Winter 2000 – Aircraft noise abatement: At last, some progress to report

By T. Sinclair (Tory) Jacobs

In an effort to focus attention on the need to accelerate implementation of the Miami International Airport Noise Abatement Program, Commissioner Jimmy Morales arranged a meeting chaired by Mayor Alex Penelas with attendance by FAA and Miami-Dade Aviation Department (MDAD) executives.

The meeting served as a catalyst for both MDAD and FAA to agree to move forward with the long-awaited test of Flight Track Management. Targeted to start the week of June 3, 2000, Nighttime, East Flow Departures will be utilized from both runways in service on due-east flight paths and will be held on tract until over water before being released for turns onto course.

Provided this 180-day Flight Tract Management test goes as anticipated and the concurrent Environmental Assessment Studies are supportive, as early as May 2001, it may be incrementally expanded for daytime departures.

Results of the current West Flow Departure Test should be available in the late spring.

New procedures for arrivals from the water approach, including designated flight tracts and higher elevations during the earlier segments of the approach are being promulgated for late summer start.

Currently, the Control Tower (under FAA) releases flight control immediately after takeoff, so pilots fan out toward their ultimate headings. By limiting flight paths to two designated tracks (for east flow nighttime departures) over minimum residential areas, and by holding aircraft on course until over the water, neighborhoods should experience considerably less noise pollution.

Also, raising the altitude of flights as they approach and depart Miami International Airport ­ though causing steeper ascents and descents ­ will lessen the impact of aircraft noise.

Jeffrey R. Bunting, MDAD’s Chief of Aircraft Noise and Environmental Planning, has been authorized to add four analysts to his staff to facilitate the ANONS and complaint programs.

All of these initiatives are encouraging, however, the pace of progress still frustrates all concerned. Continued vigilance is in order to ensure that these commitments and timetables are maintained.

From BHA News, Winter 2000, Vol. X, No. 1