No Fly Day Protests NextGen Changes


As aviation groups lament the slow implementation of NextGen, a nationwide effort has emerged to turn back the clock. Protests were held in eight major cities Saturday as part of “No-Fly Day,” an apparently well-organized effort to get the FAA to revise the routing that the new satellite approaches and departures mandate. The revisions have introduced increased aircraft noise to neighborhoods that were quiet under the old approaches and that’s had a predictable result. “[NextGen] has put concentrated flight paths, they call them super highways in the sky, for jets over residential areas and have jets flying lower and louder than ever before, causing ridiculous amounts of noise in our neighborhoods,” Opal Wagner, organizer of the Phoenix event, told the local CBS affiliate.

The protests were also held in Boston, Minneapolis, Seattle, San Francisco, Culver City and San Diego. “The FAA needs to fix their NextGen program and we’re out here to ask them to come back to Phoenix, fix what they’ve broken here,” Wagner said. She said that in the year before the approach changes, there were 298 noise complaints filed with the FAA. Since last September when the new procedures were introduced, there have been almost 20,000 complaints. The FAA is apparently unmoved by the citizen backlash, noting that some neighborhoods have gotten quieter with the changes. “The FAA has complied with federal environmental laws and policies during the development and implementation of these procedures and recently has expanded its community outreach efforts early in the process,” the agency said in a statement. “The FAA is committed to providing opportunities for the public to comment and to considering those comments.”