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Alpine Resident Voices Concerns About AIRPLANE TRAFFIC Over Alpine Homes

My name is Ron Ripperger and I live on Lilac Ranch Road, Alpine, CA 91901. As stated in my draft letter we have so many civilian aircraft flying to and from our Alpine Community to practice their standard maneuvers and practice driver’s training.  Last Thursday (8/27) we counted just under 50, yes 50, civilian planes flying over our neighborhood and unfortunately our lot to reach their practice area.  Refer to page 15 of the attached Gillespie Field Guide to see why they are coming to our section of Alpine to practice every day.  2017_Pilot_Airport_Resource_Guide_PDF (002)

The Heavy Traffic Practice Area shows approach courses right over our community.  Due to the scale of the map it is hard to pinpoint our home, but it is located right where the planes enter the Practice Area at the westerly side of the bottom of the “U”.  Keep in mind, there are also many planes entering our airspace from Brown Field to the south which is not shown on this map.  We also have IFR training going on at night in the same area.  As a reminder, we started out contacting our local Alpine Community Network where it is clear many residents of Alpine are really tired of the constant planes flying over our community.  We then contacted Supervisor Dianne Jacob’s office who reached out to Gillespie Field for clarification.  A representative from Gillespie Field contacted me by phone and said that the FAA was the agency to contact.  We reached out to State Senator Brian Jones as well and a representative from his office referred us to the County or FAA.

At any rate, the fact remains that civilian aircraft use a certain part of the Alpine Community skies for practicing every day.  Page 15 shows the map where they go to practice and they use the southwest portion of the Practice Area to practice more than any other part of the “U”.  Our new home is on a hill and we can see and here the planes coming from three different locations to access the Practice Area, so much for any privacy from the air.  So, we are requesting that the Civilian Practice Area that was designated after the 9/11 Terror Event for some reason be relocated to a less residential area outside of Alpine Airspace.  There are so many rural areas all around our County that this constant activity could better be accomplished without disturbing people and communities.

If we had wanted to live next to an airport we would have bought a home next to one of San Diego County’s many airports.  We need your help to restore our skies to peace and quiet versus the constant noise of small planes.  Please note that we have no concerns with Commercial or Military aircraft that fly over Alpine, but simply the constant civilian aircraft that are present every day from morning into the night.  I now tell people when they visit us and comment about the planes that we live next to the Alpine Airport….

Thanks for your help, Ron & Bobbi Ripperger  email:


From: 9-AWP-Noise (FAA) <>
Sent: Monday, August 31, 2020 6:44 AM
Subject: Noise Complaint – FAA Response (Issue AWP-2020000937)


Dear Mr. Ripperger,

Thank you for your email concerning a noise complaint. We appreciate you taking the time to share your concerns with our office.

You did not provide a physical address or cross streets from which to conduct a detailed track analysis but generally, there is no such airspace classification as a practice area.  Hence there is no practice area to relocate. The airspace above your residence is uncontrolled below 18,000 feet as is most of the airspace outside of 30-miles from the busiest airports in the country.  Aircraft operating under Visual Flight Rules (VFR) can legally operate in uncontrolled airspace provided they comply with the altitude requirements below:

14 CFR, part 91, section 91.119 (entitled Minimum Safe Altitudes: General) permits pilots of aircraft to operate at the following altitudes, “Except when necessary for takeoff or landing, no person may operate an aircraft below the following altitudes:

(a) Anywhere. An altitude allowing, if a power unit fails, an emergency landing without undue hazard to persons or property on the surface.

(b) Over congested areas. Over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open air assembly of persons, an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft.

(c) Over other than congested areas. An altitude of 500 feet above the surface, except over open water or sparsely populated areas. In those cases, the aircraft may not be operated closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure.

(d) Helicopters, powered parachutes, and weight-shift-control aircraft. If the operation is conducted without hazard to persons or property on the surface—

(1) A helicopter may be operated at less than the minimums prescribed in paragraph (b) or (c) of this section, provided each person operating the helicopter complies with any routes or altitudes specifically prescribed for helicopters by the FAA; and

(2) A powered parachute or weight-shift-control aircraft may be operated at less than the minimums prescribed in paragraph (c) of this section.”

Here is the link to 14 CFR part 91:

VFR aircraft are not typically communicating with FAA Air Traffic Control (ATC) nor does ATC control where the aircraft fly.

