Interesting Reader Comments Submitted to AOPA’s Blog Post about Santa Monica Airport

Note: the collection of 31 comments is copied below, from the webpage. Minor edits were added by Most comments are ‘pro-airport’ (commenter name in red), but six comments are ‘pro-local control’ (commenter name marked in green). The two comments with commenter name in black are considered ‘neutral’.

Comments for this thread are now closed.

CT • 7 days ago

They have refused to allow longer than month to month leases for some, while issuing other non aviation businesses multi year leases, in direct violation of the equal protection clause. We need the FAA to rule on the Form 16 before them so it can go to the courts once and for all.

Nick Tarasiuk reply to CT • 6 days ago

I think it’s time to boot City Council for their sheer ignorance and stupidity! What a waste of time, effort and money! There’s obviously one or more council members that stand to make a handful of money by pushing this ridiculous idea!

alanlev • 6 days ago

It does not seem the author attended the meeting that is being reported on. The point of the meeting was to focus on areas that were most broken and needed fixing. The airport was one of the top three. The airport no longer serves the city. It has become a jet and turboprop airport that conveniently serves the wealthy who do not want to deal with LAX. It was never designed to be used in this manner and poses a risk to pilots, passengers and those living next to a runway with NO safety zones or RPZs.
Look at an aerial photo and see for yourself.

CT reply to alanlev • 6 days ago

Not true.
The City has actively sought to strangle the airport out of existence through discriminatory leasing policies and creation of city ordinances to reduce traffic as well as other tactics.
Santa Monica Airport is far less dangerous than any of the surrounding highways, a fact the city and the anti airport folks choose to ignore.
The harsh truth is that the city entered into agreements to keep the airport as an operating airport forever and the time to challenge that agreement has long expired. Still though, the city insists on this course of waste and sheer stupidity.
Sooner or later, we will wrest control of the airport away from the city once and for all.
This airport is not going anywhere.

Thomas Slater reply to alanlev • 6 days ago

“The airport no longer serves the City…” I bet all the folks who work at the airport agree with you… not to mention all the tax money the City collects on the aircraft based there. Also agree with your intelligent statement about “jets and turboprops using the airport — you know THE RICH PEOPLE”. Back in the 1940’s when they had scheduled DC 3’s service the folks were saying the same thing. At least do a little research. Airports have runways and there primary use is not drag racing, car shows or flea markets — it aircraft operations, you know like takeoffs and landings. Then there is your valid concern about safety. I bet it was those stupid pilots who voted to let all that housing be built in the runway approaches… and ignored FAA’s flight safety policies and regulations about having homes and roads in the RPZ. Yeah… those darn pilots. Our city council would never allow such. I wonder how many of those homes and adjoining residences were there when the airport was opened in 1913? How about this headline in the SM Daily Press…” Council Votes to Expand Airport” including the acquisition of properties to clear approaches and safeguard the longevity of one of the most valuable City assets. If you want to find blame — I’d recommend you start with City Council.

James Placke reply to Thomas Slater • 5 days ago

Your absolutely right about those greedy rich people, the real estate developers
who could care less about the people who bought these houses. As was mentioned earlier these evil rich people who ignored the FAA right of way guide lines looked no further than their wallets to the detriment of residents not only around SMO, but around other airports around the country as well.

Waclaw Jerzy Borken-Hagen reply to alanlev • 5 days ago

Practicing your “class envy” routine again? Sorry, but It is not factual.

Scritti Politti reply to alanlev • 5 days ago

“convientently serves the wealthy who do not want to deal with LAX. It was never designed to be used in this manner”
And it isn’t. Regurgitating this lie over and over doesn’t make it true.
Let’s call out the hypocrisy: If you can afford a home in Santa Monica, you ARE the wealthy. And the whining airport neighbors are looking to get wealthier at the public’s expense, by stealing a valuable resource from the rest of us in hopes of boosting their property value.

