Several weeks ago, on Friday, July 18, the Federal Aviation Administration briefed state and local elected officials about ongoing efforts to control airplane noise.  The meeting was arranged by Senator Markey, who, together with Congresswoman Clark, has been very diligent in responding to the concerns raised by residents of Belmont and Watertown. The FAA, as a federal agency, is primarily responsive to federal officials.

The meeting was well attended and the presentation was useful.  I spent a long time talking with the FAA managers after the meeting and more recently visited Logan for a tour of the air traffic control tower — a visit that was very educational.

Marginal improvements may be possible — and the federal authorities will continue to explore them —  but I am not optimistic that we will achieve major improvements.
Logan Tower View
Here is a link to the presentation the FAA gave at the meeting and here are some of my takeaways from the presentation and the tower visit.

  • Job one for the FAA is safety.  Our visit to the tower brought this home in a new way for me.  From the tower, one gets a new appreciation of how close those huge jets come to each other.  We watched planes touching down where, only seconds before, other planes were waiting for takeoff and planes crossing runways where only seconds before other planes had been arriving or departing at well over 100mph.  It’s a very small crew in the tower managing that process.  Even on the relatively calm day we visited, the intensity in the room was high as the crew made quick decision after quick decision with little room for error.
  • The air traffic control system has vastly improved over the last few decades.  The new system (RNAV) that routes flights over Belmont and Watertown is part of a much bigger change in the way that planes are managed in the air.   In the old days, planes took off and were passed from regional traffic controller to regional traffic controller without a complete calculation of how the destination airport would be able to handle their arrival.  Experienced flyers may remember the days when one might spend a long time circling in a holding pattern waiting to land.  Those days are essentially over as the national system manages traffic flow along defined air highways.   If a given destination airport is overloaded, planes won’t even push back from the gate to go there.  The traffic control system does the math to make sure that when planes take off, they’ll be able to fly  straight to their destination and land without delay.  The safety gains from the new system are huge as air traffic controllers have fewer planes to worry about in their airspace.  The system also has huge benefits for fuel efficiency, which the airlines are very concerned about given their thin margins and the rising costs of fuel.
  • Last year, the FAA completed the implementation of the new system at Logan, extending it to Runway 33L.  Runway 33L (heading 330 degrees, north/northwest) is used when northwest winds dictate takeoff and landing towards the northwest.  Until last year, 33L was using old “vectoring” procedures whereby planes were authorized to take off in a general direction and permitted then to branch off as expedient, leading to a wide range of flight patterns.  When the new RNAV (area navigation) SID (“standard instrument departure”) path for 33L was created, it channeled the planes along safe defined pathways and those pathways happen to bring more planes over Belmont and Watertown.
  • The new 33L SID was designed after very exhaustive analysis — extending over several years and involving the consideration of many alternative scenarios — with the goal of minimizing overall noise impact in the Greater Boston area.  Overall, more people experience decreases in noise from the change than experience increases in noise, and none experience noise increases to the above 65 DNL level.  (See page 20 of the presentation and note that the increase into the under 45 DNL category is a decrease in noise.)
  • For what it is worth, overall airplane noise has been steadily decreasing in the Greater Boston Area.  The total number of people living in high noise areas (above the 65 DNL level) has declined from 44,000 to 5,000 from 1990 to 2012.  See my previous post for the point that 65 DNL is just much more noise than we have in Belmont or Watertown.
    • The total number of flights per year at Logan has gone down by roughly 30% over the last 15 years, even as passenger volumes have risen, because airlines have changed their booking technology so that most flights run close to full.
    • The more modern planes are becoming quieter and quieter as they become fuel efficient.  The FAA pushes the manufacturers for improvements in noise performance and the cost of fuel has risen dramatically, giving the airlines huge incentives to modernize their fleet.
    • The FAA and Massport are under a mandate to reduce noise overall and have worked very hard to reroute flights overwater and lower density areas.  The technical analysis and public process have both been extensive over the past decade.
  • Noise levels, have, in fact, ticked upwards recently in Belmont and Watertown as a result of the new system, but they remain well below noise levels in other areas.   Our political leverage is  limited given that the communities who are closer than we are to the airport do experience much greater noise.  The plane noise may stand out more in generally quieter neighborhoods, but that is not, in itself, a politically viable argument for special attention.
  • Despite the fact that our problems are smaller than those in other communities, MassPort, the FAA and our Congressional Delegation have been very respectful of our concerns and, through the Citizen Advisory Committee process, the FAA and MassPort are exploring runway use options to minimize uninterrupted use of any one runway — communities have argued that people shouldn’t have to wake up to the same noise they go to sleep to.   Also, some have suggested that planes vary their flight paths off 33L to spread the noise a little more. I’m not sure either of these ideas is feasible or likely to be very helpful, but we will run them to ground.

