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Santa Monica council shelves plan to reduce flight training

Santa Monica council rejects flight training proposal
Residents who live around Santa Monica Airport will get no relief from aircraft noise because the City Council has shelved a controversial proposal to pay student pilots to practice elsewhere.

The measure, which was rejected Tuesday night, would have offered flight schools at the airport $150 every time student pilots and their instructors moved to other airports in the region to work on takeoffs, landings and other maneuvers.

The six-month incentive program was voluntary and would have set aside $90,000 for flight schools that participated. Training flights during weekends and holidays were eligible for the payments.

Council members rejected the plan, saying "perceived fears and preconceived notions" would make it difficult to objectively evaluate the proposal, which was intended to reduce noise pollution.

The plan also was questioned by officials from other airports in the area, such as Torrance, who asserted that Santa Monica was trying to foist its problems onto other aviation facilities.

Supporters of the incentive program believed the plan would improve safety and reduce noise from training flights that perform repetitive takeoffs and landings, called "touch and goes." The practice requires student pilots to fly a pattern that takes them over residential neighborhoods.

The flight school proposal is part of an ongoing effort by Santa Monica residents and community organizations to restrict flight operations and eventually close the popular airport. An earlier attempt to ban certain types of private jets was thwarted several years ago by the Federal Aviation Administration.


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Photo: A plane at Santa Monica Airport. Credit: Los Angeles Times

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