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October 27, 2018



Terrible noise tonight. Started around 5:30 and has been bad all night. 12:30 am now and probably going to be bad for awhile. I really hope she feels our pain.


2:30 and 2:45- big roaring booms.


4:30 am roar last night made me late for work and now late getting home. We don't need a study. We need action.


Lets face it all. We are at the Mercy of International Mega Corporations, backed by Banks; World Wide.
Maybe we should find a way to live with this horrible fact.
Reduce the value of homes/business effected, and give the owners large Tax breaks...
Very large Tax Breaks.

As well as make sure that anyone interesting in living under the Horror of SFO, Apartment dwellers included, be notified of the 24/7 noise prior to occupation.
Pacifica, San Bruno, San Mateo, etc.


1:30 and it’s like a contest to make the weirdest noise.


I know. What was that?

 It Don't Come Easy

All the more reason to bring back dirigibles.


3 am engine run-ups.

Charles Magnuson

I seem to be the only person who thinks railroad noise is a much bigger problem in Burlingame than airport noise.

Ted Yun

@Charles Magnuson -- no you're not, but this article is about the SFO Airport Noise. In fact, it is about a certain category of noise, which happens when the airplanes are taking off from Runways 1L & 1R and their engines are pointing directly at Burlingame.

There is a grassroots effort to pressure the airport into action. As far as I know, it was started by Sally Meakin, and through her advocacy, we are starting to see results.

To address the train noise, that has to go through a completely different battle with CalTrain, and probably at the Federal level as well. We need an advocate for that battle, and if you feel strongly about it, I encourage you to lead the charge.

I personally think that it wouldn't take much to establish the Quiet Zones at all the Burlingame crossings. When you read the requirements for a Quiet Zone, I believe the 4-zoned gates are eligible. What I've heard through rumors of those aware of previous attempts is that the City is concerned about liability issues if the trains do not sound the horns at the crossing. Ie., if there is a pedestrian collision, regardless of the reason, the city could be sued.

Also, I think the issue really only impacts people east of El Camino, whereas the runway noise impacts Bgame, Hillsborough and parts of San Mateo.

Nevertheless, I encourage you to lead the charge against train noise!


Thanks, Ted. You are right on the money. Charles, here are a couple of places where you can discuss the train noise:





It's not that no one cares--you are just not looking in the right place on the Voice. Use the SamTrans-Caltrain category link on the right frame to comment away!!


Here is an update from the SFOrunwaynoise.com team:

We want to update you on the first meeting of the Ground-Based Noise Subcommittee Meeting that was held last Thursday as part of the SFO Roundtable.

Peggy and Lynn were present at the Subcommittee Meeting as well as several other observers from our group, and we think great progress was made! It is clear that we have made our concerns heard (which is how a ground noise subcommittee was even created 😉) and it is also clear that the committee expects SFO to come to the table and work on this issue. While this post is a little long, we wanted to share and record items of interest and welcome input from others who attended the meeting.

Members of the subcommittee include the Roundtable representatives from Millbrae, Burlingame, Hillsborough, and Brisbane, as well as SFO Roundtable Coordinator James Castañeda, Linda Wolin from San Mateo Supervisor Dave Pine’s office, Bert Ganoung (SFO Noise Abatement Officer Manager, employee of SFO) and the SFO Roundtable Chair (representative from Atherton). Technical sound consultants from an engineering firm that works with airports were also present via conference call.

These are some of the highlights:

