The O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission met on Friday, September 8, 2017. The Commission was honored to welcome Dr. Alan H. Epstein, Vice President for Technology and Environment, Pratt & Whitney.

Dr. Epstein is responsible for setting the direction for and coordinating technology across the company. He leads Pratt & Whitney’s efforts to identify and evaluate new methods to improve engine performance and fuel efficiency. He also provides strategic leadership in the investment, development, and incorporation of technologies that reduce the environmental impact of Pratt & Whitney’s world-wide products and services.

Dr. Epstein shared with the Commission advances in engine technology and what impact those developments have and can have on noise. Dr. Epstein’s presentation, titled “Noise: the most important thing for civil aviation,” explored the importance of noise, and how Pratt & Whitney is addressing the issue of noise with their PurePower® Engines.

The new Geared Turbofan™-Powered Airplanes can realize 70% reduction in the noise footprint, resulting in a much lower impact in the areas around the airport.

Dr. Epstein explained that a larger fan and engine can lead to lower fuel burn as well as lower noise. The newer engines have a larger diameter but are shorter in length. The addition of the special gear leads to 99.5% fuel efficiency. Because the newer engines have better fuel efficiency in addition to a lower noise impact, and they are priced at the same level as the older engines, demand in the aerospace industry is very high. The estimated savings per aircraft with the new engines is $1 million annually. The issue engine manufacturers are dealing with is producing the engines at a level that will keep pace with demand. Pratt & Whitney is currently producing 42-50 engines a month.

Now that the engines on aircraft are quieter, body noise is more noticeable. This noise generated is mostly related to landing, including noise from the airframe, flaps and landing gear. 

Pratt & Whitney continues to work with the FAA in collaboration with NASA on CLEEN (Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions, and Noise) initiatives. CLEEN projects develop technologies that will reduce noise, emissions, and fuel burn and enable the aviation industry to expedite integration of these technologies into current and future aircraft.

In other action, ONCC Chair Arelene Juracek announced that the Executive Committee was recommending that the Ad Hoc Fly Quiet Committee become a standing Committee. This will require action from the Bylaws Committee which will draft a formal proposal to be presented to and voted on by the commission.

Technical Committee Chair Catherine Dunlap reported that the Technical Committee had met on August 15. At that meeting, CDA staff presented an update on noise monitors, reviewed the 2nd Quarter Fly Quiet Report, and presented recent airfield changes including relocation of the GRE. Ms. Dunlap also reported that she and Jeanette Camacho had met over the summer with the Cargo Managers, opening lines of communication with the group, and also that ONCC members had gone on an Airfield Tour in August. At their next meeting on September 26, the Technical Committee will discuss the O’Hare Noise Complaint System.

Ad Hoc Fly Quiet Committee Chair Joe Annunzio reported that the Committee had last met on August 30. The Committee reviewed the draft report on Fly Quiet Runway Rotation Test 2. Comments on the draft report are due to the CDA by Sept. 13. The final report will be presented to the Fly Quiet Committee on September 21. CDA also presented Fly Quiet Runway Rotation Test 3 reports from weeks 1 – 4. Test 3 started the week of July 23. Residents are strongly encouraged to complete the Test 3 survey to provide valuable data to help the Fly Quiet Committee develop concepts for the best possible runway rotation plan for the interim period from spring 2018 to fall 2020. The Fly Quiet Committee will meet on Thursday, September 21 to review the final Test 2 Report and discuss options for an interim Fly Quiet plan.

The next ONCC General Meeting is scheduled for October 6 at 8:00 a.m. at Café La Cave.

ANMS Reports

May 2017

June 2017

July 2017

Dr. Epstein Presentation

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