Airplane noise, Sac airport director irk supes

By Chris Daley
From page A1 | 23 Comments
Airplanes flying over El Dorado County on approach to Mather Field are a nuisance to many residents, both two-legged and four-legged. Jet engine noise is nearly unbearable to some, especially in El Dorado Hills, while others say it’s no big deal. Looking into the issue, county supervisors hosted a presentation by Glen Rickelton, airport manager for planning and environment with the Sacramento County Airport System at a regular board meeting Tuesday, May 14.

Specifically, Rickelton updated the board and the public on the revised Mather Airport Master Plan,which governs air cargo carriers such as UPS, FedEx and other companies flying in and out of the former Rancho Cordova Air Force base.

The Master Plan update is the first major overhaul in nearly 10 years. Data reviewed from a 2007 study forecast significant increases in cargo carrier use of the airport. It was long-thought of as a future West Coast “hub” for servicing the Pacific Rim and beyond. However, Rickelton referred to that data as “stale” and said new projections are much reduced from that earlier forecast.

“The Mather Master Plan 2013 has an entirely new forecast,” Rickelton told the supervisors. “The baseline was artificially high, and the (new data suggest) a substantial change to the economy over the next 22 years of the plan. Mather is no longer under consideration by UPS as a hub. And since DHL left in 2009, air cargo business is down 47 percent at Mather.”

Rickelton further noted that industry growth, primarily for UPS, showed only a 1.3 percent increase between 1996 and 2012 and the forecast out to 2035 is even less than half of that figure. General Aviation accounts for about 60 percent of the traffic at Mather while approximately 40 percent is made up by a “military element.” Commuter use is about 20 percent of the general aviation and air cargo represents less than 10 percent of that element, Rickelton said.

Forecasting military use beyond a few regular training flights out of Beale and Travis Air Force bases is “very difficult,” Rickelton said. National emergencies, local disasters, a need for wartime use or other unforeseen emergencies could dramatically increase the military’s presence at Mather.

“We’ve seen much more modest growth than was in the original Master Plan and no robust growth in air cargo,” he added.

Within the Master Plan is a policy dealing with inclement weather and a need for aircraft to fly lower than usual. Rickelton explained that incremental improvements to meet advances in technology have not yet enabled a pilot to fly on instruments alone through every kind of weather, bad wind, heavy fog or similar conditions. Given that, aircraft will occasionally have to approach Mather at lower altitude, thereby increasing the noise on the ground.

District 1 Supervisor Ron Mikulaco, whose El Dorado Hills area is most likely to experience the noise, came on like a prosecuting attorney.

“Your route is over El Dorado Hills and Folsom, yes?” he challenged.

“Yes,” Rickelton said.

“I understand, but you’re flying noisily over the most densely populated area in El Dorado County.” Mikulaco said. “All these aircraft are flying considerably lower than 30,000 feet. I think we can do better (for example change the routes to fly between Latrobe and Plymouth).”

Rickelton responded that the Master Plan “is not aimed at changing flight paths…And the Federal Aviation Administration can’t ‘move noise.’ ”

Even more aggressive, Mikulaco said, “You need to move the noise… And you need to do a better job of finding other routes.”

Mikulaco’s remarks were spoon vittles compared to Board Chairman Ron Briggs’s follow-up.

“I appreciate you coming up here, but I don’t like anything you say,” Briggs began. “It’s wrong and I’ll combat you. These planes are new over the past 15 years. We’re trying to preserve our peace and quiet. For our constituents, this is the home of Lake Tahoe and Desolation Valley. These flights are invasive to our lifestyle. I don’t think your county is being a good neighbor. We try to be a good neighbor,” Briggs said, concluding the formal part of the presentation.

El Dorado Hills resident Paul Raveling came to the podium and said, “It’s very disturbing what I have just heard from the chairman of the Board of Supervisors. It’s disparate from reality. I went and stood right under the flight path (with a sound level recording device). A T-38 trainer is much noisier than these freighters. What we have is a human problem, not an airplane problem… It’s a couple of flights a day usually during sleep time, but people still sleeps.” (The couple of flights a day would be impacted by bad weather only a few days a year, Raveling and another speaker pointed out.)

John Kerhlikar of Shingle Springs took a different tack.

“I’ve been going to air meetings for 15 years. This is about fiefdoms. They moved the noise to here 15 years ago from Sacramento International, so they can move it back. Mather never had cargo until it was moved from Sac International, and Mather has lost money every year since it went cargo.”

