Elected Officials Urge FAA to Measure Noise from Altered Air Traffic Patterns

United States Capitol and Reagan National Airport on a sunny summer day

Elected officials who represent the Bethesda area have asked the Federal Aviation Administration to measure noise levels from flights to and from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

The officials — U.S. Sens. Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin, Reps. John Delaney and Jamie Raskin, County Executive Ike Leggett, and County Council President Roger Berliner — are seeking a timeline by June 5, of its review of the effects of changes made to air traffic patterns in 2015.

“Our constituents daily suffer the disruptive and unhealthy effects of the implementation of the flight procedure changes. … We look forward to your prompt attention to our request,” the leaders wrote.

In late 2015, planes were rerouted to lower flight paths, making them louder to folks on the ground, he said.

Here’s the full text of the letter:

Dear Administrator Huerta:

We have received many emails and phone calls from our constituents in Montgomery County about the significant increase in aircraft traffic and noise arising from the 2015 implementation of the Washington, D.C. Optimization of Airspace and Procedures in the Metroplex (DC OAPM) and from changes to the approach paths for incoming aircraft at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

We request that the FAA conduct a thorough written review of the noise levels pre- and post-implementation of the DC OAPM and the impact of approach procedure changes undertaken in 2015. The review should include all documents related to the environmental review conducted prior to implementing changes to Amendment 5 of the River Visual RWY 19 approach procedure.

We ask that this review commence without further delay and that you provide us a timeline for the review no later than June 5, 2017.

Our constituents daily suffer the disruptive and unhealthy effects of the implementation of the flight procedure changes identified above.  We look forward to your prompt attention to our request.

Ken Hartman, executive director of the Bethesda Regional Services Center, expressed frustration at a group meant to consider noise issues for the airport.

“Officials over at airports authority and FAA and community and elected officials were all talking past each other and we’re not making progress,” Hartman said recently. “I’m frustrated with the process. The community’s frustrated that we’re not making progress. And I know the FAA is frustrated because it’s not a good process for them either.”

Douglas Tallman

About Douglas Tallman

Reporter with 35 years experience throughout Maryland. Reach me at dtallman@mymcmedia.org or via Twitter at @MCM-Doug

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