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)
Airport officials at Santa Monica are in the process of creating ‘Minimum Standards for Commercial Aeronautical Service Providers. These standards can ensure that all potential operators are fairly treated when and if the airport authority denies certain operations. Last week, Airport Director Stelios Makrides issued a statement that the deadline for comments has been extended to June 21st. (click here for an archived copy)
Santa Monica is a very unique airport. It should have been allowed to close down years ago, but FAA has obstructed the will of the local community, solely to protect aviation interests who insist on using this deficient airport facility. How is it deficient? Just take a look at the satellite images and airport map, and note how closely the nearby homes and yards stand, relative to the runway. At Santa Monica, people have had their lawn furniture blown over by the blast from departing jets; REALLY!!
The runway was shortened last year, but now the City is failing to impose needed standards that block unsafe operations by jets and commercial operators. Aviation money appears to be impeding their judgment.
Santa Monica is also notable as an airport where FAA lawyers managed to convince the local elected officials to ‘settle’ legal differences with an inexplicable agreement to extend the life of the airport. Money talks, and rumor has it the elected officials were tired of spending so much money on legal services, trying to exercise their rights against FAA’s industry-serving will. You got it: our money, collected by FAA from we the taxpayers, and spent as FAA sees fit, is arbitrarily used to impede meaningful LOCAL CONTROL by compelling our own elected officials to use our money (local taxes, this time) to fight FAA in the courts.
Below is a copy of a recent letter by Gavin Scott, posted at NoJetsSMO. He summarizes what he observed at the June 5th Airport Commissioner’s Meeting. He also advocates – strongly – for people to submit their own comments right away, before the chance is gone.
Click on the image below for a scrollable view; the PDF file may be downloaded.