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News, Santa Monica, Santa Monica Airport

Congressman Waxman To FAA Administrator: Santa Monica Crash A Wake Up Call

Posted Oct. 1, 2013, 1:06 pm

Brenton Garen / Editor-in-Chief

Congressman Henry Waxman (Dem-33rd District) today sent a letter to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Michael P. Huerta to request immediate action to address safety conditions at Santa Monica Airport, following Sunday’s fatal crash the claimed four lives.

Waxman said the FAA has consistently failed to address past concerns about inadequate measures to ensure the safety of the Santa Monica community, pilots, and passengers.

Here is full text of the letter:  

Dear Administrator Huerta:

I am writing on behalf of my constituents who reside near the Santa Monica Airport.  I have repeatedly called on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to address concerns in the community over safety conditions at the airport.  But the FAA has inexcusably failed to act.

I request you immediately address these problems and establish additional safeguards as quickly as possible.

On Sunday, September 29, 2013, a twin-engine Cessna Citation landing from Hailey, Idaho veered off the right side of the runway and crashed into a storage hangar.  Although we do not yet know all of the facts, reports indicate that there were four casualties, including a father and son who owned a successful construction business in Santa Monica.

According to Chairman David Goddard of the Santa Monica Airport Commission, the crash occurred about 150 feet from the homes that surround the airport. He believes that if the plane had not hit the hangar, it could have gone over an embankment and crashed into houses. Residences surround approximately 75 percent of the airport.

I have written repeatedly to draw attention to these issues, but the FAA has consistently rebuffed my efforts, the work of city officials in Santa Monica, and the wishes of the community to address safety issues at the airport.

The people of Santa Monica – and especially those living next to the airport – deserve your full attention. They have been warning for years that the airport is an accident waiting to happen. The tragic crash on Sunday illustrates how inadequate safety measures jeopardize the surrounding community and endanger pilots and passengers.

Three months ago, I wrote the FAA with the simple request that the agency participate in a forum in Santa Monica with City of Santa Monica officials and members of the community to discuss options for the future of the airport.  I was extremely disappointed when the FAA declined the invitation to participate in a public forum.

Just last week, I wrote that “[t]he FAA has an important leadership role to play in charting the airport’s future” and requested a meeting with you to discuss moving forward with a public forum.  To date, I have not received an answer from you.  I expect one without delay.

The fatal crash should be a wakeup call. You should thoroughly review the conditions at the airport, implement safeguards to protect the community, pilots, and passengers, and make the safety of the Santa Monica Airport an urgent priority.  


Henry A. Waxman

Post a comment


Oct. 1, 2013, 9:16:26 pm

Senor said...

Well, Mr. Waxman my vote actually counted. Thank you for pointing your finger at the correct location, the FAA. Now, we will pray for results that are compassionate towards the residents of this fine city, long overdue.

Oct. 2, 2013, 9:45:03 am

Tammi said...

Henry Waxman and the rest of you misinformed anti airport hate groups: The bodies are barely cold and already you're out forcing your agenda. Real classy!

Oct. 2, 2013, 9:47:23 am

Natalie said...

Go ahead and let the real estate developers have the land. That's where Waxman is headed with this. I hope they build the biggest set of towering condos and strip malls on the westside.

Oct. 2, 2013, 9:47:49 am

Truth said...

Dead bodies = good politics!

Oct. 2, 2013, 9:48:39 am

Jim Hardesty said...

The fact that the jet crashed ON the airport and NOT at your house PROVES the airport is SAFE.

Oct. 2, 2013, 9:50:24 am

Natalie said...

Waxman needs to be voted out. 40 years too much. He's clearly getting special interest money from his developer friends to close the airport for their financial gain.

Oct. 2, 2013, 10:52:16 am

xboomer said...

Mr. Waxman should be returned to "general population". They haven't even identify the bodies and he playing politics. The guy is a first class jerk.

Oct. 2, 2013, 11:00:58 am

Kit Dreyfuss said...

