• Understand: Understand how aircraft noise is defined, regulated and controlled within the aviation system.

    The airport’s ability to control and minimize aircraft noise is quite limited by federal statutes. Generally speaking, Congress, through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), has preempted much of the authority for addressing and regulating aircraft-generated noise. At the same time, airports that receive federal funding are also obligated to actively engage in minimizing noise conflicts through compatible land uses. In some cases, NextGen technology will have an influence on noise impacts. And although the airport’s control over noise is limited, there are some voluntary programs that can help to reduce noise impacts on the surrounding community.


    • Determine Who Controls Aircraft Noise: Understand who has the regulatory authority to control noise and the legislation that assigns it. [Details]
    • State and Local Influence Over Aircraft Noise: While the FAA controls noise at the source and the implementation of noise or access restrictions, state statutes and local considerations can also influence airport actions. [Details]
    • Identify How Aircraft Noise Is Described and What It Means: Noise can be measured with a cumulative noise metric or with a single-event metric with different results. [Details]
    • Part 150 Studies: Understand Airport Noise Compatibility Studies and how they are used by the FAA. [Details]
    • About NextGen: This new air transportation system is using its innovative technology to help minimize noise impacts. [Details]
  • Explore: Explore your airport’s role in controlling and communicating about aircraft noise.

    Generally, aircraft noise concerns are associated with noise sensitive land uses and the people that populate those land uses. Specifically, each airport has its own runway alignment, aircraft activity and adjacent land uses as well as local political and economic climates that combine to create a unique condition. Communicating with both the public and also the policy makers is essential to address the issue in a holistic manner. However, communication should be done strategically based on an understanding of the conditions that generate noise complaints.


    • Determine the Noise Concerns at Your Airport: Explore existing noise concerns at your airport and identify the conditions or activities that create them. [Details]
    • Aircraft Noise and How It Relates to Land Use Compatibility Near Your Airport: Make a land use connection to noise. [Details]
    • Identify Where Aircraft Are Currently Flying: Identify current flight tracks at your airport. [Details]
    • Find Out Who Can Help with the Conversation About Airport Noise: Identify people who can help with a community conversation about noise, including land use compatibility. [Details]


    • Airport Noise and Compatible Land Uses

      This guide, developed by the AOPA, discusses the relationship between your local airport community and the surrounding airport noise, safety issues, and land use.

  • Take Action: Take Action to minimize noise impacts with programs that involve the community, studies that document noise impacts and projects that make physical or operational changes at the airport.

    While the airport does not control noise, there are opportunities to reduce impacts through education and cooperative programs in several ways. These programs can consist of committees to evaluate certain operational practices on the airfield, community/operator development of voluntary flight procedures, reviewing future land use plans, web based public outreach programs and the preparation of noise exposure maps.

    The goal of this section is to provide guidance for managers to develop various actions and activities to reduce aircraft noise intrusion through both physical and operational changes.


    • Provide a Noise Page on the Airport’s Website: Develop a noise section of the airport website and populate it with FAQs and information about programs and resources. [Details]
    • Consider a Part 150 Study: Noise studies can document existing noise impacts at the airport. [Details]
    • Voluntary Noise Abatement Programs: Can be developed through the work of a Noise Abatement Council. [Details]
    • Changes to Airport Operations: Can be effective but often require the support of the FAA for implementation and funding. [Details]