David Hopkins • 6 days ago

Alanlev’s post is factually incorrect.
1. KSMO serves the city to the tune of 1,500 jobs and $250m in annual economic activity. See 2011 City of Santa Monica sponsored Study conducted by the Rand Corporation.
2. The vast majority of aircraft using SMO are small propeller driven aircraft. See airport traffic numbers on SMO website. In a typical day, only around 40 jet-powered aircraft a day use SMO, generating around 10 minutes of jet noise per day, between 7am and 11pm.
3. SMO was originally designed for light airplanes and then upgraded during and after World War II to accommodate heavy piston-powered and jet aircraft.
4. SMO is not alone in being surrounded by residential areas. See KTOA, KHHR, KMDW among many other examples in the US.
5. Airport transportation risk is orders of magnitude lower than surrounding Santa Monica roads. Santa Monica streets see around 5-10 road deaths in an average year, see City Police statistics for last 20 years. The city’s worst transportation disaster was on the farmers market tragedy in 2003 with ten killed and eighty injured. In the last 98 years of SMO operations, only one Santa Monica resident on the ground has died, who was not an aircraft pilot or passenger.
The economic, safety, emissions and community benefit facts overwhelmingly support SMO’s continued operation as a community, state and national airport asset.

Jeff Lewis reply to David Hopkins • 6 days ago

I won’t question the many points you make that appear to be unsupported by facts, but do ask you clarify on one point: how could 40 jets per day POSSIBLY generate only ten minutes of noise? Taxi time alone would average roughly 80-160 minutes per day, don’t you think?
Perhaps, too, you are not aware of the enormous air pollution impact upon homes literally ‘through the fence’ from the runup areas, and how ATC-related extended holds for release cause this health issue to be magnified. This is not just about noise, but also about jet fumes (and soot, etc.), and ALSO about that other bugaboo FAA has totally failed to fix: the use of lead in AvGas for the non-jets.
So, I thank you in advance if you will please clarify: what do you REALLY (and fairly) estimate would be the total time per day that airport neighbors at KSMO endure jet noise and fumes, on a typical SoCal day and on the assumption there are 40 arriving jets and 40 departing jets?

SEL Pilot reply to Jeff Lewis • 6 days ago

The impacts of KSMO that you delineate pale in comparison to those of the I-10. I would think you’d go after the biggest polluter first, no?

Bernard Franckowiak reply to Jeff Lewis • 5 days ago


Jeff Lewis reply to Bernard Franckowiak • 4 days ago

Or, alternatively, which was first: the residences or the BizJets? You do realize, Bernard, that MANY on both sides are seeing a viable compromise that simply grants the local authorities REAL local control to shorten the runway, preserve a zone in the predominant overrun area (while allowing some local park development, too), and accommodate continued use by small GA? The argument is that the community would be far better served – and far LESS IMPACTED – if simply the bizjets used VNY, LAX and other nearby airports that are way below past traffic levels. In the context of the current OAPM process, the argument extends still further to note, jet closure of SMO would enhance efficiency and functionality of LAX.

Richard reply to Jeff Lewis • 2 days ago

Piston aircraft burn 100 octane low lead. The lead is there to prevent detonation. (The pinging you’d hear in your car can’t be heard inside an airplane and the only indication is an increase in engine temperatures) Jet aircraft burn kerosene. If you’ve taken note or were alive in the 1960’s and 1970’s, jet aircraft used to exhaust huge flumes of black smoke, the product of unburned fuel. Jet engines produce very little smoke if any now due to the improvements in jet engine technology. What about all the noise and pollution generated by the buses, trucks, cars that run 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Not to mention all the folks who feel it’s their right to deposit their trash on the streets rather then in an appropriate receptacle. Daily airport operations are 975 per 12 hour period. 40 arrivals and 40 departures per hour. There is a curfew in place too. 11:00 pm to 7:00 am Monday thru Friday and 11:00 pm to 8:00 am Saturday and Sunday. I don’t get the hoopla over the airport when compared with what goes on 24 hours a day in the city. City council sounds like a bunch of left wing hacks with a political agenda. Maybe even someone on the council has a financial interest with a developer if they can get the airport closed. Sorry your argument doesn’t add up.