So, in summary, I think the FAA has worked very hard to limit the overall noise impact from the airport and has made huge area-wide improvements in noise levels.  Those improvements have not helped Belmont or Watertown, in fact, the contrary.  Our congressional delegation remains very attentive to our concerns. But I don’t expect the FAA or our delegation to be able to make things dramatically better any time soon — a lot has gone into the decisions that lead us to where we are. Your state and local elected officials will nonetheless run all options to ground.

Here are some links to additional resources:

Addendum regarding variation of flight paths, September 5, 2014

I have continued to study and inquire about the possibility of varying flight paths to prevent those immediately under the currently recommended routes from seeing so many planes over their homes. The suggestion has been made that the planes would be less offensive if, without abandoning the basic RNAV framework, the planes could just alternate .5 miles to one side and then .5 miles to the other side. Here are some considerations which make this suggestion unlikely to be implemented:

  1. The whole idea of the new navigation system is to keep things consistent and repeatable. Varying routes creates more opportunities for error. Pilots have to load their planned routes in the pre-flight procedure and the fewer mistakes they have the opportunity to make the better.
  2. The airspace over Western Boston is very complex with takeoff and landing occurring at both Logan and Hanscom as well as considerable through traffic. Adding variations around the basic routes effectively expands the widths of those routes. The current routes have been exhaustively vetted to reliably achieve the necessary lateral separation of aircraft. Adding a mile to the width of those routes would unacceptably reduce room for error and would require readjusting neighboring routes — this readjustment might or might not be possible and would, in any event, require restarting a technical vetting process which took years to complete.
  3. Routes have to be fliable. The more turns you add to a route, the greater the probability that planes will fail to actually flight the routes.
  4. Finally, the noise data and noise physics both indicate that this modest variation in routes would make a very minor difference in noise levels on the ground — barely detectable to the ear.

Published by Will Brownsberger

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

34 replies on “The FAA and Airplane Noise”

  1. Thanks so much, Will. I am forwarding this to the Health Dept. in Watertown which has been drawn into this controversy. You have done an excellent job, as usual, of explaining the situation. Kudos!

  2. Senator,

    I too have noticed more noise, specifically early Sunday mornings. At 6 a.m., the planes start and they come in waves, seemingly every 10-15 minutes. It’s noticeable.

    I realize this is unlikely to change. I very much appreciate your update on the issue, however.

  3. Hi Will. As you know,we live in North Cambridge and we are guessing that we get it before Belmont and Watertown. The planes are frequent and exceptionally loud and low flying. In fact they fly so low that some people in our neighborhood read the bottom insignias of the planes and identify which countries they are from. It was never this way before and up until a couple of years ago it didn’t occur on such a regular steady basis. Why are they all of sudden flying lower and lower and why are they so frequent. What has changed?

    In addition, our son has complained about the loud noise and we will consult with our pediatrician to see whether we should monitor the noise level and perhaps issue a complaint to the Boston Commissioner of Public Health. Exactly what has changed?

    Joe % Lisa

    1. Joe/Lisa, it’s the shift to RNAV — a system in which planes fly consistent routes based on GPS systems. If you are under those routes, you may find the noise louder since last year when the shift occurred. But overall, the number of planes has gone down and the individual planes have gotten quieter. In the area as a whole, the shift to more consistent routes reduces the number of people exposed to high noise levels. This whole thread is devoted to the RNAV shift.

