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Opinion, Letters To The Editor, Santa Monica, Santa Monica Airport

CRAAP Responds To Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association: Letter To The Editor

Posted Oct. 13, 2013, 9:57 am

Letter To The Editor

Dear Editor,

In his letter "Tragedy Should Not Be An Opportunity For Political Points" posted Oct. 12, 2013, Bruce Landsberg, President, AOPA Foundation and Air Safety Institute did exactly what he said shouldn't be done. He made the recent aircraft crash at Santa Monica Airport into his opportunity to score political points with wild speculation.

Someone in his position should be aware of the facts when putting his thoughts into a letter to the press.

He attacks SM Airport Commission Chair David Goddard's sense of decency. I know David for several years, and he has been exemplary on the Commission when it comes to not only decency, but also courage in the face of adversity. Landsberg calls David the leader of the anti- Santa Monica Airport crowd, when in fact the anti-Santa Monica Airport crowd is multi-faceted with leaders of several established organizations as well as many individuals.

Landsberg goes on to label as speculative and absurd, Goddard's estimate that the crash site was about 150 feet from residences, and had the plane not hit the hangar, it could have gone up an embankment and gotten over a wall before slamming into homes. I say by using the is-what-it-is axiom, 150 feet from residences is an accurate approximation. Landsberg suggests no alternative figure because to do so would reflect on his grasp of the facts.

Landsberg states, "What is factual is that the Sept. 29 aircraft accident was entirely contained on the airport, causing no harm to those living nearby. The airport is separated from homes by trees, an uphill embankment, a hefty brick wall and a road." I say that surely Landsberg cannot deny a scenario in which the aircraft is not on the ground, but somewhat airborne; in such a case the residents are unprotected from an out-of-control aircraft by only the air between them and the plane, and does Landsberg suggest that an incident like this cannot have an effect on the emotional state of those (including young children) who were very close to this horrible accident? He insults our intelligence by suggesting the trees and a brick wall are sufficient protection from an out-of-control aircraft.

Landsberg's arguments really go haywire with this statement, "Contrary to L.A. Councilman Bonin’s claims, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) data shows there have been 38 accidents since 1982, 25 of them contained on the field itself. That’s on par with other comparable airports in the area. And, there has never been an off-airport fatality associated with aviation activities in recorded history." I will assume Landsberg means Santa Monica Airport aviation activities. My reply to this is, in my Logics class at Ohio State I learned about disproof by counter example. Well. here are two counter examples. 1. I personally saw an accident by my off-airport residence where one of the two occupants in the plane was killed in the ensuing fire. 2.Recently a pilot died in a crash on the off-airport Penmar golf course.

Landsberg goes on to site in his letter that, "The FAA offered to install EMAS at Santa Monica, numerous times. The city has rejected all such offers. If they are truly concerned with safety, why not?"

I don't need to point out that the EMAS he refers to would not have been a factor in this tragic accident as the plane would not have reached the EMAS area at the end of the runway. There was not enough safety runoff areas to the side of the runway to offer an opportunity for the aircraft to slow and stop. The aircraft would have had a fighting chance at another airport that is better designed for mishaps like this. As a friend of mine pointed out; the people onboard might have walked away from this at another airport. As for accepting FAA funded enhancements at Santa Monica Airport; When jet blast blew down a resident's fence across Bundy Drive and blew over patio furniture at another home, the City and the FAA put up a blast wall. Although the blast wall did curtail the blast it did not stop the toxic emissions from pervading throughout the residential community of North Westdale. The point is these types of fixes are attempts to put a Band-Aid on a gushing wound. The EMAS proposed would not have been enough to offer residents fair protection, and the community insisted that the City not accept it. The community demanded and still demands at least the minimum safety requirements and no less. Would you drive a car with insufficient brakes? No, it's not enough protection.

