Civil Aviation Noise Policy Comments
Nick Miller, Founding Partner HMMH
I attended via ZOOM the FAA webinar on 16 May. I know and respect many folks at FAA, including Adam Scholten who worked at HMMH before I retired and was very respected for his airspace knowledge. Also, Andrew Brooks was project manager (as I recall) of the Ivanpah proposed additional airport for Las Vegas when HMMH and I personally worked on the potential noise effects as sub-contractors to the Prime, VHB. I was pleased with his understanding of what we were trying to accomplish with our noise analyses.
During the webinar the fact became apparent that no matter what the results of the Noise Policy Review, there will be no changes to airspace use or alteration of the present noise exposures that are addressed by many of the commentators. I believe it unfair to let people think there will be any changes produced by any new policy or any real direct response to all their complaints.
I suggest that in addition to policy revisions, FAA needs to provide these citizens with hopes that some sincere efforts will be made to improve their lives. FAA should not become another government agency in which no one has any confidence that it is capable of responding to their needs or that it is attempting to make their lives better.
FAA should understand that it is currently behind the eight-ball, having pretty much reduced or eliminated any of the benefits provided to airport communities by the Part 150 process and the home sound insulation actions. As you know, those programs made a difference in some restructures of airspace use to reduce aircraft community noise levels and by providing sound insulation for so many homes. Then, FAA changed airspace use, moved dispersed operations to single tracks, basically giving communities the double whammy of not only eliminating the benefits of months (and years) of effort, but increasing many areas of noise exposure. These two results are certainly likely to
produce extreme dissatisfaction. (Read Appendix D of the “EPA Levels Document” and the derivation of Figure D-7;
Only FAA knows the details of how and why actions detrimental to community noise exposures were taken, and I can only guess. Nevertheless, let me suggest some possible FAA actions (exclusive of noise policy revisions). First with noise measurements. I have found that very few people understand the value of carefully designed noise measurements. (As Ken Plotkin used to say, the only facts we have are the measurements collected in the field.) I propose checks of the accuracy of the noise model database. Measure time histories, and maximum sound levels of single overflights, by aircraft type, by time of day at selected locations. Also collect associated altitude information. Compare what the model says the maximums should be for that aircraft type at that location and altitude. This is a very brief description, but having competent people in the field is a first step in establishing trust. (For details on doing this data collection, use experienced folks from one of the ASCENT schools – probably Penn State or Purdue, and if they like, have them contact me.)
A second effort would be to analyze in detail, how much distance, time and fuel are saved with the RNAV, PBN, Metroplex, NextGen or whatever the current procedures are called. This effort must apply to specific procedures, not generic ones. If only minor savings are found, go back to the prior guidance (vectors?). It’s a bit hard to believe the new ones are much safer – were the previous ones less safe?
FAA should seriously consider what they can do to increase citizen confidence in the agency. And “outreach” is not the answer, unless part of that effort is to discuss how FAA will attempt to improve their lives.
Finally, a reminder about the NES results. These are based on jet aircraft exposure. FAA needs to explore how to quantify, analyze and modify the policies for prop aircraft, helicopters, and AAM vehicles.
See original comment here.
How Can I Help? — Small Steps Can Make A Big Difference
By Susan K. Parson, FAA Safety Briefing Editor
"When I first started flying in northern Virginia, my home airport was surrounded by open fields. No longer. Several housing developments now occupy that once-empty space, and other open areas are gradually filling in. Nowadays, many of the airports that GA pilots call home are surrounded by other people’s actual homes. We pilots can huff and puff all we want to about how the airport was here first, and how “those people knew” that buying property near an airport would mean tolerating a certain amount of noise. Our huffing and puffing is pointless if “those people” complain to elected officials who would happily see the airport closed and consigned to “other economic uses.”"
"It is incumbent upon all of us to do as much as we can do to reduce the noise impact on our neighbors. If there are residential developments near your airport, it’s a good bet that airport management has, so to
speak, “heard” from them and worked out a noise mitigation plan that could include non-standard traffic patterns, designation of a calm wind
runway that reduces traffic over more congested areas, and other such measures. Learn what noise mitigation measures exist at the airports you use and follow them as closely as you can."
"Another way to fly friendly is to avoid prolonged maneuvering over any given area. That silo may be perfect for practicing turns around a point, but the folks in the farmhouse next to it may not consider their neighborhood to be as “uncongested” as it appears to you. That also applies to operating near environmentally-sensitive areas that are marked on sectional charts."
Read the original article here.
Cutting Through All the Noise: How the FAA is Working to Reduce the Impact of Aircraft Noise
By Tom Hoffmann, FAA Safety Briefing Managing Editor
"Despite this favorable shift over time, a recent noise survey revealed a somewhat curious discovery. Data from the FAA’s Neighborhood Environmental Study (NES), which was released this past January, indicated a substantially higher percentage of people were “highly annoyed” over the entire range of aircraft noise levels, including those at lower levels (below DNL 65 dBA)."
"It’s worth noting that the single most influential factor in reducing aircraft noise exposure has been the transition to quieter aircraft over
the years through stringent noise standards."
"Additionally, the agency continuously reviews air traffic procedures across the country to find ways to reduce aircraft noise while maintaining safety. For example, we’re already seeing noise (and fuel) benefits from the use of idle thrust approaches and narrower flight paths with performance-based navigation procedures for both commercial and general aviation operations."
Read original article here.