Briefing to the US Court of Appeals

On the 30th of November, the City of Burien, through our attorney Mr. Matt Adams, filed our Petitioner’s Opening Brief with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, CA.  The 37 page Petition is a formidable document that presents a challenge to the FAA's Northwest Mountain Region Air Traffic Organization and strongly challenges the FAA’s assumptions on three fronts.  First, the Categorical Exclusion (CATEX) could not apply because the Burien Turn was a new procedure, not one currently in use.  Second, the FAA failed to properly evaluate whether extraordinary circumstances were present.  Finally, the FAA failed to evaluate reasonable alternatives.

This Briefing represents a significant achievement.  It began with one resident simply saying "enough!”  Others got involved, they organized, informed the community, addressed the City Council, you members of the community demonstrated your support, the Council listened and then tried to negotiate with the FAA.  When negotiations failed, our City Manager and Attorney worked with the Quiet Skies Coalition and hired an attorney familiar with aviation issues to file a Petition opposing the “Burien Turn.”

You can find a copy of the brief here, and we encourage you to read it in its entirety.  You will likely notice the title “Corrected Petitioner’s Opening Brief” and may have questions regarding the “Corrected” part.  It is called a “Corrected” opening brief because there was an error in pagination within the FAA’s administrative record requiring correction, and by no means refers to any errors in our argumentation or evidence.

This Petition presents our position clearly with nearly every statement supported by references to legal precedents.  The Coalition believes the community has spoken and has an excellent attorney pleading our case.  We trust the judges can see the transgressions and rule in our favor.

Throughout this effort, your support has been vital, a driving force propelling our efforts.  Thank you all very much.


Larry Cripe
QSC President

Meeting at Highline Community College, September 10




How noisy will it become in Burien? What are the risks
to our health and the environment? How does the Sustainable Airport Master Plan (SAMP) impact crime, property values, environmental justice, and our quality of life? What health and mitigation studies are underway? What does the global science say today about these risks? What about the growth beyond 2027? Please attend – ask questions – and request your concerns be addressed in the environmental review!


SEPTEMBER 10, 2018, 5:30-8:30

The SAMP is the blueprint for Airport growth through 2027. Sea-Tac has added 97,000 overflights in the last four years – that’s now 1,140 per day, 416,000 annually. The SAMP proposes (i) no limit on full-time use of the Third-Runway, (ii) another 80,000 annual “Near Term” flights, and (iii) undefined “Phase 2” growth. Scoping ends September 28th.

More information

Quiet Skies Puget Sound

Quiet Skies Coalition

The Briefing Project

City of Burien 

City of Des Moines

Port of Seattle

Address & Parking

Highline Community College is located at 2400 S 240th St, Des Moines, WA 98198.  Attendees can park at Highline College's East, North or South Parking Lot.  Port of Seattle staff will be positioned at each lot's parking pay station to distribute free visitor parking passes to attendees.

August Meetings

We would like to remind you about two important meetings taking place next week: 

  • The Burien City Council meeting which will feature a presentation by Port Commissioner, Fred Felleman
  • The "StART" meeting hosted by the Port of Seattle

Please join QSC for one or both of these meetings at the dates and times below.  If you must choose between the two, we’d love for you to attend the StART meeting on Tuesday.  As always, it's imperative that we have a large showing of support!

See you soon!

Meetings, Dates, & Times:

Burien City Council Regular Meeting: Monday, August 20 @ 7:00 PM 

SEA-TAC Stakeholder Advisory Roundtable (StART): Tuesday, August 21 @ 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM (Parking is free at the airport if you validate your ticket at the meeting!)

    Postponement of July 26 protest

    Welcome to the “dog days” of summer.  It’s hot, people are traveling, family is visiting and we certainly don’t want anyone’s health to be compromised by protesting outside in this heat on July 26—the second anniversary of the FAA’s diversionary Alaska Airlines flights over Burien!

    Considering all this, we are postponing our protest until after Labor Day, which will allow us more time to focus on finalizing our strategy, printing signs, and inviting all the interested parties who have a “dog in this fight!”

    We apologize for this change, but the added time will help us solidify our plans for maximum impact!  

    Thanks for understanding!


    Larry Cripe, President

    Quiet Skies Coalition


    Tonight at City Council we heard how important it is that the FAA gets a high volume of comments about the impact of flights over our community. Your help is crucial! The time to send in your comments is now - the deadline is this Wednesday! 

    In your comments include:

    • Your address
    • How long you've lived in the area
    • When you first noticed the increased air traffic 
    • How this has affected your quality of life, etc.  

    It doesn't have to be more than a few paragraphs.  Even ONE paragraph is fine! Click here to see an extensive response from Walt Bala. 

    Submit your comments on the FAA webpage at:

    Or by email:

    Please continue to check our website to stay current with all the information and data that we are providing, and as always, thanks for your support.


    Quiet Skies Coalition

    Coalition Update: FAA Public Comment

    Dear Coalition supporters,

    Thank you for attending last week’s community meeting.  For those of you who were unable to attend, you can find a link to the meeting on our Facebook page.
    Since the meeting, two things have occurred, both of which require your action.

    • After meeting with the city, we will work together moving forward.
    • The FAA has issued a 14-day public comment period on the new flight path, beginning June 7 and ending June 21.

