Neighbor FAQ

General Information

My house is not supposed to be in the flight path. Why are planes flying over my home?
The FAA directs traffic into and out of the Airport. Flights are directed to the safest pattern depending on the amount of air traffic and prevailing winds at the time of arrival or departure. Safety is the FAA’s first consideration. However, aircraft can and do fly over all parts of Sonoma County.

Are jets prohibited from operating at STS?
No. Jet aircraft are allowed to, and do, operate out of STS. During daytime operations, 6:00 am to 10:00 pm, no aircraft shall operate from STS that exceeds 83.2 dba. For nighttime operations, 10:00 pm to 6:00 am, the noise level shall not exceed 72.0 dba. An aircraft is rated by its take-off noise level per the FAA Advisory Circular 36-3.

Why do aircraft fly over my home sometimes more, sometimes less?
Aircraft are directed by the ATCT within a 5-mile radius of the Airport based on safety, prevailing winds, and the amount of traffic at the time. Aircraft arrive from all directions; for safe operations, they must take off and land into the wind. Wind direction charges by season and time of day. This may often place aircraft over residential areas. Pilots are asked to fly friendly by using appropriate procedures in order to reduce noise over sensitive areas around the Airport.

Are planes allowed to fly over schools?
Yes. Sonoma County does not contain any No Fly Zones.

Are any aircraft exempt from the County Noise Limits?
Yes. The exemptions are:

  • Aircraft operating on emergency missions, including their support functions.
  • Aircraft of the United States Government and its various agencies.
  • Daytime operations by aircraft based at STS prior to the establishment of the aircraft operating noise limits.
  • Vintage aircraft.

What kind of noise management does the Airport have?
The Airport has a Noise Management Program that offers noise management procedures and Airport noise limits. Pilots are requested to ensure that their aircraft comply with these limits prior to operating at the Airport. There are daytime noise limits and much stricter nighttime noise limits. In addition, pilots are asked to avoid overflying residential areas to the extent traffic and safety permits. Safety always supercedes noise management procedures.

How do I file a noise complaint?
Go go the Neighbor Feedback Form. Neighbors who are disturbed by loud flying aircraft or other types of operations can also call the Airport’s Complaint Line at (707) 544-4787. This line is connected to a digital recorder that takes messages 24 hours per day, seven days a week. One call equals one complaint regardless the number of aircraft detailed. In addition, complaints will be accepted by phone, voice mail, fax, or a personal visit to the Airport office.

If a specific aircraft is identified through the investigation process, the aircraft owner will be notified that their operation generated a complaint and they will be asked to fly in a neighborly fashion. They will also receive a noise management brochure that has current guidelines that we ask pilots to follow. If the operation is in violation of the Airport’s noise limitations, a letter will be sent to the owner of the aircraft informing them of the violation and that future visits of that aircraft may result in fines.

Additionally, if the aircraft appears to have violated FAA Regulations, the incident will be turned over to the FAA for their investigation and action. The Aviation Commission reviews all complaints at their regularly scheduled meetings. In addition, all complaints received are presented annually to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors for their review.

Other Information

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