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Posted: Thursday, November 7, 2019 9:02 am | Updated: 1:47 pm, Thu Nov 7, 2019.

Today, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officially published a new flight path over the San Bernardino Mountains that replaces a controversial route over Lake Arrowhead, which has generated numerous resident complaints since it was implemented in 2017. The new flight path will officially be implemented on Dec. 5. It is similar to an older route over the mostly unpopulated area near Heaps Peak.

“It took us a few years to get to this point, but by talking and working with the FAA, rather than tying this matter up in the courts, we were able to get this flight path changed sooner rather than later,” said San Bernardino County Second District Supervisor Janice Rutherford. “I appreciate residents’ patience as the FAA finalized the flight path it promised us earlier this year and I am also thankful for the support of Senator Dianne Feinstein, Senator Kamala Harris, and Congressman Paul Cook provided throughout our discussions with the FAA.”

The FAA implemented the SoCal Metroplex Project in phases in late 2016 and 2017. It replaced dozens of conventional air routes with ones based on satellite navigation. One of the routes took planes over the Lake Arrowhead communities, which are more than 5,000 feet above sea level.

In April 2018, the FAA began diverting most night flights from the route over Lake Arrowhead in response to community concerns about the noise the flights generated. 

In addition to her outreach to residents, Supervisor Rutherford traveled to Washington, D.C. in 2018 to meet with FAA officials about the noise issues the flight path created in the mountains.

While the FAA will cancel the route over Lake Arrowhead in 30 days, the agency noted that air traffic controllers may have to direct aircraft off the new route because of factors including traffic volume and weather conditions. It is possible that this could occasionally result in aircraft overflying the Lake Arrowhead area and other communities, as they did before the FAA implemented the new route.

 

Update from the FAA after the Mountain News story above went to press:

In April 2017, as part of the Southern California Metroplex project, the FAA implemented the EAGLZ satellite-based arrival route into Ontario International Airport (ONT). Aircraft using the EAGLZ flew over Lake Arrowhead, resulting in widespread community concerns.

As part of the post-implementation phase of the SoCal Metroplex project, the FAA looked at designing a new route that could address community concerns while maintaining the project's enhanced airspace safety and efficiency benefits. In May 2018, the FAA created a new arrival route for ONT called the JCKIE ONE, which is located east of Lake Arrowhead.

The JCKIE ONE could only be used between approximately 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. because it did not provide the necessary separation with the nearby DSNEE and ROOBY arrival routes, which serve John Wayne Airport and Long Beach Airport, respectively. The DSNEE and ROOBY are not used at night due to curfews at John Wayne Airport and Long Beach Airport. Therefore, the FAA was able to use the JCKIE ONE at night.

After implementing the JCKIE ONE, the FAA continued to explore additional options to address community concerns about flights that use the EAGLZ during the day. The FAA determined it could modify the JCKIE ONE to create a route that could be used 24 hours a day. This route will be called the JCKIE TWO.

Aircraft that currently use the JCKIE ONE and the EAGLZ will be assigned to the JCKIE TWO at all times of day. It will provide both nighttime and daytime overflight reduction to the Lake Arrowhead community.

The FAA conducted an environmental review of the JCKIE TWO in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act. The FAA will post its documented environmental review on this website once the JCKIE TWO is published.

The FAA plans to publish and start using the JCKIE TWO on Dec. 5, 2019. The FAA will cancel the EAGLZ arrival route when it publishes the JCKIE TWO.

Implementing the JCKIE TWO will not change runway usage at ONT. The vast majority of aircraft will continue to land from east to west, on Runways 26L and 26R.

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