US Captial

bulletin board


donate to caan

(click on the date for the article you wish to read)


7 Oct 16 FAA uses average noise instead of transient noise.
27 May 16 NextGen is causing noise chaos in DCmetro communities and in other major cities across the country.
6 May 16 The FAA's new noise Scatter Plan
5 May 15 Palisades meeting on heavier aircraft leaving DCA and not following the river course.
28 Oct 13 Two new studies say that aircraft noise can cause heart disease and strokes!
22 Jun 13 New Quieter Jet Engines Coming.
14 Jun 13 National Airport Runway 15/33 to extend farther into the Potomac.
31 Jan 13 DC Palisades Aircraft Noise Committee meets with FAA Administrator
7 Sep 12 Third Circuit Ruling in Tinicom Township v. DOT
18 Jun 12 Military air exercise over Washington D.C. area tonight and tomorrow nights
27 Mar 12 FAA sets new standard for analyzing noise and emissions for various airport configurations
1 Feb 12 The case against more flights at National Airport – part 2
18 Jan 12 The case against more flights at National Airport
14 Jan 12 Lead Toxicity and General Aviation Aircraft
20 Jul 11 Bike and roller blade beat JetBlue in Carmaggeddon challenge – LOL
16 Jul 11 FAA hosts panel discussion on civil supersonic aircraft.
14 Jul 11 "Regulatory capture" of the FAA by airlines (Wiki)
29.Jun 11 FAA hosting a public meeting on development of supersonic aircraft.
17 May 11 Jet pollution can penetrate the brain and lungs study reveals
5 May 11 FAA to start RNAV at National Airport
6 Apr. 11 Is this the new way to reduce aircraft noise over communities?
31 Mar. 11 Aviation's climate impact studied.
5 Mar 11 E.U Allows Airports to fine Airlines for Excessive Noise
26 Feb 11 Helicopter Forum
20 Feb 11 More flights at National Airport.
22 Jan 11 Living near Chicago's O'Hare Airport
20 Oct 10 From MIT: A link between air travel and deaths on the ground
19 Oct.10 Aircraft noise can cause heart problems: A new study.
13 July 10 Congress again presses to add more west coast flights to National
31 Jan 10 Jet noise connected to stroke, high blood pressure and heart disease says German epidemiologist
19 Dev 09 Public On-line Tracking data avaiable for National and Dulles
17 Dec 09 Study links jet noise with serious health risks!
22 Jun 09 Proposed Crystal City Development
11 Sep08 APC Meeting Notes
 18 Feb 08 Notes from APC meeting
13 Jan 08 New study on aircraft and airport noise.
9 Dec 07 Can aviation's emissions continue to be exempted from the clean air laws?
27 Nov 07 Airplane noise tied to high blood pressure risk
14 Nov 07 News items from the Airports Policy Committee (APC) — added flights at National dropped.
27 Sep 07 How noise affects the body – a new report
30 Jun 07 MORE Flights at National???
24 Jan 07 Notes from the Jan. 10th CONAANDA meeting.
3 Nov 06 Airports Authority's noise monitoring computer off the air for two years??
23 Oct 06 FAA allows experiments on pilot endurance with passengers on board?
10 Oct 06 CAAN adds noise footprint simulator for Dulles Airport.
29 Aug 06 New community noise level data posted.

10/7/16. Commentary. The FAA held three community emgagement meetings in September, one in Arlington, one in the District, and one in Maryland. Although the FAA people were friendly, other than showing the new NextGen departure route for north bound flights, and answering general questions, very little information was passed out to attendees. The meetings were well attended during the time that CAAN was there. CAAN also received a set of tables showing the noise measurements the FAA made over the communities where the new NextGen route was flying. The surprising thing for CAAN was that the FAA presented these tables using average noise measurements over a period of time, like 24 hours or perhaps as low as one hour, instead of transient noise using SEL (Sound Exposure Level). SEL is the standard way to determinie what the peak noise is. People don't hear average noise when in concerns aircraft; they hear the transient noise of the aircraft passing overhead for about 10 to 15 seconds and then it is gone and the nosie level drops back to the ambient noise of the community. Depending on how many planes pass over in the averaging time, these transient noise bursts from the aircraft, when averaged with other local noise, basically disappear into the ambient noise or may, as the FAA has reported, only be one dB above the ambient noise. This one dB is normally indisguishable from ambient noise. What residents are saying, however, leaves no doubt that what they hear is way above the ambient noise. So what's going on? What the FAA is unwilling to say is that it is tranient noise – like a motorcycle racing by your home at one AM – that is causing the problem. It is this transient noise that is waking families up much of the night, making it difficult to hold a conversation on on their patios, or keeping students from studying effectively. Some aircraft will measure 78 dBA peak noise as it passes over or near a home. This is often 20 dB above above the nighttime ambient noise level of a community. Twenty dB is a factor of 100 times more noise. There is no doubt that residents will hear that level of noise increase.

Instead of spreading out the routes for departures up the Potomac River, as it has been doing for years, the FAA's new NextGen routes are concentrating these routes into one narrow, computer controlled route thus making it hell for the people living under them.

As stated in the commentary below, the Congress and the FAA have blunder again especially when in concerns peoples' health.

5/27/16. Commentary on NextGen community noise issue: The following email was received by CAAN a few days ago from a lady living in the community of Tulip Hill which is located off of Goldsboro Rd. and MacArthur Blvd about 0.6 miles from the Potomac River:

Are you working on any Bethesda residents upset by this newer FAA Reagan Airport Next Gen Flight Path Metroplex "North" turns over Bethesda?
I have 250 to 275 flights a day over my neighborhood, sometimes as many as 300. Some rush hour evenings, it can be as many as 30 in one hour. I understand that this is also occurring over Bannockburn where a friend lives. Mohican Hills gets them too as well as Glen Echo Heights and Sumner too.
Planes are Nonstop, thrust, throttle, noises day and night, speed brakes on arrivals, NONSTOP noise, planes always visible and low flying, and pollution with these lower altitudes.
Insanity, chaos in the sky over my neighborhood. We no longer like to go outside in our yard; we already have insulation and the planes can always be heard inside our home.

Mary Britt & Family
Tulip Hill
(Tulip Hill resident 14 years now)
Bethesda, Maryland 20816

It is obvious that this lady is understandably upset about what has happened to her family's lives. CAAN is sure that there are many other families in the Washington DC metro area that are living under the same conditions. It is the same thing that is happening around the country, and it is only going to get worse as more and more NextGen flight paths are launched. How is it that the Congress and FAA have totally ignored the issue of noise that impacts the communities in its new flight paths. Why were no environmental impact statements performed for all the affectedd airports across the country? Although the FAA has hertofore worked with communities to limit the effects of noise, it is plain that this is no longer true. Why?

Here's why. The FAA 2012 Reauthorization Bill contained specific language that seems to grant the FAA something called a "Categorical Exclusion" – a point of law, which in this case, allows the FAA to evade environmental studies for any new navigational approaches and departures across the U.S. However, when one reads the text of the actual bill closely (see below), the FAA Administrator can reject the proposed procedures if they do not reduce fuel consumption, emissions, and noise. The second part, (2), goes on to say the if the new procedures are no worse than before and do not affect the quality of the human environment, the Administrator may file a categorical exclusion. Given the public's outraged reaction nationwide to the new Nextgen flight paths, especially since it was never informed about these changes, it is obvious the public is adamantly opposed to these new flight paths. The noise levels are horrendous and many new flight paths are over communities that have rarely had this much noise, thus prompting the letter from Mary Britt.

So what's the solution? Because the Congress is ultimately responsible for this blunder, it should be the one to direct the FAA Administrator to rescind his decision and return to flight paths previously used until a better set of flight paths are designed that are also approved by the public at each airport.

If the Congress and the FAA ignore the public's compliants, they will jeopardizing the health of people under these flight paths. Scientists can now show that this type of constant noise can seriously harm people's health. The effects, reported in many of their studies, are: coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep disturbance, insomnia, and depression. CAAN wonders how many people across the country are now battling one or more of these health problems because of NextGen.

Here is the operative text from section 213 of the 2012 Reauthorization Bill:

(c)Coordinated and expedited review
(1)In general
Navigation performance and area navigation procedures developed, certified, published, or implemented under this section shall be presumed to be covered by a categorical exclusion (as defined in section 1508.4 of title 40, Code of Federal Regulations) under chapter 3 of FAA Order 1050.1E unless the Administrator determines that extraordinary circumstances exist with respect to the procedure.
(2)Nextgen procedures
Any navigation performance or other performance based navigation procedure developed, cerified, published, or implemented that, in the determination of the Administrator, would result in measurable reductions in fuel comsumption, carbon dioxide emissions, and noise, on a per flight basis, as compared to aircraft operations that follow existing instrument flight rule[s] procedures in the same airspace, shall be presumed to have no significant affect on the quality of the human emvironment and the Administrator shall issue and file a categorical exclusion to the new procedure.

5/6/16. Commentary: The FAA is now implementing its new NextGen Navigation System, the system that allows airlines to fly direct routes to their destinations. The airlines, of course, love this because it will save them fuel and increase their profits. Nothing wrong with that, right? But then, at who's expense is this largesse being provided? You got it! The people living under these new airport flight paths. Never mind that these new flight paths are being routed over communities all over the country that have seldom had heavy air traffic before, it is the new super-efficient navigation system. In Washington D. C. the new flight path flies over Georgetown University, where students are trying to study and to sleep, and proceeds over one community after another until the aircraft reaches cruising altitude and continues up the northeast corridor. No doubt, in the future, we will see other NextGen flight paths from National Airport and Dulles Airport.

Years ago, when CAAN was a new kid on the block, the FAA implemented what was called the DC Scatter Plan, where flights leaving National Airport could be sent in any direction by the air controllers. The thought was that people wouldn't mind a few planes a day. It was to be a 90 day test. It never got past 60 days. The uproar from DC citizens and surrounding communities was so great that the idea was quickly canceled. Now, it is good to see that community uproar is building and that civic associations are contacting their elected leaders to end this giveaway to the airlines. This is exactly the right approach. Lean Hard on state and federal leaders. It makes no sense that the airlines get to punish the citizens of a city with endless noise so they can save a few bucks; especially now that scientists are saying that tranient noise from aircraft and light rail systems are seriously affecting many peoples' health. Put the planes back over the river until they get to 12,000 feet!

5/5/15. Commentary: CAAN notes that there appears to be an argument festering between National and Dulles airport managements; that is, which airport is supposed to provide the long range flights and which is to provide the short range flights. Originally, National got the short range flights and Dulles the long range flights, period! Now, thanks to Congress, it seems that National has been allowed to add more and more long range flights to various western airports so particular members of Congress didn't have to go all the way out to Dulles to fly to their home districts. The result seems to be that these added flights are using heavier aircraft (767's or maybe the triple 7's?) rather than the smaller aircraft like the 737-700/800's. MWAA says that these heavier aircrat meet the noise limit of 72 dBA; that is, their noise level is 71.9 dBA. Really? One tenth of a dB under the limit? CAAN wonders how many times they tested the takeoff and landing noise of these planes and averaged the results? Further, there was a time when these heavies could not take off on National's Runway 1/19 - or any other of its runways - because it would not provide a sufficient safety margin. As far as CAAN knows, 1/19 has been lengthened just a few feet, to 6889 feet, so what has changed? More powerful engines would help, but they would have to be quite a bit more powerful to justify using that short runway, and so near the Federal restricted area. Dulles runways are 10,000 and 11,000 feet and offer an ample safety margin. Does National's 6889 foot runway now offer a proper margin of safety for these larger aircraft, especially in marginal weather? The FAA, nevertheless, has approved using these heavier aircraft at National.

However, the people living in the Palisades area along the river are the ones paying the price for our worthy members of Congress to get to the western part of our country. Now there are more noisy flights and they fly right over the Palisades community, not up the river as it and many communities along the river have been promised. The FAA is taking years to introduce GPS navigation to make that promise come true. Yes, special equipment needs to be installed in all airlines
flying in and out of National and crews have to be trained to use it, but it doesn't take that long to accomplish these tasks. At this point, Palisades civic members are meeting again with the FAA, MWAA and community-minded Eleanor Holmes Norton to see what is going on and why the FAA can't have the planes fly up the river. A couple of airlines have been using GPS at National for a few years, so what's the problem?

