Aircraft noise is defined as noise pollution that is produced by aircrafts during their flight phases. Noise control strategies refer to a set of policies enacted to reduce noise pollution or the impact of noise around the airport. Owing to the airplane’s velocity and volume, there has been little progress made in order to decrease aircraft noise around the airports. However, a number of methods have been used to abate the noise level through residential sound proofing, restricting flight operations, and landing (Federal Aviation Administration, n. d.). This paper will suggest a number of noise control strategies adopted by airports or generally agreed by the aviation industry that can reduce noise pollution in and around airports.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has developed a vast array of noise mitigation strategies that have been entrenched into law to improve airport noise management (International Civil Aviation Organization, n. d.). In conjunction with the Federal Law and Federal Aviation Regulations (FAA), there is a general agreement that aircraft noise around the airport is a complex subject matter that needs to be studied and researched to devise the most effective methods to reduce the noise pollution. There are multiple programs that have been developed by the ICAO and FAA and are aimed at decreasing noise pollution around the airports. The approach includes identifying the noise problem at the airport and then tackling it by reducing it at the source, managing land use and effective planning operational restrictions, and noise abatement operations (Federal Aviation Administration, n. d.).
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Reduction of Noise via Technological Methods
According to the ICAO, noise reduction should be first applied at its source by incorporating technological improvements. It can be done due to specific aircraft design to ensure that the noise level is not greater than the necessary set limits (International Civil Aviation Organization, n. d.). Another method to handle this issue is to guarantee that airports are fitted with the latest available noise reduction technologies. The ICAO asserts that since the beginning of the aircraft manufacturing process, noise emission reduction through technological advancements has seen a more than 90 percent decline of the noise pollution. It is, however, worth mentioning that this improvement has also been outshone by the increased size of aircrafts over time as well as by their gradual growth ( Federal Aviation Administration, 2014)
Increase Aircraft Flow in the Direction of Wind
This procedure will increase the time that the airport will operate in the flow. According to the research in Miami-Dade Aviation Department, aircrafts typically generate a greater amount of noise when they are departing as when they arrive at the airport (Federal Aviation Administration, 2014). The wind direction usually dictates the direction of departure and arrival at the airport as aircraft generally depart and land into the wind. This is mainly to maximize the lift the aircrafts needed to maintain the flight, as evidenced by Brisbane airport (“Noise management strategies,” 2003). It has also been suggested that aircrafts should depart from the areas that are less developed or have less residential buildings (“Noise mitigation evaluation,” 2009).
Use of the Other Airports for Flight Training
It is important that the airports used for the flight trainings are located far away from high concentration of residential buildings and human activities. Under this procedure, the training aircrafts should not depart from the airports located near dense human settlements, but conduct their training activities at the airports that are located in the places with relatively low human activities.
The purpose of this procedure is to reduce the impact of training aircraft noise at the airports that closely located to the populated territories. Thus, the aircrafts should be shifted to the areas where the noise of aircraft training will impact as less people as possible. Airports located in the proximity of such establishments as, for example, schools, various agencies, and hospitals should not be used as aircraft training facilities (“Noise mitigation evaluation,” 2009).
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Elimination of Training & Transition Airport User Fee
In Miami-Dade, the Dade-Collier TNT charges a fee when some operators use the airport. Notwithstanding the fact that such fees are revenue generators for the county, eliminating these payments will be a positive step in attracting flight schools that are currently deterred by TNT. Any flight movements from the main airport to the places similar to TNT will reduce noise exposure of the residents that live in the adjoining areas (“Noise mitigation evaluation,” 2009).
Restrict Flight Training Movements on Weekends and During Holidays
The aim of the special consideration that will reduce flight training movements on weekends and during holidays is to restrict local training activities of the aircrafts. This is for the reason that at this period of time more people stay at their homes and, therefore, restricting aircrafts will reduce noise pollution which can be annoying to the local residents. This should be carefully managed as there are no federal laws restricting the use of airports unless the level of noise pollution is higher than reasonable levels. While airport authorities cannot restrict the use of airfields, it should ensure that the flights especially from flight schools emphasize the importance of using the airports that are located in less densely settled areas (“Noise mitigation evaluation,” 2009).
