Airplane Noise may increase somewhat in May and June

Depending on the weather, Belmont, Watertown and Brighton may experience a greater frequency of audible overflights from Logan in late May and June.

Massport will be doing necessary safety maintenance on some of its runways during the coming construction season, as explained in this press release.

Dave Carlon, the Chair of the Massport Citizens Advisory Committee passed on this additional information about the impact on individual communities.

The closure of Runway 4R/22L, from May 15, 2017 to late June, and follow on daily work is to accommodate the R4R/22L safety rehabilitation project and may result in changes in runway use. Certain communities may experience changes in overflights. The primary driver of runway use will still be wind and weather. When winds are strong from the Northeast, the FAA has approved for use an RNAV to R4L (this will provide positive guidance to the aircraft, recall R4L is a VFR runway with no positive procedural guidance today) and an RNAV to R4R side-step to R4L. When winds are from the Southwest, the runways available will be R22R for departures (and some arrivals) and R27 for arrivals. When winds are light from the Northwest runways available will be R33L, R33R, R27 while if winds are strong from the Northwest R32 will also be available. When winds are from the Southeast R15R and 9 will be available. The longest runway available for will be R15R/33L. Subject to wind and weather and air carrier preferences, R15R/33L runway (along with R9/27) may see increase in use during more marginal wind conditions when the FAA tower may have more flexibility to utilize this configuration. Finally, the only CAT II/III runway (lowest visibility conditions) available will be R33L from May 15th to the beginning of September. After the initial closure period through late June, it is anticipated R4R/22L will be available for use during the busiest afternoon/evening period (about 2PM to 10PM).

Runway 33L is the runway that generates overflights in Belmont, Watertown and Brighton. To the extent that the weather favors 33L while the runways 4R and 22L are closed, we will experience more noise.

Long term efforts continue to develop strategies for abating this noise as explained in other posts in this thread.

Published by Will Brownsberger

Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District.

7 replies on “Airplane Noise may increase somewhat in May and June”

  1. Airplane noise “may increase somewhat” not only an understatement but an out and out lie. I live in Medford and ever since May 27, 2017, the airplane traffic has increased 1000% and that is not an exaggeration. We did have a reprieve at the beginning of June for a few short hours but for over one week aircraft have been flying over the Fulton Heights section of Medford at approximately one per 90 seconds. Memorial Day weekend was horrific, with planes flying as low as 4000-5000 feet, It is very frightening, loud and with emissions as well, very dangerous. Today, Sunday, June 5, has been another nightmare with planes again every 90 seconds flying not as low, but low enough to read the airline name on the belly of the plane. I have been ill and have not been able to rest. We cannot enjoy our homes and finally with the weather being nice, we are forced by the traffic to stay indoors with all the windows shut. I do understand there is maintenance until the end of June, but will you be making restitution for the citizens of Medford? Anxiety levels are running high, for both children and adults. You have made a wonderful neighborhood unbearable.

    1. Agreed that the noise has gotten bad.

      For what it’s worth, all area officials have been pushing MassPort and the FAA for long term progress.

      They are saying (in the press release quoted above) that the short term surge in noise should abate towards the end of June.

      1. I appreciate your response. However, today, June 5, the planes have been going non-stop since 5 am and it is now 11 pm. No one can sleep. I’ve called, I’ve filed reports. Will this noise diminish once this work on Runway 33L is complete? I absolutely understand if this happens on occasion but this has been happing for almost 2 weeks now. I’m just afraid we are being given lip service and when the 21st of June approaches this will not stop. Medford hasn’t gotten a break at all. We are all suffering. Again, I can understand this happening on occasion, but every 90 seconds of a mammoth aircraft flying at low altitudes over your neighborhood for almost 24 hours a day is a little much. Here comes another one…..

        1. On average on a year round basis, we should expect to get planes about 15 to 20% of the time, based on historical weather patterns. So, we should have roughly 10 weeks a year where it is bad like it is now — planes coming over frequently.

          When construction ends fully in the fall, we should be back to that. My understanding is that June should remain bad, but that it should better after that. Construction is never fully predictable though.

          There is some hope for long term improvement from the study that is going on right now as to how to reduce the noise.

    1. It’s not constant. It’s just constant on the days that it’s happening.

      We are back to the pre-construction pattern of typically experiencing the traffic 15 to 20% of the time. In any given month, it can be more or less than that due mostly to weather fluctuations.

      Runway use is a complex “game-time decision” that depends on local weather and on conditions in other nearby airports and other factors.

      1. with all due respect, “constant” vs “constant on the days its happening” is not much different when your children are trying to sleep but cannot because the frequent and intensity of the noise scares them.

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