Those among the 100 or so who came to a September 29 informational meeting in Flagstaff, Ariz., on Grand Canyon overflight issues, hosted by the National Park Service (NPS) and the FAA, expecting to hear of a breakthrough in a 17-year deadlock over aircraft noise left disappointed.
The story that tells the economic fortunes of smaller metropolitan airfields in Europe is very much a tale of several cities. Many find themselves in a veritable “Catch-22”–they can expand their operations as long as arriving and departing aircraft meet local neighborhood rules. But increased services aggravate negative public perception of the noise they generate.
U.S. and European Union officials are making last-ditch efforts to negotiate a settlement to their long-running dispute over hush kits bringing Stage 2 aircraft into compliance with current Stage 3 noise limits. Both sides want the deeply divisive matter resolved at the September 25 meeting in Montreal of the International Civil Aviation Organization assembly.
The European Union’s research program on noise reduction, Silence(r), officially ended in June with promising results. It explored all noise sources, from engines to landing gear and flaps. However, although it achieved a reduction of five decibels in aircraft noise, several more leads need to be developed to reach the ambitious target of cutting a full 10 dB from average noise levels by 2020.
• The Los Angeles board of airport commissioners has authorized airport staff members to begin advertising for qualified companies to perform Part 161 noise mitigation studies for Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Van Nuys Airport (VNY). The separate studies are not expected to be completed for three to five years.
The European Regions Airline Association (ERA) has demanded a “balanced approach” to environmental controls in the European Union transport industry following the publication of its new study on the noise performance of the continent’s regional airline fleet. The “Growing Quieter” report concluded that the noise generated by the average regional aircraft is about half what it was in the early 1970s.
The FAA selected the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to be the lead partner in a Center of Excellence program on aircraft noise and emissions mitigation. MIT will lead a team from other colleges and universities, as well as industry and government, to research and develop solutions for mitigating existing and anticipated noise and emissions-related problems.
Jan. 1, 2006, is the date for the implementation of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Chapter 4 noise limits. The latest noise and emissions standards (European terminology uses “Chapter” to correspond with the U.S.
An online poll in New Jersey Monthly magazine has apparently launched the pilots’ jungle telegraph into action. The question posed on the magazine’s Web site reads, “Despite increased air and noise pollution, should small airports such as Teterboro make efforts to renovate and expand if it will bring more money to the local economy?” At press time, 7,753 people had answered, with “yes” votes carrying a 98-percent majority.
The FAA is reviewing a proposed revision to the approved noise-compatibility program that was submitted for Burbank Bob Hope Airport (BUR), Calif. The agency, which approved the original program in November 2000, plans to rule on the revision by September 7. Public comments must be submitted by May 10 to the FAA airports division’s Western Pacific Region office (telephone  725-3614).