Update on Massport CAC Aviation Subcommittee Meeting – RNAV Study

On May 5th, 2017, a meeting of the Massport CAC Aviation Subcommittee was held at Massport. The major topic was an update from Massport and the MIT team working on the previously announced RNAV Study (http://bit.ly/2qaUrTY). John Hansman from MIT’s Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment who is leading the study team provided an update on what they are exploring.

They are looking at two options for addressing concerns with the now not-so-new 33L RNAV SID procedure (implemented June of 2013). The first option falls into what they are calling Block 1 (likely easier to implement) – it has to do with optimizing the speed/thrust/altitude of the departures to decrease noise impact on the ground. The modeling they have done is encouraging and they feel they have found a “sweet spot” of speed that is different than what they are using today and would be quieter.  The second one has to do with dispersion using something they are calling Discontinuous Open SID – this is modeled after what they have done in Charlotte and was approved by the FAA. The idea is that departing flights follow the RNAV/GPS route to some point (likely based-on altitude) and then they can vector off to their destination based on ATC clearance.  This is a Block 2 opportunity because it is more complicated and will require further analysis. Any proposed opportunities will require FAA and possibly regulatory approval.

Timing-wise – the Study team is letting the FAA know about their Block 1 ideas now. Both Block 1 and Block 2 will need more work and analysis before being officially proposed. The Subcommittee was unanimous in requesting more details when specific proposals are available for review and input. We will likely be getting another update after the summer.

I am encouraged by the thoroughness that the Study Team is taking in their approach. They are working to address the two things the 33L Municipal Working Group communities have asked for – seeing if planes can get higher faster (without negative impacts to the closer-in communities like East Boston, Chelsea and Winthrop) and possible ways to introduce dispersion back to the routes that could mimic the pre-RNAV flight operations. I once again thank our State representatives and Congressional delegation for their steadfast support of the requests to reexamine the 33L RNAV SID procedure and for the exploration of alternatives that could decrease the impact of the RNAV “rails” on affected neighborhoods and communities.

Myron Kassaraba
CAC Representative
Town of Belmont


Update passed on from from Myron

Massport CAC Members:

On May 5, 2017, John Hansman from MIT, and the RNAV Study team, provided a briefing to the Massport CAC Aviation Operations Subcommittee. Attached is the link to John Hansman’s presentation which has been posted to our MassportCAC.com website Library. This is public document so please share it with your appointing authority and interested members of your community.


The presentation as a stand-alone document does not provide enough context to what was presented at the meeting. Jerry Falbo and I requested Massport to include an introduction to the presentation that provides some background information on the study parameters and process. Some of the options presented by John Hansman are more feasible than others and some of options presented are notional ideas. This presentation is not meant to provide final recommendations.

Massport will be presenting a brief update on the RNAV Study at our General Meeting next week, Thursday, June 8th, and, we have requested that the update include a revised project time-line.

14 replies on “Update on Massport CAC Aviation Subcommittee Meeting – RNAV Study”

  1. Very informative & positive efforts to improve ground level impacts.

    Thank you

  2. Thank you! But what about the most obvious solution, undoing the concentration of flight paths, so that it’s as it was before 3 years ago???

    Also, what about the other areas suffering from this? I’m in North Cambridge off Mass Ave. The planes — which have recently been even louder — make visits hard and upset first-floor tenants (I’m in a two-family). They wake me at late nights and early mornings — and I’m a sound sleeper with a hearing disability! And they go over frequently — as frequently as one a minute, which I believe has to be very dangerous.

  3. Guess I just didn’t have the pull or resume to get the same below suggestion passed when submitted Aug 31st, 2008. Better late than never I guess.

    All aircraft shall, as safely as possible, perform a maximum safe climb rate, (M.S.C.R.) when taking off from Logan Airport, for the purposes of reducing unnecessary low altitude flight noise, and giving the jet exhaust fumes more time to disperse before coming in contact with populated areas below a flight path.

  4. Thank you Myron for your continued (Herculean) efforts on airplane noise related to 33L. We in the Watertown RNAV path are grateful.

  5. Thanks, Will. I attended a meeting of Boston West Fair Skies in March, and learned a great deal about this problem. I encourage others afftected by this noise to attend meetings, and especially to file complaints at this address:


    You will have to register to file a complaint, but it’s easy. Fair Skies would like as many different people as possible to file complaints, rather than one person filing every day. I actually just filed my first complaint–the noise today has been constant and intolerable, and it’s still going on, one plane after another.
    There are solutions, but the FAA has to be convinced to take this problem seriously, and implement the fixes.

  6. Why do these studies take so long and the rate at which they are acted upon so slow? It starts to feel as if this is just not a big priority to the FAA. I am sure if there was a very public lawsuit against them, they might act a bit faster. It’s irresponsible. I do appreciate the efforts of Rep Kassaraba and Senator Brownsberger.

  7. Possibly more noise due to the runway closure is an understatement. This will be very unpleasant for the next two months. Why is it so much worse in the evening and at night?

  8. I live in Watertown up on a hill which I think makes the noise from Logan worse. The airplane noise is horrible when they use 33L. I do file complaints often. I have watched the flight tracker and what I don’t understand is when the planes that are going South fly north on takeoff then West then South. This seems like a waste of fuel. I don’t understand why the planes can’t fly over the ocean when possible, especially when they are going South. If I’m not mistaken flying West into the Jetstream to fly South just doesn’t make sense.

  9. It seems to me that the FAA has secretly installed a beacon on my chimney to guide the planes – they head over Tufts (I feel sorry for the students) then just when they look like they are going to miss us they take a left hand turn and come over my roof ;-). Joking aside, I have complained about late night noise (once I was woken at 2:00 am and then again at 5:00 am, so a grand total of 3 hours sleep. Massport came back with the old chestnut that they were following FAA guidelines and were within thier rights (which I guess they are). However with sleep deprivation and the noise pollution it certainly impacts quality of life, and the worst impact falls on a victimized subset of the population now that the planes are GPS guided. Any relief would be very welcome.

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