Tag Archives: airplane noise

Gov. announces measures to address Queens plane noise


| mchan@queenscourier.com

File photo

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will double its sound monitors and create an office to address soaring noise complaints, under a string of new orders announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo Monday.

“Airport noise is rightly an important concern for residents of Queens, the Bronx and Nassau County,” Cuomo said. “We will listen to local residents and ensure their input is used to make both JFK and LaGuardia airports better neighbors.”

Gripes have been pouring in since the Federal Aviation Administration approved a new flight pattern in 2012 that brought on a barrage of low-flying planes over parts of northeast Queens.

“There have been days I felt so hopeless,” said Susan Carroll, of Flushing. “I get the takeoff. I get the landing. Flushing never gets a break from the airplane noise. We never get any peace.”

Carroll said she lodges so many complaints with the Port Authority’s hotline — at least one a day, since last summer — operators mistake her for an aviation expert.

“I actually cried tears of joy when I heard the news,” she said. “This is tremendous for all of us.”

Within the next few months, the Port Authority will implement a series of new measures that include monitoring flight tracks online, establishing regular roundtables with elected and federal officials, and conducting extensive noise studies.

More portable noise monitors will be placed in communities currently without one, the governor said. And the new noise office’s seven-member staff will collect and review data while responding to community complaints.

“We are committed to working with all communities we operate in to address their concerns, while bringing JFK and LaGuardia airports into the 21st century and maintaining the viability of our airports as major economic engines for the metropolitan region,” Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye said.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Op-ed: Making Silent Skies a reality


| oped@queenscourier.com


CONGRESSMEMBER JOSEPH CROWLEY

Anyone who lives here in Queens can tell you just how loud and disruptive the noise of airplanes can be. Millions of Americans throughout the country, including those who live in the communities surrounding LaGuardia and JFK Airports are impacted by constant, thunderous engine noise all day long. The sound isn’t merely a nuisance – it disrupts sleep, distracts students in our community’s schools and drowns out the joys of daily life.

The problem of excessive noise from airplanes flying over our communities has always been a hard nut to crack. Planes usually have a limited number of options for approaching and departing from runways. These flight paths can change based on many varying conditions in weather, winds and congestion. Especially in the crowded skies over our densely-populated city, there are precious few places airplanes can fly where they won’t be heard by some community.

But there’s one way to resolve this problem to the benefit of all our communities: make airplanes quieter.

In 2006, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued regulations requiring all new aircraft designs to meet Stage 4 noise standards, which is a considerably lower decibel level than those currently in use. While these new rules were a significant step toward improving the quality of life for those who live near airports, they did not go far enough. The FAA did nothing to make sure airlines would begin to phase out older, louder airplanes or retrofit them with quieter engines.

Last week, I introduced legislation to fix that.

My bill, the Silent Skies Act, will require airlines to begin stocking their fleets with newer, quieter aircraft. In order to introduce quieter planes into the market, the bill mandates that the FAA issue regulations by the end of 2015 forcing airlines to begin updating their fleets to meet Stage 4 noise standards. Fleets will have to be updated at a rate of 25 percent every five years, so that all commercial airplanes meet these quieter standards by no later than 2035.

But, we can’t stop there. We can’t just phase out today’s noisy planes and call it quits. We must push the envelope and try to develop technologies that make airplanes even quieter.

That’s why the Silent Skies Act will also create a fund to encourage research and development into these technologies. It will allow the FAA issue up to $10 million in grants for developing better ways to help meet or exceed Stage 4 noise standards. In return, companies that benefit from the program will be asked to pay the money back, using the profits they made on their new engines.

When talking with my constituents about aircraft noise pollution in our communities, I always say our airports will never be perfect neighbors, but we can certainly make them better ones. The truth is our airports are only getting busier. New York will continue to be a destination for more and more people. And that’s a good thing for our local economy. But, that doesn’t mean our communities need to sacrifice their quality of life.

The Silent Skies Act is just the kind of approach we can take to make life better not just for the residents of Queens, but also for so many other communities near airports around the country.

Crowley represents New York’s 14th Congressional District, stretching from Pelham Bay to Elmhurst.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

FAA to look into JFK, LaGuardia flight patterns


| mchan@queenscourier.com


Queens residents fighting feds over airplane noise that turned some suburban neighborhoods into veritable warzones last summer have won a small battle.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has agreed to form a committee to review the decision-making process it used last December when the agency approved new flight patterns over the borough.

