ONCC sent a welcome letter to Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg upon his Senate Confirmation. The letter introduced him to the Commission's history and the Secretary was invited to join the Commission in celebration of our 25th anniversary this fall. Read more

The U.C. Davis Aviation Noise Symposium was held virtually February 23-26. Evan Summers, Karyn Robles, Jeanette Camacho, and ONCC Consultants attended the four-day meeting. The biggest takeaway from the panel discussions was that ONCC is doing all the right things, especially when it comes to community involvement, building consensus, and balancing aircraft dispersion. See below for a short summary of the panel discussions.

Aircraft Noise and Overflight Dispersion: Opportunities and Challenges

  • A panel member presented two case studies on Precision Based Navigation procedures to create track dispersion at San Diego Airport and Washington National Airport. The FAA likes PBN because it is safe, efficient, and point-to-point navigation. In the case of San Diego Airport, a new dispersion needed 100 percent buy-in from the community and it failed because there was no community involvement in the decision making. Washington National Airport had community collaboration with the FAA, and it was approved. It was a win/win situation.
  • Charlotte North Carolina Airport is a FAA Metroplex. A panel member discussed aircraft dispersion patterns, detailing the challenges and benefits associated with implementing dispersion patterns at an airport. He said that repetition leads to dispersion and cited the O’Hare runway rotation program as an example.
  • The FAA presented ongoing issues with the dispersion of flight paths and analyzed the specific language included in FAA Section 175, which allows for a dispersion of flight paths new or amended for the airport operator only and it must not increase noise. The takeaway: the FAA is trying for transparency, offering workshops, one-on-one discussions, trying hard to bring in more voices before decisions.
  • Dispersion is easy to get if everyone is willing to share the load. Community designing is a better way to reach consensus and can be accomplished when the FAA, the airport, pilots, and the community work together. Everyone sees it as the best way to do things considering the realistic constraints.

Doubling Down: Implementing Noise Reductions During Recovery

  • Panelists discussed how COVID-19 has impacted noise work, highlighting recent accomplishments and near-term goals in reducing noise through fleet makeup and operational improvements.
  • The perspective on the aviation supply chain and cargo airline industry indicated that it did very well during the pandemic moving goods and medical supplies.
  • Noise abatement programs and ongoing industry changes resulted in retirement of older aircraft during the pandemic and updating the fleet with quieter more fuel-efficient aircraft. After the pandemic, the worse noise will be the new noise that was diminished by fewer operations.
  • FAA’s recent work and future goals, detailing the successes and challenges from an operations, safety, and security standpoint. The FAA is making changes internally to improve communications. The agency is working with more community groups to get more things done. They will hold virtual meetings during the pandemic. The FAA is devoted to noise issues and is poised to better explain constraints to community stakeholders. It knows the advantages of having everyone at the table when addressing modernization efforts. The takeaway is community engagement.

Direct and Indirect Impacts of Aviation on Human Health

  • Research between aviation noise and birth outcomes, discussing NextGen policy, the correlation between noise levels and low birth weight babies, and the policy implication at play.
  • Research into preterm birth rates among mothers exposed to ultrafine particles from jet exhaust, emphasizing the public health concern for UFP.
  • Reflections from a public health researcher, addressing the obstacles in the translation from research results to noise policy and regulation.

How Will Advanced Air Mobility Benefit Communities?

  • Development, implementation, and management of mission-driven programs, diving into standards and regulations, industry development and current market challenges.
  • Insight regarding the importance and challenges of aviation noise and community engagement, airport advocacy and access to airports.
  • How to plan and prepare for new entrants to airports including steps to facilitate community engagement and collaborative development in the future.
  • Insight on the advanced air mobility integration presenting on the opportunities for AAM to provide enhanced services to nearby communities.

