1991-09-01

Noise Abatement Procedures vs. Safety 912137

I believe that accomplishing aircraft noise abatement in the airport terminal area presents the greatest single safety problem to air carrier operations in the United States. To understand the effect of noise abatement we must look at the consequences of noise laws and limitations from a national perspective.
Since the passage of the first noise law, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in 1969, there has been only one air carrier airport “planned and built” in the entire country. That airport is Fort Myers, Florida. in addition, runways have been denied the usage of large air carrier aircraft because those aircraft are environmentally noisy. Airport authorities have placed stringent use limitations on many of the remaining runways that are “noise sensitive.” Landing thresholds have been displaced to move noise contours. Flight tracks have been adjusted both horizontally and vertically. Curfews have been established denying landing authority to late arrivals.
During this same time period the air carrier industry was deregulated, permitting many more aircraft to use the limited number of airports and runways.

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