FAA To Take New Look at Science of Aircraft Noise

 - April 22, 2015, 11:43 AM

The FAA is undertaking an “ambitious project” to revamp its approach to measuring aircraft noise at airports, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta told industry leaders. The agency has come under fire by some communities over new performance-based navigation (PBN) flight procedures that residents say create a new, noisier footprint. In Phoenix, community leaders have urged the FAA to scrap the approaches.

These calls alarmed the aviation community, and in February, eight associations wrote Huerta stressing the importance of taking a “fact-and science-based approach.” The groups said, “We are troubled by recent calls for the FAA to fiat in new noise metrics and thresholds without basis or to otherwise reverse appropriately advanced PBN flight procedures.”

In a letter to NBAA, Huerta responded that the agency is “sensitive to the growing public concerns” but agrees any changes to metrics cannot be made without scientific support. The agency is planning to update the scientific evidence of aircraft noise exposure in context of quieter aircraft but more aircraft operations. The agency will conduct a noise survey at U.S. airports. “These results will then be used to determine whether changes to the FAA’s use of the Day-Night Average Sound Level 65 dB noise metric are warranted,” he told the association.