Community Group Asks for Reinstatement of Case Against Navy Aviators


MARCH 22, 2001

The MARCH Coalition Fund, Inc. (MARCH) has filed a motion with the U.S. District Court to reinstate the case which claimed violations of federal law by the Navy Department and Marine Corps associated with the realignment of Miramar Naval Air Station to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

MARCH seeks mediation by the magistrate judge of this court of its claim that federal defendants have not complied with the terms of the agreement which settled the law suit in February 1999.

Eleven months ago MARCH provided the Marine Corps with compelling evidence that federal defendants have failed to make a good faith effort to study the feasibility of an eastern helicopter route and that they have not followed the required procedure for Plaintiffs' review of their study.

Efforts since then by MARCH to obtain a response to the evidence of the Marines faulty analysis have failed.

Adoption of an eastern route similar to those proposed to the Marine Corps by MARCH military and air traffic experts would reduce exposure to noise and crash potential in heavily populated communities in coastal areas, in East County, and in the I-15 corridor. It could be used instead of the beach and I-15 routes for helicopter flights between Miramar and Camp Pendleton at times when there is good reason for Miramar to not use the Fairway Route.

Replacement of a portion of the existing Yuma route by the proposed route would benefit heavily populated areas in East County including Santee, El Cajon, and Blossom Valley.

The Plaintiffs have claimed two other violations which may require mediation. MARCH and Del Mar attorneys have notified the Marine Corps that their use of the Beach Route for reasons other then deconfliction of aircraft is a violation of the Settlement Agreement.  Miramar helicopters have been using the Beach Route for convenience and for other reasons not provided in the Settlement Agreement. For example, the Marine Corps used the Beach Route instead of the Fairways Route to avoid flying over Torrey Pines Golf Course during the Buick Tournament.

As residents of Carmel Valley, Sorrento Hills and other neighborhoods under the Beach route can attest, Miramar's inappropriate and illegal use of the Beach route has created a serious noise disturbance problem.

Also, MARCH attorneys have formally requested the Marine Corps to cease its violation of the provision of the Settlement Agreement which requires their helicopters to use Instrument Flight Rules to maintain published altitudes when weather conditions prevent them from using Visual Flight Rules at published altitudes.

Miramar personnel have confirmed the reports received by MARCH that their helicopters have been flying at well below published altitudes below the clouds for the purpose of maintaining visual contact with the freeway or other landmarks.

Source: Jerry Hargarten, President, MARCH Coalition Fund