HONK! Increased traffic in the skies
By SALVADOR HERNANDEZ
The Orange County Register
Q. For a few weeks I noticed large planes flying over my home every five minutes, on Alicia & Jeronimo in Mission Viejo. I KNOW I didn't buy in a fly zone, so is this diversion to John Wayne Airport due to our fires?
A. This is not the regular traffic most residents in South County deal with, but air traffic has been an issue with locals for a few years now.
Ever since someone thought it would be a good idea to try to build an airport in South County, residents here have a tendency to notice any excess noise coming above their heads.
During the last half of October, several people, not just here in South County, started noticing increased air traffic near their homes. That traffic has subsided since, and that's due to the fact that the Southern California fires are now mostly extinguished.
Flights continued to arrive and depart from John Wayne Airport on time during the Santiago fire, but many of them had to be diverted from regular routes during the second half of October in order to stay on time, said Jenny Wedge, spokeswoman for the airport.
"During the fires, there was definitely a change in patterns," Wedge said.
Two factors caused officials to change the flight patterns of commercial planes – bad visibility due to smoke and the need to clear air space so aircraft could make water drops to fight the fires.
Fires burning in San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles counties also affected the routes of the airplanes, causing residents to see more of them in the skies around their neighborhoods.
Up to 12 helicopters were flying around the Santiago fire area during the fire's peak. Airplanes had to circumvent this area to allow the aircraft space to pick up the water and drop it on the burning slopes.
That directive came down from the Federal Aviation Administration, Wedge said.
The different flight routes could have been observed then (and they still can be observed) by visiting the John Wayne Airport Web site at http://www.ocair.com. You can visit the Web site if you are curious to see regular air traffic and the traffic while the fire was burning.
By clicking a link on the homepage under Access & Noise, you can see up to the minute air traffic under the airports "AirportMonitor" link. You can even change the time and watch the air traffic from previous dates, along with information on the flight and airplane.
Contact the writer: Have a question about traffic or roads? Contact Honk! South County at email@example.com
http://www.ocregister.com/news/traffic- ... fires-fire