Managing aircraft noise has always been a major challenge for the airports. However, strategies for controlling aircraft noise at both local and international airports have gradually changed over the years (Ashford, Coutu, & Beasley, 2012). Thus, nowadays the mechanism in which aircraft noise is managed does not rely on a single mechanic, local agency or government institution. Rather, various institutions take part in the development of noise abatement programs and procedures (Ashford et al., 2012). In particular, the state government, airport owners, airport operators, and local agencies involve in the establishment of such procedures and programs (Kinnison & Siddiqui, 2013). Besides, state agencies try to decrease the noise levels around airports to create a favorable environment for workers and people who live nearby. A bright example is the Federal Aviation Administration [FAA], which controls American airspace and civil aviation (FAA, 2016). The current paper outlines noise control strategies to reduce the negative effects of aircraft noise on the communities.
Limiting nighttime operations and activities is an effective strategy for controlling noise around airports (Ashford et al., 2012). The aim of this approach is to reduce noise created by aircraft, especially at nighttime. Notably, noise generated by aircraft which land or take off at night can cause disturbance and endless annoyance to the passengers at the airport. To control this issue, a considerable number of airports have adopted night flying restrictions to minimize the noise levels. For instance, the adoption of night-time curfew at Sydney Airport restricts night take-offs and landings (Australian Government, 2015, para.1). The restrictions are applied to particular aircraft types and activities. The curfew operates from 11 pm until 6 am ( Australian Government, 2015, para.2). In line with this, the flights have to occur at Botany Bay allowing the take-off to happen in the south. Meanwhile, aircraft landing happens in the north, which has few residential areas (Australian Government, 2015, para.3). Therefore, the airports can partner with operators to promote the minimization of nighttime operations. Definitely, this measure will significantly lower aircraft noise levels around airports (Australian Government, 2015, para.5).
Creating engine run-up sites is another strategy that aims to reduce noise around airports (Zaporozhets, Tokarev, & Attenborough, 2011). Importantly, flight engineers conduct engine run-up when the aircraft undergoes maintenance activities. The aircraft maintenance includes operating the motor at a limited or unlimited power for some time. The extended length of zero power or when the engine is switched off succeeds such an event. Notably, aircraft engineers emphasize that airplanes, for example jet aircraft, are mostly at optimum power for around forty-five seconds (Ashford et al., 2012). Ashford et al. (2012) state that the jet engine takes roughly 60 seconds to maintain the entire turboprop, and this maintenance operation allows managing excess noise created by the aircraft. It should be noted that airports have allocated sites on the airstrips for the long-duration repair activities. Such sites have to reduce noise generated because of the maintenance activities so that people living in the nearby residential areas do not hear it. Besides, the aircraft maintenance is mostly conducted at night as the engineers have complete access to the airplane (Kinnison & Siddiqui, 2013). The engineers also perform extra run-ups at night and in the early hours of the morning when they prepare aircraft for early flights. Currently, Vancouver Airport Authority upholds run-up regulations, which involves guidelines for the authorization of run-ups (Zaporozhets et al., 2011).
Installation of navigation aid systems at the airports is another key strategy. The aviation sector has witnessed a significant advancement in navigation. The GPS technology is the absolute proof of such an improvement (Zaporozhets et al., 2011). Apparently, most modern airports have adopted navigation aid systems, which allow airplanes to track a specific route after a take-off. For instance, Los Angeles International Airport is using the area navigation and flight control systems that help aircraft take a particular direction when leaving the airport (Ashford et al., 2012). Thus, these types of technological systems can determine the airplane flights. From a noise reduction perspective, these navigation systems are useful as they learn routes with lesser noise levels.