    In your response to the FAA’s public comment period, we suggest that you mention how long you have lived in the community and when you first noticed this dramatic increase in air traffic over your home and/or business.  You can send your comments here:   Click here to see council member Debi Wagner’s public response to the FAA, and here to see Quiet Skies Coalition committee member, Walt Bala’s response.

    The FAA has also asked that you suggest alternatives to their new flight path.  Of course, this is ridiculous to suggest that we, as citizens do THEIR job!  We do not possess either the knowledge or expertise to provide alternatives and only ask that they do their job within the confines of the laws that govern them.

    We also suggest that you email each city council member individually and ask for his or her response to the FAA’s 14-day public comment period.  Please click here for council member email addresses.

    From the beginning, our mission has been to inform, educate, and empower you, the citizens, to become more involved in our activities as a collective group.  It is imperative that you, a homeowner, protect your rights by filling out the avigation easement letter and mailing it ASAP to the addresses listed on our website.   Contact me, Larry Cripe at 206.321.0630 with any questions.

    Please continue to check our website to stay current with all the information and data that we are providing, and as always, thanks for your support.

    Larry Cripe, President
    Quiet Skies Coalition

    Larry Cripe Speaks at Burien City Council

    On Monday, April 17th, Larry Cripe, President of the Quiet Skies Coalition spoke to the Burien City Council and Burien residents in attendance. Here is the transcript of his speech:

    Over 8 months ago, I stood here to express my concerns about the change in flight paths over our city. 

     A lot has happened since that day… one never knows what one can accomplish until you try, and try we did. 

    On April 10th, 2017, the administrator of the Northwest Mountain Regional Office of the Federal Aviation Agency notified our city of Burien of the immediate cancellation of turbo-prop aircraft turning to the west over Burien during north operations.

    For the present, it appears that our efforts to preserve our environment have succeeded.  However, it is imperative that we remain vigilant and continue to monitor flight activity to ensure we do not lose the gains that we have achieved. 

    When this all began, some told us that there was nothing that could be done to stop the FAA’s arbitrary and capricious decision to change flight paths directly over our city.

    We the people, by the people and for the people, stood up against this outrageous disregard for the law and let our voices be heard. 

    It was this commitment by the citizens of Burien, who provided not only financial support to the coalition but also wrote letters of concern, showed up at numerous community meetings, and brought their diverse and specialized skills to confront a majorfederal government agency.  The FAA assumed that our city had neither the finances nor the stamina to challenge their arbitrary decision. They were wrong. We fought the good fight and we prevailed. 

    However, we are not done.  We cannot assume that the FAA, the Port of Seattle, or the Alaska Air Group will not make another effort that would negatively impact our community.  For them, it’s all about money.  For us, it’s all about our health, our environment, and our community.

    We set out to inform, educate, and empower the citizens of Burien, to whom we ultimately owe our success. They trusted the Quiet Skies Coalition committee to guide this effort on their behalf, and due to their support, the FAA recognized our labor and commitment to protect our environment.  We optimistically hope that the FAA now has a much better understanding of the guidance that defines their operational limitations. 

    On behalf of the Quiet Skies Coalition committee and it’s members, we sincerely thank the Burien City Council and city officials for their support.  Together, we have marked a new beginning for the city of Burien in what can be accomplished when we work together.

    FAA to Cease North Flow Flights Over Burien

    On April 13, 2017, the City of Burien received a letter from the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) stating they would be ceasing the North Flow flight patterns over Burien. The North Flow flight corridor, also known as the “New Route,” has caused significant noise impacts to Burien parks, schools, residential neighborhoods and other noise-sensitive areas. Read more about it here

    Save the Date - April 26th - Community Forum

    From the Waterland Blog:

    The Des Moines Chapter of the National Quiet Skies Coalition will hold a Community Forum on Wednesday,  April 26, 2017, at 6:30 p.m. at Mt. Rainier High School.

    This free and open meeting will discuss new fight paths over the City and related noise, the status of NextGen flight procedures, and the overall impacts of Sea-Tac Airport operations on human health and the environment.

    The group will provide a comprehensive half-hour overview presentation titled “Fight the Flight 101: everything you ever wanted to know about why those jets are flying low, new routes over our cities,” followed by several expert speakers to be announced.

    For the event’s final segment, the group has invited each member of the Des Moines City Council to attend the meeting to participate in a question and answer session.

    “Given the importance of these issues to the quality of life in our cities, we believe a larger community forum format is the best way to provide information and allow for some give and take with our community leaders,” said Quiet Skies member and Des Moines resident Steve Edmiston. “We appreciated that the City posted a statement on its website last week, but that statement also raised many more questions. Because our Council does not discuss these issues during Council meetings, we believe this is a great way to find out the positions and thinking of each of our City leaders on the issues.”

    A copy of the letter from Quiet Skies Puget Sound to the Des Moines City Council is here (PDF file).

    A copy of the event flyer is here (PDF file).

    Burien Files Petition Against the FAA

    We are pleased to advise you that on February 14, 2017, the City of Burien filed its petition against the Federal Aviation Administration challenging the new flight route as illegal.  A copy of the petition can be found here.

    The fact that a suit has been filed will not slow down our other activities, including public pressure on the Port of Seattle and Alaska Air Group to cease and desist this illegal activity.

    The Coalition thanks the City for its leadership on this issue and we will continue to work together with the City and legal counsel to achieve the best possible outcome.

     As the case unfolds, we will keep you up to date as information becomes available.