Santa Monica Siege Continues

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The Santa Monica Airport Commission says the controversial facility was the quietest it has ever been in 2010. In response to escalating neighborhood protests and a political assault from the Los Angeles City Council, the commission released figures Monday showing that the number of aircraft breaking the 95-decibel limit in 2010 was 20 percent of the total 10 years ago and the total traffic also decreased significantly. According to the commission report, there were 116 instances where departing aircraft broke the limit in 2010 compared to 538 in 2001 and in that time total operations have dipped from 148,000 to 105,000, The commission released the report a day after an Earth Day protest drew a couple of dozen placard-waving people calling for an end to the lead emissions from piston aircraft and a few days after the L.A. City Council called on the FAA to ban flight schools from the field.

The uptick in complaints comes a couple of months after a federal court ruled the that FAA has sole jurisdiction to regulate activity at the facility. FAA spokesman Ian Gregor told the Lookout News so-called safety concerns about the training activity are unwarranted, noting a recent accident used by some to support the flight school ban involved an experienced commercial pilot and not a student. The Earth Day protest attracted some local media attention, with those being interviewed saying they were concerned about the lead emissions and their effect on the health of neighboring residents. AOPA called city council's resolution "political grandstanding."