  4. Wonder why we live in Belmont and pay residential taxes up the wazoo thanks to thoughtful residents who want to re-build a mega summer pool at residents’ expense, get their cake and eat it too! Instead of calling it a town of homes, might as well call it Belmont by Logan. When we moved here many many years ago, we did not expect to suddenly be so close to Logan via noise level. I’m sure other residents agree. But there is no sense to the world we live in, not anymore.

    I recognize your efforts Senator Brownsberger and appreciate all that you do. Thank you for fighting this fight on our behalf.

  5. Will,
    Thanks so much for this write up and for your all of your efforts in making the issues clear and understandable!

    I understand that one trade off of living so close to the city and having Logan so accessible to us is airplane noise. And I understand that airline traffic is safer and that with every passing year we see the benefits of more thought and consideration for the traveler, the airlines and in response to resident comments.

    I didn’t see anything in your notes or even in the comments of others relative to the noise coming from these planes at and after midnight. My latest account was 12:45a one morning and the plane was so close to the house I literally thought it could clip the roof. Is there any relief to the noise brought about by these late night/early morning flights at least? Sometimes these flights are so close it makes the entire house shake like an earthquake has hit.

    Best wishes,

  6. Hi Will,

    A few questions on this. First, I’ve noticed a clumping of airplanes coming in between about midnight and 12:15 am on a few days in the last couple of weeks. Doesn’t Logan have curfews on flight arrivals?

    Second, Massport tends to focus only on DNL metrics, which are average values. Normally, peak emissions are also quite relevant, so I’m wondering why they don’t track and report peak data as well — including a separate peak measure for flight times between 10 pm and 7 am.

    Finally, if Massport violates its own rules on a periodic basis, are there financial penalties that get paid to the affected communities? Organizations tend to pay more care to their own rules if there are tangible consequences for violations.


    1. Hi Doug, see the comment above about night flights. That is not a rules violation, except if the plane is of an older type.

      You are correct that the DNL is an average, but MassPort has been very forthcoming in sharing the underlying data. Even the second-interval maximums in Belmont are generally well below the 24-7-365 DNL averages that have been deemed problematic on a national level. Please see this link for a very full analysis of data from a Belmont noise monitoring station.

  7. The people who want to penalize Massport for excessive noise forget one important fact: Massport isn’t flying the airplanes. It is possible that controllers are sometimes giving instructions that result in planes being lower than they should be; however, it’s also possible that some pilots are not climbing at the expected (maximum safe) rate. In theory this is something individual controllers can see, because the plane’s altitude is reported every time radar hits it; however, this is an added load that controllers should not be expected to take on. In the longer term, the FAA should be able to extract data on elevations from the computers that convert the raw radar/transponder data into the images that the controllers see; this could even be presented as a safety issue, because a plane that doesn’t climb as rapidly as it should has fewer options if it loses an engine. However, I don’t expect this will happen soon; from what I’ve read, the current generation of air-traffic software was a nightmare, massively late and buggy, so adding a new feature isn’t likely.

  8. Thanks so much Will and all who made efforts. In my research on health and wellbeing I find repeatedly evidence of massively increased stress and a decrease in physical health due to loud industrial noise and fumes of all kinds including planes, leaf-blowers, weed-whackers, neighbors who love to use table saws outside, etc. etc. We are bombarded with noise, often, ironically, on the nicest weather days. We need nature, but if we go in our gardens or even on a balcony chances are any benefit will be negated by the neighbor with the table saw in his driveway or the cannon-sized leaf-blower in use by the other neighbor. Add jets overhead for hours and you’ve got a case of full-blown stress and anxiety, babies who wake early, mothers who never sleep, etc. We feel helpless to stop most of it, and helplessness leads to hopelessness which leads often to depression. Airplane noise if chronic enough slows children’s ability to learn and degrades their hearing even more than it does adults’ hearing. Government on all levels needs to pay even more attention, and frankly we all may be asking too much of air travel–trains, buses, etc. could lessen the load. Quieter, cleaner engines than even the new ones need to get here ASAP so I hope places like MIT make them a priority in their research. I’m happy to help with more on wellbeing and on noise research if you need it. (In my Watertown neighborhood houses are close together and the noise is often unbearable, and that’s even when the jets aren’t flying overhead. When they are it’s all the more hellish. Not only is it painful to be outside, it’s painful to be inside with the windows open. So we must shut ourselves in our hones with them closed–very sad). Please use my comments wherever you like if they can help. Thanks–Susan Cooke

  9. Thanks Will for drilling down here. Not everyone will be satisfied with the official response, but most constituents should understand that air traffic control isn’t mainly concerned with people who happen to live underneath flight paths.