CRAAP reply to David Hopkins • 6 days ago

Your post David is factually incorrect, and the real facts that you use are employed in a very deceptive fashion. The airports you site are not nearly as close to homes as SMO. Your credibility about this statement alone is questionable.

Gavin Stokes reply to CRAAP • 5 days ago

It doesn’t matter. You move to an airport, you deal with it. You don’t try to steal it from the public.

CRAAP • 6 days ago

Denial to admit that SMO is a threat to the public health of its neighbors has gone on for decades. Closing the airport would better serve the Los Angeles area.

Georg Kustermann reply to CRAAP • 5 days ago

Mr. Craap and other complaining neighbors (and council members?) actually are the greedy main beneficiaries of this attempt. They knew very well they’re buying property in proximity of an airport because they’re probably not deaf and they paid well below market prices – getting rid of that alleged and conveniently “suddenly appearing public health threat” is the best way for them to make large gains.

Ian C • 6 days ago

It is time for the FAA to step in and claim eminent domain and evict homes around the airport that complain that the airport is there. If you don’t want a home close to an airport, don’t buy/build a home close to an airport. The airport was there first. If you are really that concerned about pollution why don’t you try to close down the 10 and 405 Freeway

Charles Swim reply to Ian C • 5 days ago

I can’t believe how many people have purchased homes in close proximity to the airport and then complained to close the airport. Greed. Buy low, close airport, sell high. The many Freeways produce more pollution and more noise.
For the record, I visited SMO for the first time ever this August. I am from the east coast. It is the most beautiful Airport I have been to ever… I brought my airplane and family to Santa Monica. I stayed in a hotel in SMO. I spent my money in SMO. I was there a week. I also made sure to make a purchase of a lovely aviation related clock at the gift shop on the airport. I am by no means “wealthy” I am just a professional pilot on vacation. I am glad I chose SMO. I’ll be back.

SEL Pilot • 6 days ago

To anyone doing business at KSMO, come on over to Ventura County. We’ve got three GA airports and would love to have you!

thomasboyle • 5 days ago

If the FAA is serious about keeping the airport open, it will wind up with no option but to take back ownership, either using the fact that the city seeks to renege on its original agreements, or through condemnation/eminent domain. Otherwise, this airport – and after that, others located in urban areas, once the precedent is set – will close. Conversely, if the Feds take back this airport, a lot of cities that would now like to develop airports as housing may change their minds. But that’s where this will wind up: either the Feds take the airport back, or they don’t. Trying to force an unwilling city to operate the airport is a waste of time and effort.

C J D’Antonio • 5 days ago

A lot of emotion expressed here ranging from Greed to stupid people buying in proximity to the runway, safety, pollution and other reasons to close it. So I would like to put in my 2 cents worth. I was raised in Santa Monica went to Samohi. Married and my children were born there. In 1947 my friends and I would ride our bikes from 9th and Arizona to the airport fence and watch the Cubs, Aeronca’s, Porterfield’s (Ask Berry Schiff) and DC 3’s fly. Some war birds too. Then we called it Clover Field; Got a summer job at Douglas. It was a great time and the Airport was an integral part of Santa Monica life. Today I’m wondering how many City Council members were born in Santa Monica or how recently they moved there to make such dire attempts to close it. They have no clue about it’s heritage, how long time residence feel and what it means to the City.
In 1998 my 7AC Champ won best in class at Watsonville. I flew it into SMO remembering that kid at the fence in 47′ So that’s my emotional imput for what it’s worth. I,m hoping it stays open for other fence kids.

Ben W • 5 days ago

Of course the airport comes before the homeless! Why would Santa Monica want to shelter the homeless in the perfectly good hangars that are providing much needed shelter to our privately owned jets? Just because it’s publicly owned land owned by Santa Monica, that does not give them the right to adaptively reuse the hangars to shelter the homeless, instead of private aircraft. What a joke!

Jesse Allred reply to Ben W • 4 days ago

I just hope it all works out between the neighbors surrounding the airport and folks that work at the airport. Folks we are losing our public use airports each and everyday. Once its gone, its gone and not coming back. Then some will say, darn we use to have an airport.

