the meetings was in West Seattle – so we went to the one last night in Ballard, to at least get it on video (above) for anyone interested in commenting; the public-comment period runs for another week. The FAA contends that the changes will not mean a significant increase in noise – which is considered part of the environmental effects they’re assessing – for West Seattle. Take a look at this map to see the turn pattern over the bay, north of Alki and Admiral:

Some testing already has been under way, as The Seattle Times (WSB partner) reported in June. Alki Community Council president Tony Fragada has been following this and was at the open house last night:

You might recall from our coverage of Mayor McGinn‘s recent Town Hall meeting here that Fragada brought up the issue during Q/A. The mayor promised to look into it. We asked his spokesperson Aaron Pickus today what has transpired since then. His reply via e-mail:

The mayor directed his Office of Intergovernmental Affairs to connect with appropriate public offices, agencies and stakeholders to gather more information on this issue to determine the city’s options for addressing the Greener Skies proposal.

If you’re interested in commenting – September 14th is the FAA’s deadline. Contact information is here.

14 Replies to "Video: Presentation on 'Greener Skies' air-traffic changes"

  • BlairJ September 7, 2012 (8:41 pm)

    Will these changes to Sea-Tac flight patterns have any effect on the Boeing Field east-west small plane traffic over Highland Park?

  • resident September 8, 2012 (1:49 am)

    shouldn’t be too bad. landing planes are pretty quiet with the throttle down unless your right near the runway where they throttle up sometimes to adjust altitude for final approach. planes taking off rip the sky in half with the noise they make.

  • Faith4 September 8, 2012 (6:04 am)

    So does this mean we have more noise over here in addition to rattling trains & blowing train horns at all hours? + the other noise that has been discussed on WB. Here it is 6 AM and train horns have been blowing.

  • Heather September 8, 2012 (7:17 am)

    That was interesting – thanks for the video. It looks like w/ forecasted increased air traffic to Seattle the noise over Alki will increase by 1.5 decimals which should be, apparently, pretty imperceptible to the human ear. It looks to me like they are increasing flight pattern density and decreasing flight pattern spread on takeoff and landing.

  • JoAnne September 8, 2012 (8:21 am)

    Thanks for the video. I’m reading up on “optimized profile descent,” but it looks like a method that seems to work (save fuel, reduce noise) in at least a few other airports.
    Although the FAA guys sure didn’t come across very well to the Ballard neighbors.

  • Diana September 8, 2012 (8:32 am)

    Does anyone know what “Celak, Alkia, Heddr, Zornn” etc mean? These terms are listed on the flight path diagrams such as the one shown in the diagram above.

    I checked the website Acronym list but the terms are not listed?

  • Db September 8, 2012 (8:56 am)

    It’s funny how much people complain about airplane noise. Compare today’s high-bypass engines to the low-bypass engines of 15 years ago and there is a big difference. The 727’s of yesteryear were loud and smoky. Also, many modern airplanes can take off with reduced thrust when takeoff weight is less further reducing what noise remains.

  • Neighbor September 8, 2012 (11:24 am)

    The noise that this area has to live with is already making a good night sleep too much to ask for. The increased noise coming from the port the last few years is only beat by the increase in small aircraft flying right above our roofs. How many nights are we being woken up by a huge plane right on top of us? The are now flying craft on top of each other. Our windows are shaking!
    Ask the people who actually live on Pigeon Hill, and the eastern hill of Admiral. All day long we get low flying Boeing craft and now we are having Seatac planes NOT flying over the bay instead they are cutting right on top of these hills.Why should we be forced to suffer not only the plane but the enormous increase in port noise as well.

    We are also being asked to absorb (literally) all the pollution from the planes and the port. This is not fair. This is not equal distribution at all.

  • North End September 8, 2012 (3:24 pm)

    I agree with Neighbor being jolted awake by a very loud plane that sounds like it is not going to clear the roof is getting old and unfortunately too common. The route shows the path over water but too many of those planes are coming in south of he water.

  • metrognome September 8, 2012 (4:31 pm)

    Diana — the ‘acronyms’ seem to be arbitrary and made up by someone with a sense of humor. When pronounced, many are sports-related and in a row (FOOTT, GOALZ, SONDR), some are beverage-related (BREVE, COFAY), some may be related to computer gaming and some I haven’t figured out yet. There is some consistency; JAWBN is where flight patterns merge and each merge point is a different number (JAWBN is north of Seattle, JAWBN THREE is near Olympia.)
    If you look at the maps in this chapter, you’ll see the patterns.

  • miws September 8, 2012 (8:15 pm)

    “ZORNN” could be considered another football relted one.



    • WSB September 8, 2012 (8:35 pm)

      Re: the all-caps terms: Co-publisher Patrick Sand was at the meeting for WSB, and says those are designations corresponding to certain points where pilots check in … “waypoints” is how they’re described in the draft environmental assessment itself, per the place where Google landed me. Sample paragraph: “An additional three RNPs and one RNP-to-ILS would follow the path of the existing arrival procedure but use the new RNAV waypoints MARNR and MOONZ, the latter a few miles short of the existing waypoint ALKIA. At MOONZ, the RNP-equipped aircraft wouldmake a more gradual “S” turn than those on the DLTNN RNP, but essentially follow the same track from Harbor Island southward to land.” (Don’t ask me about the other acronyms.)

  • Dawson September 8, 2012 (8:36 pm)

    The names are mnemonics for waypoints that pilots and controllers use to set airplanes on certain paths. Folks in Pigeon Point are most likely hearing noise from the aircraft approaching Boeing Field. They,re also more likely the business jets going in and out as their engines are lower bypass ratios than the tranport size aircraft. A higher bypass ratio makes for quieter engines and also more efficient too.

  • Aaron September 9, 2012 (2:55 pm)

    I also agree with Neighbor and North End. The big noise I hear is almost always a UPS cargo jet taking off “ripping the air”. Basically, if I can hear it, I can see it, and it is over The ridge very low instead of out over the water.

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