MHFC: How FAA’s NextGen Debacle is Impacting Portola Valley

United Airlines dominates the airline hub at [KSFO], and schedules too many arrivals in too little time. Arrivals from the LA Basin cause ATC to bend airplane routes, especially when also working San Jose [KSJC] arrivals from Seattle, Portland, and other Pacific Northwest locations. Arrivals are brought down to low altitudes, and their routes are widened out, often with long stretches of low & level flight. Here are three images (two KSFO arrivals and one KSJC arrival) showing the mess this creates over the Portola Valley area.
KSJC.20160407at1212.. ASA408 ARR from KSEA (flightaware)
KSFO.20160407at1214.. SKW5439 ARR from KSAN (flightaware)KSFO.20160407at1217.. SKW5243 ARR from KSBA (flightaware)

An incredible airshow: Michael Huerta’s Flying Circus.

20160408.. Michael Huerta's Flying CircusIn service to the airlines, FAA has carefully worked to bypass environmental review procedures while also embarking on a scheme to abandon wholesale decades worth of noise mitigation procedures. In their effort to increase ‘throughput’, turns are being made lower and closer to the airports, for both departures and arrivals. This would reduce fuel consumption by a small amount, but the savings are routinely more than lost when excessive airline scheduling necessitates that ATC must issue delay turns (even entire delay loops) during the enroute/cruise portion of the flight.

It is really a circus. ATCs work harder, and pilots also work harder. More delays are incurred, all so that FAA can justify increasing the repetitive-noise-pattern impacts on neighborhoods that previously had no aviation noise issues.