Quiet Skies Idyllwild will hold a public meeting from 10:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 2 at Town Hall. The event will commemorate March 2, 2017 — the day the Federal Aviation Administration implemented new flight arrival and departure procedures at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The new procedures resulted in a new route that directs upwards of 250 audible commercial jets over Idyllwild on a daily basis. Speaking on behalf of the group, David Pearson said, “We lost a large part of our tranquility on the Hill that day.”
More than a dozen individuals, including musicians, business- and rental-property owners, hikers, new residents, and a naturalist, forester and aerospace engineer will discuss the impact of the FAA’s implementation of the new flight path. Attendees will be able to share their opinions, ideas and experiences during an open mic and participate in goal-setting for the remainder of the year.
The public meeting also will feature a demonstration of “over-flight noise,” informational handouts and the song “Quiet Skies Idyllwild,” written and performed by local musician-songwriter Terri Jo Stratton. The group will note its progress since its inception in May 2018.
As a part of the program, Field Representative Peter Carlstrom will speak on behalf of Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D., who shared his concerns with the FAA regarding noise pollution and sleep loss in June 2018.
“As a physician, I cannot emphasize strongly enough the importance of sleep to a person’s overall health. Lack of a consistent sleep can result in reduced energy, changes in mood, and compromised immune system function, and an also make one more prone to serious medical conditions such as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.”
At the group’s Feb. 18 meeting, Idyllwild resident Pamela Mayfield said she is “sleep deprived. I get woken up at all hours in the morning with airplanes flying over. I think I get the worst of the singing-bowl effect of [the mountain ridges surrounding our communities] and the reverberation of [jet engine] noise from the over-flights.”
Musician-songwriter and Pine Cove resident Jeff Hixon emailed the FAA Noise Ombudsman at 4 a.m., July 31: “… more than 35 noisy jets [are] flying over my mountain home … since 9 p.m.,” he wrote.
“The noise reverberates for … minutes, and then moments later, another one flies over. Then another … and another … and on and on. These constant flights are destroying our peace and happiness.”
The FAA Ombudsman responded in a form-letter Feb. 4, 2019. The Agency did not find any significant impacts to people, historic properties, parks or other applicable environmental resources when it completed its environmental analyses.
QSI members disagree with FAA’s assessment. It conflicts with QSI member observations and technical assessments which show, “The jets come in swarms … and are still climbing at 30,000 feet above sea level when they reach Idyllwild. Their engines are roaring and the sound from each overflying jet reverberates between two and three minutes. Ninety-five percent of the over-flights are east‐bound departures from LAX. On a typical day, these flights begin before 5 a.m. and last until 2 a.m.”
Mayfield also described being “really annoyed while recently hiking Idyllwild’s Ernie Maxwell Trail. I made about 15 complaints to LAX’s complaint department during my half-hour hike.
“Maybe it wasn’t a good idea to bring my cell phone … but the more complaints LAX receives [from us] the better it is for Quiet Skies.”
According to David Pearson, the group “has not found any record of the Idyllwild community being notified, nor even considered by the FAA during the planning [and] … implementation” of the new flight path.
The Quiet Skies Idyllwild team meets from 3 to 4 p.m. the first and third Mondays of each month at Café Aroma. For more information, email [email protected].