Update on Progess regarding Logan Airplane Noise & R33L RNAV

As many of you know, Senator Brownsberger has been working closely with Belmont and Watertown to help address the issues our communities have been experiencing since the FAA implemented new RNAV procedures for runway 33L which is used when there is a prevailing NW wind at Logan airport.

The Town of Belmont appointed myself as the Representative to the Logan Community Advisory Committee (CAC) and Bob Reardon from the Selectman’s Office as the Alternate. We will post here periodically with updates on the activities being taken to address the noise issues. There is a great deal of background information available on the Logan CAC page on the Town of Belmont website (link here).

The brief summary is that in June of 2013, the FAA approved a new procedure for flights departing from runway 33L using “performance based navigation” also know by the acronym RNAV. These RNAV procedures take departures that had previously been distributed over a wide range of flight paths – and routes them through four narrow “corridors”. Three of these concentrated flight paths traverse Belmont and two of them continue on over Watertown. The result of these RNAV procedures is that on days when there is a NW wind, a hundred flights or more are sent along these paths in a single day. The noise impact which has been previously spread out over several communities is now focused on several repetitive flight paths over the same neighborhoods. Though the flights are typically at 5000 ft. or more – since they are thrusting their engines at maximum power to gain altitude – the noise can be significant. Many Belmont and Watertown residents have voiced their concerns by filing complaints with Massport’s noise complaint line (617) 561-3333.

After Belmont’s Public Information Meeting held in December – we have been collecting letters from residents about the impact these changes have had on their lives that have been submitted to the FAA, Massport and the Logan CAC. Senator Brownsberger and our local legislators as well as the Belmont Selectmen have sent letters to the Regional head of the FAA requesting that these new RNAV procedures be reviewed and that resident noise complaints and letters be factored into their post-implementation review process. The FAA has agreed to work with the CAC to discuss a process to address the noise complaints and concerns regarding runway 33L RNAV.

Senator Brownsberger also facilitated a meeting last week with Massport that included representatives and Officials from Belmont and Watertown as well as staff from Representative Dave Rogers and Congresswoman Katherine Clark’s office. Massport has agreed to deploy portable noise monitors in Belmont and Watertown to collect actual noise measurements from these flights. Congresswoman Clark is working to schedule a meeting with the FAA in Washington to see what can be done to address these issues. We also plan to keep this issue at the fore at the next meeting of the Logan CAC.

Residents continue to be encouraged to submit reports to the Massport Noise Complaint Line (617) 561-3333 of using their . We will continue to keep residents informed and will hold another public information meeting once we have additional information to share.

Myron Kassaraba
Belmont Representative to the Logan CAC
[email protected]

3 replies on “Update on Progess regarding Logan Airplane Noise & R33L RNAV”

  1. I live in West Newton and have been noticing a significant increase in noise pollution on certain days. Before the implementation of the new system we were hardly aware of the airplanes flying over our heads. Now it has become a problem. I work at home and it has an impact on the quality of my work.
    Is there any chance of going back to the old system or make the new system of air corridors changeable, so that different communities will experience noise sometimes but not all the time?
    Thank you and I truly appreciate your concern and effort in this matter.

  2. Myron,

    Thanks so much for this excellent write-up.

    This is a great case of team work across all local, state and federal elected and appointed officials. The Belmont Selectmen and the Watertown Town Council have responded actively and Representatives Hecht and Rogers have worked closely with me and with Congresswoman Clark to make progress on this issue.

    I think that working together we’ve clarified the issues and options. At the end of the day, it will be up to the FAA whether they are willing to consider spreading the traffic back out from the current RNAV paths somewhat to diffuse the noise impact. The FAA essentially responds only to federal elected officials. For that reason, I am very pleased that Congresswoman Clark is actively involved and also that other members of our Congressional delegation are taking an interest.

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