Touching Bases: FAA investigating SMO's conformance program
Santa Monica (Calif.) Airport (SMO) has developed a “conformance program” for aircraft using the airport. According to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, airport officials deny the program is a back-door effort to reduce noise, but it would effectively ban half the jet traffic at the field, setting civil and criminal penalties for aircraft operators who violate its terms. The FAA is currently investigating to determine if the conformance program violates terms of federal funding at SMO. Earlier this year the airport tried to increase fines for noise-abatement violations, but was rebuffed by the FAA. In a letter to the airport manager, FAA director of airport safety and standards David Bennett advised that the agency is looking into the legality of the program and he “strongly recommends” that airport manager Robert Trimborn not implement the program until the federal investigation is completed.