Recently, the FAA has been severely criticized by the General Accountability Office (GAO) for its management of NextGen, a major FAA program. Apparently, the FAA has trouble even managing a small part of that program, using GPS to fly the river course here in Washington D.C.

10/28/13. Commentary: Two new studies (see below), one in the United Kingdom and the other in the U.S. say that higher levels of aircraft noise around large airports have been linked to higher risk of heart disease and strokes. Both studies were published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ 2013;347:f5432) this month. The British study collected data from 3.9 million people near Heathrow Airport while the American study sampled 6 million people at 89 U.S. airports. CAAN has been quoting earlier smaller studies for a number of years that said basically the same thing,. Loud noise is bad for one's health affecting heart and strokes. It takes a number of large well researched studies like these to get people's attention. No doubt we will hear the aircraft manufacturers and airline companies say there's no causal link, just as the cigarette companies did for decades. Maybe now Congress will pay some attention, but don't hold your breath. Here's a report by Kate Kelland of Reuters giving a synopsis of these studies.

* * * * *

* Studies near Heathrow and U.S. airports find heart risks

* Results raise important questions for city planners

* Experts caution that studies can't prove causal link (Adds details, fresh quotes)

By Kate Kelland

LONDON, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Exposure to high levels of aircraft noise near busy international airports has been linked to a higher risk of heart disease and strokes in two separate studies from Britain and the United States.
Researchers in London studied noise and hospital admissions around London Heathrow airport, while a separate team analysed data on 6 million Americans living near 89 U.S. airports. Both studies, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ)on Wednesday, found that people living with the highest levels of aircraft noise had increased risks of stroke, coronary heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases.

In the Heathrow study, the risks were around 10 to 20 percent higher in areas with highest levels of aircraft noise compared with the areas with least noise.
Stephen Stansfeld, a professor at Queen Mary University of London who was not part of either research team but provided a commentary on their findings, said the results suggested that "aircraft noise exposure is not just a cause of annoyance, sleep disturbance, and reduced quality of life" but may also increase sickness and death from heart disease.
City and town planners "need to take this into account when extending airports in heavily populated areas or planning new airports," he said.

Other experts said the studies raised important issues about aircraft noise and health, but did not establish a causal link. "Both of these studies are thorough and well-conducted. But, even taken together, they don't prove that aircraft noise actually causes heart disease and strokes," said Kevin McConway, a professor of applied statistics at Britain's Open University.

The British research team set out to investigate the risks of stroke and heart disease in relation to aircraft noise among 3.6 million people living near Heathrow, one of the busiest airports in the world. They compared hospital admissions and death rates due to stroke and heart disease from 2001 to 2005 in 12 areas of London and nine further districts to the west of London. Levels of aircraft noise for each area were obtained from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), and factors that could have affected the results, such as age, sex, ethnicity, social deprivation, smoking, air pollution and road traffic noise were also taken into account. Their results showed increased risks of stroke, coronary heart disease, and cardiovascular disease - especially among the 2.0 percent of the study population exposed to the highest levels of daytime and night time aircraft noise.

"The exact role that noise exposure may play in ill health is not well established," said Anna Hansell of Imperial College London, who led the British study. "However, it is plausible that it might be contributing, for example by raising blood pressure or by disturbing people's sleep."

The researchers noted that discussions on possible expansion plans for London's airport capacity have been on and off the table for many decades, with demand for air travel expected to double in Britain to 300 million passengers per year by 2030. "Policy decisions need to take account of potential health related concerns, including possible effects of environmental noise on cardiovascular health," they wrote. In a second study also published in the BMJ, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health and Boston University School of Public Health looked at data for more than 6 million Americans aged 65 or over living near 89 U.S. airports in 2009.

The research - the first to analyse a very large population across multiple airports - found that, on average, zip codes with 10 decibel (dB) higher aircraft noise had a 3.5 percent higher cardiovascular hospital admission rate. The results showed that people exposed to the highest noise levels - more than 55 dB - had the strongest link with hospitalisations for heart disease, and the link also remained after adjustment for socioeconomic status, demographic factors, air pollution, and proximity to roads. Conway said that because of the kind of data used, the studies could only "suggest very strongly that we should find out much more about aircraft noise and circulatory disease". (Editing by Angus MacSwan)

6/22/13. Caan has learned that two companies, Pratt and Whitney and CFM, are soon to test new designs for quieter jet engines. The noise improvement is projected to be from 3 to 5 dB. The 3 dB would cut the takeoff noise in half, 5 dB by two-thirds. Of course, these are projected numbers, not actual flight test data. But 3 dB would be welcomed.

Below is an article written by Bart Jansen of USA Today about the Pratt and Whitney engine.

A quiet innovation in aviation is expected later this month.

Bombardier Aerospace plans to test-fly a new plane with quieter engines from Pratt & Whitney. The companies say the geared turbofan engines are projected to burn 20% less fuel and reduce noise, and Bombardier could be the first to use planes with the quieter engines a year from now.

While airlines would appreciate better fuel efficiency, the promise of quieter flights for passengers and for people on the ground could also allow airlines to land more planes at airports with noise restrictions.

"They're so quiet as you come in for an approach, if you shut off the engines you can't tell the difference," said Alan Epstein, vice president for technology and environment at Pratt & Whitney.

Neighbors of noise-restricted airports are monitoring the development of quieter engines, but they have questions about how they will actually work.

Donald MacGlashan, a board member of the group Citizens for the Abatement of Aircraft Noise, which monitors Dulles and Reagan National airports near Washington, would like a reduction in a regional jet's noise, but he's waiting to see the actual results.

"We would certainly welcome it," MacGlashan said. "But I'm skeptical."

The Pratt & Whitney engines could become the first to carry travelers on Bombardier planes next year. Pratt & Whitney's first test flight for an Airbus engine for the A320neo was May 15, but that plane isn't expected to be in service until late 2015.

A rival engine manufacturer, the CFM International partnership of General Electric and Safran of France, is also developing a quieter engine for single-aisle planes such as the A320neo and Boeing's 737 MAX. That engine is first expected in commercial service aboard the A320neo in 2016 and the 737 MAX in 2017, according to CFM spokeswoman Jamie Jewell.

The market for the quieter engines is significant, with projections for up to 25,000 aircraft over the next 20 years with as many as 50,000 engines, Jewell said. So far CFM has orders for 4,600 of the quieter engines, and Pratt & Whitney has more than 3,500 orders and options, according to the companies.

Eventually, quieter engines could be developed for wide-body planes, too.

Richard Aboulafia, an aviation analyst as vice president for the Teal Group in Virginia, called the Pratt & Whitney engine "a significant innovation." But he said it's unclear which engine will lead the market.

"It's become a huge battle, with completely different propulsion philosophies, different customers, yet effectively two engines in the same power class," Aboulafia said. "It's a nice step forward. We just don't know what kind of lead it will have over the competition."

The key to the Pratt & Whitney engine is a gear behind the engine's fan that allows it to turn slower for the same thrust, the same way a higher gear on a bicycle requires less pedaling to cover the same distance.

The new engine's fan for the A320neo is 81 inches in diameter, rather than the previous 63 inches, Epstein said. While larger, it turns slower and burns less fuel through a gear the size of a car's wheel, Epstein said.

The engines are headed to the Airbus A320neo; Bombardier CS100 and CS300; Embraer 170, 175, 190 and 195; Mitsubishi Regional Jet; and Irkut planes, Epstein said. Airbus and Embraer are retrofitting existing planes, while the others are putting the engines on new models.

The quieter engines are projected to reduce the jet's noise 3 to 5 decibels at specific points around an airport, which is projected to shrink the zones covered by noise restrictions by 75%, according to Pratt & Whitney and CFM.

"That means that aircraft noise, in most cases, will be contained within the confines of the airport," said Jewell of CFM.

Numerous airports across the country have restrictions on late-night or early-morning flights because of noise. For example in 2011, Reagan National got 505 noise complaints and Dulles got 157 noise complaints, according to the most recent report available from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.

MacGlashan, the airport noise watchdog, said reducing the noise of regional jets overhead would "certainly be an improvement." But he said residents are most concerned about the loudest noises that jets make rather than the average noise that manufacturers measure.

"It depends on what kind of aircraft they're thinking of putting them on," he said.

If the new engines are successful, airlines serving city airports with noise restrictions in Toronto, London and Stockholm are eager for quieter engines to allow more flights, according to Marianella de la Barrera, a spokeswoman for Bombardier.

Pratt & Whitney and Bombardier expect the quieter engines aboard the CS100 to be the first delivered about this time next year, after the test flight expected later this month.

Announced customers include Republic Airways, Porter Airlines in Canada and Gulf Air in the Middle East.

"It's actually well suited for urban communities," de la Barrera said. "It's widely acknowledged that it's going to be a step-change for the industry."

Click here to read the USA Today article and view the graphic showing the reduction the engines are expected to make around an airport.

6/14/13. New configuration for Runway 15/33 at Reagan National Airport. CAAN wonders what the people downstream will have to say when all the fill dirt and pollution from the construction debris enters their drinking water. Below is an article concerning this project.

Jun 4, 2013. Over the river: Reagan National runway to be shifted into the Potomac
By Michael Neibauer

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority has hired a contractor to fill in a portion of the Potomac River and move a runway at Reagan National Airport to bring it up to federal safety guidelines.

The 5,204-foot-long Runway 15-33 does not meet Federal Aviation Administration safety standards, and the FAA is requiring the airports authority to make improvements. The length will remain the same, but a couple hundred feet will be knocked off on the north side and added to the other to make room for the enhancements.
The project is scheduled to start next week and continue through late 2015, said authority spokeswoman Kimberly Gibbs. The work should not affect air travel because the runway is rarely used, though once the work is finished it may be used a little more, she said.
National's Runway 1-19, running north-south for 6,869 feet, is used roughly 95 percent of the time.

The safety project, to be led by Atlanta-based Archer Western Construction LLC under a $7.16 million deal, will include shortening Runway 15-33 some 270 feet at the northwest end (to avoid impacts to the George Washington Memorial Parkway), adding in-pavement edge lighting and installing an engineered materials arrestor system (essentially, an airplane shock absorber) at the end of the runway.
The work will require Archer Western to fill in 4.51 acres of the Potomac, including 2.54 acres the National Park Service will soon transfer to FAA jurisdiction. That fill, according to a Park Service report, "will adversely impact approximately 1.94 acres of NPS-managed riverine tidal wetlands."
To compensate for those impacts, the airports authority has agreed to fund the first phase of the Dyke Marsh Restoration Project on the Potomac, at a cost of $2.5 million. Dyke Marsh, just south of Alexandria, is the last major remnant of once extensive freshwater tidal marshes along the Potomac River.
The airports authority considered 24 alternatives for the runway project. One of the eliminated options would have involved placing fill in the Potomac, installing a pier over the GW Parkway and a constructing a parkway tunnel under the pier. It was ruled out for its "extreme impacts and probable costs."

Michael Neibauer covers economic development, chambers of commerce, transportation and politics for the Wahington Business Journal.

1/31/13. From the February Palisades Civic Association News. From President Bill Slover: I am pleased to report that Mat Thorp, Chair of the PCA Aircraft Noise Committee, and I had a very productive meeeting with Michael Huerta, Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, and other FAA representatives. The meeting was arranged by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and also included a number of representatives from the Metropolitan [Washington] Airports Authority. The main outcome of the meeting was recognition by all in aattendance that proper approach procedures to Reagan National Airport were not always followed and that compliance to those procedures was not being enforced. Administrator Huerta committed to speak with air traffic controllers, pilots and airlines to reitereate the importance of following the required landing procedures. While there is much work on this to be done, I feel that we have a real opportunity to advance progress on our ongoing noise abatement efforts. Collectively the PCA will continue to press the issue. . .

