The ONCC Fly Quiet Committee met on July 2, 2019 at the Bensenville Village Hall.

Committee Chair Joe Annunzio explained to the committee that the FAA had raised safety concerns with some of the Fly Quiet solutions that the committee had been exploring.

CDA Process
CDA Commissioner Jamie Rhee addressed the committee, stating that the original design of the O’Hare Modernization Plan was to balance runway use, which continues to be goal of CDA. The City of Chicago supports a Fly Quiet runway rotation plan. Completion of 9C/27C will help balance noise, as will the additional east-west runways. View Process Chart

FAA – Safety Concerns
FAA Regional Administrator Rebecca MacPherson spoke to the committee to explain the safety concerns of the FAA. She stated the while the CDA had consulted the FAA regarding various FQ21 alternatives, the FAA would not actually approve any scenarios at this time – it would be premature.

She said the FAA had concerns with arrivals taking place on runway 9C, due to the need for aircraft and maintenance vehicles to cross active runways in order to get to the maintenance hangars.

She explained that the FAA had a change in internal processes in 2015 that was implemented after the 2015 OMP Re-Evaluation was completed, which is why this issue did not arise at that time. The new procedures established a robust safety management system evaluation for the air traffic organization.

There is an FAA mitigation option that is possible but it has not been evaluated yet. This would be a Land and Hold Short to mitigate long term the adverse impact on efficiency that would result from anything having to cross the runway. She stated that they could not evaluate that scenario at this point in time as the FAA will not evaluate tentative proposals. They will only initiate safety management evaluation once they have a concrete proposal that is relatively near in time, and a good faith effort exists to implement it soon. The agency does not have the resources to evaluate every possible scenario.

She stated that separate from the Fly Quiet program, the City needed to begin preparing a proposal for the FAA to evaluate under the safety management system on how they intend to use runway 9C during the nighttime hours. This would allow the proposal to be considered now as opposed to later in the Fly Quiet process.

Issues the FAA is concerned with for nighttime operations using 9C:

  1. Operations at night inherently more dangerous
  2. Most maintenance operations take place at night – issues at night that do not exist during the day
  3. Reduced controller workforce at night – fewer controllers available to scan entire airport – raises risk

Once the safety management panel meets, the process could take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. Due to complexity, this review would likely take longer and would fall into high – low to medium risk. There is a higher level of review in the agency.

Ms. MacPherson mentioned that even if the FAA approved the use of the LAHSO procedures, that they are very weather dependent and not reliably available. She said there were other procedures that could be used on the airfield such as hold for clearance. It was up to the City to determine what procedures would be used.

FAA – IFQ Update
The FAA also gave an update on the Interim Fly Quiet report. They stated that the report was in publication and was expected to be released very soon. 295 submissions resulted in 1,890 comments. The plan is expected to go into effect in November 2019.

FQ 21 Next Steps
CDA Consultants reviewed the options for next steps for the Committee. They stated that the City has been working on the packet to submit to the FAA for review regarding use of 9C at night.

They explained the components of the Fly Quiet Plan included:

1. Configurations – generally feasible without formal review. Do not allow arrivals on 9R 27L
2. Departure Procedures

  1. Type
  2. Path
  3. Altitude

3. Program coordination

  1. Ground movements
  2. Stakeholder coordination – airlines
  3. Community outreach

View Fly Quiet Components

Committee members expressed interest in looking into departure procedures. Some also asked the City to help with educating the Committee members so they understand what options may exist.

CDA consultants also suggested that at a future meeting the Committee discuss public outreach for the IFQ program.

CDA Commissioner Rhee thanked the Committee and the FAA said she looked forward to working through this to find the best solution possible.

The next meeting of the ONCC Fly Quiet Committee is scheduled for August 27, 2019.