Update on 33L RNAV and the Runway Use Plan Trial

At yesterday’s meeting of the Logan Community Advisory Committee (CAC), representatives from the communities of Arlington, Belmont and Watertown brought forward a motion for the CAC to request that the FAA re-examine Runway 33L RNAV SID, implemented in June of 2013, in light of the significant increase in noise complaints and negative feedback from communities since implementation and that alternatives or modifications be considered. The motion was adopted by a near unanimous vote of the CAC and will be formally communicated by the President of the CAC to the FAA.

We will continue to work with our Legislators and Town Officials to communicate to the FAA the persistent noise issues affecting certain neighborhoods under the RNAV flight paths and urge them to be responsive to the CAC’s request. There has been a 450% increase in noise complaints submitted to Massport from 2012 to 2014. It appears that half or more of the 12,855 complaints in 2014 were from communities directly impacted by 33L RNAV (this is an estimate as Massport does not report complaints by runway though this was requested in another motion made at last night’s meeting). Hull has also been experiencing increases in concentrated noise from changes made to the RNAV patterns from runway 22R departures.

We received a report on the performance of the Runway Use Plan Trial that started on November 12th, 2013. With results from the first two months of the three month test- it shows that so far ATC’s use of the Plan has achieved some sort of change 72% of the time.

Summary Points:
– There were 58 days of data collected so far.
– Of the 58 days, 20 days FAA achieved CAC First Preference
– 22 days FAA achieved CAC Second or Third Preference
– 16 days FAA was unable to achieve any of the CAC’s preferences

The ability or inability to achieve the CAC’s preferences is documented daily by ATC controllers in the Tower Log. The reasons given for not being able to use a preferred alternative configuration are based primarily on wind direction/speed. On some days, the combination of wind, runway closures, and traffic demand played a major factor.

Once the Trial is completed, there will be an evaluation of how well it worked operationally for the ATC and in how well it achieved the desired objectives of providing relief to communities from repetitive operations. Weather and time of year will always be variables that are unpredictable.

Today (1/16/15) also marks the day that the ODO (aka head-to-head) procedure can be used again for the overnight time period. This will provide an additional tool for ATC to use in managing flight operations while hopefully minimizing noise impact.

Myron Kassaraba
Belmont Representative to the Logan CAC

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