Jon C. Long Fly Quiet Awards
Jon C. Long
Noise Abatement Officer,
SFO Noise Abatement Office, 2000-2003
Jon Long joined SFO as the Noise Abatement Officer in 2000. Mr. Long brought his unique management style to SFO, creating a successful dynamic within the noise office, with the citizens of San Mateo and San Francisco Counties, and with the San Francisco International Airport/Community Roundtable. With a background in noise abatement at Sacramento International Airport and an extensive piloting career in the Air Force, Mr. Long’s career spanned many aspects of noise abatement and aviation.
Mr. Long worked tirelessly on implementing the Fly Quiet Program at SFO. His dedication to this project is evident in its success. After his untimely passing in June 2003, SFO named the annual awards in his honor. Each year the Jon C. Long Fly Quiet Awards are presented to the airlines that operated the quietest, exemplifying the Fly Quiet Program goals.
The overall goal of the Fly Quiet Program is to influence airlines to operate as quietly as possible in the San Francisco Bay Area. A successful Fly Quiet Program is expected to reduce both single event and total noise levels around the airport.
Fly Quiet reports communicate results in a clear, understandable format allowing for comparisons between airlines over time. Individual airline scores are computed and reports are generated each quarter. These quantitative scores allow airline management and flight personnel to measure exactly how they stand compared to other operators and how their proactive involvement can positively reduce noise in the Bay Area.
Currently the Fly Quiet Program consists of five elements.
- The overall noise quality of each airline’s fleet operating at SFO
- An evaluation of single overflight noise level exceedances
- A measure of how well each airline complies with the nighttime preferred noise abatement runways
- Assessment of how well each airline adheres to the Gap Departure
- Assessment of how well each airline adheres to the Shoreline Departure
and the Airport/Community Roundtable. As a result the Airport has established single event maximum noise level limits at each noise-monitoring site. These thresholds were set to identify aircraft producing noise levels higher than are typical for the majority of the operations.
Whenever an aircraft overflight produces a noise level higher than the maximum allowable decibel value established for a particular monitoring site, the noise threshold is surpassed and a noise exceedance occurs. An exceedance may take place during approach, takeoff, or possibly during departure ground roll before lifting off. Noise exceedances are logged by the exact operation along with the aircraft type and airline name.
Although the program cannot be used 100% of the time because of winds, weather, and other operational factors, the Airport, the Community Roundtable, the FAA, and the Airlines all work together to maximize its use when conditions permit. The program is voluntary; compliance is at the discretion of the pilot in command. Fortunately, because airport activity levels are lower late at night, it is feasible to use over water departure procedures more frequently than would be possible during the day. Fly Quiet provides additional information to help all parties measure the success of this procedure.
In order to evaluate each airline’s performance when flying a Shoreline Departure, a corridor was established using Interstate 101 as a reference point. The corridor runs north along 101, beginning approximately one mile north-northwest of the end of Runways 28 L/R and continuing up into the City of Brisbane.
Since “higher is quieter”, aircraft altitudes are recorded along the departure route. Scores are assigned at specified points or gates set approximately one mile apart, with the higher aircraft receiving higher scores.
During good weather conditions, aircraft typically use Runways 28 L/R for landing. Aircraft established on a 9-mile final approach to Runway 28L will directly over fly Foster City and aircraft which are established on final for 28R will fly along the Foster City shoreline. Regardless of time of day, Runway 28R is the preferred arrival runway via the Quiet Bridge Visual Approach path which is located approximately .75 miles from the shoreline out over the bay and used by aircraft arriving from the east and south. Aircraft arriving from the north can also participate in this rating by requesting Air Traffic Control for a right downwind which routes the aircraft over water versus a left downwind that routes aircraft over residential areas.
To evaluate the arrival performance of each airline, two gates and a corridor have been created to identify these flights as good, marginal and poor, and which path was taken. To capture poor performers a corridor, shaped like a baseball diamond, which encapsulates most of Foster City and Redwood Shores was created. The marginal gate (yellow colored line) is designed to identify flights that fly along the outer edge of Foster City, or just off the shoreline and the good gate extends out over a large portion of the bay (green colored line) to capture flights that use over water approaches to SFO.