New Jet Path Breaks the Quiet

Beginning in March, mountain residents noticed a new highway in their neighborhoods – a highway in the sky for jets.  The mountain quiet of the upper Zayante and Summit areas of Santa Cruz County has been shattered as a consequence of a change in commercial airline flight paths to Bay Area airports.

Called “Next Gen,” the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has instituted a restructuring of airspace throughout the nation.  Next Gen’s purpose is to improve the efficiency of a “metroplex” of airports by optimizing aircraft arrival and departure procedures at a number of airports, including San Francisco International, Oakland International, Sacramento International, and San Jose Mineta International Airports.

An environmental assessment indicated that there would be no noise issues with this new path, and there were no indications of a problem.

However, many residents, primarily in the mountains, say there are big problems — jets flying overhead about every five minutes and unnerving noise that can be heard indoors, from morning till midnight.

To add to the new noise, the jets flying over Santa Cruz County are readying for landing, lowering their flaps, making it even louder as they pass overhead.  The new flight path has concentrated about 300 flights a day over a very small area – about a three mile radius.

I am working with residents to identify some strategies that can be taken to the FAA to change the pathway.  I will also be working with Congressman Sam Farr and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo to find ways to alleviate the impacts.  If you are experiencing problems, please let me know of the impacts in your neighborhood at:

Also, please report your experience to