9/7/12. Third Circuit Ruling in Tinicum Township v. DOT Reveals Futility of Relying Solely on NEPA as a Method of Attacking Airport Expansion
Aviation and Airport News Posted by Steve Tabor
July 9, 2012

On July 6, 2012, the U.S Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit denied Tinicum Township, Pennsylvania’s Petition for Review of the Federal Aviation Administration’s approval of the expansion of Philadelphia International Airport.

The western edge of PHL is located in the Tinicum Township and Delaware County, Pennsylvania, thus expansion of the airport is a paramount concern of the Township, the County and their residents. In the Petition for Review Tinicum alleged that the FAA violated provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) as well as the consistency provision of the Airport and Airway Improvement Act. The Third Circuit denied the Petition for Review

Tinicum basically had two NEPA arguments. First, it argued that the FAA should have deferred to the EPA and its analysis of the air quality data that was submitted in conjunction with the Environmental Impact Statement. The FAA made some adjustments to the EIS based on the EPA’s comments, but declined to follow other suggestions. The Court concluded that since the FAA was the lead agency on the EIS, it could accept or reject the comments of the EPA so long as it gave the comments “serious consideration.” In addition, the Court added that should the EPA disagree with the FAA’s conclusion, it had the authority under NEPA to take the matter up with the Council on Environmental Quality. 42 U.S.C. § 7609(b). The EPA did not take that step in this case.

Second, Tinicum contended that there were at least five technical errors that rendered the FAA’s air quality analysis inadequate under NEPA. In each case, the Court stated that the “FAA gave serious consideration and reasonable responses to each of the EPA’s concerns.” Thus, the Court concluded, “the technical errors alleged by Tinicum do not render the FAA’s air quality analysis arbitrary or capricious.”

This case shows, once again, that using NEPA and the environmental review process as the primary vehicle for challenging airport expansion is not a successful strategy. See, e.g., City of Las Vegas, et al. v. FAA No. 07-70121 (9th Cir. June 12, 2009), County of Rockland et al. v. FAA, No. 07-1363 (D.C. Cir. June 10, 2009), and City of Olmsted Falls v. FAA, No. 00-1548 (D.C. Cir. June 14, 2002). Since NEPA is a procedural, not a substantive statute, the bar is set very low for the federal government to meet its obligations under NEPA. Thus, the FAA and the airport move ahead with an expansion without having to concede anything to the local communities. All NEPA requires is a “hard look” and the opportunity for public comment.

Moreover, challenging the FAA’s Record of Decision on an Environmental Impact Statement many times does not address the issues that directly affect the residents. There is no doubt that communities surrounding airports suffer disproportionately from the noise, air quality and other environmental effects created by airports. See Airports And FAA Still Ignore Surrounding Communities’ Concern About Exposure to Hazardous Air Pollutants, (April 11, 2012). However, the relief that can be obtained in a successful NEPA lawsuit oftentimes is nothing more than a band aid, or a delay in the expansion while the airport and the FAA correct the problems identified in the lawsuit. The root of the problem – the noise and pollution created by incoming and outgoing aircraft – are often left unaddressed by a NEPA lawsuit.

This is not to say that the environmental concerns raised by the expansion of an airport should not be addressed through lawsuits, if necessary. But a NEPA lawsuit has to be used as part of a larger strategy to succeed. For example, the City of Warwick, Rhode Island, had substantial concerns about the expansion of T.F. Green Airport, particularly the extension of a runway that would require moving a major road, many homes, and a park containing softball diamonds and soccer fields. The City of Warwick used its challenge to the FAA’s Record of Decision to negotiate an agreement with the airport about the issues that it cared about.

The problem for communities affected by expansion of airports in their midst is that the law does not allow opportunities to stop the project(s) before they are started. And once the project has started it is significantly more difficult to get it stopped, particularly when airports hide behind the FAA’s invocation of the Supremacy Clause. However, at this point in time, the Tinicum Township case shows that, once again, attacking the environmental analysis under NEPA does not move the ball forward in assisting communities surrounding airports.

8/12/12. Air Exercises over Washington on Monday and Tuesday nights.
From JBM – HH Bulletin June 18.

Exercise Falcon Virgo set for National Capital Region tonight and tomorrow
The North American Aerospace Defense Command and its geographical component, the Continental United States NORAD Region (CONR), will conduct exercise Falcon Virgo 12-09 over a two-day period with late flights set for Monday, June 18, and Tuesday, June 19, in the National Capital Region, Washington, D.C. The exercise is comprised of a series of training flights held in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Capital Region Coordination Center, the Joint Air Defense Operations Center (JADOC), Civil Air Patrol, U.S. Coast Guard and CONR’s Eastern Air Defense Sector. Flights in the National Capital Region are scheduled to take place between 11 p.m. (EDT) on Monday June 18 and 5:30 a.m. (EDT) Tuesday June 19 and also between 11 p.m. (EDT) Tuesday June 19 and 5:30 a.m. (EDT) on Wednesday June 20.
Exercise Falcon Virgo is designed to hone NORAD’s intercept and identification operations as well as operationally test the NCR Visual Warning System and certify newly assigned Command and Control personnel at JADOC. Civil Air Patrol aircraft, Air Force F-16s, and a U.S. Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopter will participate in the exercise. These exercises are carefully planned and closely controlled to ensure CONR’s rapid response capability.

3/27/12. FAA sets new standard for analyzing noise and emissions for various airport configurations

The FAA has issued a document that states FAA policy concerning the required use of the Aviation Environmental Design Tool version 2a (AEDT 2a) to analyze noise, fuel burn, and emissions for FAA air traffic airspace and procedure actions where the study area is larger than the immediate vicinity of an airport, incorporates more than one airport, or includes actions above 3,000 feet above ground level (AGL). The policy statement is intended to ensure consistency and quality of analysis performed to assess noise, fuel burn, and emissions impacts of such actions under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended, 42 United States Code (U.S.C.) Sec. Sec. 4321 et seq. DATES: Effective March 21, 2012.
The FAA developed the AEDT 2a to model aircraft noise, fuel burn, and emissions for air traffic airspace and procedure actions for which the use of NIRS is currently required. AEDT 2a has the capability to model aircraft performance based on fleet mix, airport configuration, and operations schedule. These data are used to compute aircraft noise, fuel burn and emissions simultaneously. By standardizing these data, AEDT 2a will help FAA stakeholders make more informed decisions on specific environmental impacts of aviation.

2/1/12. The case against more flights at National Airport – part 2

After CAAN submitted its position paper to the GAO, a draft paper, Airports, Pollution, and Comtemporaneous Health, written by Wolram Schlenker and W. Reed Walker, was issued in December 2011 by the National Bureau of Economic Research. This paper used meticulous research to show what the health impact is for people living wiithin 6.2 miles of a large airport. The study was done for 10 California airports including LAX. Although LAX is a larger airport than National Airport, this is the type of study that should be done for National Airport before Congress considers adding more flights. Portions of the study are shown below. Readers that want to read the full report click here and then scroll down to the website's spotlight section and click on the report title.

Airports are some of the largest sources of air pollution in the United States. We demonstrate that daily airport runway congestion contributes significantly to local pollution levels and contemporaneous health of residents living nearby and downwind from airports. Our research design exploits the fact that network delays originating from large airports on the East Coast increase runway congestion in California, which in turn increases daily pollution levels around California airports. Using the component of California air pollution driven by airport congestion, we find that carbon monoxide (CO) leads to significant increases in hospitalization rates for asthma, respiratory, and heart related emergency room admissions that are an order of magnitude larger than conventional estimates: A one standard deviation increase in daily pollution levels leads to an additional $1 million in hospitalization costs for respiratory and heart related admissions for the 6 million individuals living within 10km (6.2 miles) of the 12 largest airports in California. While infants and the elderly are more sensitive to air pollution, we also find significant relationships for the adult population. The health impacts are driven by CO, not NO2 or O3, and occur at levels far below existing EPA mandates. Our results suggest there may be sizable morbidity benefits from lowering the existing CO standard.

Portions of the Conclusion
. . . When connecting these models to measures of health, we find that admissions for respiratory
problems and heart disease are strongly related to these pollution changes. A one standard deviation
increase in zip-code specific pollution levels increases asthma counts by 30% of the baseline average,
total respiratory problems by 18%, and heart problems by 17%. Infants and the elderly show a
higher sensitivity to pollution fluctuations. At the same time, adults age 20-64 are also impacted.
For respiratory problems, the general adult population accounts for the majority of the total impacts
despite the lower sensitivity to fluctuations as they are the largest share of the population. A one
standard deviation increase in pollution levels is responsible for 1 million dollars in hospitalization
costs for the 6 million people living within 10km of one of the 12 airports of our study. This is
likely a significant lower bound as the willingness to pay to avoid such illnesses will be higher than
the medicare reimbursement rates.

Examining various mechanisms for the observed pollution-health relationship, we find that CO
is primarily responsible for the observed health effects as opposed to NO2 or O3. We find no
evidence of forward displacement or delayed impacts of pollution. We also find no evidence that
people in areas with larger pollution shocks are less susceptible or less responsive to pollution.
These estimates suggest that relatively small amounts of ambient air pollution can have sub-
stantial effects on the incidence of local respiratory illness. While EPA recently decided against
lowering the existing carbon monoxide standards due to lack of sufficient evidence of the harmful ef-
fects of CO at levels below current EPA mandates, we find significant impacts on morbidity. Recent
research suggests that the rates of respiratory illness in the United States are rising dramatically,
even as ambient levels of air pollution have continued to fall (Center for Disease Control 2011).
Why asthma rates continue to rise is an open question, but the increase in asthma rates is most pro-
nounced amongst African Americans who disproportionately live in densely populated, congested
areas. At the same time, traffic congestion in cities has been rising dramatically. Results presented
here suggests that at least part of the increased rate of asthma in urban areas can be explained by
increased levels of traffic congestion. The exact mechanism remain beyond the scope of the current
study, but this remains an interesting area for further research.

1/18/12. The case against more flights at National Airport

Congress again wants to add more West Coast flights to/from National. This time the instigators are Senators Wyden and Cantwell. Apparently, the Senate Commerce Committee (which Cantwell is on) has asked the GAO to determine what sort of impact would be created if Congress did increase the number of flights out of National. The GAO has come to CAAN and other local groups to solicit their opinions on this issue. CAAN has responded with the following position paper.

* * * * * *

The Case Against Flights Exceeding the Perimeter Rule

Submitted by
Citizens for the Abatement of Aircraft Noise (CAAN)
January 15, 2012

The Congress is again considering adding more flights beyond the 1250 miles perimeter rule established for Reagan Washington National Airport.  It has already added 12 or so flights that exceed this perimeter limit (the original legislation call for a perimeter limit of 650 miles, but has been modified several times to the present limit). Each time Congress has justified its decision based mainly on its own member needs, not on whether it was efficacious for the health of Washington D.C. area citizens. CAAN believes that this is the wrong way to make decisions that effect citizens’ health.

On this round of adding more flights beyond the perimeter rule, the Government Accounting Office (GAO) has been asked by the Senate Commerce Committee to study the issue and make recommendations. The GAO wisely has come to citizen groups to solicit their opinions. The following is CAAN’s opinion:

In adding more flights that exceed the perimeter rule at National Airport, one should consider two separate issues, the possible increase in noise and the effects of added aircraft air pollution. Here are CAAN’s thoughts on these issues:

The basic noise question is: do cross country flights generate more noise on takeoff than flights operating inside the 1250 mile perimeter rule? We maintain that a longer flight would require more fuel and that this extra fuel adds more weight to the aircraft, and consequently that this weight will make the engines work harder to achieve its cruising altitude. If engines have to work harder, it normally means that more noise is generated, but by how much? Technically, this question can be answered by doing careful testing, measuring the noise levels of aircraft passing by one or two points along the takeoff flight path. If the destination of the flight is known and the noise measurements coordinated, but without knowing whether flights are inside or outside the perimeter limit, one can execute a sort of “double blind study.” These test data should determine whether outside the perimeter limit flights are actually noisier or not, and by how much. If we learn that the noise level is higher, CAAN would say no to the added flights because in the previous expansion of flights beyond the perimeter limit the noise level has already gone up and no consideration has been given to area citizens’ noise tolerance and health. There has to be a limit to these expansions when dealing with an inner city airport like National.  Medical evidence amply shows that noise causes health problems by increasing the stress levels which then degrade the health of the population affected. Although it is true that present-day aircraft create less noise than they used to, the added flights have negated these improvements. No noise level study was done at the time flights outside the perimeter flights were added, so CAAN’s position is to halt any increase in aircraft noise levels on the communities along the National Airport flight paths until such a study is performed.