• Several sound studies have been done in the past, but none since 2001. Minutes from a previous meeting on this issue stated that further study of the low frequency rumbling noise need to be done. Yet this never happened.
• The group pressured SFO be prepared at the next meeting to present all of the physical site conditions and procedural changes that have occurred at SFO in the past 5 years that could possibly affect the increased noise level we are perceiving, including:
o Sound bouncing from new construction such as the terminal remodel, new buildings, etc.
o Changes in any barriers at the end of the runways
o Changes in where planes now take off after the installation of the engineered materials safety pads at the end of Runways 1L and 1R
o Changes in taxiing patterns, taxiway intersections, etc
• There was a long conversation about sound data collection. How SFO currently measures sound may not be a valid measure of sound “annoyance”.
o Noise measurements need to include low frequency rumbling and vibration, something not currently being measured.
o New sound monitors that can do this (called accelerometers) may be installed by the sound engineers and can better measure what we are actually hearing.
o In addition, SFO reports data as averaging, and we feel absolute sound measurements may be just as important and more revealing.
o SFO currently does not consider and actually throws out sound data that cannot be linked by their reporting system to a specific flight taking off. Additionally Bert confirmed/clarified that existing SFO noise monitors are intended ONLY to collect overhead noise from flights. We made it clear that sound levels need to be included if they originate from the airport whether they can be traced to a flight or not. SFO noise is noise from SFO!
• Remediation should be the goal. How can SFO diminish the sound from all causes that emanates from the airport into communities? This is where we will focus once the study results are returned. We also made it clear that we are not looking for remediation in the way of individual home retrofitting or soundproofing, but are looking for solutions that will ameliorate the ground-based noise impact on our all of our communities, both indoors and outdoors. This must start with changes AT the airport..

For a first meeting, a lot seems to have been accomplished. We will continue to announce these Ground-Based Noise Subcommittee Meetings so that you can attend if you’d like. While members of the public are officially observers at these events, we were pleasantly surprised that the chair Ricardo Ortiz of Burlingame consistently solicited opinions from our group and allowed us to ask questions during the proceedings. A big thank you as well to Linda Wolin (Legislative Aide from the County Supervisor’s Office) for keeping the welfare of the county’s residents at the forefront and actively advocating for us.


This is quite long, but is the needed indication that something might be happening:

8. SFO Roundtable Ground-Based Noise Ad-Hoc Subcommittee Proposed Scope of Work
Noise from ground-based operations at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) has a distinct adverse impact on the quality of life for communities adjacent to the airport. As such, ground-based noise (GBN) should be considered a separate and discrete problem from noise created by airborne aircraft, e.g., over-flight/in-flight noise.

There is a perception in the adjacent communities that GBN has increased in recent years, and that such escalation may be a result of factors other than those related to the FAA’s implementation of NextGen aircraft procedures including the NorCal Metroplex.

Scope of Work

The SFO Airport/Community Noise Roundtable (SFO RT) GBN Ad-Hoc Subcommittee shall be focused exclusively on GBN noise concerns. GBN sources include, but are not limited to, the following:
Aircraft application of power on takeoff (also known as “back-blast”)
Aircraft becoming airborne on takeoff (also known as “secondary back-blast”) Aircraft application of reverse thrust after touch down/arrival
Aircraft engine run-up/warm up procedures prior to departure
Aircraft taxiing, queueing and waiting
Aircraft use of Auxiliary Power Units (APU)
Vehicular and other noise sources on the airfield

The Subcommittee will initially focus on the collection of data to adequately define the problem, after which it will explore possible solutions and/or mitigations.

Research/Collection of Data
Initial research shall be divided primarily into the following three buckets. (Organization responsible for providing the information is indicated in parentheses.)
1. Infrastructure: Conditions and Procedures
a. Physical conditions at SFO and changes to physical conditions over past 5 years, including the following infrastructural features (Information to be provided by SFO)
• - Sound barriers/blast barriers/walls along western perimeter
• - Removal and or addition of structures and features at the south end of runways 1L/1R
• - Access road
• - New construction, including hotel and other structures
• - Fire station
• - Aircraft taxiing path – Installation of Engineering Materials Arrestor System
(EMAS): Is aircraft now farther away from barriers? If so, what impact does that have? Did EMAS installation result in any other changes in procedures?

2. Environmental conditions/Terrain (wind, mountains, etc) (Information to be provided by SFO)

3. Operational procedures (existing and prior) (Information to be provided by SFO)
o - Did taxiing path change?
o - What type/size/class of aircraft are being used? Do they produce different types of GBN, eg do they use less thrust?
o - Has the number of flights increased over time? And/or are existing flights more loaded with passengers? With heavier loads, does the noise increase?
o - Agreements between SFO and airlines regarding use of APUs
o - When are Noise Abatement Departure Procedures (NADP) used? Does the steeper climb have different GBN impact?

4. Impact of actions by actors others than SFO (Information to be provided by SFO)
o - Is there any airline behavior (eg APUs) that impacts ground-based noise?
o - Are there other actors (eg contractors for the hotel or terminal construction) that may have impact?

