Can't you demand that these pilots not fly over this neighborhood?
No. In accordance with the Federal Preemption on Airspace regulation (49 U.S.C. 40101), the FAA has exclusive authority in regulating airspace over the United States and prescribes air traffic regulations on the flight of aircraft.
Although staff makes pilots aware of the impact that overflights have on the residential community and asks that such overflights be avoided, safety permitting, the City does not have the authority to address or act upon aircraft in flight. Therefore, all of Livermore's noise abatement procedures including the restraint from night flying policy are requests to pilots, and hence, are voluntary in nature.
Does Livermore have a curfew like other airports have in place? If not, why?
Livermore does not have any noise restrictions, curfews or ordinances in place.
Very few airports in California have curfews and those were established prior to the adoption of the Airport Noise and Capacity Act of 1990. Since the passage of that federal legislation, it has become virtually impossible to establish a curfew at a public airport. While there is officially a process (e.g., Part 150, Part 161 studies) that can be used to establish a curfew, to date the FAA has not approved the establishment of a new curfew.
The FAA's and the state's basic criteria for noise compatibility planning is defined by extent of the 65 CNEL noise contour. An airport is legally considered as "noise sensitive" when the 65 CNEL noise contour reaches into residential areas. (This is not to imply that residents are not disturbed within the 60 CNEL or 55 CNEL noise contours.)
Livermore has considerable buffer zones beyond the end of each runway that contain the 65 Community Noise Equivalent Level (CNEL) noise contour well within the boundaries of the airport, even in 2020 with the forecast 370,000 operations. Since Livermore does not meet the basic criteria, the FAA will not support or fund a Part 150 noise compatibility study, nor permit that any access restrictions be implemented.
What actions can the City take to regulate or control aircraft operations?
As the attached document illustrates, local control over airport and aircraft operations has been limited severely by Federal law. (Click here to download pdf document. )
What is the Airport doing to address aircraft noise and noise complaints?
Staff continues to work with pilots and flight instructors to communicate the need to apply quiet flying techniques and follow local noise abatement procedures. Staff also disseminates noise abatement procedures and requests adherence to the "Voluntary Restraint from Night Flying Period" via monthly tenant newsletters, pilot and instructor meetings, pilot flight planning web sites and guides, letters to pilots, and direct calls to pilots based on noise complaints.
After approval by the Airport Advisory Commission, staff installed new noise abatement signs in September 2002. The new signs graphically depict noise sensitive areas to ease pilot interpretation. The replacement of the old noise abatement signs was also a recommendation made in the “Livermore Municipal Airport Altitude and Noise Study” initiated by the City of Pleasanton and completed in May 2003.
Airport staff receive and log aircraft noise complaints. Anyone calling to file a noise complaint should state their name and address, the time the aircraft was observed and, if possible, a brief description of the aircraft (e.g., color, number of engines, low or high mounted wings, etc.). A daytime phone number should be provided if a return call is desired. Based on the complaint details, staff may request the FAA Tower to assist in identifying the aircraft in question. It is important to note that FAA Tower personnel are solely responsible for the safe separation of aircraft and hence, noise complaints should be directed to Livermore Airport staff and not the FAA. Because of noise complaints, Airport staff has been able to identify aircraft and, on certain occasions, has contacted pilots directly.
Where can I find information about the Livermore Municipal Code?
The Airport Rules and Regulations are contained in the Livermore Municpal Code Title 11, Airport, Chapter 11.08, Airport Rules and Regulations, Ordinance No. 1905.
Where do I find the Community Brochure with the overview of the Livermore Municipal Airport?
The Livermore Municipal Airport has been providing economic benefits to the the Tri-Valley for more than 40 years. Review our brochure to learn more about the Aiport Operations and influence on the community. Click here to download the brochure.
Who has jurisdiction over the Airport and who pays for its upkeep?
The City of Livermore owns and operates the Livermore Municipal Airport (LVK) as an enterprise fund, meaning that operating and capital budgets are entirely user funded through land and hangar leases, fuel sales. No General Fund or taxpayer monies are involved to support the Airport.
The Airport is largely built with federal grant funds, issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for eligible airfield improvements, maintenance projects, and land acquisitions. The grants are obtained from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, which is also entirely user-funded through taxes levied on aviation fuels, passenger tickets, air transportation of goods, and the use of civil aircraft.
Upon accepting these federal grants, the City assured the federal government under Title 49, United States Code that it will agree to several grant assurances. Two of those most relevant to the operation of the airport call for the City to:
- continue to operate the facility as a public-use airport.
- make the airport available to the public on reasonable terms without unjust discrimination to all types, kind and classes of aeronautical activities, including commercial aeronautical activities offering services to the public at the airport.
The State Department of Transportation (Caltrans), Division of Aeronautics, issues an Airport Permit and assures the safe continued operation of the airport through annual safety compliance inspections.
Why can't jet operations be restricted at Livermore?
As noted above, the City cannot restrict access to any type of aircraft that can safely use the Airport. However, since the Airport is open to the public on a 24-hour basis and increasing night operations by older, noisy jets occurred, the City implemented the following policy in early 2002:
“Aircraft operators, especially those operating jet aircraft, are requested to adhere to the “Livermore Airport Voluntary Restraint from Night Flying Time Period” and refrain from flying between 2200 hours and 0600 hours local time.”
This voluntary policy has been effective and staff continues to reiterate its intent to aircraft operators nationwide via Internet, letters, and ramp briefings.