The issue of aircraft air pollution is more insidious because people don’t hear it; it’s just there all around them.  The Washington D.C. area is known to have bad air quality. Therefore, it follows that adding more flights at National Airport can only further lower our air quality.  Aircraft emit VOC’s that are known to be carcinogenic. Further, it is well documented that citizens living along the flight paths of major airports have more serious health problems than citizens living 10 to 20 miles away.

As far as CAAN knows, and CAAN has been monitoring this issue for 25 years, no air quality testing and health evaluations have been made for citizens living along the flight paths from National Airport. Therefore CAAN does not think that more flights should be added until these tests and health evaluations are conducted.

1/14/12. Lead Toxicity and General Aviation Aircraft: courtesy of Miki Barnes of Oregon Aviation Watch

The message below is from Avi Allison of Earthjustice.

Do you live within a mile of an airport used by general aviation aircraft? Do you feel threatened by the possible negative health impacts resulting from lead exposure due to lead in aviation gasoline? Do you have anxiety about lead exposure; especially exposure to children? Read through this email and then contact Avi Allison, Litigation Assistant for Earthjustice, who would be happy to provide more information to anyone who is interested - [email protected] .

I am writing on behalf of Earthjustice, a non-profit environmental law firm dedicated to defending the right of all people to a healthy environment. Earthjustice is currently involved in a case on behalf of Friends of the Earth regarding the continued use of lead in aviation gas (avgas). Despite the elimination of lead from motor vehicle gas and the widespread acknowledgment that no quantity of airborne lead can be deemed safe, airplanes continue to emit tons of lead every year. The impacts of these emissions are particularly strong in communities near airports. Over 20,000 airports still use leaded avgas, and millions of people in nearby communities suffer the consequences. The community around Portland-Hillsboro Airport is particularly at risk, as Portland-Hillsboro is responsible for over 1,000 pounds of annual lead emissions.

Five years ago, Friends of the Earth filed a petition seeking to compel the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate lead in aviation fuel. Since the EPA failed to respond to this petition, Earthjustice recently filed a notice of intent to sue, and are hoping to file suit within the next month. As they prepare for this filing, they are reaching out to individuals and organizations who are concerned about lead poisoning and aviation pollution. There are opportunities for stakeholders to speak to the press and to get involved in other ways. Avi Allison, Litigation Assistant for Earthjustice would be happy to provide more information to anyone who is interested.

Avi Allison, Earthjustice Legislative Assistant, can be reached at Tel: 212-791-1881 ext. 8230.

* * * * *

Connected with the above is the following report published in July of 2011: Summary of this study is also provided by the Oregon Aviation Watch website (see below).

Study Finds That Children Living Near Airports Have Higher Blood Lead Levels

In July of 2011 Miranda et al. published a study analyzing blood lead levels of children living around airports in six counties of North Carolina. The Miranda 2011 Study, entitled "A Geospatial Analysis of the Effects of Aviation Gasoline on Childhood Blood Lead Level," was conducted by the Children's Environmental Health Initiative, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina.

The Miranda 2011 Study concluded, "living within 1000 m [2/3 mile] of an airport where aviation gasoline is used may have a significant effect on blood lead levels in children. Our results further suggest that the impacts of aviation gasoline are highest among those children living closest to the airport."

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), "no level of lead in a child's blood can be specified as safe." For additional information on this topic click here.

7/20/11. Bikes, transit, rollerblader beat JetBlue in LA's "Carmageddon" challenge.
by Anirvan Chatterjee, Aviation Justice Express blog, July 18, 2011

With a stretch of Los Angeles‚ 405 freeway closed this weekend, JetBlue thought they'd get a PR win by offering cheap $4 flights between Burbank and Long Beach airports. But the news was overshadowed by their defeat in a nationally-followed race between four modes of transportation: bike, metro + foot, rollerblade, and plane + taxi. The challenge? Get from an address in Burbank to one in Long Beach as quickly as possible.

The results?

1 hour 34 minutes by bike (LA bike crew Wolfpack Hustle)
1 hour 44 minutes by metro and foot (Gary Kavanagh)
2 hours 40 minutes by rollerblade (Jenni Armstrong)
2 hours 44 minutes by plane and taxi (JetBlue passengers Joe Anthony and Ezra Horne).

A plane beaten by a rollerblader? Huge JetBlue PR fail[ure]. What's even more embarrassing is that JetBlue was trying so hard˜; their CEO was on the flight, welcoming passengers on board (JetBlue is reportedly demanding a rematch). Next time, skip the plane, and try a greener and heathier alternative.

CAAN comment
: Now that's a real PR boo-boo!

7/16/11. FAA hosts panel discussion on Civil Supersonic Aircraft.

On July 14, CAAN attended an interesting FAA panel discussion on civil supersonic aircraft .  The purpose of the meeting was to raise public awareness of the continuing advancements by Government and industry in supersonic aircraft boom intensity reduction and to elicit input from the public on the information presented.  Sadly, the meeting attendance was not overwhelming, perhaps 50 in all, many of which were no doubt connected with organizations engaged in this research.  There were, however, a few citizens who raised interesting questions – assumedly the type of questions the  FAA was hoping to hear – not so much of a technical nature, but directed at the issue of the impact on people and animals if Congress allows supersonic aircraft to overfly United States’ towns, cities, rural areas, and national parks.  Right now the law prohibits civil aircraft  from exceeding the speed of sound.

The meeting was moderated by Ms. Lourdes Maurice,  FAA Director of the Office of Environment.  Making presentations were:  Peter Coen, NASA, who talked about the physics of the sonic boom, the N-waveform that the boom creates on the ground, and what needs to be done to mitigate the explosive boom noise this type of waveform causes; Vic Sparrow, Professor of Acoustics at Pennsylvania State University and member of the Partners team looking at many aspects of aviation noise.  Professor Sparrow talked about ways his group has been working to develop the necessary metrics to evaluate the actual results of experimental aircraft  that have boom reduction technology; Robbie Cowart, Gulfstream Corporation, who described what Gulfstream has achieved in smoothing out the N-waveform so that it creates less of a sonic boom; and Richard Tracy, Aerion Corporation, who described his company’s experimental laminar-flow wing design and test aircraft that use this design to reduce the intensity of the sonic boom.

CAAN came away from the meeting with the following understandings:

1. Although much has been learned about the sonic boom phenomena, it will, in the present economic climate, likely be 10 years before we see an aircraft that can satisfy the public on the sonic boom issue.   Further, the public is becoming more aware of the detrimental effects of noise and its impact on their lives and health. In ten years the public may demand much more stringent restrictions on noise from all sources.

2. Current thinking from the researchers on the panel seems to be that the bigger the aircraft the more sonic boom people will hear, e.g. the Concorde experience.  Therefore big civil transport aircraft are not presently being considered for supersonic service.  Conversely, the smaller the plane, the easier it may be to suppress the sonic boom, not eliminate it, but make it unnoticeable by the public as it flies over their communities.  Whether it will indeed be unnoticeable will be the acid test.  

Because Gulfstream builds business jets, It sees a market for a corporate jet which can cut the travel time in half to any place on earth. They believe that large multinational company CEO’s will likely feel that a supersonic jet will save them time and money and will be inclined to buy these planes. 

Gulfstream has been hard at work and have developed a patented technique called the Quiet Spike to greatly reduce – they say by 70 dB – the sonic boom.  Again, whether their technique will satisfy the public remains to be seen. As if to show its confidence, Gulfstream parked their supersonic signature simulator outside the DOT building and invited people to experience the difference between a Concorde sonic boom and that produced by their Quiet Spike design.  CAAN witnessed the demonstration and can vouch that the difference, if accurately portrayed, is dramatic.  Again, this was an simulator demonstration and the production aircraft may not achieve the same performance.

The Aerion laminar-flow wing approach may reach the market first as it is a simpler design.  However, Aerion is not an aircraft manufacturer and therefore has to convince at least one manufacturer that their design will be a less risky bet.

7/14/11. "Regulatory capture" of the FAA by airlines (Wiki)
Provided by Chris Young

An article from Wikipedia reviewing some of the highlights of aviations "capture" of the FAA, the agency that's supposed to be regulating it. The only part they left out was the blanket exemptions from any noise limitations, which Congress has granted by allowing the FAA to set the "standards" when it comes to noise control.

These "standards" include:
Automatically declaring any aircraft under 27 1/2 tons to be classified as Stage III and therefore acceptable

Forbidding any curfews or other limitations on any hub airport over the objections of any single operator using that airport.

A 65 dBA (A scale virtually ignores low frequencies) average ruled acceptable. This is the noise a few blocks from a major airport. The only obligation for the few households experiencing more than this deafening level of noise is rudimentary noise insulation. 13 feet of of insulation would be necessary to block out the low frequency noise.

And the list goes on.

Instead of the "revolving door", we need a wall between aviation and the FAA. a two-year "cooling off" period is clearly inadequate. We need to remove "promoting aviation" from the FAA's mission. The airlines don't deserve a taxpayer-funded agency to do their promotional work. CAAN seconds this idea!!

6/29/11. Supersonic aircraft development.

CAAN is posting the information below for people who are interested in following the development of supersonic aircraft.

Public meeting on Civil Supersonic Aircraft Research will be held at the Department of Transportation (DOT) Headquarters building on July 14 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM.

This notice advises interested persons that the FAA is conducting its fourth public meeting on civil supersonic aircraft research.  The public meeting will include presentations on current research programs from NASA and Industry and a question and answer session for attendees.  The purpose of the meeting is to raise public awareness of the continuing technological advancements in supersonic aircraft technology aimed at reducing the intensity of sonic boom and for the FAA, NASA, and Industry to get feedback from interested persons.
This public meeting will take place at the DOT Headquarters building, 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE, Washington, DC 20590, Conference Room Oklahoma A-C on July 14 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM.  The DOT building is located across the street from the Navy Yard Metro stop on the Green Line.  Attendance is open to all interested parties; however, for building security requirements, meeting registration is required by July 11. 

There is no registration fee.  For security purposes, all participants are requested to register. Click below to go to the registration website.

Attendees are encouraged to either come early or stay later to visit the Gulfstream’s Supersonic Acoustic Signature Simulator II (SASSII) that will be outside of the Department of Transportation (DOT) building.  The SASSII is a mobile audio booth designed and equipped to demonstrate the “Gulfstream Whisper”, the aerospace company’s latest effort to provide a solution to the traditional sonic boom.  The simulator enables visitors to sense for themselves the dramatic difference in sound, reverberation, and intensity of various sound signatures.

Public involvement is essential in any future definition of an acceptable new standard that would allow supersonic flights over land.  We anticipate that this will be the fourth of many meetings informing the public on developments in the research of shaped sonic booms and other technical and environmental challenges that need to be addressed in developing a new supersonic airplane. 

For further information contact Laurette Fisher (FAA) at telephone (202) 267-3561 or facsimile (202) 267-5594 or Sandy Liu (FAA) at telephone (202) 493-4864. or facsimile (202) 267-5594.

5/17/11. Jet pollution can penetrate the brain and lungs study reveals.
Author: Kate Schneider
Date: 13 May 2011

A GROUND-breaking study has shed light on how the sun transforms jet engine exhaust, potentially creating toxic particles.