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The airstrips create a physical barrier that hinders sound transfer from the aircraft to the nearby communities (Ashford et al., 2012). In addition, walls act as a barricade against noise (Kinnison & Siddiqui, 2013). Thus, barricades may involve walls, landscapes, or unoccupied buildings. The residents will be protected from high noise levels if the barriers are strong. This way, they will prevent the sound transmission before it reaches the neighboring areas. Therefore, this control strategy is beneficial as barriers will facilitate the reduction of noise. Nevertheless, once the aircraft takes off, barriers become ineffective because there is a direct noise transmission from the airplane to the nearby areas (Kinnison & Siddiqui, 2013). However, to be effective, the airport proprietor should install a barrier close to the source of noise or near the neighborhood. A good example is the establishment of sound barriers along the international highways by Denver International Airport (Ashford et al., 2012). These walls are placed near the noise origin to prevent aircraft noise from reaching the community and industrial sites. Due to the airline operational safety guidelines, these barriers are not established near the airport or aircraft parking area (Ashford et al., 2012).
Nowadays, the airports use different noise monitoring systems to control aircraft noise levels around airfields (Kinnison & Siddiqui, 2013). Most of the modern airports have permanent noise trackers. For instance, proprietors of O’Hare International Airport have installed numerous noise monitors near its airstrips at an economical cost (Chicago Department of Aviation [CDA], 2016). In line with sound management, these monitors are much useful when surrounding air carrier runways and active military bases. These noise monitors collect accurate data when they are installed near the airstrips (Kinnison & Siddiqui, 2013). However, if the noise monitors are placed far from the airfields, the gathered data will be less reliable (CDA, 2016). Additionally, they cannot differ excessive aircraft noise from the noise associated with community operations. The monitors are designed to determine when a specific decibel level is surpassed no matter what the noise origin is: an airliner or any other vehicle. In case a noise complaint is recorded, the airplane radar, which is located near the monitor, determines the exact location and time of the complaint (CDA, 2016).
Chicago Department of Aviation has incorporated airbase noise management system to analyze the aircraft noise levels in Chicago surroundings (CDA, 2016, para. 1). Such system includes noise monitors placed around the Chicago airport and nearby urban communities to manage and control the noise levels (CDA, 2016, para. 2). The system consists of essential components, such as a network of durable noise trackers. What is more, the system analyzes the sound environment and sends this analysis to the system which is directly linked to the FAA flight management radar (FAA, 2016). As a result, the FAA’s noise detection radar gathers the flight routes of aircraft, and in case it detects excessive noise levels, it notifies the airport authority (FAA, 2016, Para. 1).
The adoption of noise reduction signals is another important strategy for noise control. Many noise abatement alarms and digital reminders are installed on the airstrips. Such signals become noticeable to pilots just before the early or late take-off and inform them about noise sensitive regions (Zaporozhets et al., 2011). As a result, the level of noise drastically reduces because pilots become aware of noise routes and avoid them. Such noise reduction signals are used in the Los Angeles International Airport, which helps a pilot to recognize noise responsive regions (Zaporozhets et al., 2011).
Therefore, control of aircraft noise is a significant issue that worries many people. Meanwhile, strategies for managing airport noise have evolved over the years due to the advancing aviation technology. In addition, such strategies are not determined by a single entity; they are currently regulated by the affiliated institutions, including government agencies. Besides, the FAA plays a primary role in managing the state airports and providing effective policies for controlling noise levels around airfields. To comply with them, airport proprietors have developed effective strategies for minimizing the negative impacts of aircraft noise on communities. Notably, prohibiting nighttime operations, developing engine run-up sites and using navigation aid systems help to control the noise levels at the airports. In addition, the construction of physical barriers and adoption of durable noise monitoring systems contribute to the reduction of noise levels. Moreover, airports adopt digital signals that inform pilots about noise active regions. Therefore, all these methods should help the airport proprietors create a healthy environment for the nearby communities. The government should also ensure that comprehensive flight review is conducted and noise complaints from the community are handled in order to create a noise free environment. Hopefully, the adoption of these noise control strategies as well as recommendations will lessen the negative impact of noise on the communities.