NextGen Brings Noise Complaints

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Flight-path changes implemented due to NextGen have resulted in noise complaints in neighborhoods across the country, but due to the way the NextGen technology works, it may be difficult to address those conflicts, according to an Associated Press story published this week. David Grizzle, a former FAA chief operating officer, said it’s not possible to redesign procedures to fix the problems without losing out on NextGen’s advantages. “There is an intrinsic issue of concentrating noise in particular places that comes with precision-based navigation that is inescapable,” he told the AP. The FAA said that despite complaints from residents, “simply reverting to previous air traffic control procedures is not viable.” The new procedures are “interdependent,” and any changes would have a domino effect, the FAA said.

Airport neighbors say constant, noisy flights above their homes affect their quality of life and property values. In some cases, those flight paths previously were routed across less densely populated areas, or were switched around frequently to offer some relief. Residents have complained the FAA failed to adequately explain the planned changes in advance or provide opportunities to comment, as they were required to do. Several court cases are pending, and in August a federal court said the FAA was “arbitrary and capricious” in revising flight procedures. The FAA said in a statement it is working with residents near airports around the country through “noise roundtables” to balance community interests with needed improvements to the national airspace system, according to the AP.

Comments (3)

New toys + old-think = ineffective results. The technology should be capable of supporting multiple arrival paths to each threshhold, thus distributing the noise. But as soon as somebody new is affected, they complain. Ten times as many approach paths just produces ten times as many complaints. Coulda; woulda; shoulda...

Posted by: Tom Yarsley | October 25, 2017 5:14 PM    Report this comment

Or... If you don't like the "noise" from airplanes, don't buy a house near an airport. Hmmm...

Posted by: Steve Rush | October 26, 2017 4:26 PM    Report this comment

Given the FAA's extensive planning to minimize noise, and to make the airspace more flexible, either those efforts were not done right, or the expected noise benefits were wishful thinking, or we aren't getting the whole story here.

We should have seen this coming. You can't make people like noise by having roundtable talks. More explaining and official opportunities for comment won't solve this, either.

It almost seems necessary to allow only industrial and commercial development within 3 miles or so of a commercial airport. I wonder if the Denver airport's future is protected by that kind of development buffer. It was certainly built far enough away from urban sprawl.

Posted by: S. Lanchester | October 28, 2017 12:03 AM    Report this comment

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