Fly Neighborly Program

Santa Monica Airport’s Fly Neighborly Program outlines responsibilities, assesses needs and mitigates noise impacts as much as possible.  Though safety is always the last word in any flight situation, the program contains a set of mandatory and voluntary procedures that help pilots avoid residential areas and reduce the impact of aircraft operations on the community.

The City is often preempted by Federal law and regulations from establishing or enforcing local laws that would affect aircraft operations or the use of airspace around the Santa Monica Airport. However, the City’s Airport restrictions are among the strongest in the State and Country.  


Mandatory Restrictions

The following procedures and limitations are enforced in accordance with the City’s Aircraft Noise Code (Santa Monica Municipal Code 10.04.04)  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 2,200 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 including APUs 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 Restriction – Helicopter training is not allowed at the airport. 

Voluntary Guidelines

The following recommended procedures and limitations are incorporated into the Airport’s Fly Neighborly Program:

Voluntary Night Arrival Curfew - Although under federal law 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 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.


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