Data & Analysis – To Empower those seeking Transparency, Accountability & FAA Reform.
[KLGA] – An Aerial View of Flushing While on the Whitestone Climb
[KLGA]: An Aerial View of Flushing While on the Whitestone Climb
This is a neat video, fun to watch and less than four-minutes long … you may want to play it again. Plus, it helps to illustrate the problems NextGen is creating in residential communities, such as 400-year-old Flushing, on the west end of Long Island.
The Whitestone Climb was created decades ago to abate noise on Runway 13 departures. Pilots turn right to a 180 heading, then begin a left turn to a 040 heading once they reach a distance of 2.5-miles (see the arc marked ‘LGA 2.5DME’). This routing minimizes overflight of residential lands.
It appears that in September 2012, a passenger recorded the view out a left window of their commercial flight, while taking off from LaGuardia and doing a Whitestone Climb. At about two minutes, the video has a splice; the final minute-plus appears to be video shot from a small personal airplane.
The views are nice, and the music really fits (at least from this writer’s narrow west coast perspective!). But the video also subtly points out that an important aspect of air travel is the show outside – the bonus aerial sightseeing tour that passengers can enjoy with air travel. Or at least it used to be, before NextGen.
Airlines should be proud to share these views, which promote communities while also sparing residents the excessive noise impacts under more direct departure routes. And, circling around Flushing on a sunny day has got to be a visual thrill for most of the passengers, residents and visitors alike.
The Whitestone Climb, Frame-by-Frame
Below is a series of seven screen-captures pointing out some of the landmarks and discussing the Whitestone Climb. At the bottom, a pair of maps are added to help illustrate the full geographic context of Flushing and LaGuardia.
At time 0:19, near the departure end of Runway 13, starting a right turn to heading 180. The view is to the north-northeast and includes two bridges: Whitestone just left of center photo, and Throgs Neck near the right edge.
At time 0:34, while finishing the right departure turn. The view is now northeast. The large highway is the Whitestone Expressway. The bright blue wall on the left is New York Times Plaza.
At time 0:45, the flight is heading south over Citi Field and into the Flushing Meadows park area. The white buildings on the left are Sky View Center, with downtown Flushing behind. Roosevelt Avenue is to the north of Sky View Center; the Long Island Rail line is to the south.
At time 0:55, the flight has been heading 180 and climbing and has now reached the ‘2.5DME’ fix southeast of LaGuardia. A left turn is started to a new heading, 040. On the right half of the photo, the long band of fields and trees marks the Kissena Corridor Park.
At time 1:19, the view is now looking northwest, toward downtown Flushing in the upper left corner of the photo. The busy Long Island Expressway is along the bottom left half of the photo. The large diagonal road is Main Street, to downtown Flushing. On the right edge of the photo are numerous ballfields and Kissena Lake, in a generally forested area. Note the flight has now climbed high enough to substantially reduce the noise impact.
At time 1:39, the view is looking west-northwest. The ballfields in Kissena Corridor Park are at bottom center, with downtown Flushing beyond. Note that nearly every block is residential, grading from single homes to highrise apartments near the core of downtown Flushing, at Main and Roosevelt.
At time 1:50, the view is nearly due west. The departure end of LaGuardia’s Runway 13 is visible on the top edge, just right of center. The Whitestone route is clearly visible in this photo: the right turn over the water, the southbound climb over non-residential Flushing Meadows corridor, then the long left turn while climbing over the Long Island Expressway. The noise mitigation benefits are substantial.
New York City and vicinity (two airports: KLGA top center, KJFK bottom right)
Flushing and vicinity (click on image for satellite view of Flushing in a new window)
The end of 2019 is looking far better than the start of this very long year.
A few days before Christmas, eighteen elected representatives, from both the Senate and the House, sent the following letter to FAA Adminsitrator Stephen Dickson:
Click on the image below for a scrollable view of the international Press Release; the PDF file may be downloaded.
The letter makes reference to the 41-page Audit Report done by the DoT Inspector General and published last August (click here for a PDF copy, archived at page two of this Post).
An aiREFORM Analysis
Here are a few quick observations:
The Bicameral letter is excellent, but has one incorrect point in paragraph #2, where it repeats the oft-declared propaganda by FAA that Metroplex was introduced “…in order to make airspace more efficient.” FAA’s true reason for Metroplex was to achieve a giveaway for the airlines; they used Metroplex to do a wholesale removal of all previously existing noise mitigation procedures, so the airlines would no longer be encumbered with the ‘nuisance’ of having to reduce impacts below.
Again, Metroplex is NOT about efficiency. If Metroplex was about improving efficiency, would we not expect FAA to be deeply concerned about the gross inefficiencies of flying more and more passengers on longer overall trips, via major airline hubs? Would we not see FAA advocating for ticket prices (and fees) proportional to total direct-miles flown, and advocating for a steep aviation carbon tax?
True efficiency would be accomplished by ensuring the passengers are able to fly direct, one-hop flights from trip origin to trip destination. But, it behooves FAA and industry players to fly more passengers indirectly, via hub airports, as doing so artificially inflates enplanements, falsely suggesting a booming industry. And, more enplanements translates to more airport passenger fees, an attractive revenue generator for airport authorities like Port of Seattle and MassPort. This is a system rigged toward concentration, imposing a noise/health cost on local communities, and also undermining the viability of other airports within a few hundred miles of the emerging super-Hubs.
The Senators and Representatives are hopeful that FAA will start serving ‘We The People’, not just industry players. But FAA has a long history of arrogance, indifference, and aversion to accountability. This is the same ‘regulator’ that essentially let Boeing self-regulate the 737 MAX design that killed 346 in two horrific crashes, and was the last national regulator to ground this dangerous design.
So, what a year, right? So much has been revealed. So many individuals have persisted in their activism. Maybe, just maybe, in the coming New Year, we can see more growth in the support needed from those we elected to serve?
To serve ‘We the People’, not to serve the aviation corporatocracy.