Researchers have discovered that drops of oil created by idling aircraft engines can over time turn into tiny particles that can easily penetrate the lungs and brain. The surprising discovery has been detailed in the latest edition of the Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Journal. In the first study of its kind, experts from the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, US, collected pollution from an idling commercial plane as it operated at different loads.
When the jet operated at full power the emissions were composed of mainly solid particles, however when it idled on the runway they took on a different form – microscopic droplets. “The magnitude and composition of these emissions strongly depend on engine load, with much higher emissions at low engine loads,” the study said. However when the exhaust was exposed to sunlight in a “smog chamber” a chemical reaction took place that saw the formation of toxic particles from the interaction between the oil and gases. It was found that sunlight can generate 35 times more particles than were originally emitted from the jet’s engine and 10 times what had typically been predicted. These particles can include compounds such as benzene and toluene, which are known to impact health. “Smog chamber experiments indicate that photo-oxidation of aircraft emissions produces significant amounts of secondary PM (particulate matter), which, under typical summertime conditions, exceed the primary emissions within minutes of the exhaust leaving the engine.” Allen Robinson of Carnegie Mellon University said the results were “unbelievable”. “It sort of blew our minds,” Mr Robinson said. The impact of sunlight on the larger particles emitted from jets at higher engine loads was not as significant. The research is a step further in understanding how aircraft emissions can impact air quality.

CAAN comment: This may explain why there is such a high incidence of the brain cancer called glioma among the ground crews at major airports.

 5/5/11. FAA to initiate RNAV (GPS) departures at National Airport.
The FAA announced that selective use of RNAV departures will start on May 9. Expectations are that all aircraft equipped with RNAV will be using it by May 13. A number of citizen organizations in the metropolitan Washington area, including CAAN, have been avocating for this type of departure procedure for several years. With the RNAV procedure, aircraft will depart from National up the river using a series of waypoints that automatically keep the aircraft near the center of the river. What this should mean is that aircraft will not stray to one side of the river or the other, especially during inclement weather, but stay near the center of the river. In the past, flights flying on one side ot the river or the other has been a great annoyance to residents in the District, Maryland and Virginia. From the pilot's viewpoint, however, trying to fly up or down the center of the Potomac River from or to National has been like threading a needle because of all its twists and turns. Therefore, using RNAV should be a welcome relieve for residents near the river. Meanwhile kudos to Bob Laser of the FAA and Neal Phillips of MWAA for pushing this improvement forward.

4/6/11. From Prospect Park,

FAA's Dirty Tricks!

Today the Port Authority came to Brooklyn ostensibly to record the decibel levels of aircraft as they pass over Park Slope and Bedford-Stuyvesant. Surprise surprise... just as the technicians from the Port Authority finish setting up their equipment to take readings in Bedford-Stuyvesant the FAA redirects traffic away from the usual landing pattern, to a pattern rarely used given the weather conditions at the time. The result? Very few low flying aircraft over these neighborhoods -- virtually none in Park Slope -- for the duration of the time that the Port's sound engineers are present to record decibel levels.

After the technicians leave the aircraft return despite no change in weather that would account for a runway change.

As a result of this and other patterns of deception exhibited by the FAA and Port (which ProspectParkQuietSkies.Org will be presenting in a revealing email next week based on recently uncovered evidence by our groups, of malfeasance on the part of the FAA) ProspectParkQuietSkies.Org and AirTrafficParkSlope are requesting that our representitives -- Senator Schumer, Congresswoman Clarke and Congressman Towns, Councilmembers Brad Lander and Albert Vann and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio requistion a separate, objective, third-party sound study to determine once and for all the sound levels that our neighborhoods are experiencing. . . .

CAAN will keep tabs on this situation and let you know how it turns out.

3/31/11. Aviation's climate impact studied.

WESSLING, Germany, March 29 (UPI) -- Aircraft contrails may be causing more warming now than all the aircraft emissions put into the atmosphere since the start of aviation, German researchers say.
In a paper published this week in the journal Nature Climate Change, Ulrike Burkhardt and Bernd Karcher describe using a climate model to quantify the impact of thin cirrus clouds that form as the condensation trails -- or 'contrails' -- created by aircraft spread out in the atmosphere.
Young line-shaped contrails and the clouds that form from them are the single largest climate-forcing agent associated with aviation, their study showed, presently causing more warming than all the previous carbon dioxide emitted by aircraft since they first took to the skies.
The findings are important, researchers say, as a basis for developing strategies to reduce the climate impacts of aviation, such as routing planes to avoid areas where contrails are likely to form and spread into cirrus clouds and developing aircraft engines that emit less water vapor into the atmosphere.

CAAN realizes that more study is needed in this field, but this should alert aircraft engine manufacturers that they have to do more to improve the global atmosphere.

3/5/11. EU Court Backs Fines For Excessive Aircraft Noise
February 17, 2011

European Union member states are entitled to impose penalties on
airlines that make too much noise in built-up areas near airports, a
senior adviser to the EU's highest court said on Thursday.

Advocate General Pedro Cruz Villalon wrote in a non-binding opinion that
EU rules on maximum noise levels and operating restrictions do not
prevent member states from imposing their own penalties if airlines make
too much noise, as measured on the ground.

DHL group's European Air Transport airline had asked the court to reject
a fine imposed in Belgium for excessive night-time noise made by its

But the court adviser found the Belgian regulations did not constitute
operating restrictions that prevent access to an airport, they simply
imposed penalties if maximum noise levels were exceeded.

Cruz Villalon also pointed out the European Court of Human Rights has
found noise pollution forms part of the environment and that EU states
can take protective measures against it.

"The protection of fundamental rights -- in particular the fundamental
right to private and family life, and home, and the right to
environmental protection -- justifies the adoption of such measures,"
the advocate general wrote in his opinion.

Judges in the court will still need to rule on the matter. While they
are not bound by the court adviser's opinion, they back the opinion of
an advocate general in the majority of cases.


CAAN comment: Would that this country would be so foreward looking.

2/26/11. Helicopter Forum
Once again, Mary Hynes, Chair of the Airports Policy Committee (APC) of COG, tried to make headway on the issue of helicopter noise. For several years APC has tried to enlist the FAA, military, and the Airports Authority to set up a complaint system about low-flying helicopters over residential areas and those not flying the prescribed helicopter routes established in 1991/2
. Ninety percent of the helicoper traffic in the metropolitan area is military or government. Yes, there are, of course, medevac and police helicopters and they sometimes need to fly low or hover over a location. Everyone understands their presence and do not object. However, Coast Guard helicopters operating out of National Airport frequently fly very low over South Arlington residents between midnight and two AM are causing considerable disturbance. Are these training flights really necessary, especially in the wee hors of the morning? Couldn't they be moved to a less congested area?

The latest meeting on Feb. 23 was a repeat of previous meetings, lots of handwaving and soft words, but no real progress. To move things along, Ms. Hynes introduced Robert Grotell who has developed a helicopter data tracking system called Plane Noise. It collects data showing where the helicopter are flying and indicates where the hot spots are. However, while identifying the hot spots is quite useful, getting the FAA to do a follow-up investigation and take needed corrective action is problematical. It showed no indication that they were willing to provide this type of support. Without it, the tracking system would seem to be superfluous.

2/20/11. More Flights at National Airport.
Some western Senators have convinced the whole Senate that it's okay to further punish the people that live around National Airport with more noise and air pollution by adding 12 more flights (five round trips and 7 conversions from short haul to points beyond the perimeter rule limit of 1250 miles) to the far west. So much for the original agreement that set the number of flights in and out of National and established the perimeter rule. So much for the marketing strategy in the agreement of having Dulles do the domestic long haul flights and international flights and National carry the short haul flights thus keeping the National, an inner city airport, noise and aircraft air pollution at a lower level. These - dare we say arrogant - Senators think they are entitled to this additional perk. Heaven forbid that they should have to go out to Dulles to catch a flight. Remember, citizens, these are important people that shouldn't be kept waiting!

Of course, they wrapped the whole idea up in the spending bill, hardly noticed by the casual reader. Originally, they wanted a greater number of flights, but Virginia's two Senators, Mark Warner and Jim Webb forced the reduction to the five plus seven. CAAN thanks these Senators for that! Proponents would argue that it's only 5 extra flight - plus, shh, 7 more - ignores that fact that 12 more long haul flights will add to the area air pollution
which is considered poor already. It's well known that health problems around large airports are worse than its outlying areas, but little is being done about it. Yes, aircraft are getting quieter and can climb out of the airports faster, but the air pollution doesn't go away; it just settles down on the local residents creating more health issues like heart disease, respiratory problems and cancer.

Another issue that wasn't mentioned is the fact that the new, quietly launched, Arlington development plan (PLA - 5130) calls for 200 to 300 foot high buildings at Crystal City (see 6/22/09 article below). These buildings will be within 0.25 miles of runway 15/33 and 0.6 miles from the main runway 1/19. Aircraft trying to execute a "go-around" (wave-off) will be moving right into these buildings (a mini twin-towers event?). And they can't go east, because that's restricted airspace, but on the other hand, maybe it would be good idea to fly the wave-offs over the Capitol so the members of Congress see what it's like to live with the aircraft noise and air pollution. Also, it has been longstanding knowledge among airline pilots that National is one of the "most challenging" airports in the country to fly in and out of due to having to fly up and down a curving river and ducking in, at the last minute, to the not very long main runway. More flights will add to the congestion and could mean, because of economic pressure, that there will probably be more inexperienced pilots making these landings. Is this a safety issue? CAAN thinks so.

1/22/11. Living near Chicago's O'Hare Airport.
A gentleman living near O'Hare Airport in Chicago describes the advantages and disadvantages of living near O'Hare International Airport. He has compiled a list of 18 items. See how many you think apply to our National and Dulles Airports.

Chicago Sun-Times
Dubious benefits of living under O'Hare flight path
By Steve Lushniak
Last Modified: Jan 21, 2011 02:36AM

For a couple of years now, the noise and pollution from O'Hare Airport's new north runway has reshaped for the worse the daily lives of thousands of families on Chicago's far Northwest Side and in the nearby suburbs.

But before the first blush of this new year fades, we who live there would like to give thanks for a few unexpected benefits:

† Elections. Funny how the air-traffic volume over our neighborhoods decreases several weeks before an election.

† Fewer mosquitoes. As the warm, wet summer created mosquito issues for people throughout the Chicago area, those living along O'Hare flight paths were relatively mosquito free. That 190 pounds of jet fuel burned over our homes every flight minute is sure doing a good job.

† We're Top 3 material. Forbes magazine has ranked the Chicago area near the top among toxic metropolitan areas in the U.S.

† No terrorists jailed in our neighborhoods. With the constant barrage of jet noise diminishing the quality of life and creating sleep deprivation, the world would look upon this as cruel and inhumane punishment for any prisoner.

† Understanding black holes. I finally get the concept. This is what happens when you call the Aircraft Noise Complaint line (800) 435-9569). Calls go in but nothing comes out.

† No fear of dentists. The sound of the dentist drill has nothing on the sound of an approaching jet.

† Lower sales taxes. Because all that jet noise makes business calls from home impossible, I work more from my Lake County office. I save on sales taxes by buying my gas and groceries in Lake County, not Cook County or — worse yet — Chicago.

† Less stress at work. The real stress builds up at home when air traffic picks up.

† No need for alarm clocks. The gentle roar of an early morning jet passing overhead awakens the entire neighborhood.

† Fewer children injured at play. Kids don't play in the parks because mothers want to shelter them from the deafening noise. The kids stay home and play video games.

† Improved Chicago sports. I'm not nearly as disappointed when the Cubs, Sox, Bulls, Wolves or Hawks lose. I miss half the sports scores on the radio when a jet blows by.

† Money saved on entertaining. We never have house guests because no one dares to visit.

† Bonding with the neighbors. We talk all the time about the noise — when we can hear each other — and enthusiastically curse all those responsible for allowing this runway to be built right next to residential neighborhoods.

† No need to replace storm windows with screens. What exactly would be the point?

I can't wait for Monday mornings when I can go back to work. Because of the far greater noise on the weekends, home is not what it used to be.

