Residents Sue Pilot Training School over Noise

SEPTEMBER 29, 2011

Two residents of rural Descanso near San Diego have sued a pilot training school in an effort to reduce or eliminate aircraft noise over their property. The action, filed Sept. 22 in San Diego County Superior Court, seeks a permanent injunction to abate a private nuisance.

Defendant American Aviation Academy (AAA) operates from Gillespie Field in Cajon. According to the complaint, AAA owns or operates 12 single- and twin-engine aircraft, providing private pilot training. The plaintiff's properties are adjacent to a state park and to other large parcels where livestock and horses are kept.

Plaintiffs claim that AAA aircraft repeatedly engage in nonstop circling and figure-eight flying over their properties, resulting in loud, high-frequency noise from the aircraft. Individuals planes operate for half an hour or more overhead.

Plaintiffs also complain that pilots often turn off the engine and descend in circles to a low altitude, when the pilot restarts the engine to regain altitude. This maneuver, plaintiffs say, is repeated for up to 30 or 40 minutes at a time. In addition, pilots allegedly fly back and forth over plaintiff's properties at altitudes as low as 300 feet, low enough for facial features or hand gestures to be detected.

Plaintiffs base their claim of a private nuisance on California Civil Code sections 3479 and 3481, which proscribes activity or conduct that interferes with someone's use and enjoyment of their property.

According to plaintiffs, AAA was asked several times to shift pilot training to the interior of the nearby state park but the school has declined to do so.

Case Information:

Superior Court, San Diego County, Case No. 37-2011-00098224-CU-MC-CTL
Plaintiffs' attorney: Debra Hurst,, 619.236.0016