    To appreciate that, I suggest reading a commercial pilot’s description of the dance of death he and his colleagues perform every time they take off and land. The variables they cope with include terrain, the geometry of runways and taxiways, traffic density at various times of day, weather and seasonal conditions, and noise abatement rules – hundreds of rules that differ from country to country and airport to airport.

    Read, view the photos and diagrams, and then see if you still say that aircraft noise in your community should trump any other factor.

    Solving aircraft noise problems might take a worldwide recession that eliminates a large number of airline flights and routes. Short of that, the comfort of those traveling and on the ground will might need to suffer to keep airplanes on time and prevent accidents.

    My personal solution is to travel by air as infrequently as possible. You are welcome to join me. Pledge to stay on the ground. As a bonus, your money will stay around too and benefit the local economy.

  10. I cannot understand what all of the griping is about. Occasionally the noise is quite loud but it isn’t constant and usually is hardly noticeable. We live within 10 miles of a major airport.

    Would someone please explain what all the fuss is about?

    1. Not sure where you live. Plane noise wakes me up. The last plane goes over at 12:45 AM, the first plane is often around 7:01 AM, not a full nights sleep for sure.

      In addition to conversations and quiet enjoyment in the house and yard being affected, some people work at home. Plane noise translates in lost wages. I do intellectual work and my train of thought is interrupted every few minutes,and have to start up again.

      Whether morning, day, evening, or night, weekday or weekend, there is no way to plan when it will be possible to work at home.

    2. Beth, you obviously do not live under one of NextGen’s fancy new highways in the sky. If you did, you’d already understand the fuss.

  11. I have long been interested in airplanes and airport operations and I find this discussion and the huge quantity of data that Senator Brownsberger has provided fascinating. This provides numerous insights into the details of air traffic management and flight operations and it is interesting to see the ways in which new technologies and traffic management strategies combine for various purposes.

    But at the same time it is important to recognize that we would not be having this conversation if it were not for a very real problem to which all of this information is actually just not relevant. The impact of aircraft noise in the Belmont-Watertown area is real and substantial and has increased significantly recently due to the well-understood changes that Senator Brownsberger has so clearly explained. We should not become so consumed by the details of the traffic management techniques and the substantial challenges that airplane pilots and air traffic controllers face that we overlook the impact of their actions on the larger community in which they operate.

    In an analogy that Senator Brownsberger has appropriately used, the routes that airplanes follow are like highways in the air. They have value and serve very legitimate purposes. But like highways on the ground, these aerial highways have impacts on people and the environment around them. We do not allow trucking and transportation companies to dictate the routes of cars and trucks through residential areas and it would be considered absurd if the trucking industry proposed building freeways through residential areas simply because doing so would reduce their own expenses or fuel consumption.

    In fact, we had a very real example of such an effort in our community a few decades ago when the Boston Inner Ring highway system was proposed to go through Cambridge and Somerville and to connect Rt. 2 in the vicinity of Fresh Pond. This highway would have greatly improved the efficiency of roadway travel into Boston and Cambridge from the west. It might have been said to reduce fuel consumption and even overall noise levels due to the “concentration” of traffic to narrow areas. But it was rightly abandoned due to the devastating overall effects that it would have had on the community and the environment.

    The new Logan Airport air traffic patterns are quite analogous to this abandoned terrestrial traffic proposal. They provide genuine technical benefits and clearly serve the interests of private commercial entities such as the airlines that benefit significantly from reduced fuel costs and other operational expenses. But the impact on the overall community is quite negative and in a democratic society the interests of a small number of private interests should never be allowed to trump those of the community as a whole.