Climate Change and Aviation: Opportunities in the Midst of Adversity

  • How COVID has impacted European air traffic and how the sector is planning for a sustainable future, highlighting operational improvements and short, mid, and long-term carbon neutrality targets.
  • SFO’s Strategic Plan goal to become the world’s first net zero energy, net zero carbon and zero waste airport campus.
  • Civil society expectations for a green recovery, reviewing current industry targets, carbon pricing, and the potential for consumers and investors to have greater leverage over airline behavior.
  • Airline industry’s strong commitment towards recovery and resilience, noting the progress made on infrastructure, operations, and technology, including Sustainable Aviation Fuel.
  • Aviation Emissions: Reduction Efforts and Current Research
  • New research which directly probed engine emissions and contrail formation at cruise altitudes, discussing the climate impact and mitigation strategies
  • FAA aircraft technology research for reduced fuel, emissions, and noise provided an overview of the FAA CLEEN Program, including past successes and future plans.
  • Recommendations for air quality monitoring studies near airports, providing guidance to increase the impact of ongoing studies and research.

Aircraft Noise and Emissions Legislation in the Next Congress: Priorities, Perspectives, and Predictions

  • National legislative priorities and predictions based on experience and perspective from other members of aviation-impacted communities.
  • The prospects for noise and emissions-related legislation in the 117th Congress and the implications of the new administration on federal law concerning aircraft noise.
  • The prospects for action on noise in congress, outlining and emphasizing how to be an effective advocate with your representatives.

A Guide to U.S. Aircraft Noise Regulatory Policy—Sanford Fidell and Vincent Mestre

  • Fidell and Mestre reviewed Airport Noise and Capacity Act from 1953 to 1978 and said that perhaps one national rule for all communities is flawed. To reach potential changes, ANCA would have to be amended and congress would have to abandon the one-size fits all approach to disclosure of dose response based on assessments of noise impacts. They would have to adopt a regional focus on airport capacity.
  • They said that the FAA Neighborhood Environmental Survey was a good start for a master plan, but the FAA has known for years that the 1992 FICON Report on noise annoyance may have been wrong. The NES had a low response rate, but the survey did point out that the policy is in urgent need of correction for a better policy.

The O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission submitted comments on the FAA Neighborhood Environmental Survey as published in the Federal Register on January 11, 2021.

On January 13, 2021, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released its long-awaited 20-airport survey on aircraft noise annoyance. The result was no surprise to the O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission (ONCC), an inter-governmental aircraft noise advisory organization whose sole mission for the last 25 years has been to mitigate aircraft noise through residential and school sound insulation and to advocate for quieter aircraft technology.

Read more

The Congressional Quiet Skies Caucus (CQSC) in the United States Congress seeks to raise awareness on the issue of aircraft air and noise pollution and find meaningful solutions to the problem. The caucus consists of congressional representatives from across the country whose constituents have been impacted by the FAA's NextGen program. Local congressional representatives Raja Krishnamoorthi, Mike Quigley and Jan Schakowsky are members of the caucus.

UPDATE - 3/10/21: The FAA is extending the comment period for the Noise Research FRN by 30 days. The new comment due date is April 14, 2021.

FAA Seeks Public Comment on Aviation Noise Effects and Mitigation Research Portfolio

March 5, 2021 ONCC General Meeting Agenda now available - click here.

The next O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission (ONCC) meeting will be held on Friday, March 5, 2021 @ 8 a.m. This meeting will be held via Zoom Teleconference (details below).

A presentation will be given by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regarding the results of the Neighborhood Environmental Survey. The FAA released a summary to the public of the research programs it sponsors on civil aircraft noise that could potentially inform future aircraft noise policy. The FAA invites public comment on the scope and applicability of these research initiatives to address aircraft noise. ONCC Members are encouraged to submit their individual responses by the March 15, 2021 (link provided below). ONCC’s response to the National Register is attached for your reference.

 Federal Register: Overview of FAA Aircraft Noise Policy and Research Efforts: Request for Input on Research Activities To Inform Aircraft Noise Policy

The FAA will not make any determinations based on the findings of these research programs for the FAA's noise policies, including any potential revised use of the Day-Night Average Sound Level (DNL) noise metric, until it has carefully considered public and other stakeholder input along with any additional research needed to improve the understanding of the effects of aircraft noise exposure on communities.

Zoom meeting details:

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Meeting ID: 884 1824 0404

Passcode: 635688

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