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747 Flies Low Over Manhattan Beach

Residents are alarmed when they hear the jumbo jet flying so low over their homes late Monday night.

A United Airlines Boeing 747-400 plane leaving Los Angeles International Airport bound for Australia flew over Manhattan Beach along Rosecrans Avenue and out over the ocean at an altitude of 1,450 feet Monday night around 10:38 p.m., according to an online flight tracking system.

Residents in Manhattan Beach tweeted about the plane:

jeez, a jumbo jet just flew over my house! What the heck is going on?! 

jet over our house terrified us. Any idea what the heck?!

Hello; I live in Hawthorne right off Aviation/Rosecrans and that jet was LOW.

The online flight tracker shows the jet taking off to the east at LAX, then making a right turn to go over the 105 freeway and then the 405 freeway before straightening its course to essentially head down Rosecrans Avenue out over the ocean.

Bruce Nelson, operations officer with the FAA Western-Pacific Region, told Patch the flight pattern is unusual. "Yeah, they don't do that too often [fly over MB]," he said. "They want every little bit of wind they can get."

Planes need to go against wind to get more lift, said Nelson. Typically, heavy cargo planes are the ones flying this sort of pattern, he noted.

Reads the LAX website: "On those nights when the land cools faster than the ocean, a slight offshore wind occurs blowing from east to west. For aircraft departing to the west this wind is called a tail wind as it comes from behind the aircraft as they are departing. This condition is a safety factor for the departing aircraft and it is left up to the pilot to determine whether the tail wind component is too great for that type of aircraft and its weight to depart safely over the ocean. These sporadic east departures usually occur because the pilots determine it is not safe and request to depart into the wind that is blowing from the east."

As shown on the tracker, as the UA Boeing 747 reached the ocean, its altitude climbed from 1,949 feet to 2,336 feet and higher.

Nelson said FAA regulations allow a jet to fly as low as 1,000 feet. He said the UA 747 was "pretty low."

The jet's scheduled departure time was listed as 10:10 p.m. on United Airline's website. The flight was headed for Sydney, Australia, followed by a trip to Melbourne.

According to UA's website, the Boeing 747-400 aircraft specifications are:

  • Capacity: 374 (12 United Global First, 52 United BusinessFirst, 310 United Economy)
  • Cruise Speed: 647 mph
  • Propulsion: Four Pratt and Whitney PW4056-III engines, rated at 56,750 pounds of thrust each
  • Wingspan: 213 feet

Did you hear the Boeing 747 when it flew over Manhattan Beach? What did you see, hear or feel? were you scared?

bob jay December 08, 2012 at 11:28 AM
i live in MB and just want to say thank you to united. the timing could not have been better. was with my girlfriend, she said it felt like the earth moved!
Charles Martin December 09, 2012 at 08:04 PM
It happens more often than you think this particular flight just turned a bit sharp and headed west over Rosecrans. Usually they are heading west over artesia where the planes obviously are a bit higher since they made a slighly wider turn. And I have seen many over the years with most of them being Qantas.
Alfredo December 09, 2012 at 10:43 PM
Its funny that this is being reported as news. Ive lived in lennox my entire life, this happens every year. During rainy weather planes will take off going east, flying extremely close over residential areas. You don't like having a plane flying over your house? Try having several 747s taking off over your house every hour all night long setting off car alarms and rattling windows. Stop complaining about it, you will be fine!
Patrick Smith December 10, 2012 at 12:13 AM
I'm sorry, but most of the comments here only underscore the general public's total lack of understanding about commercial flying -- something the media only reinforces through ill-informed articles like this one. - Patrick Smith www.askthepilot.com
Gary December 17, 2012 at 04:31 AM
It was 1450 above sea level...that's about 1300 above the ground in Manhattan Beach

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