In addition, there are no federal regulations the FAA can enforce limiting the noise created by airplanes in flight after they have met the certification standards prescribed in federal regulations for manufacturing. The manufacturing regulations exist in Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR), part 36 link:

These regulations establish the noise requirement limits that must be satisfied by the airplane manufacturer prior to them being granted FAA approval of a type certificate for production of the aircraft.

We hope that this response proves helpful in addressing your concerns regarding aircraft noise. The FAA is continuing to manage the national airspace system in a safe and efficient manner while also continuing to explore measures to reduce noise from aircraft in the future.


Federal Aviation Administration

Office of the Regional Administrator

Western-Pacific Region



Event Address                     Alpine, California, 90901

Aircraft Tail Number            NA

Airport Source                      Unknown

Start Date of Event              2020-08-12 09:00 PM (UTC)



Want to get the Civilian Practice Area over the Alpine (east of san diego) skies relocated to away from our residential community.  The constant civilian aircraft that fly over our home and our neighbors in our community is annoying and not a safe practice.  Why would anyone consciously locate a practice area over a residential community is beyond us.  I am now becoming an expert in the various aircraft and maneuvers that they do over our homes from morning to night.  Ron Ripperger 619-987-6373 “Free Alpine Skies from Civilian Aircraft Practice” community group.  Thanks



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10 comments to Alpine Resident Voices Concerns About AIRPLANE TRAFFIC Over Alpine Homes

  • Sara Fields

    I remember when i was a kid it would be so quiet, then all of a sudden an engine would start above me in the sky. They’ve been doing it for years, however im not sure theyre taking in the fact that this area can not take a plane crashing without a fire happening and frankly i think we all are done with taking chances like that. They can go train over the ocean!

  • ronald ripperger

    If anyone is interested in trying to help us relocate the civilian aircraft training area from over Alpine please email me at Thanks, Ron

  • Jay

    I’m glad to see I am not alone on this issue. I live in the area of Marshall & Eltinge and the airplane noise is relentless. We move to Alpine to get away from the city noise and have some peace and quiet at the end of the day. I cannot sit on my patio and have a conversation because of the constant airplane noise. Since I work from home these days, I make calls and have the to keep the windows closed. I had a client on the other end ask if I lived next to an airport because the noise was so loud.
    I have filed a complaint with FAA with no response. Before that I contacted Cathe Johnson from the county at Gillespie Field. She advised me the FAA has jurisdiction in this situation. It seems the FAA is not interested in rectifying the situation based on their response posted here.
    We are stronger in numbers in these situations and we ALL need to get involved if we want this to end. Therefore, I say we contact our local politician (It is election time) and make them aware of the situation. Another option is a “class action” lawsuit citing a quality of life issue. Has anyone gone to the airport and spoke to the manager or someone in charge to make them aware?
    If everyone is willing to work together and pool our resources, I think we can fix this situation, but it will take a little work on our part. It seems like Ron is motivated to get things going. Let’s work together and make the airplane noise stop.


  • Michele

    THAT’S what’s going on! We’ve been here over twenty years and in the last year it’s become increasingly annoying. So who do we complain to? Sign a petition? I’m not sure exactly where you are. We are on the south end of Wrights Field. I’ve called Gillespie Field several times and requested flight plans to see if possibly they were flying in a restricted area since it seemed so odd there were so many and some flying so low over residential property. I was told there was no need to file a flight plan at Gillespie.

  • Caryl Adams

    Thank you for your efforts, Ron. I know it takes times to do what you have already done. I lived in Alpine for two years 20 years ago. I loved it but had a long commute so I moved back to San Diego. Now that I am retired or only working part-time, I have thought about moving back.

    I am very sensitive to noise and anything close to 50 airplane crossings a day would drive me crazy, day or night. I wish you well and hope that the Civilian Practice Area can be relocated soon.

  • Auto pilot

    You should probably just move Ron

  • Mike McClure

    yep I live in south alpine I hear the traffic on my scanner….I also hear a lot of stunt plane practices to the north of us we also get a lot of military helicopters flying very low and rattles the house I always hear about the “dirt patch” where is that

  • Elle Arnot

    Learned a lot. Thanks for publishing.

  • Susie Wicklund

    Thank you for your efforts. We live right off of Harbison Canyon Road and have the same issues. The helicopters that fly over us have flown so low over our house that it shakes!!

  • Ron Ripperger

    Subscribing to comment thread

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