Proposal Would Modify Flight Paths South of DCA To Reduce Aircraft Noise
Following a proposal issued by the Reagan National Community Noise Working Group, Rep. Beyer today wrote to Administrator Michael Huerta of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) supporting the group’s new recommendation for a plan to reduce aircraft noise on departures south of the airport. The proposal was drafted by the Working Group in consultation with the FAA, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA), and the airlines.
The letter also urges the FAA to “pursue holistic approaches to noise mitigation,” including lowering the decibel level standard by which the FAA determines acceptable noise pollution. Residents of communities both north and south of DCA have grown increasingly concerned about aircraft noise.
“Implementing this recommendation would go a long way to reducing excessive airplane noise south of National Airport,” said Rep. Don Beyer. “The proposal was put together by a group of citizens and community leaders in consultation with major stakeholders, and I hope that FAA will act on these suggestions with all possible haste. I further urge the FAA to pursue other means at its disposal to reduce the impact of aircraft noise on the region.”
The Reagan National Community Noise Working Group was formed by area citizens, elected leaders, and stakeholders in October of 2015 to respond to rising complaints about airplane noise, and to work with officials to produce solutions to create quieter skies.
The full letter from Rep. Beyer to FAA Administrator Huerta can be viewed here.
The text of the Working Group’s recommendation follows.
Recommendation for FAA work on South Flow, as approved by the Working Group on August 11:
“The Reagan National Airport Community Working Group recommends that FAA modify flight paths and make other modifications, including possible waypoint adjustments, along south flow departure routes from Reagan National Airport with the goal of maximizing the time aircraft spend flying directly over the Potomac River and minimizing the time aircraft spend flying over land in communities south of the airport, especially residential neighborhoods, as a way to mitigate the impact of aircraft noise.
The Working Group will continue its dialog with the FAA, the airlines and the Airports Authority on flight paths and other pertinent operating characteristics related to aircraft noise. The Working Group further recommends relocating the turning point for aircraft heading west off the river farther south along the Potomac River to minimize flight over residential areas and at a location where aircraft have reached the highest practical altitudes, consistent with the FAA’s study of operational considerations.
The Working Group further recommends that the FAA engage in outreach to communities that could be impacted by modifications in flight paths or procedures resulting from this recommendation.”