Backup for Tony

First thing first, BVA stands for "Bayside Visual Approach", which is a new proposed route by Surf Air, to FAA, in order to calm the complaints from Peninsula cities. Unfortunately, the BVA brought serious impact to Sunnyvale and Cupertino residents. The scheduled publish time for BVA is 11/08/2018 (as shown in chart below), but currently it's under environmental review by FAA, depending on the public comments (critical date: Oct 27, 2017) , and noise impact analysis, FAA will decide whether to publish this new route as permanent one, or disapprove it as many Sunnyvale and Cupertino residents suggested. 

FAA's environmental evaluation of BVA lacks in transparency and often time it's misled by San Mateo County Airport(SQL), and in turn, its becomes misleading to the public too, by itself.

Gretchen Kelly, C.M. (Manager – San Mateo County Airport) presented the 'Noise Proposal' at 06/12/2017 SQL Case Study Presented at 2017 Airports Western-Pacific Region Conference (PDF). In the slides, she claimed that the 6-month BVA trial was a success because (page 47):

Yet, she totally ignored what happened to Sunnyvale, and categorized Sunnyvale into just 'other communities' (page 43, 48), and down played the impact from BVA to Sunnyvale and Cupertino entirely.

And she went on to use the map below to justify how great BVA (Bayside Visual Approach) was(page 49). The claim that only the red area was impacted by BVA trial, so all the complaints outside of the red area should not be counted as valid.

The logic was flawed and the data is not accurate for 3 reasons:

In the rest of this article, we will elaborate on the each of the three reasons, read on!

First of all, the claim that 'BVA only impacts north Sunnyvale' is NOT true, and BVA impacts the whole Sunnyvale and Cupertino tremendously!!!

The previously published GPS approach route and BVA (to be published) is shown in the chart below, where blue line is the existing published flight route, and red line is the BVA flight route.

From the chart, we can clearly see that Sunnyvale and Cupertino is greatly impacted by the BVA. And we residents have some flight data showing that before BVA, some of the Surf Air flights will never touch Cupertino or Sunnyvale, but after BVA, all airplanes flying BVA will cross Sunnyvale and Cupertino!

Below is an example out of many captured flights, that shows the airplane was flying totally outside of Sunnyvale and Cupertino, when BVA is not used:

And the following are slides (PDF) from FAA 9/27 Community reachout event, presented by FAA Air Traffic Controller, Mrs. Thann McLeo. It clearly shows what is the existing route (GPS Approach) and what is the newly proposed BVA (Bayside Visual Approach) route, side by side.

 Existing Published GPS Approach (page 7

 the newly proposed BVA (Bayside Visual Approach) route (page 8)

So would that be a surprise if San Mateo County Airport (SQL) received a lot of Sunnyvale complaints due to BVA route? When you are trying to solve the air plane noise problem of one area by shifting the flights over to some other populated areas like Cupertino and Sunnyvale ('other community' as you would say in the slides), you get complained!

 BVA Highly Impacting Populated Areas

 Sunnyvale Tops Cities in Complaints

 Complaints by City

  Impacted Household by City

Note: we received the complaints data above from Sunnyvale Mayor Hendricks, who in turn received the data from San Mateo County officials, in July 2017.

Now, let's take one step back. Let's assume what they claimed is 'true' that Surf Air has been flying over south Sunnyvale and Cupertino all the time.

Be reminded that Surf Air is a company starting at 2013, when there were only 3 flights a day. The questions now are:

Any way, no matter what the answers to the previous questions are, one thing inevitable, is that, once BVA is established, there will be no motivation for SQL or San Mateo County to cap the business growth of Surf Air. If there is any motivation at all, it is going to be to help them to grow, so more revenue can be raked in. 

Also, ANYONE will be able to use that published route, so more operators will join the party over our heads.

Sunnyvale and Cupertino will have to observe the flight highway in the air for decades to come, once BVA is approved.

Second, the complaint data shown in the presentation is NOT accurate.

Now let's examine the numbers of the complaints, in the same presentation, Kelly showed the complaint data (page 46):

Let's, for the moment, trust the data shown here, and see what we can observe: 

1. We can clearly see from the chart above, that in the 6-month trial, the complaint # from Sunnyvale has bumped up from 5 and one household, to the peak of 3,213 (week 24) complaints and 102 household (week 17), which means (3,213-5)/5*100% = 64,160% up (complaint #), and (102-1)/1*100%=10,100% up (household#)! And in her slides page 47 (chart above), the complaint number from San Mateo county was how much less again? 60%! 

When we put the percentages together, do you still believe that BVA solves the problem or it actually brings more problems?

Keep in mind that it's just like all the complaint system designed to wear out people's patience so they eventually stop complaining. Here in this BVA issue, however, Sunnyvale residents kept complaining all the way through, in spite of the really non human friendly complaint system by San Mateo County Airport (SQL). Why? I will guess at least two reasons:

2. Other data from the same Gretchen Kelly is telling a totally different story.

Note: We received the following data from Gretchen Kelly directly on September 26, 2017, via email exchanges.

October 1, 2016 - November 30, 2016 (see below PDF) alone, shows that Sunnyvale had submitted 4,269 complaints, while when you add the data shown at the presentation page 47, it is (63+63+65+137+271+409+236+1897+431) = 3,572, those numbers don't match.

December 1, 2016 - January 31, 2017 (see below, PDF) alone, shows that the complaints from Sunnyvale is 15,002, yet this data was not shown on the slide page 47 at all!

Third, They Are Still Hiding Something!

On 10/18/2016, in Sunnyvale Town Hall meeting on airplane noise, San Mateo County Airport presented to Sunnyvale residents with some statistics. Let's take a quick shot look at their presentation (PDF, PDF2). At that time, Jim Potter, the director of public work, San Mateo County presented to Sunnyvale, without answering any of the resident's questions (Sounds familiar? Hint: Mercury News on 9/27 FAA meeting, calling it 'Hectic').

He did give some statistics in the slides (page 5), and be reminded that was 10/18/2016, when they started BVA without notifying any of Sunnyvale residents or officials (How nice!? more of this at this page).

Let's, for the moment, IGNORE the fact that the week1 through week14 data don't really match to the Kelly slides. That's not the point here, and we already know why it is that way with San Mateo County, don't we?

The more important point here is, even though they do see the trend of complaints from Sunnyvale is picking up, they used something to justify it at page 7 of that slides.

Wow, has that caught your eyes again?

Let's recap, on 10/18/2016, when BVA was first implemented in a trial period, where nobody in Sunnyvale got notified, then used this complaint data map to justify that, 'only a few impacted residents from Sunnyvale' have complained, so complaints from South Sunnyvale is not relevant in this case.

And on 06/12/2017, when BVA 6-month trial period was finished for more than 5 month, and SQL have received thousands of complaints from Sunnyvale residents (please see above to recall the numbers), they were still using the same complaint distribution map!

Let's put them side by side so you can draw your own conclusion!

 10/18/2016 Household Complaint Map

06/12/2017 Household Complaint Map

How could you map the tens of thousands complaints in 6 months from Sunnyvale, and then you generate an identical complaint distribution map from 8 months ago? It is the time for everyone to observe a miracle now?

Should we be a little honest when you are presenting to the public?

Why are you so desperately trying to push for BVA that you ignore all the data you have collected from the trial period? 

What is the point of that 6-month trial period then if BVA is already a predetermined approach to publish?

Reference List:

If you are concerned about this BVA issue, you can still help, click to see how.