On Friday, February 16, six South Charlotte residents met with Linda Ferster, Congressman Robert Pittenger's Constituent Services Representative, regarding the airplane noise issue affecting the area since early 2017.
Attending the meeting with Jeff: Brian Cox, John Garrett, Cindi Hastings, Bill Nolan, and Mark Simmons. The attached handout was also provided.
In September 2014, new "Nextgen" flight paths were implemented in Phoenix generating thousands of complaints exploded and a subsequent lawsuit.
Last August, a federal court ruled the FAA to be "arbitrary and capricious" largely due to the lack of meaningful local engagement of taxpayers, and overturned the Nextgen routing of the flight paths.
Now the FAA is working cooperatively with the City of Phoenix to get the public's input about the flight paths changes. In the meantime, the FAA says it now has a new plan, routing flights near the airport to pre-September 2014 routes "as best it can."
Read more here:
FAA to hold workshops over flight noise complaints
Community Involvement - PHX
Ruling overturns FAA rerouting of Phoenix flight paths
Write your elected officials and ask for similar action in Charlotte.
The meeting will be held at the Charlotte Aviation Offices, 5601 Wilkinson Boulevard (enter parking lot off Harlee Avenue) beginning at 6 pm.
The Charlotte Observer published an article January 12, 2018 regarding the noise issue. There is a link in the Resources + Press section, and below is a pdf copy of the article.
While there was not enough members physically present (several joined by conference line) for a quorum at the December meeting, attendees agreed to proceed with the ACR agenda with the understanding no official actions would be taken.
ACR member Bob Petruska presented an analysis of pre and post Nextgen altitudes for arrivals and departures over southwest Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The presentation was posted on JetNoiseCLT.com in November:
Much as anecdotal observations and previous data reviews have confirmed, arrivals and departures are indeed significantly lower, but some still arrive/depart at higher, less disturbing altitudes. Bob’s analysis highlighted a key point: obviously arrivals and departures can be at higher altitudes if the powers in charge want them to be higher. Hold that thought for later...
Local FAA representative Mark Clark made a presentation regarding data and questions introduced by ACR member Brian Cox at the November meeting. Using 2013-2017 sample data provided by Charlotte Aviation noise abatement staff, Brian showed dramatically lower arrivals over the South Charlotte area.
The FAA data provided by Mr. Clark confirmed the findings and, as Mr. Clark put it, flights are actually even lower than presented by Brian. However, the most disturbing admission is the FAA's procedural change to bring arrivals lower as soon as possible and in a concentrated path over heavily populated South Charlotte.
In the picture above, arrivals from the northeast fly toward the "big buildings" and take a hard left proceeding over East and South Charlotte for descent. (If you are wondering how in a post 9/11 world it makes sense to have hundreds of jets flying directly toward Charlotte skyscrapers daily, you are not alone.) After an arriving jet makes the left turn to the south, its descent will have it less than a mile overhead by the time it is over South Charlotte neighborhoods. Back out our 780 foot elevation, and the result is hundreds of arrivals 3000-4000 buzzing the most densely populated area of the city every single day.
That's the plan. When challenged, Mr. Clark's reply was "efficiency and safety." When asked if any variance could be made to disperse traffic or revert to any old procedures, his reply was reverting to an old procedure is essentially a "new procedure." The implication is a change will require a lengthy review.
The full presentation is here:
The item to add a public appearance section to the standing agenda was tabled since the ACR had no quorum.
Discouraging. Stonewalled. Follow the money. Please continue to submit complaints as those will be important as political and legal avenues are considered. Write the mayor. Write your Congressman. Be heard.
Here is a method for submitting noise complaints more easily than running to a computer.
First, download a flight tracker application. FlightRadar24 is a pretty user friendly one and will provide info ranging from flight origination, type of aircraft, and altitude. (Remember to subtract the 748 feet above sea level to get actual Charlotte altitude.)
Next, bookmark the noise complaint form on your phone by visiting the website and opening the form. You can bookmark the form for convenient access.
Bob Petruska, a member of Charlotte's Airport Community Roundtable, posted this really interesting analysis of Pre and Post Nextgen arrivals and departures. Using data provided by the Airport's Noise Abatement staff, Bob shows the much lower median altitude for arrivals and departures after Nextgen implementation. His findings are consistent with a previous post from Brian Cox regarding a sample set of arrivals.
Clearly it is indisputable that arrivals and departures at Charlotte's airport are significantly lower after the 2016-17 Nextgen implementation. Arrivals are on a more narrow rail further exacerbating the issue for some neighborhoods.
One has to wonder why this is the case with more sophisticated technology touted in the Nextgen implementation. Seemingly, new and more precise technology would enable practices and procedures to lessen the impact on dense single family neighborhoods. Instead, arrivals and landing are taking shorter, lower, and direct paths with little regard to noise and emissions dumped on neighborhoods.
