Saturday, June 23, 2018

Plane Spotting From Home

Below is a collage of planes I shot while sitting on the deck yesterday and Thursday.   The Anchorage Daily News has a story online (they don't have a Saturday paper any more so I'm sure it will be in Sunday's) that says this current three week traffic pattern and noise level will be all summer next year.   Now it says we're getting 150 to 170 jets taking off over Anchorage a day.

That comes to about 6 - 7 every hour, 24/7.  Or about one every nine minutes!   My sense of the last two nights is that the traffic is less at night, so that could make it every 4 or 5 minutes during the day.   I mentioned this on Nextdoor the other day. [Not sure if you can get to the post if you're not logged in or in the community.]  Based on the comments, this affects people in a considerably larger area than I mapped in yesterday's post.  A few folks say they don't mind.  Others say they can't sleep with the noise all night.  One said his house must have better sound proofing than others.  I suspect the folks who felt the noise level was ok, for the most part were a) inside or away most of the day, b) further from the flight path,  c) already a bit deaf.  But it's not just the loud noise that's a health hazard.  The vibrations are a stress increaser.  This is summer in Alaska.  It's short.  I try to spend the whole summer in Alaska and the backyard deck is my sanctuary.  Well, was.  It's very loud out there now.

Fortunately cannabis is legal in Anchorage.  That might take the edge off all this noise for some.  Anyway, here are a few pictures from the deck over the last two days.  There's a relatively small opening between the trees and the roofline.  The planes give plenty of warning that they're coming, though they don't all come directly overhead for a good shot.


  1. The decibel data is cool Steve but we all know that no one is going deaf from these planes and there is much more time when you have no take offs than when you do. And I do live where the planes come over near Oceanview, we can even at night here them sometimes when they use the other runways. Some data for the airport:

    ANC contributes more than 9,000 jobs directly and almost 6500 indirect or induced jobs to the Municipality of Anchorage, earning $1 billion in income.
    $8 out of every $10 ANC spends on purchases from Alaska’s private sector goes to businesses in Anchorage.
    ANC infrastructure construction projects generated over 1,000 jobs and $54 million in earnings.
    Businesses located at ANC contribute at least $2.3 million in property taxes to the Municipality of Anchorage.
    ANC is self-supporting, providing $101.2 million in operating & investment revenues for the International Airport Revenue Fund.
    71% of all Asia bound cargo from the U.S. and 82% of all U.S. bound cargo from Asia transit through ANC.
    It’s only for a couple of months and I would think that someone who fly’s as much as you would want a safe airport. You can chalk this up as a major first world problem.

    I see from the Daily News that Fred Myers did another sting.


  2. A number of things:
    1. "Going Deaf" is a gradual event over a person's lifetime, for some faster for others slower depending on combination of loudness of noise exposure, duration, and frequency.
    2. There are other health problems associated with continuous loud noise - and a five months exposure next summer would definitely effect a number of people's health, and that's not even including the affects of loss of sleep. And we're not even talking about pollution for the exhaust
    3. It would be nice to see the source of your data - for instance, I'm not sure why businesses at the airport would pay property tax since they lease the land from a tax exempt entity, but maybe there's some provision I don't know about. But I'd like to see where that data comes from and exactly what it says
    5. I know the airport is a big economic engine and so is the health industry,, so you could say this is a double benefit if people's health worsens from the constant noise
    6. Different people experience noise differently and for some this period is a serious interruption of their lives


    This might make you feel better, you said ‘Now it says we're getting 150 to 170 jets taking off over Anchorage a day.’ The ADN said ‘flights’ a day. I looked on ‘Flight Aware’ and this morning between 7 and 7:30 am ten flights left. Three were 737’s, five were prop planes, one was a Learjet and one a 747 so I would say half your actual number are jets so it might not be as bad as you think.


    1. thanks for the citation and the distinction between jets and flights. I've briefly looked at the report. A few thoughts:
      1. It's in a journal that promotes business
      2. It was commissioned by the airport through another organization that promotes business
      That doesn't mean it's wrong, but their intent is to make the airport look as good as possible. So, just as you pointed out flights does not mean jets, on first glance I have these questions:
      1. "$8 out of every $10 ANC spends on purchases from Alaska’s private sector goes to businesses in Anchorage." OK, that means, the money they spend in Alaska stays in Anchorage and doesn't help the rest of the state. What percent of their expenditures go to the Alaska private sector and what percent go Outside of Alaska?
      2. (And I'm being picky here, but precise) "71% of all Asia bound cargo from the U.S. and 82% of all U.S. bound cargo from Asia transit through ANC."
      I realize this is understood by most, but adding 'air' in front of cargo wouldn't take up much space. I'm sure the vast majority of cargo to and from Asia is by tanker, not air, and doesn't go through Anchorage.
      My basic point is that our information infrastructure is overwhelmingly pro-business and pro-development and health and environment are less valued than "the economy." Unless health and environment are converted to dollar values. I'm just an independent blogger who is asking folks to calculate the health and environmental costs so we can compare them to the airport benefits. And that we not totally trust the governmental agency that runs the airport to search too hard to find the best alternatives for everyone, not just their bottom line.


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