Rick Schell • 5 days ago

Has anyone looked at the property owners around the airport and checked whether those individuals are on the city council? Also, it would be interesting to know when they started to acquire the property. Perhaps some council members have an interest in a development company. At a minimum those council members need to recuse themselves from any discussions regarding the airport. I assume to do otherwise would be a violation of the law. Something is wrong here and it’s not the airport.

CT reply to Rick Schell • 4 days ago

Yes, One of the City Council members stands to garner a 25% increase in property value if the airport is closed. Of course he won’t recuse himself from the proceedings.
The simple truth of this whole mess is that the folks who want the airport closed are not genuinely interested or concerned about anything more than seeing an increase in their property values. Sure they claim its environmental, or safety issue or any of a hundred other excuses. However at the end of the day, anyone with an ounce of common sense sees right through that and recognizes its about increasing their own property value.
Almost all of them are perfectly fine with enacting noise abatement procedures to take the air traffic over minority neighborhoods rather than their own as well. Its really interesting to watch them scramble about in their futile efforts to line their own pockets.
The harsh truth for them is that they have lost at every single turn with the courts because what they are seeking to do is illegal and/or in violation of the agreements the City entered into decades ago with regard to the airport.

Jeff Lewis reply to CT • 4 days ago

My understanding is that the locals who oppose the ongoing noise, lead and particulate pollution (sourced primarily from increasing bizjet activity, as well as GA flight instruction) are winning the popularity contest and electoral process (e.g., Measure LC), but losing most times at the courts and within FAA’s arbitrary administrative processes. That seems not to be ‘losing at every turn’, but indicative of a rigged system, and a regulatory agency that is captured, serving the industry and not the larger public interest.
I’ve been watching the SMO City Council and they appear to be better than most similar entities in U.S. cities. Appear to be far more concerned about public welfare than the norm. No matter their concerns, though, they are stuck dealing with an intransigent agency, FAA. The situation seems akin to Mr. Huerta letting his kids lock themselves inside a public restroom for hours, playing with the water while everyone else lines up (and pressures up) waiting to use the toilet.
Tell you what, CT. Show me some credible evidence that ‘One of the City Council members stands to garner a 25% increase in property value if the airport is closed’, and I will happily join you in railing against a clear abuse of authority. At the same time, I hope you will find it in your heart and mind to join me in saying: “Hey, FAA, start doing your job and serving the WHOLE PUBLIC, not just the airlines and interest groups.”

Daniel Jenkins • 5 days ago

Putting airport control ahead of the homeless??? What an insensitive, horrible thing to do. It’s easy to see the type of people in city government there. For what it matters, I no longer support their efforts to save the airport.

Daniel Cheung • 5 days ago

In a surprise development, the CA Aircraft Expo is approved to be held at SMO October 2-3! http://www.californiaaircrafte…

Andrew Kopetzky • 4 days ago

Have there been meetings between the residents and reps of the airport to iron out some of these differences? Non-confrontational meetings?!
All I see are CRAAP people vs ‘the airport was here first’ arguments with no real progress, except that the City Council and (probably out-of-area) developers are all licking their chops, waiting for its closure.
The incoming jets can possibly be limited to the less noise-producing variety and Shell just announced that it has a lead-free av gas in development.
If the the airport-generated pollution is as bad a threat to public health as stated then what is the level of pollution surrounding LAX?
Like SMO, LAX is surrounded by residences on approaches and run up areas.
SMO has an enviable safety record as airports go, is a great place to take kids for ‘hangar flying’ and contributes to the local economy with jobs and ancillary businesses.
It is a place where young people can learn a trade related to aviation-an industry where specialized jobs will be in very short supply.
After it’s closed building height restriction will be lifted and the residents who complained about the airport will be surrounded by high rises and more noise, congestion and pollution from construction. Can’t wait to see what area traffic will be like then.
For the record I am a student pilot and have flown out of nearly all the small area airports. SMO is a nice place to meet and greet and doesn’t have the junkyard atmosphere that is present in other fields.
I hope it stays open and there can be an understanding between residents (not politicians) and the airport.