QSC Community - Advocacy Focus

Addressing Airport Noise and Emissions 

A. Include community representation at all stages of the decision-making process when making decisions that affect communities.

1. Hold public hearings with public comment before changing flight procedures or implementing new flight procedures.

2. Design environmentally-sound flight procedures locally, with community input into design and planning in advance of FAA decision-making.

3. Include the impact of aviation noise and pollution on affected communities as a mandatory criterion when the FAA assesses the overall benefits of changes to aviation procedures.

4.  Appoint a community representative as a voting member of each decision-making entity that makes aviation decisions affecting communities.

5.  Establish a formal process to track the progress and completion of deliverables due under the 2018 Reauthorization Act and report them to Congress and the public.

B. Use metrics that measure the true impact of noise.  

1. Support the development of accurate, appropriate noise metrics when considering the impact of aviation noise on affected communities.  Report to Congress and the public on statute-mandated evaluation and development of supplemental metrics.

2. Update FAA calculation and modeling methods to reflect human experience of episodic aviation noise and vibration, including model validation with measured acoustic data recorded in communities located below flight paths. When considering flight path changes, the FAA should consider the concentration of extended noise, the frequency of flights, air traffic from 10PM to 7AM and the impact of low frequency noise.

3.  Publish the existing annual noise contours and Noise Exposure Maps produced by FAA out to 55 dB DNL for at least the 30 largest airports.

4.  Use the already-approved metric of Nx (e.g. N65) when providing background data to communities about proposed flight path changes.

5.  Replace or supplement  the DNL metric with other updated metrics used successfully in other parts of the world.

6.  Use metrics that distinguish between day and night noise.

C. Protect public health and the environment in communities impacted by aviation noise and pollution.

1. Restore full funding to the EPA's Office of Noise Abatement and Control.

2. Return to full NEPA environmental procedures. Eliminate the automatic categorical exclusion for all NextGen flight procedures.  Calculate the environmental impacts of fuel emissions and aviation noise by cumulative rather than “per flight” measures.

3. Require the FAA to publish the results of its current Noise Annoyance Study no later than March 1, 2019.

4. Update the Airport Noise and Capacity Act of 1990 to include consideration of public health issues and restore some local controls.   

We think the industry must work with community organizations in order to get where it wants to go, and vice versa. We see an opportunity to pursue strategic, collaborative relationships and foster rational discussion among aviation stakeholders.  It is possible for a robust aviation industry to exist along with environmental and health protections for communities on the ground. 

November 15, 2018