U.K. Exposed to Proposed Add-on to John Wayne Airport's Vomit Comet Takeoffs

If Orange County tourism officials notice a large dip in travelers coming here from the U.K., they can blame the Guardian. The limey muckrakers have drawn attention to John Wayne Airport's unique takeoff pattern—ye olde Vomit Comet—in a story about a new proposed departure add-on known as the "S-curve" that reportedly threatens "to ratchet up the white-knuckle factor another notch by forcing planes to slalom as they climb into the sky."


The Guardian is actually stowing away on previous Los Angeles Times coverage of the newest twist (as in what's going on inside your belly) for "one of America's most stomach-churning takeoffs, an abrupt, steep ascent which can make passengers feel like they are blasting into space."

Residents under the SNA flight path have for decades complained about the noise, prompting curfews, avoidance of improvements to allow bigger planes and, yes, those damn takeoffs. If you haven't experienced it, pilots take off at a steep angle and, just before leveling off, cut back the engine thrust to reduce noise and give passengers that losing-your-stomach feeling like on roller coasters. Cabin crews often mock it, and frequent fliers came up with the "vomit comet" nickname.

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It hasn't stopped the folks below from letting up. They lost their bid to close John Wayne and open an airport at El Toro, so now comes the "S-curve" takeoff route intended to further muffle the noise of departing aircraft, which would make the unusual swerve over the bay rather than neighborhoods. (Get this: the Guardian spells 'em "neighbourhoods." Hey, Clive, learn the language!)

The paper that routinely scoops the mainstream American media on important stories about what's really going on in America notes the Federal Aviation Administration is considering the city of Newport Beach's request.

And the Brits are considering different places to enjoy their favorable exchange rate.

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

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