FAA To Divert Night Flights From Over Lake Arrowhead

Nearly nine months after the Federal Aviation Administration rerouted aircraft headed to Ontario International Airport from the east into a flight path almost directly over Lake Arrowhead, it was announced this week there will be a forthcoming adjustment to that route during evening hours. That change is set to come this spring.
On April 27, 2017, the Federal Aviation Administration initiated its Southern California Metroplex Project, which was intended to increase the efficiency of the approaches into five Southern California commercial airports and reduce fuel consumption. The revised routing diverted westbound planes formerly headed to Ontario International Airport from their previous trajectory over the San Bernardino Mountains using Heaps Peak as a pass-over locus to the airspace above 5,100 foot elevation Lake Arrowhead. With those planes flying at anywhere from an elevation of 7,200 feet to 9,600 feet on what is referred to as the EAGLZ route, those planes passed somewhere between 2,100 feet to 4,500 feet over the homes and businesses of Lake Arrowhead.
Those living in Lake Arrowhead found the resultant engine noise to be anywhere on the scale from mildly irritating to absolutely unbearable. There are conflicting figures as to how many planes come into Ontario on the EAGLZ route daily, with the Federal Aviation Administration acknowledging an average of no fewer than 29. Anecdotal, and therefore unofficial, counts by residents put that number at closer to 80 per day.
In short order Lake Arrowhead residents began importuning their governmental representatives, ranging from Second District San Bernardino County Supervisor Janice Rutherford to Assemblyman Jay Obernolte to Congressman Paul Cook to U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, to seek a solution.
Lake Arrowhead resident David Caine formed the group Quiet Skies Lake Arrowhead, which redoubled those efforts and initiated a petition-gathering drive which netted 4,000 signatures on a resolution requesting the route to be changed. Some residents advocated legal action, which resulted in Rutherford and her representatives insisting that such action would not have a salutary effect, and might even harden the Federal Aviation Administration’s position. The Federal Aviation Administration maintained that it had served public notice of the Metroplex Project and the EAGLZ route in a way that was legally adequate, had engaged in public outreach and held information workshops, all ahead of making the change.
This week, on January 25, Federal Aviation Western-Pacific Region Administrator Dennis Roberts publicly announced that the FAA would compromise its commitment to Metroplex and EAGLZ by discontinuing the flights over Lake Arrowhead during evening hours.
Roberts said that in any event the planes never dropped below 9,000 feet as they were passing over Lake Arrowhead, putting them some 3,900 feet above the homes and businesses there.
Roberts intrepidly sojourned to Lake Arrowhead himself to make the announcement before a rather hostile crowd of some 220 people in a forum put on by the Lake Arrowhead Municipal Advisory Council.
Roberts said he hoped the nighttime flight changes could be instituted by April, a little less than a year after Metroplex and EAGLZ were put into place.

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