I know when my coffee cup is empty without looking. It rattles on the table when a jet passes over — time for a refill.

Perhaps best of all, I have found religion. I face east daily and pray for an easterly wind, which minimizes the air traffic over our area.

Steve Lushniak is a longtime resident of Edison Park on Chicago's Northwest Side, where once he could hear birds sing.

Copyright © 2011 — Sun-Times Media, LLC

10/20/10. A second study, this time a MIT study on aircraft emissions:

An airplane flying at a cruise altitude of about 35,000 feet can threaten the health of people on the ground, according to a new study from MIT’s aviation research organization, the Partnership for AiR Transportation Noise and Emissions Reduction (PARTNER), that suggests that aircraft cruise emissions cause about 8,000 deaths per year — nearly half of which occur in China and India.

The research, reported online this month in Environmental Science and Technology, provides the first estimate of premature deaths attributable to aircraft emissions at cruise altitudes. Aircraft emit nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur oxides (SOx), which react with gases already existing in the atmosphere to form tiny harmful particles known as “fine particulate matter.” The danger to humans comes when these particles are inhaled and trapped in the lungs, where they can then enter the bloodstream and lead to the development of cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses, including lung cancer.

Current worldwide regulations target aircraft emissions only up to 3,000 feet. That’s because regulators have assumed that anything emitted above 3,000 feet would be deposited into a part of the atmosphere that has significantly smoother air, meaning pollutants wouldn’t be affected by turbulent air that could mix them toward the ground. Thus, even though 90 percent of aircraft fuel is burned at cruise altitudes, only those pollutants emitted during takeoff and landing are regulated.

“Anything above that [altitude] really hasn’t been regulated, and the goal of this research was to determine whether that was really justified,” says lead author Steven Barrett, the Charles Stark Draper Assistant Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics in MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

To study the effects of cruise emissions, Barrett used a computer model that combined data about plane trajectories, the amount of fuel burned during flights and the estimated emissions from those flights. He combined that with a global atmospheric model that accounts for air-circulation patterns in different parts of the globe and the effect of emissions to determine where aviation emissions might cause an increase in fine particulate matter. He then used data related to population density and risk of disease in different parts of the world to determine how the change in particulate matter over certain regions might affect people on the ground — specifically, whether the air pollutants would lead to an increased risk of death.

Analysis of these data revealed that aircraft pollution above North America and Europe — where air travel is heaviest — adversely impacts air quality in India and China. That is, even though the amount of fuel burned by aircraft over India and China accounts for only 10 percent of the estimated total amount of fuel burned by aircraft across the globe, the two countries incur nearly half — about 3,500 — of the annual deaths related to aircraft cruise emissions. The analysis also revealed that although every country in the Northern Hemisphere experienced some number of fatalities related to these emissions, almost none of the countries in the Southern Hemisphere had fatalities.

That’s because the majority of air traffic occurs in the Northern Hemisphere, where planes emit pollutants at altitudes where high-speed winds flowing eastward, such as the jet stream, spread emissions to other continents, according to the study. Part of the reason for the high percentage of premature deaths in India and China is that these regions are densely populated and also have high concentrations of ammonia in their atmosphere as a result of farming. This ammonia reacts with oxidized NOx and SOx to create fine particulate matter that people inhale on the ground.

Funded by the UK Research Councils with help from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the study recommends that cruise emissions be “explicitly considered” by international policymakers who regulate aviation engines and fuels.

CAAN comment: CAAN has maintained for many years that the FAA was wrong to down play aircraft noise. Now it is accepted that noise can cause serious health problems (see article below). We also said that for the FAA to dismiss aircraft emissions above 3000 feet defied common sense. Finally, someone, this time MIT, has put a lie to that FAA posiiton.

10/19/10. Aircraft noise can cause heart problems: A new study.

By David Derbyshire Daily Mail Thursday October 14th 2010

Living under a flight path increases the chances of a fatal heart attack for
nearly a quarter of a million Britons, a study suggests The risk to Britons
has been highlighted as a result of a study of 4.6 million people in
Switzerland. Researcher Dr Matthias Egger, of the University of Bern, said:
'The effect was especially evident for people who were exposed to really
high levels of noise, and was dependent on how long those people had lived
in the noisy place.'

This isn't the first time that living close to airports has been linked to
negative health effects, including heart problems Scientists say the
constant noise from roaring aircraft engines increases the risk by at least
30 per cent. Researchers are unsure why noisy planes are so dangerous - but
believe they raise stress levels, disrupt sleep and trigger high blood

Aircraft noise is intermittent and can temporarily soar above 100 decibals
if you're close to one taking off or landing The risk is highest for the
estimated 240,000 Britons who, according to the EU, have to put up with an
average daily noise of 60 decibels from noisy jumbo jets - the equivalent of
a crowded, noisy bar.

But the latest study reveals that the sound of the planes - and not just the
air pollution from engines - is potentially deadly.

Using detailed information from an ongoing study called the Swiss National
Cohort, Dr Egger and his colleagues identified 15,532 heart attack deaths
among Swiss residents between late 2000 and the end of 2005. The researchers
were able to work out the aircraft noise and air quality for each person
over 15 years or longer. Those exposed to a daily average of at least 60
decibels of noise had a 30 per cent greater risk of dying from a heart
attack than those exposed to less than 45 decibels, the researchers report
in the journal Epidemiology. Among those exposed to the higher decibel
levels for 15 or more years, the risk was 50 per cent higher.

Night-shift workers could be raising their risk of cancer by disrupting
their body clock over a long period, according to a study by scientists from
universities in the U.S. and Germany.

7/13/10. As Ronald Reagan said, “There you go again!” Yes, the Congress is once again trying make National a full time coast-to-coast airport. This time it wants to swap out more local destinations for western destinations, like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Phoenix. It doesn’t seem to matter that all those destinations can be reached via Dulles. It doesn’t seem to matter either, that the Airports Authority and the Washington Airports Task Force have spent years, fine tuning the optimum mix of destinations between our two airports, Reagan National and Dulles, nor that there is a long-standing agreement, conveniently forgotten by Congress, that National would serve the short haul traffic and Dulles the long haul traffic. This agreement was in recognition that long distance flights have to carry more fuel and that makes the planes heavier and therefore more noisy. It also means they will generate more air pollution. Yes, some of the smaller aircraft like the Boeing 737 can fly coast to coast, from National, but to do so, they will generate more noise and pollution than if they flew to nearby cities. Congress already gave themselves 12 flight per day that exceed the perimeter rule. And that‘s not enough?

CAAN wonders why Congress feels they deserve more special treatment at the expense of local citizens. They already get privileges that most people can only dream about.

Study: Airport Noise Increases Risk of Strokes
Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2009
Time in Partnership with CNN

Living under a flight path can seriously damage your health. German researchers have discovered that people who are exposed to jet noise have a substantially increased risk of stroke, high blood pressure and heart disease. The findings are bound to provide further ammunition to anti-airport campaigners and make uncomfortable reading for world leaders at this week's climate summit in Copenhagen.

According to the unpublished study, commissioned by Germany's Federal Environment Agency, men who are exposed to jet noise have a 69% higher risk of being hospitalized for cardiovascular disease. Women living under flight paths fare even worse, logging a 93% higher rate of hospitalization with cardiovascular problems, compared with their counterparts in quiet residential areas. The study found that women who are exposed to jet noise (of about 60 decibels) during the day are 172% more likely to suffer a stroke. (Go to <> and then type in tristana moore in the SEARCH TIME.COM box and then scroll down to Study: Airport Noise . . .)

The report, due to be published in January, is based on the analysis of data from public health insurers that were drawn from more than 1 million Germans ages 40 and over who live near Cologne-Bonn Airport in western Germany. "These figures are worrying. It's quite clear that living near an airport is very dangerous for your health," says Eberhard Greiser, an emeritus professor of epidemiology at Bremen University. "Jet noise is more dangerous than any other kind of road-traffic noise or rail noise because it is especially acute and sharp and it induces stress hormones."

People living close to Cologne-Bonn Airport also tended to suffer from psychological illnesses. "There was a higher incidence of depression among women who live near the airport," says Jens Ortscheid of the Federal Environment Agency. "This report should come as a warning signal to all governments and authorities that are planning to expand airports — there are serious health effects which need to be considered." Ortscheid says the report is in line with previous studies on the health effects of jet noise.

In a separate study commissioned by the local Bonn authorities, Greiser discovered that women near Cologne-Bonn Airport had an increased risk of developing breast cancer and leukemia. His research found that women who are exposed to 60 decibels of jet noise at night are twice as likely to contract breast cancer. "It seems women are more sensitive to jet noise than men, but I would advise everyone to think twice about living near an airport because it's not just aircraft noise which can be deadly; aircraft emissions are also dangerous," says Greiser. . . .. .

. . . Greiser is convinced his report provides unequivocal evidence of the health risks associated with jet noise. "When it comes to expanding airports, governments and the courts all over the world will have to weigh the benefits of commercial interests against the danger to public health," he says. "How many additional diseases is society prepared to accept?"

This study corroborates earlier studies that CAAN has reported on in past years, but with a larger group of people and with more serious evidence of medical consequences to people's health.

12/19/09. The Airports Authority (MWAA: has, after considerable effort and encouragement from the community, provided an on-line tracking function for the public so it can use their own computers to check out who was flying over their property on any given day and time, with the added caveat that there may be up to 72 hours delay (for security purposes) in posting the data. The Airports Authority has teamed with AirScene, an ERA company that provides this type of data to many U.S. airports. To get to the tracking function, citizens may go to the Airports Authority's website or go directly to the AirScene websites for either National or Dulles. To use the MWAA website, click here for National or here for Dulles. Then click on the picture of the terminal down the page. That will take you to the AirScene website. Also, below the picture of the terminal is a users guide (in very pale gray font) for the AirScene website. If you want to go directly to the AirScene website, you first have register for an AirScene ID and password. but to get that, you must go through the MWAA to reach AirScene and then click on the complaint page box to initiate the registration form. A note: when you reach the AirScene website, there appears to be no directory. It's located in the spaces between the vertical bars.

12/17/09. A study based on German research, to be published in January, presents evidence that people living close to airport flight paths have increase risk of stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, and for women, a higher risk of breast cancer. This tracks with smaller studies CAAN has reported going back 8 years or more. The German study collected the data from 1 million people ages 40 and above living near the Cologne-Bonn Airport. Read on:

Tristana Moore Berlin Tuesday 15th December 2009

Living under a flight path can seriously damage your health. German
researchers have discovered that people who are exposed to jet noise have a
substantially increased risk of stroke, high blood pressure and heart
disease. The findings are bound to provide further ammunition to
anti-airport campaigners and make uncomfortable reading for world leaders at
this week's climate summit in Copenhagen.

According to the unpublished study, commissioned by Germany's Federal
Environment Agency, men who are exposed to jet noise have a 69% higher risk
of being hospitalized for cardiovascular disease. Women living under flight
paths fare even worse, logging a 93% higher rate of hospitalization with
cardiovascular problems, compared with their counterparts in quiet
residential areas. The study found that women who are exposed to jet noise
(of about 60 decibels) during the day are 172% more likely to suffer a

The report, due to be published in January, is based on the analysis of data
from public health insurers that were drawn from more than 1 million Germans
ages 40 and over who live near Cologne-Bonn Airport in western Germany.
"These figures are worrying. It's quite clear that living near an airport is
very dangerous for your health," says Eberhard Greiser, an emeritus
professor of epidemiology at Bremen University. "Jet noise is more dangerous
than any other kind of road-traffic noise or rail noise because it is
especially acute and sharp and it induces stress hormones."

People living close to Cologne-Bonn Airport also tended to suffer from
psychological illnesses. "There was a higher incidence of depression among
women who live near the airport," says Jens Ortscheid of the Federal
Environment Agency. "This report should come as a warning signal to all
governments and authorities that are planning to expand airports — there are
serious health effects which need to be considered." Ortscheid says the
report is in line with previous studies on the health effects of jet noise.

