Much of the Tuesday night City Council meeting was devoted to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) presentation of all the things it would do to make the Santa Monica Airport safer in lieu of doing the one thing the City and Sunset Park and Mar Vista residents wanted it to do: ban big jets.
The FAA’s Associate Administrator for Airports Kirk Shaffer began by describing three operations improvements: moving the runway hold line, installing a new area navigation departure system, and adding a pilot education program focusing on the configuration of Santa Monica Airport and “the friendly neighbor program.”
The balance of his presentation was devoted to the FAA’s proposal for “runway safety.”
First, it would install a 250-foot, 70-knot Engineered Materials Arresting System (EMAS) at the west end of the runway (Runway 21), “the primary departure end.”
Second, it would establish a “clear distance” on the east end of the runway (Runway 3).
Third, it would designate “Runway Protection Zones,” and the City would buy the 15 to 20 houses in the most “critical areas” assuming their owners were willing to sell.
After an extended public hearing and discussion, during which virtually everyone found the FAA proposal inadequate, and reiterated the community demand that big jets be banned.