The new routes adhere to a required three-mile separation between planes arriving at John F. Kennedy International Airport and planes taking off from LaGuardia Airport’s runway 13 while using a new, precise navigation system, FAA officials said.

But during a six-month trial period last year, some residents said they suffered from a barrage of low-flying airplanes that soared over their homes every minute of two six-hour stretches a day.

Forming the committee “is a move in the right direction,” said Congressmember Grace Meng.

“Although more still needs to be done, this is a positive move that can hopefully have an effect on the increased airplane noise that Queens residents have been forced to endure,” Meng said.

The FAA said there would be fewer planes flying overhead this summer, but there could be times residents will hear the same turbulence they did last summer and fall.

Meng and Congressmember Steve Israel sent a letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta in February asking him to consider the borough’s concerns.

A group of elected officials from Queens met with FAA officials in Washington, D.C. to hash out a plan.

“I hope it results in a more balanced plan that will alleviate the noise pollution for our constituents,” Israel said.

FAA officials agreed during a March town hall meeting to involve the community in future decisions and to continue hearing them out.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Despite relief, plane noise may still plague northeast Queens


| mchan@queenscourier.com

File photo

Northeast Queens residents may get a respite from the plane noise that tormented them last summer — but not full relief.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials said there would be fewer planes flying over portions of Bayside and Flushing. But, depending on traffic and wind, there could be times residents could hear the same turbulence they heard in summer 2012, officials confirmed.

“What you experienced last summer was an anomaly,” said Carmine Gallo, the FAA’s eastern regional administrator. “The number of airplanes you saw last summer was to collect data. That’s not going to happen this summer.”

A six-month trial period called the “TNNIS Climb” caused a barrage of low-flying airplanes to soar over parts of northeast Queens last summer by the minute each day from 6 a.m. to noon and then again from 6 p.m. to midnight.

The FAA said the test was to ensure the required three mile separation between John F. Kennedy International Airport arrivals and LaGuardia Runway 13 departures while using a new, precise navigation system.

The procedure was approved last December, but FAA officials said the route would be put to limited use. Air traffic would be spread out between other climbs, they said at a March 14 town hall meeting, where residents and elected officials urged the federal agency to reverse its decision.

“If the route doesn’t go back to the old way, the FAA is in for the fight of its life,” said State Senator Tony Avella. “We’re not going to let this affect our quality of life.”

Gallo said the agency’s goal was to ensure the “safe, efficient, secure operation of aircraft.”

He said the FAA makes no profit off airlines or the newly approved procedure, despite accusations by some, including Assemblymember Ed Braunstein.
“We shouldn’t be forced out of our backyards so the airline industry can make more money,” Braunstein said.

Residents also asked if the agency could move routes over waterways and parks instead of residential neighborhoods.

The suggestion “would be nice,” said Ralph Tamburro, the agency’s New York traffic management officer. But it would ultimately be “an impossible task.”

“With the amount of airplanes, you can’t do it,” he said.

The FAA agreed to involve the community in future decisions and to continue hearing them out.

“You’ve caused disruption to the lives of hundreds of thousands of people,” said Warren Schreiber, president of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

FAA approves controversial airplane route


| mchan@queenscourier.com

File Photo

A controversial airplane route that polluted the skies with noise during its trial run has been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The “TNNIS Climb” — in which departing LaGuardia Airport traffic turns left to the north off Runway 13 — has been given the green light for takeoff, FAA officials said, even after borough leaders and residents said the changes caused a nonstop barrage of low-flying planes to torment their northeast Queens neighborhoods.

“Frankly, it is a disgrace the FAA has decided to go ahead with these departure changes, which will have a profound effect on the residents in northeastern Queens, without the proper input from the community,” said State Senator Tony Avella. “In this case, the FAA has decided to disregard the voice of the people.”

Borough Board members lambasted FAA officials in September, when they said they were not given notice about the six-month trial period that concluded in August.

The test was to ensure the required separation between John F. Kennedy International Airport arrivals and LaGuardia Runway 13 departures while using a new, precise navigation system called “RNAV,” said Ralph Tamburro, the agency’s New York traffic management officer.

Local leaders and residents said the FAA ignored public comment when it made the route permanent at the end of November.

“If they choose to make this permanent, that means I’ll have to move,” said Flushing resident Priscilla Tai. “I can’t survive with this. I need to work and I need quality sleep.”

An air traffic official said the FAA is “working to determine the best way to implement the use of this procedure with these other runway configurations.”