2. Metrics - Analyze current and historical noise monitor data for the past 5 years to obtain appropriately weighted noise data for ground-based events.
1. Existing data for GBN (Information to be provided by SFO)
o - What GBN data has SFO collected in past 5 years?
o - Is there data specific to Burlingame, Millbrae, and Hillsborough?
o - Is noise data correlated to a specific flight track? In cases where the data is not correlated to a specific flight track, is it maintained?
o - Noise level vs duration of noise
o - CalOSHA – does the state agency collect data on noise exposure for employees for worker safety?
2. Existing equipment used to collect such data (Information to be provided by SFO)
o - What equipment does SFO currently have in place, and what does it measure (relative to GBN or low-frequency noise)?
o - What new equipment is currently being procured (RFP in progress) and what will it measure?
3. Data and Studies on GBN from other airports/communities - what are the most relevant takeaways for SFO? (Information to be provided by HMMH)
o - HMMH 1998 study on Baltimore Washington Airport (BWI)
o - MSP 2000
o - FAA 2007 partner study
o - Wyle study on SFO (2001)
o - Any available studies on taxi noise?
o - Any available studies on use of APUs?
4. Equipment/measuring tools that may be needed in future (Information to be provided by HMMH)
o - Is there other technology out there that would help us better collect GBN data in the future?
o - Where are the ideal locations to site monitors for purposes of measuring GBN?
• - Frequency of west flow conditions that put Runway 01L/R in use
• - Changes in climate/atmospheric conditions that exacerbate noise
• - Other?

- Are “accelerometers” necessary?

3. Mitigation Options
1. What types of mitigation have been used elsewhere? (Information to be provided by HMMH)
2. Mitigation at the home vs mitigation at the airport
o - Alternative designs for blast barrier
o - Analysis of how sound waves bounce off structures and how they may be retrofitted to disperse sound waves.
o - What changes in procedure might help mitigate noise?
o - Does home-based mitigation impact perception of noise?
3. What further study is required to develop recommendations regarding mitigation?
Sub-Committee Schedule
The Subcommittee shall meet approximately every other month (on the alternating month with regular SFORT meetings)

Peter (Motorcycle Guy) Garrison

Note to Elon Musk: Millions to you if you invent noise canceling devices at the end of airport runways...


12:30 Loud, long boomers.
3:00 am General bang and clangs.


I heard both of these--and not happy about the 3 am one. Good news: we are scheduled for a class-action, small claims appearance in court on Feb. 13th. Hopefully that will get SF and SFO's attention.


On it!


Not so Silent Night, unholy night
Planes created fright
Round yon earplugs and pillow
Across our village noise does billow
Sleep in fitful peace


3:30 again. Jeez.
I’m right behind you, Joe, in court for March 2019.

Sally Meakin

Please catch up with our anti-runway noise progress at sforunwaynoise.com. 50 of your neighbors are involved in Round One of a mass (NOT “class” - huge difference) action in small claims appearances in Redwood City starting February 13. Inexpensive, informal, no lawyers. The second appearance with 10 more people is scheduled for March 13. Tomorrow we hope to schedule 10 more participants for March 15, and 10 more for March 18. One more appearance is likely for April. Observers allowed. We will ask the judge to order the City and County of San Francisco (SFO owners responsible for runway noise) to determine what caused the significant spike in noise starting about 3 years ago as well as award us a modest monetary amount for being subjected to a “public nuisance”. If the judge rules in our favor, we will commence Round Two that involves filing in the small claims division again and repeating the process. Forms can be mailed to you; I’ll file for you. This strategy has been successful in the past. Community informational meeting to be held Tuesday, January 15, 6 PM to 7 PM at the Burlingame Library on Bellevue and February 19 - same time and place. Keep in mind that SFO does not have to respond to politicians or outside studies and requests, but it must comply with its owner’s directives.


2 blasts from 2:30 to 3am.


Another at 3:34 am by my clock ;-(


Terrible runway noise last night starting around 11:15 and going for at least an hour.


Booming from around 12:30 to 1:30 am. Inside door rattling in its frame.


Do these sound events have anything to do with Weather..
i.e. Low Pressure/High Pressure, wind or lack thereof?
How about Day vs. Night?

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