The Palo Alto Plan
(a.k.a. SERFR-EDDYY)

Update 1: Los Altos City Council votes 5-0 to send a “Fully implement DAVYJ and reject moving flight paths” letter to the Select Committee. City of Mountain View sends a letter too.
Update 2: Analysis of Select Committee draft report item #2, and its implication for Mountain View and Sunnyvale.
Update 3: Select Committee votes to reject SERFR and return to the BSR track, a great precedent against future flight path shifts to over other communities. ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL!!!  Mountain View and Sunnyvale (…and South side of Palo Alto near Charleston…) should still keep an eye out, but I believe this vote has taken SERFR-EDDYY and similar ideas off the table.  🙂

Residents of Los Altos and Mountain View:

SERFR-EDDYY is a new proposal by the city of Palo Alto, the latest salvo in their campaign to move the flight path to the east.

The plan was cooked up by Palo Alto activists (see history below), charted out by the consultants (Freytag and Associates), and officially transmitted to the FAA by the city as a formal request.

Neither the cities of Los Altos or Mountain View were consulted on this.

Here’s what the Palo Alto plan  looks like up-close (Orange).

The Palo Alto proposal continues the trend of moving noise further into Los Altos and now into Mountain View.

When we all bought our homes, the planes flew over the green track, and have done so for 30 years.  This is where they have to go back to.

The blue track is the result of the first track shift (in 2015), and is causing harsh impact in Los Altos, which didn’t use to have jet noise.

Here’s a zoomed-out view. Palo Alto Plan in Orange, again, and the old track in Green:

The increase in track length doesn’t buy the orange track a lot of extra altitude, so noise impact will not be reduced significantly.

To learn more about DAVYJ, start here.

This kind of city-on-city noise warfare is exactly what happens what you open the Pandora Box called “shifting ground tracks”.

It started with “SERFR” in 2015, and is now continuing with “50-50“, “Pine Line“, and “SERFR-EDDYY“.

The Select Committee has been given an opportunity to go back in time and NOT open this Pandora Pox – and by voting to rescind SERFR and return to BSR, has effectively created a precedent against the Palo Alto plan to overfly either Mountain View or Sunnyvale.

The history of the SERFR-EDDYY Campaign

All of the slides from this point onward were generated by Sky Posse and its advocates, or by the city of Palo Alto.

Below is a snippet from a map from the City of Palo Alto’s letter to the FAA, prepared by their consultants, Freytag and Associates.

“SERFR-EDDYY” is the vertical red line crossing the words “Mountain View”.

SERFR-EDDYY was advocated for by Select Committee member Waldeck from Los Altos Hills in the last Select Committee meeting (October 13, 2016).

We don’t think it has a chance of succeeding now. The timing is off, and it won’t get the votes.

However, this is not a passing fancy, and the desire to do this will not go away.

This campaign has been going on for at least 2 years.

The first evidence that we have of Palo Alto’s plans is this slide, which dates back to 2014, before NextGen even happened:

It shows a similar path (in Yellow), except that it overflies Sunnyvale instead of Mountain View (very specifically offset 6 miles eastwards from the old BSR route), and remains parallel until it hits Santa Cruz.

It additionally calls for oceanic arrivals and northern arrivals to also be shifted onto Sunnyvale and merge there.

Later this year, we obtained this slide, from the Los Altos Hills group, that was working with the Palo Alto Sky Posse:

This is almost precisely “SERFR-EDDYY”, but with an extra dog-leg, and starting at waypoint SWELS instead of EDDYY. This version overflies the west side of Mountain View, and the south-eastern side of Palo Alto, near Charleston Rd and Alma Rd.

Usually, these variants are presented under the euphemism of “use the full length of the bay”.

At the same time, Palo Alto is fighting tooth and nail against DAVYJ, painting it (ironically) as “moving noise”.

The reason is clear – the fight against DAVYJ is not because DAVYJ is bad. It’s because DAVYJ is good.

It’s good enough to ruin the urgency behind “shift the flight path eastward”.


We understand that there was a loss of altitude around waypoint MENLO over Palo Alto during the NextGen transition.

DAVYJ doesn’t fix those, simply because it can’t, since the loss of altitude has nothing to do with DAVYJ.

The altitude loss needs to be addresses, and we’ve proposed ways to do that, which Palo Alto is ignoring.

But – the issues at waypoint MENLO can’t be used as an excuse to shift noise to other communities.

A big part of what happened in NextGen is exactly that – flight paths got shifted, and communities who have bought houses away from flight paths had the environment ruined.

The lesson learned should be to respect historical flight paths – not repeat the same mistake with other victims.