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High: 67°F
0% chance of rain

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Tonight Tomorrow Night Sunday Night

Increasing Clouds
Low: 56°F
8% chance of rain

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Mandatory vs Recommended Procedures

Santa Monica Airport is unique from the thousands of general aviation airports across the country in that we have one of the strictest local airport noise ordinances.  General aviation airports are a lot like the roads and highways many of us use everyday. They are "public use" in that they were built using federal/state/local funds and can be used by anyone so long as the users follow the rules. There are a number of rules that pilots using the Santa Monica Airport have to follow. Most of these rules are enforced by
Federal Aviation Regulations or FARs. Other rules are governed through the Santa Monica Municipal Code and/or the Airport's Operations Handbook. Some of the procedures the Airport Administration has are simply recomendations, and others come with civil penalties attached if they are not followed. 

Santa Monica Airport has certain "recomendations" and "ordinances" which coincide with the airport's "Fly Neighborly" program.  Select the links on the side to view our "recommended" flight paths which help to minimize the impact of aircraft noise on the surrounding communities.  Runway 21 is the airport's primary runway with aircraft landing and departing to the west. Runway 3 is used only a few days out of the year when the Los Angeles Basin is experiencing winds from the east (i.e. Santa Anna wind conditions).

Fixed Wing Template
Fixed Wing Procedures
Helicopter Procedures
Helicopter Procedures 
Jet Procedures
Jet Aircraft Procedures
Noise Management Operational Procedures Enforced by Ordinance
The following procedures and limitations are enforced per the City’s Aircraft Noise Ordinance.  Violations may result in the imposition of fines and/or exclusion from Santa Monica Airport.

  • Maximum Noise Level - A maximum noise level of 95.0 dBA Single Event Noise Exposure Level, measured at noise monitor sites 1,500 feet from each end of the runway, is enforced 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Night Departure Curfew - No takeoffs or engine starts are permitted between 11pm and 7am Monday through Friday, or until 8am on weekends.  Exceptions are allowed for bona fide medical or public safety emergencies only.
  • Operational Limitations - Touch-and-go, stop-and-go, and low approaches are prohibited on weekends, holidays, and weekdays from one-half hour after sunset until 7am the following day.
  • Helicopter Training - Helicopter Training is prohibited.

Recommended Noise Management Operational Procedures
In addition, the following recommended procedures and limitations have been incorporated into the Airport’s Fly Neighborly Program and included in the program’s outreach materials:

  •  Voluntary Night Arrival Curfew - Although arrivals are permitted 24 hours a day, pilots are requested to avoid all operations between 11pm and 7am Monday through Friday, or until 8am on weekends.
  • Visual Flight Rules (VFR) Departure Flight Paths - Fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters departing to the west are requested to overfly the Penmar Golf Course and initiate northerly turns at the shoreline and southerly turns at or after Lincoln Boulevard. Departures to the east are requested to initiate turns at or after reaching the 405 Freeway.
  • Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) Limitations - Many jet aircraft utilize APU’s to provide electricity to aircraft systems prior to, or just after flight. For noise management purposes, pilots are requested to limit APU use to (30) thirty minutes. Additionally, the APU is considered an engine start and shall comply with the Airport’s curfew restrictions.
  • Reverse Thrust Use - Due to the noise generated by aircraft utilizing reverse thrust upon landing, particularly during the night hours, the Airport recommends the use of minimum reverse thrust necessary for safety.
  • IFR Engine Start Procedures - In an effort to minimize delay between engine start and departure, fixed-wing turbine aircraft shall obtain an expected departure release time from Air Traffic Control prior to starting-up or taxiing to the IFR Hold Area at the end of the runway.
  • IFR Hold Area Procedures - Fixed-wing turbine aircraft are requested to hold approximately 200 feet from the end of the runway while awaiting departure clearance from Air Traffic Control. A yellow sign and a yellow dashed line across the taxiway indicate the hold area.
  • Helicopter Arrival Procedures - The Helicopter Letter of Agreement between the City of Santa Monica and the FAA was amended to reflect the Airport Working Group recommendation to route helicopters approaching Santa Monica Airport from the north or south at or above 900 feet, rather than on runway heading with fixed-wing aircraft.

 File a noise complaint

Last updated: 2/22/2010
City of Santa Monica © 2014

1685 Main St., Santa Monica, CA 90401 · (310) 458-8411 · TTY (310) 917-6626