    The gist of the rationalizations that the FAA has provided and that Senator Brownsberger has so clearly compiled is that we in the Belmont-Watertown area should accept the significant increase in noise pollution and the impact that this has on our lives because doing so enables the airlines to fly more cheaply and profitably and avoids the inconveniences to customers and employees and the costs that would occur if airlines increased their passenger capacity without such changes to traffic patterns. The FAA RNAV data sheet that Senator Brownsberger provided makes this clear.

    This is all completely rational, but it overlooks a principle that is often involved in public planning and which economists call “externalities.” An externality is a cost or impact that an activity or policy has but which is not accounted for in a cost/benefit analysis. The result is that the benefit of a policy appears to be greater or less than it really is because the cost of the “external” impact is not included in the calculations. Water pollution pumped downstream by factories and health impacts from chemicals in foods or poor product designs are examples of externalities that can impose significant costs on a community while the producer of the impact does not bear the costs themselves.

    We are faced with such a problem in regard to airport noise. The justifications that the FAA has proposed simply amount to a request for the citizens of Belmont and Watertown to agree to aid in increasing the profits of the airline corporations. Of course we expect airport operations to place safety above all other concerns. The frequency and separation of flights over their prescribed routes for safety reasons inherently affects the costs of airline operations. The FAA has changed air traffic routes to reduce the costs and optional impacts that would otherwise occur from safely managing the air traffic. But reducing those costs is not itself a safety concern. It is a business concern the benefits of which flow mainly to the private corporations.

    As a government agency that gets substantial support through taxes on these corporations, it is not surprising that the FAA would make such a proposal. But we in the community should see it for what it is and not be mislead by its obvious ignoring of the costs of community impact. We are being asked to accept those costs with very little benefit to ourselves.

    Just as we would not accept a new freeway through Belmont and Watertown for the benefit of FedEx and UPS, we should not be expected to accept a new air traffic highway for the benefit of JetBlue and American Airlines.

    I am a long-time resident of Belmont and have never objected to the aircraft overflights in the past. However, the recent changes have made these flights more frequent and their impact greatly more intrusive. It is this recent impact that concerns me and that rightly concerns many other citizens.

    I have one technical comment. The FAA has introduced a seemingly objective measure of the noise impact in the DNL measurement and by seeming to quantify this impact with the numerical threshold of 65. But in reality this is a purely arbitrary metric. And since it explicitly reflects average noise levels it fails to accurately quantify the periodic nature of the impact of the overflights. The metric that I prefer is whether I can carry on a conversation at a normal and comfortable voice level with the person sitting next to me when an overflight occurs. I don’t know the decibel level at which this becomes impossible but quite frequently when an overflight occurs, conversation must stop. Not only does this noise intrude into conversation, but noise of such a volume is sufficient to intrude into other situations as well. These include sleeping and the legitimate enjoyment of a certain amount of quietude internal and external to one’s home. Such a noise level cannot be characterized as “background.” We in the community legitimately object to being subjected to this impact.

    So the ultimate question, it seems to me, is what the overall impact of these higher noise levels is on the community and whether these negative impacts can in any way be justified by some larger societal (and not commercial) benefits. Since this is an aggregate phenomenon. the experience of a single individual is not sufficient to provide a measurement. But the discussion to now seems not to address this question but do have been diverted into some unrelated, although interesting, technical topics.

    My own opinion is that this impact cannot be justified and that it is incumbent on our elected representatives continue to energetically oppose the current situation.

    I greatly appreciate the diligence with which Senator Brownsberger has kept us all informed about this matter and support all of his and our other representatives’ efforts to resolve the problem.

    1. The noise issue won’t be resolved by the FAA suddenly acting on behalf of local residents. That’s not going to happen; popular political pressure has rarely affected how the FAA decrees air traffic protocols. Sure, FAA could change where the skyroads go, but that would only benefit some localities at the expense of others. That’s a NIMBY game that’s not worth playing.

      Let’s agree that diverting flights is a zero-sum game and move on. We could look to technology to make aircraft quieter. That has in fact happened and continues to evolve, but it’s quite a slow process that won’t provide a complete solution.

      Then how are we to address the issue? “Energetically” opposing “the current situation” may feel principled, but does such posturing present useful alternatives to the current situation? I doubt it.

