Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Samuel Alioto
Observer Staff Writer 

5 AM Airport Takeoff on 4th of July Wakes Up and Infuriates Santa Monica Neighbors

Was "an emergency aircraft flight for medical purposes," really worth it?


File photo

A plane waiting for takeoff at Santa Monica Airport. Aircraft pictured was not involved in the 4th of July incident that is the subject of this story.

A medical evacuation jet taking off from Santa Monica Airport at 4:55 a.m. on the 4th of July awakened thousands of residents and presumably saving one patients life. It also violated an airport curfew from 10 pm to 7 am, on all takeoffs and landings.

Many airport residents questioned whether it was worth it. Chain e mail went to members of the City Council, and other local residents.

"I am still shaking from that take was so loud," wrote Patty HMJ. "Do these folks, pilot even think of neighborhood day off to enjoy independence Rude!!

And between that and loud illegal fireworks going off all night..... (makes me wonder) who owned that jet."

"We received a number of complaints associated with yesterday's 4:55 a.m. departure," acknowledged SMO Director Stelios Makrides "This operation was associated with an emergency aircraft flight for medical purposes. California PUC §21662.4 exempts emergency medical flights from local ordinances as long as the operator provides specific information regarding their departure. The PUC permits the operator to submit the required information regarding their medical emergency within 72 hours of their departure."

File photo

A plane landing at Santa Monica Airport. Aircraft pictured was not involved in the 4th of July incident that is the subject of this story.

"Given the health consequences of noise exposure to this community (3.5% increased risk for older patient cardiovascular hospital admittance:, perhaps the Airport Director should require documentation for all medevac flights from a disinterested third party," suggested local resident Joe Schmitz.

"It is a known fact by now that while residents can be sure of getting a ticket for parking on the street on street sweeping day," wrote airport opponent Alan Levenson.

"Airplanes can exceed the noise limits and get away with a warning or fine depending upon the discretion exercised by the city attorney's office and the reporting by the airport staff. It seems airplane noise violations should be held to a higher standard than street parking, since one violation can disturb countless individuals and reap handsome rewards for city coffers," Levenson, a local attorney, wrote.


Reader Comments(6)

C177BDriver writes:

Locals should be ashamed of themselves. If their mother was having a heart attack at 3:00 AM, I'm sure they would love for a medivac chopper to take them to the hospital. Or should the helo wait until 8:00 AM to comply with a noise ordinance? And I'd be very surprised if a tied-down aircraft with no pilot in it is waiting for takeoff as it says in the picture.

PDenny writes:

It's appalling the amount of whining coming out of the residents of Santa Makes nick. You bought a house near an airport. What kind of babies are you? And the fact that you complain about a medical flight to boot. You should all be ashamed of your selfishness and silliness. Your storied airport deserves better people around it.

RossM writes:

Can't believe a community had enough selfish idiots to complain about a medevac flight that it makes the news?! Do they also complain about sirens on fire trucks or ambulances? I'm also willing to bet the airport was there long before their houses! Don't like airplane noise, don't live next to an airport! The exemption for medevac flights is the same reason fire and cops can break the speed limit and drive around with loud sirens - for preservation of life. If it was your family member on that plane, you wouldn't care about the noise.

SMOScotland writes:

As a champion of the rather excellent Santa Monica Airport from far afield (overseas) I find myself utterly despondent in the remarks made by residents and their comments in a chain e-mail. I have looked after urgent medevac flights at my home airport for over a decade. For the most part it has been people injured fighting for their country. I know what death smells like, I've seen the worst injuries possible. I've seen people die at my feet. I've carried little babies in incubators. I've done it all hours of the day and night. For days and nights on end at its height. So to you, who complain because your airport, its staff and those aircrew and medics are doing something you should be proud of. You, who are trying to close this lifeline. This essential service. The sun does not revolve around you. Shame on you. Sleep well until it is you or yours who needs airlifted out and the airport is closed. It's a long drive to Hawthorne. To all who complain,I fart in your general direction.

Jlord02 writes:

I'm appalled that anyone would even think to complain about any medical emergency disrupting their sleep. I'm embarrassed these people are my neighbours. Take a seat Santa Monica: your privilege is showing. The headline: was it really worth it? Shame on you, Observer.

Chibi832 writes:

Santa Monica residents who complain about an emergency medevac flight are too mentally ill to be out in public, and certainly too ill to have their own phones to call and complain. Perhaps their handlers should monitor the hallways of the nut-house a bit more closely.


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