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OCR for page 129
Noise Abatement (Airside) Techniques 129 Public reaction: As with measures that modify flight track locations, the results may be pos- itive or negative, dependent on the distribution of noise-sensitive uses under the resulting flight paths. Airport Access Restrictions For completeness, this section is included among the potential actions available to airports to abate aircraft noise. The airport manager in the United States is often faced with public demands to "just close the airport at night" or "make that airplane go somewhere else". To respond to such demands, the manager must do so within the context of compliance with federal laws and reg- ulations, as well as the many grant assurances that the airport sponsor has committed to fulfill on every airport grant from the FAA. Since the passage of ANCA in 1990, no airport has received FAA approval for the implementation of a restriction on the operation of Stage 3 aircraft. Only Naples (Florida) Municipal Airport has been allowed to implement a restriction on operations by Stage 2 aircraft, and then only after successfully arguing its case in U.S. District Court. A small number of airports have actively conducted the analyses required to implement an access restric- tion under 14 CFR Part 161, but to the date of this document, no access restriction has been approved under its provisions. Prior to 1990, a number of access restrictions were implemented at airports located in envi- ronments highly sensitive to aircraft noise. At that time, these restrictions were a matter of local option. Outside the United States, restrictions on airport access remain a feasible option to abate aircraft noise. Nevertheless, the public traditionally focuses on restrictive measures in demand- ing that airports "do something" about noise levels. The following paragraphs provide an overview of the various types of access restrictions, but their implementation is subject to all Part 161 requirements. Conversely, if the measures are taken through voluntary agreement of all the existing and probable users of the airport, the actions may be implemented outside the require- ments of the regulation. Purpose: This strategy restricts, voluntarily or involuntarily, the access to the airport by pro- hibiting all or portions of its aircraft operations. In the past these restrictions have been based on cumulative impact (slot controls, noise quotas, and noise budgets), certificated noise levels (Stage 2 ban), single event noise levels, and/or time of day (curfew). They also may include the restriction of certain areas of the airfield, including runways, to specific classes or weights of aircraft. Among the access restrictions are the following types. Often they are considered in combination when implemented, e.g., a curfew on any aircraft exceeding a given noise level are denied access, while any that produce lesser noise levels are allowed to operate freely. · Aircraft type or class A ban on operations by a given group of aircraft such as those classified as Stage 1 or Stage 2 under the categories of 14 CFR Part 36. While 14 CFR Part 161 exempts restrictions on Stage 1 aircraft from its requirements, any ban on Stage 2 aircraft must be fully evaluated and the FAA must conclude that the evaluation is adequate prior to its implementa- tion. Any restrictive action on Stage 3 or Stage 4 aircraft that affects their ability to operate at the airport must be approved by the FAA prior to implementation. Any measure that restricts access by a user group such as general aviation jet aircraft, cargo operators, helicopters, etc., may also be categorized as a type or class restriction. · Time of day The curfew (or restriction of access by time of day) is the most recognized access restriction by the public. Prior to 1990, several were implemented and remain in force under the "grandfathering" allowances of 14 CFR Part 161. As currently implemented, curfews limit operations by type (arrivals vs. departures), by aircraft class (Stage 3 only allowed), and by noise level (prohibitions above a specific decibel level). The times of the curfew also vary some are 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., some are 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., and some have other hourly constraints.
OCR for page 130
130 Aircraft Noise: A Toolkit for Managing Community Expectations · Weight and size of aircraft Some airports have restricted their access to those aircraft that weigh less than a fixed amount, e.g., 12,500 pounds, thereby prohibiting operations by the larger louder jet aircraft. If the airport runway is constructed to handle heavier weights, then such restrictions may be considered arbitrary and be disallowed under Part 161 provisions. · Noise level As a surrogate to an access restriction on a class of aircraft, some measures that have been implemented cite a specific noise level that may not be exceeded. In some cases, the limitation may be on certificated noise levels for aircraft, as drawn from 14 CFR Part 36, and in other cases, the noise level may be based on measured single events, with penalties assessed against those who exceed the established levels. · Noise budget A noise budget allocates the total noise energy present at the airport among its users, with a given amount of noise assumed for an operation by each aircraft type. Those oper- ations that take place during night and evening hours may be assigned higher values to more strictly limit such operations. Each operator is provided a "budget" and allowed to distribute that budget across its operations in any manner, so long as the total is not exceeded. The concept pro- vides incentive for the use of the quietest aircraft during daytime periods to maximize the total flights allowed. A portion of a budget is reserved for non-signatories to the budget agreement. · Operations cap An operations cap is similar to a budget in that a limit is placed on the num- ber of flights that may occur during a given period of time, much as the budget limits the amount of noise energy. Signatories to the operations agreement pledge to limit their operations to given levels; some agreements provide exceptions from the cap for aircraft that are exceptionally quiet. · Noise Level Based Operating Fee This strategy bases all or a portion of the landing fee upon the noisiness of the individual aircraft, thus apportioning the fees to the relative noise "cost" of the operation to the airport's proprietor. The strategy encourages the use of quieter aircraft while producing additional revenue to offset noise induced expenses. For maximum benefit, noise fees should be used in concert with other noise abatement techniques. Instead of assessing a fee, an airport operator could reward air carriers who go to extra lengths to reduce noise generated by their aircraft by providing a discount or a reduction in land fees. (135, p. 31) 8-9 · Restricted Runway Use - For noise abatement purposes, aircraft are prohibited from utilizing a specific runway for one or more types of operations. The restriction can be based on time of day or type of aircraft. For example, a runway may be maintained for propeller aircraft or arrival use only, or its use may be limited to specific wind conditions. This action has occasionally been enacted as part of an environmental mitigation program for new runways. Limitations: Among U.S. airports, with the singular exception of Naples (Florida) Municipal Airport, only those mandatory restrictions that were in place and grandfathered into law prior to the passage of ANCA remain in effect. At Naples, there is a prohibition of operations by Stage 2 business jets that was ultimately approved by the courts over the objections of the FAA under both 14 CFR Part 161 and federal grant assurance stipulations for the use of airport trust fund monies. Institution of any mandatory measure to restrict the access to an airport by Stage 3 aircraft will require the airport operator to undertake a Part 161 Study and have the measure approved by the FAA before implementation. Additionally, FAA has determined that restricting use of public air- ports is a violation of the grant assurances an airport operator agrees to when receiving federal funds for airport development. Restrictive actions voluntarily entered into to restrict access to given conditions do not require a Part 161 action. Implemented by: Airport, with review and/or approval by the FAA. Voluntary measures require agreement by the Airport and the users. Public reaction: Any action to restrict the number of operations at an airport is generally viewed favorably by those affected by aircraft noise. Conversely, restrictive actions are normally opposed by aircraft operators and the business community.