      Fifties futurists famously forecast personal jetpacks. Think how much noise we’d live with if they had come to pass — and then of how much noise from our streets we tolerate with rarely a complaint, noise which is made by personal (and corporate) motor vehicles. You can say that this is just the price we pay for access to urban amenities, but notice that some people are more exposed than others? To achieve noise equity, maybe arterial traffic could be diverted to residential streets to give people who live along major corridors some respite.

      So, it puzzles me why some people insist that one type of annoying sporadic noise is less acceptable than another type. Someone please explain.

    2. Thanks, Peter, for this thoughtful statement. There is, indeed, an analogy between highway construction and what the FAA has done with its new navigation system. And you are right that the DNL noise metric is one of many possible metrics.

      Regarding choice of metric: Metrics have no absolute meaning. The practical purpose of a metric is to compare the noise impacts in different locations and circumstances. Even if we change metrics, the relative comparisons aren’t likely to change. It’s hard to imagine a metric which would not indicate that East Boston is vastly noisier than Belmont. MassPort has invested in soundproofing for East Boston schools, etc., but by any metric there are a lot of communities that would be in line ahead of us for active remediation.

      I don’t think this is about profits over people — the airline interests align pretty closely with those of people on the ground, as best as I can tell. Short of shutting down the airport, there are basically two ways to reduce the overall noise impact — to make the planes quieter and to move them higher. In both respects, my understanding is that the incentives of the airlines align with our interests. They want newer quieter planes because they are more fuel efficient — there are now very few of the old planes still flying routes to Boston. Also, the planes climb as fast as they can — their profit incentives align with the community desire to have them further from the ground: Wind resistance drops dramatically at higher altitudes, saving them fuel and money.

      In some directions from Logan, there are additional ways to minimize noise by sending planes out over water. That has been the fight as to some of the other runways. But I don’t think that would help much when the planes are heading northwest off runway 33L. By the time they completed their turns, they would have exposed a lot of other people to new and intense noise. By staying over the Mystic and I-93 for five miles the current 33L departure pattern saves residential areas from increased noise.

      The FAA’s data say that the 33L departure pattern actually reduces noise for the larger population on the ground as compared to the previous procedure. It is not right to suggest that the FAA’s argument “overlooks” the externalities. Massport and the FAA have gone through a huge process to precisely quantify and minimize the noise externalities (see the links above), very consciously recognizing them as such. From a Belmont perspective, since we are an area that sees an uptick in noise, we may not like the outcome of that process, but it was very public and has been exhaustively documented.

      It’s theoretically possible that some different route might further reduce overall residential noise, but I’m convinced that the FAA worked very hard to find the alternative that minimized externalities. It’s a highly constrained choice process, given that we have Hanscom close by and other through-moving air traffic.

      I live close to you and so we have more or less the same experience, but if you’d like, at some point on a bad day, I’d be very glad to come by your house and do some noise measurements. I’d be interested to make sure I know exactly what you are experiencing. Please do call my cell, 617-771-8274, at some appropriate time and I can shoot over.

      1. This may work for other people but, personally, I never wanted to live or purchase property in East Boston or Winthrop, because Logan was a known factor. It would have saved us money but we chose a different lifestyle by deciding to live in Watertown. That lifestyle is compromised for all the reasons Peter posted so eloquently about.

        1. The biggest issue here is, as Michele put, people who chose to live in a place now having noise when they did not have it before. If I’m contemplating living in Winthrop, I know beforehand what I’m getting into. Not so with residents who now all of a sudden have an aircraft superhighway located above them.

  12. It’s 7:10 AM a clear Saturday morning in December and there has been a nearly continuous roar of aircraft over my home in West Cambridge (near Fresh Pond) since at least 5:30 AM. Planes pass over every 3-5 minutes and the sound reverberates for up to a minute.I have lived in this house for 15 years and this is a dramatic change. My home is also within a block of Fresh Pond Parkway — I moved here realizing that I would have to live with the sound of auto traffic but I did not expect to live underneath a federal air highway over which our elected officials say we have no standing to reroute, but suggest we pay to insulate our walls and install thicker windows. Sitting in my garden this summer became unpleasant when the air traffic increased. No remedy for that. Thank you for letting me vent — when I contact the MassPort hotline, they waste money mailing me letters confirming that planes flew over my home but that it is part of “normal” operations.

