John Wayne Airport Changes Flight Route, But Will It Change the Field's Scary Rep?

Categories: OC Media, Politics
John Wayne Airport--which already has a reputation for being one of the world's scariest because of its steep, vertical takeoffs and throttle-cutting procedures--will have pilots essentially threading a tighter needle beginning next month.

A new flight path called STREL will push aircraft into the skies directly over the middle of Newport Beach's Back Bay. That route replaces DUUKE 1 and DUUKE 2, which had planes flying over the east side of the bay.

Courtesy of John Wayne Airport
Which way to the center of the Back Bay?
DUUKE 1 and DUUKE 2 generated noise complaints from residents in the Upper Newport Bay and Irvine Terrace neighborhoods soon after planes tested the routes last summer. So, the FAA moved the path slightly to the west--and then received complaints from neighborhoods hugging the Lower Bay and Dover Shores.

Besides dispensing with the bad mojo of the "DUUKE" names, STREL aims to keep planes from JWA right over the middle of the bay before making their noisy turns above, hopefully, water and not residences.

"Based on the results,"  FAA spokesman Ian Gregor tells the Daily Pilot, "we think this procedure will address the concerns that the residents around the airport have expressed."

If not, he'll certainly hear about it. Newport Beach residents and city leaders have been battling the FAA over noise and expansion plans for decades, with the compromise being curfews and the aforementioned scary take-off procedures. By keeping everyone relatively content, the FAA and county of Orange, which operates the airport, managed to negotiate a third terminal, now under construction.

"None of these folks had any sympathy for South County residents when Newport Beach was pushing for a major international airport at El Toro, with flights low over thousands of homes," Len Krasner, editor of the anti-El Toro International Airport El Toro Info Site, keenly observed when STREL was first proposed.

Let's see if pilots and the flying public notice anything different. Last summer, they ranked JWA (SNA on your baggage tags) one of the 10 scariest airports in the world.

If on-board cocktail sales rise, we'll have our answer.

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This is ridiculous- 95% of the people living in the affected houses bought them long after the airport was in operation. HOW ABOUT- AIR PASSENGER SAFETY FIRST- I SAY SKIM THEIR ROOF TOPS. I HATE THAT TAKEOFF. Every time I leave town from JWA I think about driving around in those neighborhoods honking my horn at 2:00 in the morning. HERE'S AN IDEA- FRICKING MOVE. YOU BOUGHT THE HOUSE AT A DISCOUNT- SELL IT AT A DISCOUNT.


Give me your address and I'll park outside your house and make 100+ decibel noises every two minutes from 7:00am to 10:00pm Monday through Saturday, and then at 8:00am on Sunday.

Your wimpy offer to come by my house at 2:00am some night and honk is a laugh. We're taking the hit for you buddy every single day so you can live in a less noisy environment. I'll be very happy to class action sue the city of Newport Beach when I come down with cancer from the fumes and polluted groundwater.

Or maybe you'd rather write me a check for ten grand yourself now rather than later.


I'm with you... The airport was there since the 20's... Newport beach was a sand bar in the 20's. The main runway, at 5,701 feet (1,738 m), is one of the shortest of any major airport in the United States. El Toro on the other hand has four runways (two of 8,000 feet (2,400 m) and two of 10,000 feet (3,000 m)) could handle the largest aircraft in the U.S. military inventory. But I guess the snotty rich people behind the Orange Curtain know whats best. And a "Great Park" took priority over safe air travel.

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