FAA Ending Direct Ontario-Bound Lake Arrowhead Overflights December 5

The Federal Aviation Administration will initiate on December 5 the use of a new flight path that will divert air traffic away from directly over Lake Arrowhead.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the new flight path will be referred to as JCKIE TWO.
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, based on pre-set satellite navigation beams, 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, schools and businesses of Lake Arrowhead.
Lake Arrowhead residents found the resultant engine noise to be anywhere on the scale from mildly irritating to absolutely unbearable. There were 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 counts by residents put that number at closer to 80 per day. Furthermore, Lake Arrowhead residents said that an internet site, www.Planefinder.net documented planes flying as low as 1,640 feet above Lake Arrowhead.
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 an approach 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.
In January 2018, the FAA signaled that it was working toward making an adjustment in the flight path during evening hours. Either by chance or by intent, upon the one-year anniversary of the April 27, 2017 switch to the EAGLZ route, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) through its special programs office and regional administrator, Dennis Roberts, announced a change in nighttime flights was in the offing. At the beginning of May 2018, the Federal Aviation Administration made good on that commitment, and the later PM routes were in fact altered to alleviate the sound impacts to the community during evening hours, with Southern California’s terminal control center vectoring Ontario Airport’s nighttime arrivals onto a path east of the EAGLZ arrival route
Nevertheless, planes continued to fly almost directly over Lake Arrowhead during daylight hours.
While the nighttime adjustment was welcomed throughout the community, it was pointed out that several daytime flights at an approximate altitude of 7,700 feet continue to pass over 5,780-foot elevation Rim of the World High School, a clearance of some 1,920 feet, on a daily basis. Similar sound disturbances punctuate the day in Lake Arrowhead.
Earlier this month, FAA officials announced they had completed work on plotting a new flight path to address the remaining excessive sound issues in Lake Arrowhead.
“As part of the post-implementation phase of the SoCal Metroplex project, the FAA looked at designing a new route that could address community concerns while maintaining the project’s enhanced airspace safety and efficiency benefits,” the Federal Aviation Agency announced. “In May 2018, the FAA created a new arrival route for ONT [Ontario International Airport] called the JCKIE ONE, which is located east of Lake Arrowhead.” According to the FAA statement, “The JCKIE ONE could only be used between approximately 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. because it did not provide the necessary separation with the nearby DSNEE and ROOBY arrival routes, which serve John Wayne Airport and Long Beach Airport, respectively. The DSNEE and ROOBY routes are not used at night due to curfews at John Wayne Airport and Long Beach Airport. Therefore, the FAA was able to use the JCKIE ONE route at night.”
The FAA maintains, “After implementing the JCKIE ONE route, the Federal Aviation Administration continued to explore additional options to address community concerns about flights that use the EAGLZ flight path during the day. The FAA determined it could modify the JCKIE ONE route to create a route that could be used 24 hours a day. This route will be called the JCKIE TWO.”
The Federal Aviation Administration reported that “Aircraft that currently use the JCKIE ONE and the EAGLZ flight routes will be assigned to the JCKIE TWO at all times of day. It will provide both nighttime and daytime overflight reduction to the Lake Arrowhead community. The FAA conducted an environmental review of the JCKIE TWO flight path in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act. The FAA will post its documented environmental review once the JCKIE TWO is published. The FAA plans to publish and start using the JCKIE TWO on December 5, 2019. The FAA will cancel the EAGLZ arrival route when it publishes the JCKIE TWO. Implementing the JCKIE TWO will not change runway usage at ONT. The vast majority of aircraft will continue to land from east to west, on Runways 26L and 26R.”
Cook, Obernolte and Rutherford had meetings with Federal Aviation Administration officials to discuss the need for a permanent route change that would not disturb the Lake Arrowhead community. During the development of the new route, they networked with the Federal Aviation Administration to support the creation of a nighttime flight path away from population centers to reduce the impact of noise on the community.
Cook said, “I’m glad the FAA has heard the voice of my constituents whose quality of life has been affected by this issue. Since it was first brought to my attention, I’ve worked with Supervisor Janice Rutherford, as well as my colleagues in the House and Senate, to resolve this problem. I’d also like to thank David Caine and the entire Quiet Skies Lake Arrowhead group for their work and tireless advocacy.”
-Mark Gutglueck

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