General Background on FAA and Airport Noise

UC Davis Aviation Noise Conference – March 2018

Aviation Laws Over the Years

Steve Alverson ES Associations
(Steve is also the FAA assigned consultant to assist the LAX Community Roundtable)
and Greg Maxwell, Casper

  • 1958 FAA Act – Congress recognized the public has a right to air transit – a right of national sovereignty.
  • 1968 Federal Aviation AC – noticed noise was a problem and decided to regulate noise with the highest standards of safety. Aimed at designing quieter aircraft.
  • 1969 FAA Promulgates CFAR Part 36 noise standards, set the maximum noise standards for new aircraft.
  • 1972 Noise Control Act – FAA could not certify an aircraft to fly if it didn’t meet noise standards. Stage 1-5 aircraft.
  • 1972 – ATA vs Crowdy – justify the ability to control noise is out of the hands of airports. Airports cannot charge fees based on noise and they cannot charge fees that are shifted to other community purposes. Funding must stay within the airport.
  • 1976 – FAAs Aviation Noise Abatement Policy – current noise policy. The draft policy in 2011 was never adopted or released.
  • 1979 ASNA Aviation Safety and Noise Abatement – Created the Part 150 Noise Reports, Noise Exposure Maps and Land Use Compatibility regulations (this is what Hawthorne Airport went through in 2012-2017).
  • 1988 – Stage 3 aircraft were mandatory
  • 1990 –  Airport Noise and Capacity Act – ANAC seminal point in airport noise, in exchange for phasing out the nosier stage 2 aircraft, the airports have to meet a higher standard for aircraft regulations.
    Airports with curfews and unusual noise control landing/takeoff procedures were grandfathered in as okay.

    14 CFR Part 161 – severely limits an airport proprietor’s ability to enact restrictions on aircraft operations. Encourage voluntary agreements to control aircraft noise. Any new noise control procedures or curfews the FAA must approve. They have only approved one over 30 years. The Part 161 process for airports is really difficult. Only 1 airport has tried and succeeded, most airports fail. LAX spent $10 million trying to get over ocean flights permanent and failed.

Other interesting aviation noise developments:

  • Newer aircraft are so aerodynamic they need lower altitude approaches (2.85-degrees) into the airport.
  • Today’s jets are the quietest ever
  • There is an impact of aircraft of noise on human health and on children
  • New trends include more community activism across the county, such as the Quiet Skies Coalitions
  • FAA acknowledges the 65 dnl “average” noise standard might not be appropriate for neighborhoods – 55 dnl?. New noise curves are expected from the FAA in June/July 2018.
  • CA law requires noise contours be supported by actual noise studies. Federal law allows noise models.
  • AEDT is the tool to be used for FAA reports and master plans. AEDT can also predict noise levels at sensitive locations: schools, hospitals and churches.
  • Air emissions can kill you – they do cause cancer and other bad things
  • FAA study – Airports that implement soundproofing programs are highly ranked by their neighbors, they get really good reviews from residents. Bc the resident can watch TV and talk on the phone and benefits from the soundproofing.
  • Airports file quarterly noise reports with the state to show how their noise contours are shrinking. >>Where is the State of CA noise reports filed?
  • Nighttime run-up and maintenance procedures are noise that can be regulated by local county health departments, noise ordinances and regulations. The FAA does not regulate on the ground noise, the County or local City does.
  • The FAA does not believe in Avigation Easements any more.
  • FAR Part 158 – Passenger Facility Charges – how airports collect soundproofing fees. Set at level of $1, 2 or 3. Airports may use PFC funds for noise mitigation with an FAA-approved FAR
  • It takes doubling of distance/altitude to achieve a 3db reduction in noise level.

Finally, What should residents do? Residents should become informed about aircraft noise impacts and act accordingly.

Experiences from Other Airports

Recommendations from Tahoe Truckee airport representatives suggestions for pilot, airplane and residential noise control:

  • Talk to Surf Air pilots they’re willing to work with local airports on flight paths for noise control and to benefit local residents
  • Have Hawthorne look into why their fly quietly guidelines are not loaded into the “ForeFlight” system which all pilots use.
  • Tahoe Truckee has two staff members dedicated to safety and noise: a Community Liaison Rep and Trainer for Pilots on fly quietly gudielines.
  • Also Hawthorne should contact Gretchen and Davey at San Carlos Airport to see how they worked out a deal with Surf Air pilots.

General Background on FAA Responsibilities from the FAA

Aviation Noise Abatement Policy

Federal Responsibilities

  • Regulation of noise at the source (engine noise emission standards)
  • Management of the air traffic control system consistent with the highest standards of safety
  • Financial and technical assistance to airport proprietors for noise reduction planning and abatement activities
  • In conjunction with the private sector conducts research into noise abatement technology
  • Introduced in 2016 is the FAA Community Involvement Manual (PDF). FAA Community Involved website.

Airport Proprietor Responsibilities

  • Primarily responsible for planning and implementing actions designed to reduce the effect of noise on the surrounding area
    • Selecting optimal site location
    • Improvements in airport design
    • Noise abatement ground procedures
    • Land acquisition

State and Local Government Responsibilities

  • Land use planning and development
  • Zoning to limit uses of land near airports to purposes compatible with airport operations
  • Housing regulation

Air Carriers Responsibilities

  • Retirement, replacement or retrofit of older aircraft that do not meet federal noise standards
  • Scheduling and flying aircraft to minimize the impact of noise on people
    • As a result of deregulation, FAA does not control airline schedules, the number of flights an airline operates, nor the type of equipment (aircraft) the airline operates.

The Airport Noise and Capacity Act (ANCA)

  • Establishes a process for airports to impose noise and access restrictions on the operation of Stage 2 and Stage 3 aircraft.
  • Applies to Stage 4 and 5 aircraft because they comply with Stage 3 standards
  • Applies to all public use airports
  • 14 C.F.R. part 161 contains the process for seeking a restriction
  • Two types of restrictions: Voluntary and Imposed
  • Voluntary Restrictions
    • Operator must notify air carriers providing service as well as potential new entrants at the airport
    • Operator must notify airport tenants, community groups, and federal, state and local agencies with land use control
    • Operators must agree to the proposed restriction
  • Imposed Restrictions
    • Requires FAA approval
    • Requires an analysis of the restriction that demonstrates by substantial evidence that the proposed restriction:
      • Is reasonable, non-arbitrary, and non-discriminatory
      • Does not create an undue burden on interstate commerce
      • Maintains safe and efficient use of the navigable airspace
      • Does not conflict with any federal statute or regulation
      • The applicant has provided adequate opportunity for public comment on the proposed restriction
      • Does not create an undue burden on the national aviation system.





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.