“Our primary mission is to endure the safe and efficient use of our nation’s navigable airspace,” said Elizabeth Ray, vice president of Mission Support Services, in a November letter. “Despite our best attempts, we acknowledge it is impossible to reduce noise levels in every area.”

FAA says it should have notified residents of increased plane noise


| mchan@queenscourier.com

File photo

Borough leaders lambasted the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) after they said a concluded trial period testing a new departure procedure at LaGuardia Airport took off and landed without proper community notice.

“This is the borough board … This is where you start. You don’t end up here. I don’t think you’re in touch,” said Borough President Helen Marshall to invited government air traffic control representatives at a September 10 board meeting. “I don’t understand why you didn’t let us know about this a long time ago.”

Residents from Bayside and downtown Flushing say they had been tormented since mid-June by the ear-splitting roar of low-flying airplanes they say soared past their homes by the minute each day from 6 a.m. to noon and then again from 6 p.m. to midnight.

They joined a borough-wide chorus of homeowners, some in Briarwood and Woodside, who say they were also blighted by the thundering turbulence.

“This seems like something very unfair to do to this borough,” Marshall said. “We have to consider the people.”

FAA officials said the agency has finished with a six-month trial — called the “Tennis Climb” — to test a departure procedure at LaGuardia Airport, in which departing traffic turns left to the north off Runway 13.

The Tennis Climb trial — which began February 13 and came to a close August 13 — was to ensure the required separation between John F. Kennedy International Airport arrivals and LaGuardia Runway 13 departures while using a new, precise navigation system called “RNAV,” said Ralph Tamburro, the agency’s New York traffic management officer.

The separation, Tamburro said, was successfully ensured during the trial run, but the project is now currently being analyzed by the FAA’s environmental office. The FAA said they would take in public comment before making the new route permanent.

While Tamburro touted the agency’s findings during the six-month test period, which included avoiding about 2,635 aircraft delays at JFK, borough board members accused the FAA of using the Queens communities as “guinea pigs.”

“We are very sensitive in this borough,” said Community Board 10 Chair Betty Braton. “In our homes and on our streets, we know where there are changes made. Notifying us of a test allows us to notify the people.”

Councilmember Daniel Dromm chastised the agency for its after-the-fact reporting to the board.

“You’re telling us now that this has already been happening — for what purpose?” he asked.

According to Tamburro, additional environmental studies for the pilot program were not required because it was modeled after an existing and increasingly outdated procedure called the “Flushing Climb,” which is utilized during the U.S. Open but does not involve the use of RNAV systems.

“We probably should have done a better job in notifying people even though there was no requirement to do so,” said Jeffrey Clarke, the FAA’s New York district office manager. “So I consider that a lesson learned as we go forth from here.”

Clarke also said the agency is in the process of making the transition to a new era of flight called “NextGen,” which upgrades airports to satellite-based technology that lets pilots know the precise locations of other airplanes around them.

New flight patterns a failure: residents, pols


| mchan@queenscourier.com

File photo

The trial period testing a new departure procedure at LaGuardia Airport has failed, said local leaders who recently rallied to put an end to the thundering turbulence tormenting residents in northeast Queens.

“New flight patterns cannot be instituted if they are so detrimental to the quality of life for residents,” said State Senator Tony Avella during an August 24 rally.

Residents from Bayside and downtown Flushing say they have been tortured since mid-June by the ear-splitting roar of low-flying airplanes they say soar past their homes by the minute each day from 6 a.m. to noon and then again from 6 p.m. to midnight.

They join a borough-wide chorus of homeowners who say they are blighted by the deafening noise caused by a nonstop rush of aircraft flights and a barrage of low flying planes.

A spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said the agency was evaluating a “NextGen” procedure for flights departing from Runway 13 at LaGuardia Airport.

“The FAA evaluation will identify the potential benefits and impacts of the NextGen procedure. It also will indicate if additional environmental analysis is necessary before the agency decides whether to permanently implement the procedure,” the spokesperson said.

In a June 22 letter sent to Avella, FAA officials said the procedure — which follows an existing departure path over Queens — is part of a six-month trial, although they would not specify how many months were left in the testing.

“It is outrageous that our community was not notified prior to the start of the FAA’s flight departure testing and that we have still not been informed of its end date,” said Assemblymember Ed Braunstein. “It is clear […] that this testing has been a failure and we call on the FAA to conclude it as soon as possible.”