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A Monday editorial in the San Diego Union-Tribune supporting the Miramar ballot proposal had a few small errors.

The editorial rehashed the airport authority’s long-dead plan to build two more runways at Miramar. This plan, which was presented in the spring, proposed building two runways to the south of Miramar’s existing runways. The airport authority’s staff and board members have since said it will not be used. The editorial says:

… Airport planners developed a technically feasible proposal to add two parallel runways for civilian use just to the south of Miramar’s two existing military runways. The passenger and cargo terminals and parking lots would be located between the two sets of runways, with ground access provided by a relocated and widened Interstate 15 and state Route 163. Special arrangements were worked out for civilian and military aircraft to swap runways when Marine pilots conducted field carrier landing practice – “touch and goes” – to simulate landing and taking off from a carrier deck. This joint-use plan, the consultants determined, “would not introduce unacceptable interference to the military mission, degrade safety, impose security risks, or hamper the (Department of Defense) in training for and maintaining national defense readiness. While some existing military facilities and training areas would have to be relocated, it appears that this can be accomplished.

But the airport authority has said it won’t be accomplished. The authority distanced itself from that plan in June, after making the decision to put Miramar on the ballot. That plan would expose an estimated 10,765 homes to high levels of noise, the result of those touch-and-go training flights. Under that plan, they would have been screeching over neighborhoods south of Miramar. The authority has not said what it would do at Miramar instead of that plan.

A Sunday editorial on the same topic made a similar mistake, saying that the ballot propositions “asks San Diego County voters whether the region should seek to acquire 3,000 of Miramar’s 23,000 acres in order to allow joint military-civilian air operations there.”

But the ballot question does not mention joint use or shared use of the base. Even the suggestion of joint use – the 3,000 of 23,000 acres phrase – rankled some in the business community, who proposed rewording the ballot measure to exclude any suggestion of joint use.

A couple of other points worth nitpicking. The editorial notes that Naval Air Station North Island was ruled out because of terrain issues and “other physical drawbacks that would have interfered with military operations at the base.”

But, as has been noted before, a North Island supplemental airport was primarily excluded because of problems with Federal Aviation Administration standards that require airports to be able to cope with crosswinds – which blow from wing-to-wing – 95 percent of the time. When periodic Santa Ana winds whip through San Diego, takeoffs and landings would have to be staggered so airplanes wouldn’t collide with outgoing flights at Lindbergh Field. That would create delays as often as 15 percent of the year, or about 54 days. Airport authority consultants called that “a major issue from an aeronautical standpoint.”

ROB DAVIS

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