BVA Objection Letters from Residents

In the past few days, we have received thousands (not hundreds) residents letter to FAA, and we would like to share just a few of them to the public, and make sure that FAA needs to know that when they say they are accepting public comments, they better mean it.

BVA Objection Letter from Sunnyvale Residents


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Dear Mr. Roberts,

We are Sunnyvale residents and we are against BVA due to the following reasons.

A.      Initiation of BVA

Surf Air started using San Carlos Airport in June, 2013. Within a few months, 24 households filed 49 complaints.  In Nov. 2013, Mayor Elizabeth Lewis submitted a letter to request FAA researching for a new flight route. In her letter, she stated: “Ideally this new approach would be further east of the existing straight-in approach, possibly over the HWY 101 corridor, WITH CARE TO NOT CREATE FLIGHT NOISE OVER OTHER NEIGHBORHOODS.” (1) On Dec 9th, 2013, a new alternate flight route (now so called BVA) was presented on Atherton’s Town Hall Meeting. (2). So, BVA was initiated due to total 49 complaints from 24 households in Atherton.

 B.      The yet endless trial was neither the choice of Surf Air chief pilot’s nor FAA’s

Surf Air was not only instructed to start BVA trial from July 5th of 2016 but also were pushed carry on even after the projected six-month trial ending date by the County of San Mateo. On Sept. 27th, 2017, at FAA Community involvement meeting, San Mateo County recommended the unofficial BVA route to be approved as an all-weather VFR approach and an instrument procedure (chartered visual approach) available to all operators even though FAA and Chief Pilot of Surf Air both admitted that they preferred the original GPS route. In the attached video link (3) at the playing time of 12’38’’ of the clip, Surf Air Chief Pilot Charles Caviris said: Frankly, if it was not due to the community involvement (complaints from San Mateo residents), there was no freaking way he would have his pilots fly BVA. He would just fly directly in a straight line to airport (SQL), BVA costs more money. Also, in the video, FAA air traffic controller, Mrs. Thann McLeod said: “FAA didn't push for BVA. If Surf Air withdraws BVA proposal, FAA would be fine with it.”  Now, the only party that insists BVA trial was successful and even tries to push it into an all-weather route is San Carlos Airport. This San Mateo County Airports refused to get on the stage and talk to residents from Sunnyvale and Cupertino at the 9/27 meeting. (See youtube video 20170927193933)

Also, the youtube video BVA missteps admitted by Jim Porter is the video clip of Jim Porter, director of San Mateo County Department of Public Works, making a public confession that night about the missteps they've made in regard to BVA.

C.      Lack of transparency

On Sept. 27th of 2017, more than 9 months after the proposed trial ending date, FAA held the first Community involvement meeting in San Jose and announced nothing of the BVA trial. Moreover, San Mateo County recommended the unofficial BVA route to be approved as an all-weather VFR approach and an instrument procedure (chartered visual approach) available to all operators. What was the reason that Sunnyvale residents were never informed before, during, and nine months after the trial? We demand a second community involvement meeting in SUNNYVALE!


Also, there were many seemingly conclusive numbers presented by FAA and San Mateo County and San Carlos airport, for example, airport’s noise mitigation measures, study, and research set up for solving San Mateo residents’ complaints. Why don’t we see any proposals or reports addressing Sunnyvale residents’ noise concerns?


D.      Complaints during the trial period had been increased from both the city of Sunnyvale and the county of San Mateo

The complaints to SQL before the trial (01/01/16-07/04/16) were 1,684 in total. (Table 1)During the BVA trial, San Mateo County alone had 6,229 more than any complaints in the past, which indicated that BVA trial could not solve the noise problem for San Mateo County residents. Also please see the chart 1 enclosed attachment below, during the trial period, no matter what percentage BVA flight route was used, there were always 20 to 40 households filing complaints. In 2013, a new flight route was created at Atherton Townhall meeting due to 24 household's complaints about newly established Surf Air's flights. So, San Mateo's # of complaint households grew from 24 households in 2013 to 30 households( Average # of complaint households) in 2016 during BVA trial period. Sarcastically, in week 16, Surf Air’s flights used 80% BVA flight route, there were even 89 households more than average # of complaint households filing complaints. That means BVA flight route didn’t solve Surf Air’s airplane noise at all.

1.       On the contrary, during the trial period, the total complaints and # of complaint households from Sunnyvale increased dramatically, from almost none to 15,050 and 102 households. This is a clear indication that BVA cannot solve the noise problem for San Mateo, but push Sunnyvale residents into a deep devastation.

2.       If San Mateo could initiate the new route trial in Dec of 2013 based on 49 complaints received, Sunnyvale’s 15,050 complaints should be more than enough to stop BVA and try other alternatives.

Table 1: San Carlos Airport Number of Complaints by time(4)


Chart 1: Percentage of BVA used VS Number of San Mateo household’s complaints

(See attachment)

E.       BVA heavily impacted all Sunnyvale residents daily lives including north and south of the city

The dramatic increase in complaints is from affected Sunnyvale residents living below BVA route including north and south portion of the city, which has expressed people’ opinions loud and clear on the attempt of implementation of new flight route. BVA impacts approximately 15 miles of heavily populated residential areas from Campbell all the way through Sunnyvale. On the contrary, San Mateo complaints were concentrated along the GPS approach, 4 miles southeast of the Airport. The enclosed 3 pictures made a crisp comparison of the GPS approach and BVA approach.

See attachments GPS Approach vs BVA approach


F.       Information requests

1.       Provide us a clear timeline, schedule, process, and parameters for making the decision of BVA route.


2.       Hold a 2nd community involvement meeting to address our Sunnyvale & Cupertino concerns & complaints


3.        Give a complete original GPS route map to see which part of Sunnyvale was previously being impacted by GPS route as San Mateo County claimed.


4.        Request San Carlos Airport to release all raw complaints data in the past from 2011 to 2016 (before BVA trial) and in the future by week for further analysis.  The format we hope to get is as the following:




5.        Provide a detailed analysis comparison of GPS and BVA route in regards to:

a.       Fly-ability Assessment

b.      Operational Assessment

c.       Feasibility Determination

d.      Stakeholder Feedback

e.      Environmental Review

f.        Safety Assessment

g.       Impacted neighborhoods

h.      Noise Analysis


G.  References:

1. index.aspx?NID=335

2. http://ca-atherton.civicplus. com/DocumentCenter/View/658

3. Video: 20170927193933

4. P.39 & 46 from CASE STUDY: Federal Aviation Administration Community Outreach for Environmental, Noise, and Planning Proposals Presented to: 2017 Airports Western ­Pacific Region Conference ( western_pacific/airports_news_ events/annual_conference/2017/ media/case-study-community- outreach.pdf )

5. P.7&8 Sep.27 Community Involvement FAA presentation Slide( nextgen/communityengagement/ SQL/media/SQL_Charted_Visual_ Flight_Procedure_Briefing.pdf)

We, Sunnyvale residents, are against BVA route! BVA doesn't solve surf air's airplane noise for San Mateo county at all but push Mountain View, Sunnyvale, and Cupertino into a deep devastation. Please have a global solution instead of noise shift. Thank you so much for your consideration. You time and efforts on helping Sunnyvale residents will be greatly appreciated.


Sincerely yours,

Sunnyvale Residents


BVA Objection Letter from Cupertino Residents


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Cc:,, City Council <>,,,