Erlicher concluded his remarks saying that there is no consistency in the height the cargo planes fly above his house, “It might be 1,500 or 2,000 or 2,500 feet,” he said.

Supervisors agreed unanimously to direct county staff to “evaluate the  revised Mather Airport Master Plan and come back with recommendations.”

Contact Chris Daley at 530-344-5063 or cdaley@mtdemocrat.net. Follow @CDaleyMtDemo.

Chris DaleyChris Daley Chris has written a weekly column for the Democrat for more than 20 years and has Master’s Degrees in Russian History, Psychology and Career Counseling. He has been a staff writer for a number of years and enjoys it because he "learns so much about so many things." View all my stories Email Me CDaleyMtDemo
23 thoughts on “Airplane noise, Sac airport director irk supes”

Foaming at the Mouth says:
May 30, 2013 at 3:39 pm
Careful how you write about Mik, Daley. He might pull your beard.

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R Smith says:
May 31, 2013 at 7:59 am
I see that we have two grandstanding supervisors who do not know anything more about aviation than they do about anything else. I would hope that they put their mouth where their brain is and never fly in an aircraft nor order anything that might be delivered by air. Where do we get such brilliant people to become our leaders?

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robertdnoll says:
May 31, 2013 at 8:31 am
this is tired,old non-issue,R Smith is correct about the supervisors

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jon schroder says:
May 31, 2013 at 9:41 am
That air base was there long before those houses in El Dogetto Hills.

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Slider says:
May 31, 2013 at 10:42 am
Richard S, In EDC if you cannot make it in life, then you become a county politician…..Mik the unemployed plumber/slumlord and half a man Briggs, a daddy s boy and slum lord are great examples of the peter principle. Those NIMBYs in Snooty Hills need a reality check. Lots of quiet in Nevada or Wyoming boys and girls

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Paul Raveling is disparate from reality says:
May 31, 2013 at 2:01 pm
Paul Raveling says Supervisor Briggs is “disparate from reality” but it is Raveling who is the delusional one. Paul Raveling is an El Dorado Hills outcast who thinks the world revolves around him and his two cats. Check out the predominant flight path map on InEDC and note that Raveling’s Waterford house is well to the North and outside the predominant noise zone. When Raveling’s El Dorado Hills Cityhood efforts failed,when Raveling’s efforts to re-elect John Knight failed, and when Raveling’s efforts to re-elect Harry Norris failed, he should have recognized that only Paul Raveling thinks Paul Raveling speaks for El Dorado Hills. Yes, the facts clearly show that Paul Raveling is the one who is “disparate from reality”.

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1036-Frank says:
May 31, 2013 at 3:44 pm
Keeping these noise-birds south of 50 makes the most sense of anything. There is a lot more open space south then north and now that Knight was sent home to S. Cal and his crony Nuttin might also soon see a return to his Bay Area home turf as a guest of the state with a few years residence at San Quentin, all of their former money “friends” developments south of 50 might be finally finished once and for all and good riddance.

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Foaming at the Mouth says:
May 31, 2013 at 4:05 pm
If you really believe that, Frank, then Foaming has some land to sell you. Hint – it adjoins a large open-space area.

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Foaming at the Mouth says:
May 31, 2013 at 4:07 pm
“Disparate” – hey there, Greg, still stalking Raveling around the Internets, eh?

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1036-Frank says:
May 31, 2013 at 4:55 pm
Foaming, I am kinda busy working on a large grant for brush clearing the south county from the state and some local districts, once this comes through I might be in a position to buy and will ask that an option be held until then. In the meantime, I might raise a down payment from a few “friends” in Sac with Greek sounding names who owe a few favors from what we did for them in the south county. Thanks again for your kind offer.

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Ken Steers says:
May 31, 2013 at 9:18 pm
Gentlemen as an Air Freight Forwarder I would like to point out that Mather Business Park is only utilized by UPS. DHL flies a small plane in for it’s shipments and FEDEX uses Sac INTL. Emery, BAX, EAGLE and AI are all gone. Yes one can argue that the B-52 used to fly out of there up to the early ’90′s but Mather is no longer a USAFB. And most of the houses in the current path were built after the AFB closed. It appears you are arguing with ghosts. I would suggest that Mr Rickleton is being a bureaucrat in his responses to our Supervisors. Dudes it’s only UPS early in the morning and late afternoon. Ask Mr Rickleton to discuss with UPS to change their inbound AM pattern. If he won’t, Ron call me and I’ll talk to them directly. And for gods sake don’t direct county staff to evaluate the Master Plan. Can’t you make up something better for them to occupy their time?