It is incredible that the FAA has ignored a Congressman's request for a meeting about SMO safety. How can citizens get access??

Oct. 2, 2013, 11:18:38 am

Jerry McCutcheon said...

Me too claptrap. Where is Waxman's solution??? If you do not like being near an airport then don't buy a house near the airport. signed Very old pilot.

Oct. 2, 2013, 11:22:12 am

Al said...

There isn't a safety issue at SMO. It's a made up problem by real estate developers who want to covert the land. A plane losing it's brakes has nothing to do with the airport's safety. It's just an accident. Homeowners near the airport were not even involved. It's sick that people are using this for their own financial gain.

Oct. 2, 2013, 11:24:22 am

Tim Hauser said...

Where is the outcry when a fatal crash happens at other airports? Oh wait, there isn't one unless there is money to be made off selling the airport land to builders.

Oct. 2, 2013, 1:17:39 pm

Brian Burke said...

I believe Congressman Waxman's letter is both fair and appropriate. In the light of the recent tragedy the FAA should sit down with the city's rep and discuss safety issues. His letter is a sensitive and sincere response to a local tragedy.

Oct. 2, 2013, 6:42:04 pm

Seymore said...

You sound like a comment troll who work for Waxman's office to me, Brian. The rest of us do believe he has OUR best interests at heart. He's beholden to the money that gets him elected. In this case Big Real Estate who wants the airport land.

Oct. 3, 2013, 5:39:44 pm

LMR said...

People fear what they don't understand. The aviation community needs to band together and demonstrate why the airport is important for everyone (not just the wealthy) and the truth about the noise and environmental concerns that have been blown way out of proportion. Basically the pilots need to get just as organized as the real estate guys have with their astro turf groups disguised as concerned citizens.

Oct. 3, 2013, 10:51:42 pm

Kyle said...

Thanks Henry Waxman for standing up to the FAA and supporting the good people living in this city. Many of us want the airport closed! It does not serve the community. It is dangerous It is a polluting noisey neighbor. It has out grown it's use. This once small quaint airport is no longer wanted now that it serves huge corporate jets. Time for change. Peace and love Not. Hate.

Oct. 4, 2013, 11:02:22 am

Dorothy said...

Shame on Wax man and president of the Airport Commission, David Goddard. They are dancing on the graves of 4 people. How dare they politicize this tragic accident.

Oct. 4, 2013, 11:07:30 am

Neighbor said...

"Peace and love Not. Hate." Yes Kyle you represent the true sentiments of the anti airport community. Hate filled and hell bent on your agenda. It's as if you're thrilled lives were lost so you could continue to promote your cause. It makes me sick to think that you real estate developers want that land so bad that you have to resort this level of deceit and hatred. You people have no souls.

Oct. 4, 2013, 11:13:19 am

fact check said...

FACT: Henry Waxman received a large donation from the National Assn. of Realtors. They gave the largest amount of all the PACs to the sum of $61,000. Google it. It's true. Still think you're going to get a park, do ya? That airport is going to look like Manhattan in a few years and I for one think the naive neighbors who hate the airport deserve what they're going to get.

Oct. 4, 2013, 12:39:20 pm

Nikole said...

The problem isn't the Airport. It's the pilot. I am an Airline Pilot and can tell you a blown tire is a non-event. Also, they usually don't just blow on their own. I am just guessing here, but a previous report mentioned that the fog had rolled in. That means an instument approach. Let's say you break out a little to the left or right of the runway, land fast and thus squirrly. The aircraft begins to zig to the left, you, unexpierenced and the only pilot onboard, stomp on the Right rudder pedal and also, bump the break (part of the rudder pedal). The right tire goes instantly, and now, you overcorrect again, and head off the side of the runway at a high rate of speed. The owner was a multi rated instrument pilot (that is public record); but he only got the license in 2004. The Citation 525 CAN be flown single pilot, but. even for a VERY expierenced pilot, a jet is a handfull of airplane for one person. Don't hate the Airport because of one man's mistake.

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