San Mateo County Airports Glossary of Terminology
- Airport Operation
is the term used by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to define airport activity levels. An operation is an aircraft takeoff or a landing. For example, a "touch and go" conducted by a training aircraft includes both a takeoff and a landing and counts as two operations.
- Class Bravo Airspace
is generally airspace from the surface to 10,000 feet mean sea level (MSL) surrounding the nation’s busiest airports in terms of airport operations or passenger enplanements. The configuration of each Class Bravo airspace is individually tailored, consists of a surface area and two or more layers (some Class Bravo airspace areas resemble upside-down wedding cakes) and is designed to contain all published instrument (approach and departure) procedures once an aircraft enters the airspace. Clearance from Air Traffic Control (ATC) is required for all aircraft to operate in Class Bravo airspace and all aircraft that are cleared receive separation services (from other aircraft) from ATC within the airspace.
Both the San Carlos and Half Moon Bay Airports are located below the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) Class Bravo airspace.
(Federal Aviation Administration) is the agency that regulates civil aviation including aircraft, airmen and airspace. The FAA has jurisdiction over aircraft in flight.
(Federal Aviation Regulations) are the rules governing civil aviation.
- General Aviation
includes flight training, business aviation, public benefit (volunteer, nonprofit) flying, air tours, law enforcement flights, charter flights (less than 10-seats), air ambulance flights, private flights, and more. The FAA defines general aviation as all flights not conducted by the military or airlines with scheduled service using aircraft with more than 10-seats.
is an approach path into the San Carlos and/or Half Moon Bay Airport that is flown by an instrument rated pilot operating under instrument-flight-rules (see definition below). The GPS-Approach can be used during any weather, but it must be used when the weather is less than the FAA defined visual-flight-rule minimums (see definition below).
(Instrument Flight Rules) are Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR). Instrument Flight Rules allow pilots to safely fly in clouds and lower weather minimums. The pilot must have an instrument rating from the FAA and the aircraft and airport must be IFR capable.
- Reliever Airports
are those that relieve congestion at Commercial Service Airports and provide improved general aviation access to the overall community. Reliever airports serve general aviation flights and can accommodate air taxi and charter flights with less than 10 passengers.
is a training maneuver where aircraft practice takeoffs and landings in succession – taking off, turning right back towards the runway to land, then adding power and taking off again without exiting the runway. The touch-and-go is often completed by pilots as part of the FAA’s 90-day (day & night) proficiency requirement for carrying passengers.
- Traffic Pattern Area
is the flight path aircraft fly when arriving, departing, and returning to land for training purposes. The traffic pattern area for the San Carlos and Half Moon Bay Airports can be found on the Voluntary Noise Abatement procedures handout and on the Airport’s website.
- Visual Flight Rules
are Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR). Visual Flight Rules (VFR) are a set of minimum weather requirements that pilots (without instrument ratings) must adhere to for day and night operations.
(Voluntary Noise Abatement Procedures) were designed to reduce noise impacts for residents living near the airports. The San Carlos Airport and Half Moon Bay Airport are surrounded by noise sensitive neighborhoods. The County, Pilots Associations, Airport Staff, Community Groups, and the Federal Aviation Administration worked together to develop the voluntary noise abatement program (VNAPs) as a fly friendly policy. Adherence to the VNAPs is high. Links to the VNAPs for each airport below:
- San Carlos Airport – Fly Friendly – Voluntary Noise Abatement Procedures
- San Carlos Airport – Fly Friendly – Video Series
- Half Moon Bay Airport – Fly Friendly – Voluntary Noise Abatement Procedures
- Half Moon Bay Airport – Fly Friendly – Video Series