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City News & Announcements

Posted on: August 1, 2023

Del Mar officials and Miramar base commander discuss helicopter noise

City officials and Marine Corps colonel

The Commanding Officer of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar told Del Mar officials July 28 that crowded airspace is most often to blame for military helicopters hugging the coast and disturbing residents with noise.

During a briefing and tour of MCASM, Col. Thomas M. Bedell and Maj. Justin Campbell told Mayor Tracy Martinez, Councilmember Dwight Worden and Assistant City Manager Clem Brown that pilots from Miramar follow a dedicated flight path, known as the “beach route,” unless otherwise directed.

The route sends helicopters west-northwest over Los Peñasquitos Lagoon before turning them north about one mile out to sea.

But sometimes helicopters cut the corner and fly close to homes in Del Mar.

According to Bedell, Commanding Officer of the base, the deviations could be the result of federal air traffic controllers directing the pilots to avoid other aircraft using the same route. San Diego is designated as “Class B” airspace, with some of the busiest skies in the nation because of the many general aviation airports and five military airfields in the region.

A thick marine layer can force helicopters to fly lower and closer to the coast. Also, some military pilots of transient aircraft are unfamiliar with the beach route Miramar instructs its pilots to follow, Bedell said.

Once helicopters clear the base, the Federal Aviation Administration directs their movements.

Responding to noise concerns from Del Mar, Bedell said he would confer with his counterparts at Camp Pendleton and Naval Air Station North Island to review proper flight paths.   The goal is for better communication and coordination among operators of military aircraft using the beach route to reduce impacts to the Del Mar community.

On average, MCASM runs 67,000 flight operations per year. It is home to 116 rotary wing or tilt-rotor aircraft and 105 fixed-wing planes.

Residents can file noise complaints to MCASM online or by calling (858) 307-4277.

Noise Complaints webpage

Open presentation: Marine Corps Air Station Miramar Orientation and Operations

AICUZA purple outline shows what the Marine Corps Installations Command identifies as an Air Installations Compatible Use Zone Footprint.

MCASM overview

Marine Corps Air Station Miramar is located about 10 miles from the City of Del Mar.

MV-22B OspreySikorsky CH-53E Super StallionThe 116 rotary-wing aircraft stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar include the MV-22B Osprey and the Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion.

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