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Below Min Header

Complaints to the FAA ignored


A lot of the discussion of aircraft noise revolves around aircraft flying below FAA minimums.  The FAA stance is that these aircraft are on an approach path so those minimums do not apply.  However, as is shown in the "Spreadsheet Ignored" below, it is questionable, if a number of aircraft were on an approach path of any kind.  Still the FAA maintains its stance and no action is ever taken.


To emphasize the point that no FAA action is taken for aircraft flying below FAA minimums, please note that the two aircraft in the screenshot below are definitely not on any approach path and are flying 200 and 300 feet above the ocean, parallel to the shoreline.  The shoreline (that) was filled with sunbathers and surfers in the water.

FAA Minimum altitude definition


  • Anywhere: an altitude allowing a safe emergency landing without undue hazard to person or property on the ground;


  • Over Congested Areas: an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal distance of less than 2,000 feet;


  • Over Populated Areas: an altitude of 500 feet AGL (Above Ground Level);


  • Over Open Water or Sparsely Populated Areas: an altitude allowing for a linear distance greater than 500 feet from any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure;


  • Helicopters: If without hazard to persons or property on the surface, an altitude lower than in definitions 2, 3, and 4 above, provided in compliance with any routes or altitudes specifically prescribed for helicopters by the FAA.



For approximately three months in 2014, aircraft that caused our household to interrupte its quality of life were recorded on the enclosed spreadsheet.


The spreadsheet was distributed to all members of the Palomar Airport Advisory Committee (PAAC) and the CRQ Airport Director, Olivier Brackett.  The spreadsheet was accepted, but no action has thus far been take by the PAAC, CRQ Airport Management nor the FAA.  In fact, the FAA stated it had no authority because the aircraft were on approach and it is up to the pilot to make sure he/she is flying safely.


As noted on the spreadsheet, most of the aircraft are below FAA minimums,  But, after checking the flight paths, a large amount were not on an approach path.


A complete 40 page Log of each event shown in the spreadsheet is being published.  When it is available it will be available for download  here.

~ August 16, 2016 ~

It has been decided not to post the detailed log of each incident.  WHY?  There is an obvious "a wink-and-nod agreement" between the FAA, PAAC, McClellan-Palomar Airport management and the City of Carlsbad.  The same type of agreement that is now obvious all over the county when citizens complain about airport and aircraft noise and pollution.  Click to see how other communities are being ignored.


The facts:

  • The FAA - it seems the standard answer is, the aircraft were in a landing pattern and the minimums do not apply.  The fact is no investigation was held and more than 60% of the aircraft were not in any landing path.  That said, most were in what would be considered restricted air space according to the airport's Fly Friendly Program.

  • The PAAC (Palomar Airport Advisory Committee) - there is no way to enforce the Fly Friendly Program, it is strictly voluntary.  Contact the FAA and report the incidents.

  • CRQ Airport Management - we have no control of the aircraft if it is not on our airport.

  • Carlsbad City Council, City Manager, City Attorney - after years of requesting action to protect the citizens of Carlsbad from the proven increased aircraft noise and pollution an airport expansion would bring, to date there seems to be no interest from our city officials to do so.

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