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Airport Noise Limits

December 05, 1999

* "Cap Noisy Jets at Van Nuys," Nov. 21.

The facts in your editorial about Van Nuys Airport are right, but the conclusion is all wrong! You say that "the numbers show that the Fly Friendly program works more times than it doesn't." You say that "some repeat offenders [aircraft operators who exceed target takeoff noise levels] have cleaned up their records," citing one who "has not received a citation since July." You say that "of all the flights departing Van Nuys since February, only 8.4% exceeded the noise limits" and you conclude, based on all this positive information, that "the glass is far more full than it is empty."

Your editorial didn't note, as I discovered when I researched the Department of Airports report myself, that of those who do exceed the target noise limits, only a scant 7.5% are Van Nuys-based operators. That means that only 6 out of every 1,000 takeoffs is a Van Nuys-based aircraft that has exceeded the target noise limits.

The Fly Friendly program is working. The noise contour has shrunk, with the footprint around Van Nuys affecting a smaller area and fewer people. This is clearly due to the fact that Van Nuys-based aircraft operators have made concerted efforts to fly quietly over the San Fernando Valley.

Why punish the people making the greatest effort? The Department of Airports should instead embark on a full-scale effort to educate companies that use Van Nuys Airport but aren't based here. More than 90% of the noise violations come from non-Van Nuys-based companies. We can reduce noise at Van Nuys Airport by educating those companies about our expectations. We can continue to soundproof homes around the airport.

Let's take real steps to solve the problem instead of forcing those who are making an effort to improve bear the brunt of unwarranted and ineffective regulations.

EVELYN JEROME

Santa Monica

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