Landsberg closes with, "The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association is keenly aware of the concerns that involve airports and communities. We work with airport communities on a daily basis and we understand full well the concerns of those who live near airports." . The Airport Owners and Pilots Association has never reached out a hand, more like a finger, to the Santa Monica Airport's surrounding communities, and now they are trying to sell snake oil to the public. The AOPA has a history of refusing to give up anything, and judging from the comments submitted to the press articles, they abhor anyone who even objects to Santa Monica Airport's extreme impacts

What I find to be really absurd and disturbing is the constant denial by vested aviation interests to the reality of the unique Santa Monica Airport situation. Replacing the airport with a Great Park for all to enjoy is what the community wants now. It makes sense economically and it makes sense environmentally.

Martin Rubin

Director, Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution

Post a comment


Oct. 13, 2013, 12:04:40 pm

Charles said...

Thank you Martin, You make very important and cogent points. I work in Santa Monica on the west side of the airport and live in West Los Angeles on the east side of the airport. I have lived near the airport for 30 years and since 1995 when jets have been flying in and out in huge numbers the situation has become untenable. There are two looming issures: 1. No where is there such an unusual airport like SMO in that residents closely surround the airport so that issues of safety and pollution have a larger impact than any other airport. 2. Where else in the Los Angeles area could we ever have the opportunity to create a park land for our children and their children's children. When will we ever have the opportunity to leave a legacy. that focuses on health of our populous and planet in lieu of the greed and comfort of the sociopathic elite. I am looking forward to a time when I can walk through Santa Monica Great Park with Santa Monica visitors, friends and family.

Oct. 13, 2013, 12:58:02 pm

Mr. Big said...

The Airport in Santa Monica should be closed, and repurposed as a park for 100% of the residents.... not just the 1% who fly in and out. I have been at my friends house just east of the airport. The jets can sit on the tarmac idling for 20-30 minutes. It is a God forsaken smell. I wish Landsberg lived there. Although he wouldn't be man enough to take the smell more than a minute or two. He's just a mouth piece.

Oct. 14, 2013, 2:21:13 am

stewart said...

same CRAPP, different day.

Oct. 20, 2013, 10:21:33 am

Brooke said...

Martin and the other "Tea Parkers" as they're now known were practically whipped into a frenzy when they learned that 4 soul perished and they could use this as an opportunity to push their agenda. Martin fancies himself as a good liberal but in reality he takes it straight from the Tea Party handbook. A small but very vocal hate group trying to dictate orders to the majority so they can get what they want. I guess you could say they're all seeing red.

Oct. 20, 2013, 10:32:59 am

Tim H said...

Bruce Landsberg has 500% more creditability when it comes to furthering safety than Martin Rubin.

Oct. 20, 2013, 10:37:41 am

Ms. Big said...

Stop with the 1% talk. Not everyone in Santa Monica wants the airport closed, only about 1% living nearby so you are the 1% in this case. By the way, not all aircraft owners are rich. Many of them own light planes that are worth about what a new car costs and they partner up to even afford that. Martin Rubin is far wealthier than many of the pilots at SMO. This is just being disingenuous.

Oct. 20, 2013, 10:42:50 am

Carter said...

I'm so glad the real estate developers have such great activist brothers on their side. I wonder if they were promised a stake in the profits or perhaps more likely, an election to the city council is the real prize. Yeah they'll get a park alright. A business and residential park just like downtown Santa Monica. Follow the money.

Oct. 20, 2013, 10:57:10 am

Up said...

Charles: Sociopath - Antisocial personality disorder is a mental health condition in which a person has a long-term pattern of manipulating, exploiting, or violating the rights of others. This behavior is often criminal. Well let's see, your poster boy convicted ex-Mayor Daley of Chicago fits that description as well as many of the sentiments by you Tea Parkers. Pot meet kettle.

Oct. 20, 2013, 6:57:59 pm

HR said...

I hope the Rubins have a hunger strike until 2015.

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