42 communities and 19 school districts dedicated to reducing aircraft noise in the communities around O’Hare International Airport since 1996.


DSC 0089 3Community noise groups met on July 20 for the second time in recent months with new Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) Commissioner Ginger Evans and other CDA officials. O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission (ONCC) Chair, Mount Prospect Mayor Arlene A. Juracek reminded those in attendance that according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Record of Decision (ROD) on the O’Hare Modernization Plan (OMP), ONCC is the official facilitating body with the responsibility to oversee O’Hare noise mitigation efforts, which include the Fly Quiet and Sound Insulation programs.

“The ROD recognizes the importance of the Fly Quiet Program and specifically states that it will give consideration to suggestions for changes to the Fly Quiet Program developed by the ONCC and requested of the FAA by the city of Chicago,” said Juracek.


The FAA recognizes that modifications may be necessitated by runway decommissioning and also states, “The Fly Quiet Program will be modified by ONCC in the future only if needed; such modification would be done in consultation with the FAA and the Chicago Department of Aviation. Modification requiring FAA action would be subsequent to its prior approval, and any necessary environmental review.”

Mayor Juracek explained that the ONCC Intergovernmental Agreement also provides the ONCC with broad powers such as the ability to ‘make recommendations to the City regarding O’Hare noise reduction programs including, but not limited to, the use of new technologies and flight patterns, preferential runway usage, the implementation of sound insulation programs and the implementation of FAA standard noise abatement, takeoff and high altitude approach procedures. No such recommendations shall be submitted to the FAA or implemented by the City without the prior approval of the O’Hare Commission.’ 

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While Juracek welcomed the input of community noise groups with respect to potential noise mitigation solutions, she stressed that such suggestions for potential solutions must be reviewed from a technical operational, regulatory and legal standpoint as noted by CDA Commissioner Ginger Evans.

“Airspace and airfield design are highly complex and require essential safety and efficiency considered as proscribed by Federal, State and local regulations,” she said. “The CDA is also developing proposals to deal with noise in impacted areas and these will need to be similarly vetted. Such review will take time and is contingent first on a modeling of the interim ‘as is’ condition being done by the FAA in its EIS re-evaluation.”

“We all desire an end state that provides feasible and workable solutions to noise exposure. A multitude of parties must be able to ‘get to yes’. The FAA’s re-evaluation is the necessary starting point, as it best documents the current conditions with the commissioning of Runway 10R-28L and will assist in qualifying and quantifying the benefits of any proposed operational changes.”

Juracek announced that ONCC will be developing a program calendar for its upcoming full-commission meetings that will include panels and speakers addressing the following topics:

  • Suburban O’Hare Commission (SOC) proposals from consultants JDA
  • Converging/intersecting runway safety concerns
  • How weather affects east vs. west flow; cross-wind concerns
  • Fleet composition projections by the airlines and cargo carriers vis a vis Stage 4 and Stage 5 aircraft

Juracek stated that ONCC will determine a process to define an agreed-upon “end game” for a revised Fly Quiet Program. She stressed that mutually exclusive ideas (preferred night-time runway use vs. spread the flights around) must be reconciled, suggesting that might occur through an ad hoc committee that includes CDA and FAA participation, as well as SOC and FAiR members.

She said ONCC is making a re-energized commitment to its Mission Statement, “to reduce the impact of aircraft noise through home and school sound insulation, and to reduce aircraft noise, whenever possible at its source” through engagement with the FAA’s Office of Environment and Energy Research Group.

She also noted that ONCC will continue to engage with all involved parties including O’Hare Air Traffic Control to ensure Fly Quiet Procedures are used; the airlines regarding fleet upgrades and with the FAA regarding its multi-year study of current impacts of aircraft noise on affected populations.

View Presentation:
History of Airport Noise at O'Hare by CDA Commissioner Ginger S. Evans

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