In a separate study commissioned by the local Bonn authorities, Greiser
discovered that women near Cologne-Bonn Airport had an increased risk of
developing breast cancer and leukemia. His research found that women who are
exposed to 60 decibels of jet noise at night are twice as likely to contract
breast cancer. "It seems women are more sensitive to jet noise than men, but
I would advise everyone to think twice about living near an airport because
it's not just aircraft noise which can be deadly; aircraft emissions are
also dangerous," says Greiser.

That's not what the proponents of schemes to expand airport capacity wish to
hear. In the U.K., the government faces strong opposition to its plans to
build a third runway and sixth terminal at the congested Heathrow Airport in
London. In February, campaigners are set to mount a legal challenge against
the scheme in London's high court, saying the consultation process was
flawed and the plans could prevent Britain from meeting its commitments to
lower carbon emissions.

German authorities face similar obstacles in their struggle to win consent
to boost the capacity of airports in Berlin and Frankfurt. The expansion of
Schönefeld Airport, in the southern outskirts of Berlin, has already drawn
fire from environmental campaigners and residents who are demanding a ban on
night flights. The new international airport — called Berlin Brandenburg —
Willy Brandt, after the former German Chancellor — is due to be completed by
October 2011 and will be the capital city's main hub, catering up to 27
million passengers. That means over two years, hospitals near the new
airport can expect a rise of about 5,000 patients suffering from
cardiovascular disease, including 1,350 men and women with a stroke, if
Greiser's predictions are accurate.

Plans to expand Frankfurt's airport are also controversial. In August, a
court in the state of Hesse gave a green light for the expansion of the
airport but recommended imposing tougher restrictions on nighttime flights
to protect residents from aircraft noise. The German airliner Lufthansa has
launched legal action against the night-flight curbs, saying they threaten
its freight business. But the local Green Party has renewed its calls for an
outright ban on night flights, and the legal battle is set to drag on.

"The new airport at Schönefeld is crucial for the Berlin economy, as it'll
provide up to 40,000 new jobs," Ralf Kunkel, a spokesman for Berlin
Airports' Authority, tells TIME. "By closing all the inner-city airports in
Berlin, we are relieving tens of thousands of Berliners from the perils of
aircraft noise, and so there's a positive ecological balance," he says..

Greiser is convinced his report provides unequivocal evidence of the health
risks associated with jet noise. "When it comes to expanding airports,
governments and the courts all over the world will have to weigh the
benefits of commercial interests against the danger to public health," he
says. "How many additional diseases is society prepared to accept?"

6/22/09. CAAN has received a copy of an Arlington County Board conceptual long term development plan (PLA - 5130) for Crystal City. This plan would encompass a time line of 20 to 30 years, and envisions buildings some of which reach heights of 300 feet. This plan apparently is not public knowledge, at least for the people, who should know, that CAAN has contacted. The plan should raise questions at both the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and the FAA because it puts these high rise buildings less than 0.25 mile from Runway 15/33 and about 0.6 of a mile from the main runway, Runway 1/19. While aircraft pilots can prsently navigate their planes down the river and land when the weather is good, having to contend with these buildings at night or in inclimate weather may pose an unwarrented safety risk. Futher, if the pilot requests or an air traffic controller orders a wave-off (go around), the only direction the pilot can go is towards the west, right where these 200 to 300 foot buildings will be placed. This would definitely pose a serious safety risk not only for airline passengers but also for the people in the buildings. Below is the plan view map of the proposed development showing the layout and an expanded legend of the building heights.

development plan

9/11/08. Notes takken by CAAN from the Aviation Policy Committee, APC, (formerly the CONAANDA committee) meeting held Sept 10th.

1. The Part 150 Noise Compatibility Study for National Airport has finally been approved minus a couple of items requested by the original study committee. The FAA deleted anything within the 65 DNL contour that don't improve matters, like retraining controllers about noise abatement procedures. It also didn't approve money for a new noise monitoring system either. However, The Airports Authority expected that and went ahead and purchsed the system with their own money, at $ 1.7 million. This system, which will have citizen on-line interactive capabilities, is nearing completion and is undergoing preliminary tests and training for the staff. There are still a few additional telephone links to be established and some fine tuning of the software. The Airports Authority reported that the system should be ready for demonstration by the end of the year, and representatives will be available to communities for demos and explanations about mid 2009.

2. The noise monitoring system on-line features are expected to be:

• aircraft ID, time and date and its track in relation to where the citizen lives (you put in your address and it will show you the tracks for that date and time period). However, because of Homeland Security concerns, track data will not be available for three days after the fact.

• Ability for citizen to file complaints on-line, and get a reply via email.

3. Follow the River route. For years, CAAN has pushed for using GPS (Global Positioning System) to more accurately fly aircraft up and down the middle of the Potomac River so that the noise from arrivals and departures would be reduced for people living along the river. Finally, with help from Rep. Frank Wolf, this capability seems to be on a positive track, and we should see implementation sometime in the next eight or nine months. Why so long? The airlnes have to try out the proposed waypoints (turning points along the prescribed course) in their simulators for each type of aircraft they operate and for both departures and arrivals. Then various FAA departments like flight standards nnd flight safety have to evaluate the course and waypoints. Hence, nine months.

4. Helicopters. The APC chairman, Rob Krupicka, reported that helicopter noise stays high on the list of citizen concerns. This was corroborated by representatives from Fairfax and Arlington Counties. It should be mentioned that 90 percent of the helicopter activity is from the military. The Council of Governments (COG) will be holding a forum on helicopter noise in the near future. The point of contact is George Nichols (202.962.3355).

5. The Green Airport Initiative. Mr. George NIchols (COG) gave a presentation on the government and the Rockefeller Foundation sponsored Green Airports Initiative. This effort will create a blueprint for making airports carbon neutral. The effort will address air and water quality, noise, and energy conservation. Logan Airport in Boston is leading the way with the application of many new technologies. CAAN hopes that both National and Dulles Airports will jump in and follow suit. These two airports presently contribute 4 million tons of carbon per year to our atmosphere, and that represents 5 percent of the region's carbon. Top of Page

2/18/08. Notes takken by CAAN from the Aviation Policy Committee, APC, (formerly the CONAANDA committee) meeting held Feb. 13th.

1. MWAA reported that 29 of the 40 new noise monitoring stations have been installed. There will be 4 new stations in Fairfax County and 4 new stations in Loudoun County. The sites for Fairfax County have been selected while the sites for Loundoun County have yet to be named. All sites are slated to be complete by about 1 April. However, a training period has to be conducted, probably about 6 weeks. Also, the new on-line complaint system is still not ready. No ready dates were offered.

2. Residents around Clifton, VA have complained to Rep. Tom Davis about the noise level and he has intervened with the FAA. However, MWAA stated that Clifton is out of MWAA's jurisdiction and there is no terminal area radar coverage available for it. Further efforts on this issue will be coordinated by Jim Slate, Dulles Tower, and George Nichols of APC (202.962.3355). CAAN notes that Clifton is about 2 miles east of the Dulles approach path so it's possible that aircraft are straying a little eastward or flying lower than usual, hence the increase in noise.

3. Col. Remaly (Army Helicopter Group), who is the point of contact for military helicopter noise complaints said that citizens will improve their chances of identifying the offending helicopter if they can snap a picture and and send it to Col. Remaly <[email protected]> along with your complaint.
Top of Page

1/13/08. The following article is an abstract of a study by three noted scientists working in the field of noise and emissions. CAAN has worked with Ms. Bronzaft in the past. Red text is CAAN's emphasis.

Airport-Related Air Pollution and Noise
Authors: Beverly S. Cohen a; Arline L. Bronzaft b; Maire Heikkinen a;
Jerome Goodman c; Arthur Nádas a
a New York a University School of Medicine, New
York, New York
b Council on the Environment of New York City, New York, New York
c Consulting Engineer-Acoustics, Great Neck, New York
Published in: Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, Volume
5, Issue 2 February 2008 , pages 119 - 129
First Published on: 01 February 2008
Subject: Environmental Health;

To provide quantitative evidence of the impact on people of a
neighboring metropolitan airport, La Guardia Airport (LGA) in New York
City, (1) airborne particulate matter (PM) was measured to determine
whether concentration differences could be detected between homes that
are upwind and downwind of the airport; (2) 24-hr noise measurements
were made in 12 homes near the airport; and (3) the impact of noise was
assessed by a Community Wellness and Health Promotion Survey.
Particulate matter concentrations were higher during active airport
operating hours than during nonoperating hours, and the percent increase
varied inversely with distance from the airport. Hourly differences
between paired upwind and downwind sites were not remarkable. Residents
living near the airport were exposed to noise levels as much as four
times greater than those experienced by residents in a quiet, comparison
home. Impulse noise events were detected from both aircraft and
vehicular traffic. More than 55% of the people living within the flight
path were bothered by aircraft noise, and 63% by highway noise; these
were significantly higher percentages than for residents in the
nonflight area. The change in PM concentrations with distance during
operating compared with nonoperating hours; traffic-related impulse
noise events; and the elevated annoyance with highway noise, as well as
aircraft noise among residents in the flight path area, show
airport-related motor vehicle traffic to be a major contributor to the
negative impact of airports on people in the surrounding communities.

Our study looked at air and noise pollution in the community near
LaGuardia airport in New York City. This airport has major highways and
roads leading to the airport, which indeed increases motor vehicle
traffic. Thus, it was appropriate to include noise and air pollution
from highway travel in describing impacts from air travel on these
community residents. Airports like LaGuardia with highways feeding
traffic to and from the airport must similarly address both
traffic-related noise and air pollution in evaluating impacts of air
travel on nearby residents. The INM mathematical model developed by the
FAA to predict noise impacts on residents fails to consider
traffic-related noise, as well as falling short in other ways, e.g.
impacts of low frequencies responsible for shaking people's homes and
windows, and should not be the primary indicator of impacts of
airport-related noise on residents. In assessing impacts of aviation
noise on residents, a wide range of airport-related noises should be
examined using instruments capable of measuring contributing noise
sources. Top of page

12/9/07. COMMENTARY. Aviation emissions have be exempted from the clean air regulation long enough, and now with the threat of world climate change, it is time to place this industry, indeed all excluded industries, under Federal emission regulations. The contribution to global greenhouse gasses by the aviation industry is rapidly growing as passenger, cargo, and business jet traffic expand. Although it is true that aviation's share of the world's total man-made greenhouse gasses is relatively low at about five percent, the industry's grow rate will become a major factor in a few short years. Exacerbating the issue is the fact that the greenhouse gas effect at higher altitudes is even greater than the five percent indicated, according to a consensus of climate scientists.

However, two new efforts are being pushed, one spearheaded by the State of California – which usually starts the ball rolling on environmental issues – and joined by the states of New Mexico, Connecticut, and Pennslyvania plus the District of Columbia and New York City. The South Coast Air Quality Management District -- the smog control agency for Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties also joined the petition effort. These states and cities have petitioned the EPA to "crack down" on rising aircraft emissions pointing out that "Climate change is the most important environmental issue facing the U.S. and the world . . ." CAAN applauds their effort, but wishes that Maryland and Virginia had also signed this petition. Both have several major airports which generate huge amounts of greenhouse gasses.

The second effort comes from the Senate committee on Environment and Public Works. It has just sent to the full senate a bill (S. 2191) to establish a cap and trade system on carbon which for the first time includes the aviation industry in some meaningful energy regulation. Commercial aviation which has had a free ride for decades on a fuel tax and enjoyed enormous subsidies from Congress, now faces a new paradigm, global warming. It's time it got on board and joined other industries which are biting the bullet to restructure and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Some of the credit goes to Sen. Warner of Virginia who with Sen. Joe Lieberman of Conn. pushed this bill through the committee. It is good to see that Sen. Warner has become environmentally aware, even if late in his career.
Top of page

11/27/07. Here's more evidence that aircraft noise can affect a person's health.

