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.
Town of Belmont
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