Install Walls and Barriers
Installation of noise barriers will be used in obstructing sound transmission. Noise barriers can include buildings, dense landscaping, and berms. These barriers will shield neighbors from the sources of noise in the airports, especially if the barriers are solid ones and can enclose the noise factors. Such obstructions as walls are commonly used in reducing noise pollution, which is a huge benefit for communities that reside near the airports, especially during the ground operations of the aircraft (“Noise mitigation evaluation,” 2009). However, it is important to note that once the aircraft is airborne, such barriers have little or no effect on noise reduction.
Use of Noise Monitors
Additionally, noise monitors can be installed in communities that live in the vicinity of the airports to ensure that aircrafts do not generate noise above certain limits. The monitors will provide data and a record when a permissible level is exceeded. If a complaint is registered, data obtained from the aircraft radar during the time of the complaint are identified. This information is reviewed later and then the sound correlated with the aircraft results in a certain kind of noise. Hence, when an aircraft is far away from the airport, the radars will register less noise level. Nevertheless, if an aircraft is at a considerable distance from the airport yet the noise monitor data is still registered, then it is important that such aircrafts is taken for a regular check-up to control the noise pollution (“Noise mitigation evaluation,” 2009).
Impose Penalties for Noisier Aircrafts
This is a possible abatement measure that will include imposing fines and penalties for the aircrafts that exceed allowable noise level. Although this is a difficult measure to take, especially due to the limitation of imposing new restrictions apart from those passed in the 1990, the airports should ensure that the operating airplanes that exceed the appropriate noise level are penalized (“Noise management strategies,” 2003). Airports can also be closed at night, in particular those near heavily settled territories. This is to guarantee the safety of local inhabitants. This is, however, difficult as the Federal Law and Federal Aviation Regulations necessitated using the airports 24 hours every day. In spite of the fact that this is not possible, night time activities at major airports can be restricted. This will greatly reduce night time operations connected with the airports (“Aviation noise,” 2013). Night time noise produced by the airports can be disruptive to many people as they are likely to sleep during this period. Instituting curfews past a certain time will greatly help reduce noise pollution in the night (“Noise mitigation evaluation,” 2009).
Limit the Size and Weight of Aircraft Operating At Certain Airports
The bigger aircrafts emit much more noise than smaller ones. Limiting the size and weight of aircrafts that fly to certain airports will significantly limit the amount of noise pollution in the affected airports. Nonetheless, this will require that the affected airports show that such aircrafts have indeed exceeded the imposed restrictions. Noise exposure in this case would rather include age of the aircraft than its size or weight (“Noise mitigation evaluation,” 2009).
Reverse Thrust Restrictions
Jet-engine noise is another source of the noise pollution at the airports. Pilots usually use reverse thrust to slow aircrafts at a rate that is suitable for its landing. Typically, reverse thrust will redirect the flow of jet engine exhaust towards the front of the aircraft helping the aircraft to maintain ground control. This reverse thrust can result in increased noise pollution sometimes. One can easily notice it during the night time. Therefore, a restriction on reverse thrust will greatly decrease noise pollution level at night hours (“Noise mitigation evaluation,” 2009).
The paper has discussed a number of abatement strategies that airports can use to reduce the noise pollution. Most importantly, a further research is required to understand how to control and reduce noise pollution around the airports better. However, multiple studies into this subject matter have led to a number of noise abatement strategies that have proven to reduce the noise pollution around the airports. Noise pollution is a health hazard to communities or to people working in or around the airport. It is crucial that airport authorities first check whether the strategies are authorized or banned by the federal or local government before implementing them.