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Fri Nov 16, 2007

Airplane noise tied to high blood pressure risk
By Amy Norton

People who live near airports may have an elevated risk of high blood pressure due to noise pollution, a Swedish study suggests.Dr. Mats Rosenlund of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and associates found that among more than 2,000 men followed for a decade, those who lived in areas with the greatest noise from a nearby airport had a higher risk of developing high blood pressure.

It's possible that the constant noise of planes buzzing overhead is a source of chronic stress for some of these individuals, which in turn may raise their blood pressure, explained Rosenlund.

"It is thought that aircraft noise causes stress problems when it interferes with people's ability to think, relax or sleep, for example," Rosenlund told Reuters Health.

A wide range of factors are known to affect heart health, and it's not yet clear that airplane noise is directly responsible for the higher blood pressure seen in this study, according to Rosenlund. But, he noted, this study, along with past research, shows there is an association between noise exposure and high blood pressure.

The study involved 2,027 men from four municipalities surrounding the Stockholm Arlanda airport who were free of high blood pressure at the study's outset. Their aircraft-noise exposure was estimated using government air traffic data, and the researchers tracked any new diagnoses of high blood pressure over the next 10 years.

In general, the 20 percent of men exposed to the highest average levels of airplane noise were 19 percent were more likely to develop high blood pressure than their counterparts with lower-level noise exposure, the researchers report in the medical journal Epidemiology.

Other factors they considered -- such as the men's age, weight, income and exercise habits -- did not change the link between aircraft noise and blood pressure.

Still, Rosenlund said, it's too early to say "with confidence" that living near an airport raises a person's risk of high blood pressure.

A large European study involving multiple airports is underway, he noted, and it may provide a more definitive answer.

For now, Rosenlund said he would hesitate to recommend that people living near airports find a new home. On the other hand, he pointed out, people who are "constantly annoyed" by airplane noise might want to consider a neighborhood more conducive to their overall happiness.

SOURCE: Epidemiology, November 2007.

© Reuters2007All rights reserved
Top of Page

11/14/07. Caan attended the APC (this group used to be called CANAANDA) meeting today and would like to pass on the following information:
9/26/07. How Noise affects the body. CAAN (and many other noise averse organizations) has often talked about the effects of noise on the health of the body. Here's the lastest report on a study sponsored by the World Health Organizaiton. It corroborates earlier studies:

Daily Herald

How it affects your body
New Scientist
Published: 9/24/2007

How could exposure to noise have such devastating effects on human health as causing cardiovascular disease?

Key to solving this puzzle is recognizing that noise can create a form
of chronic stress that keeps our bodies in a state of constant alert.
Research published in 2006 by Wolfgang Babisch of Germany's Federal
Environmental Agency in Berlin shows that even when you are asleep, your ears, brain and body continue to react to sounds, raising levels of
stress hormones such as cortisol, adrenalin and noradrenalin.

This makes evolutionary sense, as all animals need to be alert to
threats even when they are asleep, so they can wake up and flee if
necessary, researchers say.

However, if these stress hormones are in constant circulation, they can
cause long-term physiological changes that could be life-threatening.
The end result can be anything from heart failure and strokes to high
blood pressure and immune problems.

"All this is happening imperceptibly, and this is the key," says Deepak
Prasher of University College London, who collaborated on the WHO study. "Even when you think you're used to noise, these physiological changes are still happening."

What's more, there are a wide range of sources of noise stress. Some are
big and obvious, such as constant heavy traffic or aircraft taking off,
while others are much more subtle and difficult to define as
"pollution," yet can still cause intense anxiety and irritation. In the
case of noisy neighbors, for example, stress might be triggered simply
by knowing a neighbor is in, even if they are not being noisy at that

Noise can aggravate stress still further if it disturbs sleep, which can
result in constant fatigue and outbursts of aggressiveness and
irritability. People exposed to noise during their sleep have been shown
to wake up more often and fidget more in their sleep -- both indicators
of sleep disruption.

There's also mounting evidence that excessive noise disrupts learning
and education. As far back as 1975, studies in New York showed that the
reading skills of children in classrooms next to noisy railways lagged three to four months behind those of their peers in quieter classrooms.

Top of Page
6/30/07. There they go again. The Senate, via two Senators, Gordon Smith (R-OR) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) want to add 20 more flights at National, 12 of them to the West Coast. Apparently, Dulles is not convenient enough for them. Sen.'s Smith and Cantwell have filed an amendment to the FAA reauthorization bill to mandate these added flights. Never mind the noise and emissions impact on local residents. Hey, they don't have to answer to the people in the District, Maryland and Virginia. Forget the compact that the Federal Government made in 1986 with the local citizens that National would do the short haul flights and Dulles the long haul flights. They need CONVENIENCE! The House doesn't (yet) have a comparable bill, but Rep. Louise Slaugther of Rochester, NY thinks it's a fine idea. Much more convenient for her than Dulles or BWI.

If you are not keen on this idea, contact your representative and senators. Let them know that you are tired of being dumped on (literally, the emissions add to our already bad air quality), and don't want any more flights added at National. Use our email center to send them your opposition message.

To give credit where it's due, Rep.'s Eleanor Homes Norton, Frank Wolf, and Jim Moran have issued a strong letter of opposition to these flights. Would that Rep.'s Davis (VA), Wynn (MD) and Van Hollen (MD) do the same. Also, the Airports Authority have made it plain that there isn't enough room to accommodate 20 more flights per day, despite what the GAO says.

CAAN has written a letter (see the following) to senators, representatives, and appropriate committee members expressing our displeasure, and asking them to reject the Smith/Cantwell amendment.


caan ltr

Top of Page

1/24/07. Notes from the January 10 meeting of CONAANDA ( now called the Aviation Policy Committee, APC): After being submitted two years ago, National's Part 150 (Noise Compatibility Plan) plan is STILL being questioned by the FAA. Until all questions are resolved, the six month clock for final approval cannot start. So even if all the questions are answered by March, the FAA could wait until September to approve the full plan. In all this time, the FAA seems to have ignored APC's request to fast track the use of GPS (Global Positioning System) for the Potomac River routing.

The FAA has, on the one hand, declared that there won't be any money for problems outside the 65 DNL contour, and on the other hand said that special situations may merit some funding ( It should be noted that there are no residential areas within National's current 65 DNL contour). Based on this recent FAA pronouncement, the Airports Authority's will use its own money to replace its noise monitoring system. The RFP should be on the street by the end of January. As stated below it could be over a year before the noise monitoring system will be operational.

Rather than wait for the Part 150 approval, airlines and its pilots will meet to work out details of implementing the GPS river routing. However, whatever they come up with will have to be approved by the FAA. Still, at least some one is working to expedite this much needed, noise reducing route procedure.

There is a U.S. Senate bill in the hopper to allow airports to ban the old, noisy stage 2 business and private jets. It's about time. Although it still has to get through the House, this is a welcome step.

Commentary: Readers may have noticed the Washington Post article on members of the Civil Air Patrol flying "bogie" missions in small aircraft ( Cessnas) around the metro area. These flights occur in the early AM hours of the morning. Attempting to "intercept" these flights are Coast Guard helicopters sometimes flying at low altitudes (less than 1000 feet). It would seem that our tax dollars are now being used to keep us awake by low flying helicopters. You have to wonder who cooks up these "helpful" ideas!

Top of Page

11/3/06. Readers of the Airports Authority's quarterly noise and operations report have no doubt noticed that there are no results for any noise monitoring stations for all of June. Nor will there likely be for the rest of the year and perhaps for the following year. The 18 year old central processing system which gathers all the data from the 32 noise monitoring stations has basically died and apparently cannot be repaired. Readers will also remember that as part of the Noise Compatiblity Study (Part 150), the Airports Authority was supposed to install a new system with an internet interface for public monitoring. At Part 150 study meetings, the Airport Authority said that it would use its own money to purchase this system. However, it later thought that the FAA might pay for the system, so the Authority decided to wait to see if the FAA would indeed foot the bill. However, the FAA has yet to approve the Part 150 study after nearly two years. CAAN learned from the Authority that this week the Authority will sit down with the FAA to see if it will approve the now urgently needed new monitoring system . . . and will pay for it. If the FAA declines to provide the money — and the FAA budget is very tight this year so that likeihood is high —, then the Authority will have to use its own money after all. Although no one can predict when a system will utterly fail, 18 years does stretch the limits with a computer system, and perhaps the Authority would have been wiser if it had addressed its replacement earlier.

So readers, if the Authority does the acquisition, it will likely take six months to get the system under contract and then another year or so to implement and install the new equipment. Thus the Authority's procrastination has consigned the public to perhaps two years without any noise information for its communities. Not good!

Top of Page

10/23/06. Commentary: For those who fly JetBlue, you might want to consider the posting from These are not the things the public likes to hear, and if true, the FAA owes the public an apology and an explanation as to why this experiment was approved. Passengers should not be used as part of experiments in pilot endurance. Read on.

Here's a copy of the article:

Fly with JetBlue last year? You may have been a passenger on a test flight: An experiment to see how long pilots can actually control a passenger jet before fatigue sets in.

You don't remember filling out a consent form? Oh, that's because the airline pulled a fast one: They convinced low-level FAA officials to bend the rules for their little experiment. Instead of limiting their flying to the legal limit of 8 hours per day, pilots spent as much as 11 hours at the controls.

It wasn't until someone called in the experiment to some FAA higher-ups that the experiment got canned. The Wall Street Journal reports (subscription only):
The two-pilot crews were equipped with specially designed motion detectors on their wrists to measure activity, and participated in tests with hand-held computing devices that issued random prompts and then recorded the speed of responses. All told, JetBlue says 29 pilots, including the backup aviators, participated in more than 50 data-gathering flights during May 2005. All of the flights were domestic, and a big portion were coast-to-coast trips.

The carrier says it proceeded under the assumption that local FAA officials had the power to approve the company's plans under so-called supplemental flight rules. Those rules specify that airlines flying longer distances must have at least one extra pilot on board so no single pilot flies more than eight hours in total. However, in the JetBlue test, even though each flight had a third pilot on board, the original crews stayed at the controls for more than 10 hours a day. None of the reserve pilots ever replaced a regular crew member.

Thankfully nothing seems to have gone wrong, and 2 to 3 hours of overtime is probably not that much of a stretch. But it's simply not acceptable that the company or its pilots play these kinds of games with passengers. Passengers should not be made unwitting co-test-subjects in a corporate experiment. Unless there is an experimental "informed consent" clause in the JetBlue contract of carriage?

It's apparently not enough that so many airline pilots sound like legendary test pilot Chuck Yeager when they're welcoming you onboard over the intercom. No, these guys actually wanted to BE test pilots.

Experiments are fine, but not with a plane full of unwitting subjects. And what were the results of those tests, anyway? As members of the "research team," doesn't the public have the right to know?

Top of Page

10/5/06.. At the request of people living around Dulles International Airport, CAAN has added a noise footprint simulator so they may obtain some estimate of the noise impact on nearby Dulles communities.

Top of Page

8/29/06. CAAN has updated its community noise level statistics for the year from Apr. 05 through Mar. 06. These data are based on MWAA's (Airports Authority) quarterly reports, but reconfigured to make them more meaningful for individual communities. The noise levels have gone down for some communities, some quite dramatically. However, other communities suffered an increase in noise levels, one in particular, a nearly five times increase in noise. Check our Facts and Figures page to see the results and how things have changed.

In preparing this data, CAAN noted the number of noise monitoring stations inoperative. In two of the quarters, the percentage of stations down ranged from 31 to 41 percent. One station, Bolling AFB, which usually runs above 65 dB, has been inoperative for the entire year. CAAN appreciates that some of the equipment is aging and that higher maintenance might be expected,, but failure rates this hign seem to show a lack of attention. Surely, MWAA has the money to keep the noise monitoring stations operating. If they are worn out, then MWAA should replace them with more modern equipment. CAAN should not have to remind the Airports Authority that the Part 150 Noise Compatibiiliy Study completed a year and a half ago, specified that the whole noise monitoring system was to be replaced with one which citizens could log onto via the Internet. Because the system would be paid for with MWAA money, CAAN has to ask, what happened to it?

Top of Page