It begs the question: is accommodating the desires of the airline industry the real decision driver?
Highlights of the November 15, 2017, Airport Community Roundtable meeting:
Links to both documents are provided below.
The following is a presentation made by Airport Community Roundtable member Brian Cox at the National League of Cities Conference hosted in Charlotte November 15-18, 2017.
Most attendees were board and council members from other cities affected by arrival and departure changes related to the FAA's Nextgen implementation. Several Charlotte area residents also attended.
The session was hosted by NOISE, an advocacy group that assists local communities at the national level. Other speakers included Emily Tranter, National Coordinator for NOISE, and Nancy Young, VP of Environmental Affairs for Airlines for America, an airlines lobby organization.
Brian framed his presentation as "his story" from "his lens," pointing out there are many other similar stories of neighborhoods previously unaffected by airport traffic that are now in the crosshairs of noise and emissions.
The Airport Community Roundtable agenda for November 15, 2017, 6:00-8:00 p.m., at CLT Center, 5601 Wilkinson Blvd. The agenda features presentations from Emily Tranter of N.O.I.S.E. and Nancy Young of Airlines for America.
Please consider attending to show your interest in reducing the negative impact from the the FAA's Nextgen changes that now have decades old neighborhoods being subjected to hundreds of low altitude arrivals/departures daily.
Parking is available in the Employee parking on the ground floor of the Business Valet 1 deck located at 5601 Wilkinson Blvd accessible off Harlee Ave.
Map of the meeting location
N.O.I.S.E. refers to itself as "America's Leading Community Voice on Aviation Noise Issues" and "advocates for federal policies to reduce unreasonable levels of aviation noise through a combination of quieter aircraft, increased noise abatement resources, and the opportunity for local communities to contribute to airport expansion decisions."
Airlines for America, or A4A, "advocates on behalf of its members to shape crucial policies and measures that promote safety, security and a healthy U.S. airline industry. We work collaboratively with airlines, labor, Congress and the Administration and other groups to improve air travel for everyone."
Draw you own conclusions as to the interest of each organization.
Another Sunday of South Charlotte being buzzed by arrivals. Here's a screen shot of Baltimore to Charlotte at 3700 feet. Back out the 748 feet above sea level where Charlotte sits, and this plane is spewing noise and fuel emissions at lass than 3000 feet over heavily populated neighborhoods.
Now you tell me: does this seem responsible to you?
Held in conjunction with the National League of Cities, 2017 City Summit, this year’s event will include updates on federal policy that impacts air traffic control changes, as well as presentations from airport noise officers and community advocates who are on the front lines of aviation noise policy and a lively discussion with community leaders and elected officials who have experience in community outreach and aviation noise mitigation.
The event will take place on Wednesday November 15th from 1:00pm to 4:00pm in Room 206 A&B at the Charlotte Convention Center. Then join us afterward for an Airport N.O.I.S.E. reception from 4:00pm to 5:00pm in Room 204 of the Charlotte Convention Center for appetizers and refreshments.This event is free to Register and again, please feel free to bring your neighbors and colleagues.
The images below show the dramatic increase in airport noise complaints from 2016 (left) to 2017 (right). The 2017 info is through September and will no doubt increase.
According to the FAA’s project documentation, the intention of changes associated with “Nextgen” is to create "repeatable and predictable flight paths” and “earlier divergence on departures.” The objective is for flight paths to be as direct to and from the airport as possible to reduce miles and minimize level-offs.
The FAA further asserts “implementation of the ‘Proposed Action’ would not require any ground disturbance or development of facilities, nor would it require local or state action.”
The Project Design Team produced 38 new procedures, 8 new Air Traffic Service (ATS) routes, and 40 airspace redesign proposals. There is no mention of dispersing departures and/or arrivals as a benefit. (The Design Team did not include any citizen involvement or engagement of local elected officials during the design phase.)
Regarding noise, the FAA states “the purpose of and need for the project is to improve efficiency. Addressing noise issues associated with air traffic in the General Study Area is beyond the scope.” However, the FAA later asserts “the Proposed Action will not result in significant noise impacts or reportable noise increases.”
Significant is in the eye, or ear, of the beholder.
On August 29, 2017, the US Court of Appeals in Washington, DC ruled in favor of the City of Phoenix against the FAA over Nextgen related flight path changes. Phoenix decision. The Court found the FAA’s action to implement the flight path changes was arbitrary and capricious.
On September 12, 2017, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan sent a letter to Attorney General Brian Frosh on Sept. 12, asking him to sue the FAA over Nextgen flight patterns into and out of Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.
On September 19 and 20, Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh and Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman each wrote letters to Frosh's office in support of legal action against the FAA.
The issue is brewing in other cities as well, nextgen noise.