The skies over Queens and the rest of the country may soon be quieter.
Congressmember Joe Crowley gathered with state and local elected officials, advocates and community members Friday to announce the introduction of the Silent Skies Act bill that will work to alleviate airplane noise pollution in neighborhoods surrounding LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy International airports.
The new legislation will require the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to implement regulations by the end of 2015 demanding commercial aircrafts to go from Stage 3 noise standards to Stage 4 noise standards, reducing the sound by 10 decibels.
“Airports can never be perfect neighbors, but we can take steps to make them better neighbors,” said Crowley. “While commercial aircraft can never be truly silent, we can make sure they are less disruptive to the families who live nearby and improve the quality of life in our communities, not just here in Queens but throughout the country.”
Advocates for the reduction of airplane noise say the loud engines disrupt sleep, distract students and drown out the noise of everyday life.
Although the FAA issued regulations that required all new commercial aircraft designs to meet these new noise standards, the new introduced legislation would also have the FAA phase out older and louder aircraft.
The Silent Skies Act will now require the FAA to bring in quieter engines at a rate of 25 percent of an airline’s planes every five years, with all commercial airlines meeting the new noise standards by 2035.
“Recent changes in flight procedures have caused constant, intolerable noise in wide area of our New York/New Jersey metro area,” said Janet McEneaney, president of Queens Quiet Skies. “For too long, the interests of residents here were not considered when aviation procedures were planned.”
The new bill, if passed, would also encourage the research and development of quieter engine technologies through authorizing a new grant program.
“It’s time for our needs to be considered,” said McEneaney. “We remind you the skies belong to all of us, not just some of us.”
Hundreds of residents in northeast Queens have pushed for noise control after the FAA approved a new flight pattern last December that brought on a large amount of low-flying planes over their neighborhoods.
“Silent skies should not just be for first class passengers,” said Crowley.
The FAA said it does not comment on proposed legislation.
The number of people in the United States who are open to significant aircraft noise has dropped by 90 percent since 1975, according to the FAA. This decrease is due to mainly reductions in aircraft noise and phase-outs of older, noisier aircraft.
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