Tuesday, September 20, 2011

noisy RAFOM meeting about airplane noise

The Radnor/Ft. Myer Heights Civic Association (RAFOM) meeting packed the Prospect House meeting room tonight.  Most of the attendees were very irate about airplane noise.  As the video below from about three years ago documents, airplane noise has been an ongoing concern in our area.  At tonight's meeting, National Airport officials Bob Laser (Operations Manager, Air Traffic), Neal Phillips (Manager, Aero Acoustics), and Mike Jeck (Assistant Manager, Noise Office) discussed the problem with residents for over an hour and a half.

Some points from the airplane-noise discussion:
  1. Residents perceive airplane noise to be getting worse, both during the evening and late at night.  Airplane noise is seriously affecting residents' quality of life.
  2. Repair of the main runway began on May 16 of this year and is scheduled to finish by the end of this year.  The main runway repair closes the main runaway from 11pm to 6am.  All aircraft use an alternate runway that causes most flight traffic landing going south or departing going north to pass directly over Rosslyn on a radial flight line.  The completion of the runway repair will result in less aircraft traffic over Rosslyn from 11pm to 6am.
  3. A new aircraft flight departure procedure, called Laser-1 after none other than Bob Laser, who has worked for five years in implementing it, will put flights on an automatic navigation path along the river.  This departure procedure is planned to go into effect in April of next year.  It will result in most aircraft departures staying over the river.
  4. National Airport places significant demands on pilot flight skills.  Flying along the river, while taking care to avoid the strictly restricted airspace (P-56) about the White House and Capitol, requires pilots to execute tight turns. The new Laser-1 procedure will allow this navigation to be automated.
  5. Major national political and economic interests push for more flights out of National Airport.  Local representative have a tough time fighting against these interests.  
  6. Weather conditions outside the DC area effect the density of flights into National on any given day.  Particular traffic circumstances on a particular day can cause a heavy volume of flights using runways that require a direct pass over Rosslyn.
  7. The RAFOM neighborhood is about 2 miles from the end of the runways.  Aircraft descend on average about 300 feet per mile.  Hence aircraft on average are only 600 feet above the ground when they fly over our neighborhood.  Some aircraft noise will be a fact of life in our neighborhood. 
A RAFOM resident put forward an excellent approach to addressing the airplane noise problem.  She invited Bob Laser to have drinks on her balcony Sunday evening.  Other well-positioned Rosslyn resident should likewise extend such invitations to other National Airport officials.  Area residents have been complaining vocally about airplane noise for years.  The results have been meager.  Why not try direct-experience hospitality and inaudible appeals?  How about a special RAFOM evening cocktail party for National Airport flight control and noise officials? 

Other points from tonight's RAFOM meeting:
The next RAFOM meeting will be Oct. 26.  It will be a candidates night.


Jacob said...

Aren't these people just whining? What do they expect, DCA to be shut down? If you don't like the airplane noise, move or go deaf. I don't like bitching for bitching's sake.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know DCA just got built. If you moved into a house next to an airport and expected no noise you were kidding yourself.

Anonymous said...

The loudest planes are the DC-9/MD-80 variants, especially when taking off ... for whatever reason the 737's and A320's aren't nearly as bad. National could do quite a lot for the community just by limiting DC-9's to daytime operation.

Anonymous said...

No discussion of flight take-offs/landings before the 7 am curfew and after the 10 pm curfew? Seems to be more.

Douglas Galbi said...

If I remember right, one of the speakers said that the curfew was a voluntary "gentleman's agreement" among the airlines. The agreement broke down with changes in the airline industry, e.g. more new airlines, more competition, and more cost pressure.

Anonymous said...

I hear the god damn airplanes all the time in Rosslyn and I'm GOING CRAZY! I would have never moved here if I knew they would wake me up at 6am every morning. I have to sleep with ear plugs every night and I'm probably going to have to break my lease to get away from here, I just moved here for a job and wanted to be close to work to take the subway. I guess I'm learning my lesson the hard way. Stay the fuck away from an airport if you want sanity and restful sleep. So stressful it's insane. Guess I'm gong to have to by the construction grade hearing protection ear muffs.

rawi-warin said...

Our neighborhood is also located near the international airport. We have learned to put through with the noise. Though it still irritates us every time a passing airplane messes up our TV reception.