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FAA Plans to Change Airplane Routes and Disperse Noise

Airplane(December 15, 2014) The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) plans to optimize routes for aircraft departing and arriving at the Charlotte airport. The result will be increased efficiency but also a dispersal of routes leading to and from the airport. This dispersal of aircraft routes will also mean a dispersal of noise. The noise will still exist but not constantly over the same neighborhoods and houses.

Changes will not affect routes within about 2 miles of the airport that are controlled from the Charlotte airport tower, but once airplanes leave this space, the routes will disperse to a greater extent than in the past.

The document "Draft Environmental Assessment for Charlotte Optimization of Airspace and Procedures in the Metroplex," states that "The noise analysis demonstrates that noise exposure resulting from implementation of the Proposed Action would not result in a day-night average sound level (DNL) increase of 1.5 dBA or higher in noise sensitive areas exposed to DNL 65 dB or higher. Therefore, the Proposed Action would not result in a significant noise impact."

The changes will not have a noise impact according to the FAA because the FAA does not recognize noise levels that average less than 65 decibels as being significant. See Maps Show Very Low Average Noise Level around Airport

To see the document and for more information, go to the Metroplex Environmental web site and click on "Charlotte Metroplex" in the Metroplex drop down menu.

However, FAA and consultant staff at the public information workshop on December 9 said that the planned changes will increase the number of routes airplanes use while approaching and departing the airport. The result will be a dispersal of airplane traffic, especially for departing airplanes. Rather than having a few set routes that continually send airplanes over the same houses and neighborhoods, airplanes will have more routes to follow. The result will be a "starburst" effect, they said. Airplane noise will not be reduced, but it will be dispersed over more areas.

Currently airplanes follow narrow routes that concentrate noise in a few corridors. Neighborhoods many miles away from the airport have been negatively impacted by continual airplane noise. Staff said that complaints have been heard, and the planned changes are intended in part to alleviate this problem and disperse the noise, although that objective is not stated in the document.

If adopted, the planned changes will take effect in fall 2015.

The public is invited to comment on the plans by mail or email. Contact information is available HERE. Written comments will be accepted by the FAA until Monday, January 5, 2015.

To comment on this story, please visit the Steele Creek Forum.

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