In the process of searching the internet for information about aviation noise, I often run across web pages like this one:http://www.beechtalk.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=127555 where pilots lament how people move next to airports and then complain about the noise. They also frequently state how much they love hearing aircraft noise. To me, there is a disconnect in their thinking. While I am sure there are people who do, in fact, move to the noise, in many instances that is not the case.
For example, the person who buys a home near an airport – a sleepy little General Aviation airport – who does not mind the single-engine Cessnas on the weekends, only to find there is little the homeowner can do to stop the expansion of the airport to accommodate screeching business jets at all hours of the day.
Or the homeowner who buys a house in a rural area known for its peace and quiet, miles away from the nearest airport only to find that the FAA has changed the flight path so that a constant stream of large jets are flying under 5000 feet over the house.
Or the homeowner who has lived in a neighborhood near an airport for years. But then, the airport owner and the FAA decide to reconfigure the runways at the large commercial airport to accommodate more traffic and the homeowner finds herself underneath the approach pattern for the airport.
Or the homeowner who lives in an urban area, but finds that the FAA has changed the flight paths so that airplanes now fly lower and closer than before.
Or the homeowner who recognizes that she lives near a large commercial airport and expects aircraft noise, but when the airport owner and the FAA agree to offer noise mitigation to lessen the impact on the homeowner, it takes over 15 years for the airport to complete the project. And during that time, the aircraft fly above her head.
Make no mistake, aviation noise and air pollution carry health effects – both mental and physical – what is needed less blaming the victim by pilots and the FAA and an increased emphasis on reasonable policy. Freeways are not built without compensating the nearby owners for their troubles. Neither should airports and flight paths – the “highways in the sky.” Reasonable noise standards that should be followed by the airports, aircraft, airlines and the FAA should be instituted. And they must be enforced.
Steven M. Taber, the Owner and Founder of Taber Law Group, is a former FAA attorney, experienced in handling all matters involving the requirements of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs) and FAA enforcement actions