The membership of the O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission voted today to approve a third Fly Quiet Runway Rotation Test. The test would be expected to start immediately following the conclusion of Fly Quiet Runway Rotation Test 2, which has been in effect since April 30, 2017 and will end July 23, 2017.

The purpose of conducting a third test was to test in real time a runway rotation without the use of Runway 15/33 which is slated to be decommissioned in the spring of 2018.

Several members mentioned that they favored the rotation plan, due to the fact that their constituents appreciated the effort to balance the impact of nighttime air traffic.

ONCC Chair and Mount Prospect Mayor Arlene Juracek reminded members before the vote that if the Test 3 was not approved, operations would revert to regular Fly Quiet operations, which would involve no rotation.

Speaking in support of Test 3, Chicago Ward 45 Alderman John Arena called the Commission’s attention to the monthly noise complaint reports over the last year, and noted that the months when the runway rotation was in effect saw a significant decrease in monthly noise complaints.

Thirty members voted in favor of the proposal, four voted against. 

Test 3 will run for 12 weeks and incorporates 5 runways: 4L/22R, 22L/9R, 10L/28R, 10C/28C and 22L/4R. Test 3 does not include runway 15/33 which is slated to be decommissioned in spring 2018. One of the reasons provided to conduct a Test 3 was for residents to experience the interim conditions without runway 15/33 so CDA could develop an Interim Fly Quiet Program that would be in place once the runway closes.

CDA staff presented two options for Test 3 to the Ad Hoc Fly Quiet Committee - Option A and Option B. Option A incorporated a hybrid option of one parallel and one diagonal runway in one set of rotations and then alternated parallel, diagonal, parallel in the following weeks. Option B alternates parallel and diagonal runway rotations every other week. The Ad Hoc Fly Quiet Committee approved Option B as their preferred option, which was the proposal that was forwarded on to the general membership.

“I think the Commission made the right decision,” said chair Arlene Juracek. “On the whole, residents have experienced some relief from nighttime noise as a result of the runway rotation. Going back to no rotation at all was not a good option. It makes sense to test and experience the conditions without Runway 15/33 so we can have a plan in place once that runway is decommissioned. In order for staff to have adequate time to conduct a thorough review, now is the time to put the test in motion,” Juracek stated.

Test 1 was in effect from July – December 2016. The Commission voted in March 2017 to conduct a second runway rotation test to last 12 weeks starting April 30, 2017.

CDA staff plans to conduct an environmental impact study and perform modeling in the Fall and Winter of 2017 in order to develop an Interim Fly Quiet program which could be in effect from spring 2018 (when 15/33 is decommissioned) until Runway 9C is commissioned (anticipated Fall 2020). The Test 3 Rotation could be used as a model for an Interim Fly Quiet program that would be in place from spring 2018 - fall 2020.