  13. The dozens to hundreds of flights throughout the middle of the night constitute extreme sleep deprivation which goes on for weeks at a time, especially in the winter months.

    This constitutes mass homicide with extreme cruelty. The lower-income towns further in are being viciously tortured with some of the worst sleep deprivation caused by any airport on the planet.

    These airlines that fly at 3 AM, 5 AM, whatever, are mass-murderers.

    The executives at these airlines need to get life terms with no possibility of parole.

    And there need to be lengthy prison terms for everybody from the pilots who volunteer for 3 AM flying-alarm-clock missions, to the Noise Abatement people and their fraudulent record-keeeping and disrespect for the public, and the FAA bribe-takers and their buddies in Congress and the aviation industry who have legislated away the public’s right to sleep.

    1. Chris,

      I feel your pain in dealing with the airplane noises. And I hope that you can find effective ways to mitigate the impact.

      But I would not treat these flights as mass murderers. We got to measure the level at noise caused by this flights at your bedroom, if it is truly unbearable. What else of the modern technology did not generate noise, uncomfortable light emission, or radio frequency waves, that can avoid being treated as a mass murderer?

      If the numbers(or facts) from these measurements are not as bad as you described here, don’t you think you are a little bit hyper-critical?

  14. Thank you for this informative article, which unfortunately does nothing to actually help solve the problem! The message is that we are supposed to just put up with it, for all the reasons that were so eloquently outlined above; and that there is no real solution forthcoming.
    Obviously, as noted already, the real issue is profits and money vs. public good, with airline safety as the excuse. We have the computing power and technology to put people into outer space, and to sent probes to other planets; surely we can come up with a better system for managing urban aircraft, both here and elsewhere. But apparently our well being is not part of the equation.
    The only solution seems to be a large and sustained public effort to change things. I hope that such an effort will start here in these communities. This problem is only going to get worse if we do nothing.

    1. I understand your disappointment with the gist of this article. I actually think the long term trend is for the better as airlines continue to upgrade to more efficient, quieter jets. They have good incentives to do that, since fuel costs are such a big part of their budget — that is the direction that I am most hopeful about.

      1. Better jets would certainly help, but the thing that would help the most is FEWER jets, or at least fewer jets going repetitively over the same areas. Some airplane noise is unavoidable, but no one should have to live with airplane noise every minute or 2, and often every 30 seconds! The noise from one doesn’t even stop before there is another one coming. Flying overhead for hour after hour after hour. There are literally HUNDREDS of airplanes going over my area daily. It didn’t used to be this way! The old airline system may have been more dangerous in some ways, but this system is dangerous to our health and well being. The dcbl level is not the only thing that matters, frequency matters just as much; personally I’d rather have one or two really loud noises every hour than constant rumbling. The FAA system for measuring impact is just not adequate. Frequency matters just as much as sound level. The FAA regulations need to reflect this reality. If this new system is so much better than the old one, why are so many people so unhappy with it? I think the FAA has put the economic concerns of the airlines above our wellbeing.

  15. Ever since NextGen was implemented in 2012, my once quiet neighborhood of Bath Beach Brookyln NY has now become a runway to LGA, which is 9 miles away, clearly on the other side of the land, yet I am forced to listen to low flying airplanes fly over my home at 30 second intervals all day long, everyday.
    I did my due digilence when I purchased my home, there was no aircraft here for the last 27 years, now there is. This is simply criminal what the FAA has done to all the taxpayers. It was unfair to change something as serious as flight paths without public awareness.
    We can send men to the moon, have satelites all over space, yet we can’t keep our neighborhoods quiet by flying over less populated areas and water when possible.
    This low flying aircraft that has invaded our lives on a daily basis is simply unacceptable. Our quality of lives have been ruined by the FAA, which obviously they have no regard for. Michael Heurta from the FAA does not care about all the taxpoayers at all. Congress does not care about the taxpayers at all. Our elected officials do not care about our quality of lives either. It is as if we do not matter.
    Our country is simply sickening, that all they care about is the airlines making money with more flights and no regard for the publics quality of life.

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