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On display for all to see says:
June 1, 2013 at 6:43 am
Mik is Briggs-lite with even less deductive reasoning and questioning skills. When an unemployed plumber/slum landlord whose main virtue is the ability and the time to stand on a street corner waving a sign like a teenager working for a sandwich shop is your representative, then the only people to blame are the voters in District 1. Mr. Daley has accurately captured what happens every Tuesday in the Board chambers. It is on display for all to see….

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EDC Resident says:
June 1, 2013 at 7:30 am
What a pathetic display these two supervisors put on. They should be ashamed of themselves.

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cookie65 says:
June 1, 2013 at 7:44 am
I smell class warfare. The important people who live in El Dorado Hills want the air traffic that they moved in the path of, diverted south over the homes of the unimportant people, who didn’t move in the flight path. After all those people live in Plymouth and Latrobe and how pathetic is that? They probably mow their own lawn. The choice to purchase property in close proximity to a freeway doesn’t do a lot for the position of being sensitive to noise.

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Ken Steers says:
June 1, 2013 at 12:31 pm
I don’t get the class warfare analogy. Property owners in Plymouth and Latrobe paid a lot for their homes if not more than some in EDH.
What’s going on at Mather is UPS’s their only client. Mather needs them and will bend over back words to run interference for them to keep them. I’m willing to bet that UPS isn’t even aware of the noise complaints. If it’s a real problem get a protest group together and start a campaign to notify UPS. But it’s a lot like kicking a dead horse. It’s really hard to get accommodations when their plan has never really came to fruition.

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kgg says:
June 2, 2013 at 8:09 am
i wonder if mikulaco and briggs ever get packages from ups. clowns.

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1036-Frank says:
June 2, 2013 at 9:59 am
Most people know that the safest flight path is away from the greatest population density, here a majority of people live north of 50 because of water availability which isn’t going to change unless another ice-age returns. Most importantly, when a B-52 out of Mather went down years ago, it was south of 50 and a flight path that was the safest available, chosen by the USAF for that very reason.

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Di deeper says:
June 2, 2013 at 11:05 am
Hmmm.. Mather Field opened in 1918, the prevailing winds remain unchanged from the west to southwest and there have been dozens of flights daily for most of that time. This all predates the arrival of the wealthy in EDC and the emergence of the current batch of power brokers in this county. Growth has infringed on the most viable flight paths for Mather, not the other way around. To say anything else, is revisionist history and pandering. Follow the money to find the root sources of this manufactured “crisis”. The Board has more pressing issues to address than this grand standing nonsense.

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Nancy says:
June 2, 2013 at 11:18 am
Paul Raveling is badly mistaken. It is NOT a few fights a day. It is a flight going in or out of Sacramento airport every few minutes. When I moved to Cameron Park 11 years ago this was not a problem. Over the last few years the the commercial aircraft noise going to Mather and in and out of SAC has become a blatant nuisance. I complained to the BOS a few years ago about it and was told by SAC airport that it is the FAA who determines the routes of aircraft. Based on the recent IRS scandal, it makes me wonder if this county is being purposefully singled out with bothersome noise because of its conservative voting record. Oh, and I was at a party in El Dorado Hills one evening when a plane going towards Mather was flying so low I could see its landing gear. Mik is right. You tell em, Mik!

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kgg says:
June 2, 2013 at 11:42 am
nancy wrote:
“Based on the recent IRS scandal, it makes me wonder if this county is being purposefully singled out with bothersome noise because of its conservative voting record.”

yes, i’m sure you’re right nancy. el dorado county conservatives are at the forefront of agendas in washington. laughing out loud

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James E. says:
June 2, 2013 at 11:44 am
Nancy, if you live in Cameron Park and you can hear the traffic out of SAC International, you have better hearing than I have (actually, wouldn’t be hard to do as I left my hearing in Vietnam).

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James E. says:
June 2, 2013 at 11:52 am
Nancy, if there is IRS conspiracy against EDC, we will know for sure when every Republican in the county is audited this year. Hmmm, I wonder if the local Tea Party asked the IRS for tax exemption, and what were the results?

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a1 says:
June 2, 2013 at 11:06 pm
Frankly, I was surprise that Briggs didn’t start off with the typical “I DON’T LIKE YOU” bit before getting to the “I don’t like anything you say,” Briggs began. “It’s wrong and I’ll combat you.” Saying I will combat you as a County Supervisor is inappropriate. Briggs frequently violates the Brown act and shuts speakers down during public testimony. The piisss ant needs to be recalled.

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