Federal Aviation Administration
Aviation Noise Abatement Policy

November 18, 1976

Part One
Introduction and Summary of Aviation Noise Abatement Policy

I. Introduction

II. Aviation Noise Abatement Policy

A. Basic Principles
B. Authorities and Responsibilities
C. Federal Action Plan to Implement These Policies
1. Aircraft Source Noise Regulation
2. Operating Procedures
3. Airport Development Aid Program
4. Airport Noise Policy

D. Air Carrier Action Plan

1. Aircraft Compliance
2. Financing

E. Local Actions

F. Concluding Note

Part Two
Analysis of the Noise Problem, Legal Framework,
and Description of the Federal Action Program

I. Statement of the Problem

A. The Noise Problem
1. How Noise is Described
2. How Noise Affects People
3. Whom Does Noise Affect and Where Do They Live
4. The Source of Aircraft Noise: Composition of the Fleet

B. The Financial Problem

1. Ability of Airlines to Finance Aircraft Replacement
2. The Aerospace Industry

II. Legal Framework

A. Legal Responsibilities of the Federal Government
B. Legal Responsibilities of State and Local Governments
C. Legal Responsibilities of Airport Proprietors

III. Federal Response

A. Quieting the Air Carrier Fleet
1. Federal Regulation of Existing Aircraft
2. Economic Benefit from a Mixed Replacement and Modification Program
3. Time Frame
4. International Air Carriers

B. Financing Mechanism
C. Additional Federal Action

1. Source Regulation for Future Aircraft
2. Aircraft Operating Procedures
3. Federal Research and Development Technology

D. Protecting the Airport Environment

1. Airport Proprietor's Responsibilities
2. State and Local Government Responsibility
3. Federal Support for Airport Proprietor and Local Government Noise Abatement Activities
4. FAA Review of Proprietary Use Restrictions

E. Private Sector Responsibility


Part One
Introduction and Summary of Aviation Noise Abatement Policy
Aircraft noise is a significant annoyance for six to seven million Americans. The annoyance is particularly serious at many of our major airports, including those in large metropolitan areas from coast to coast. But noise constitutes a present or potential problem for residents living near many other airports across the nation, and as air travel increases it will become a serious problem at some of these other airports as well. The aircraft noise issue became increasingly apparent in the early 1960's with the advent of jet aircraft and was soon magnified by the rapidly increasing number of commercial operations in the latter part of the decade. Because of its adverse effect on people, aircraft noise was recognized as a major constraint on the further development of the commercial aviation network, threatening to limit the construction and expansion of airports and access to them. Joint action by government and the private sector was taken to address it. The engine manufacturers and the federal government both engaged in extensive research into quieting jet engines. In 1969, Congress gave the Federal Aviation Administration ("FAA") the responsibility to regulate aircraft design and equipment for noise reduction purposes. The FAA then embarked upon a long-term program of controlling aircraft noise at its source. A regulation promulgated in 1969 established noise standards for turbojet aircraft of.new design effective December 1, 1969; an amendment in 1973 extended the same standards to all new aircraft of older design. The third step in the source noise control program is a regulation requiring compliance with noise standards by jet aircraft already in the fleet. Initially called the "retrofit" rule, it has been the subject of two major FAA rulemaking proposals, a notice of proposed rulemaking published in 1974 and a similar Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposal published in 1975. The FAA noise proposal for operating aircraft was the product of considerable study and analysis and was submitted by the Federal Aviation Administrator to the Secretary of Transportation in January because consultation with the Secretary is required by the Noise Control Act of 1972, and because the FAA concluded that some form of federal financing might be required to complete that program. Intensive review of various proposals by the Secretary of Transportation, with the support of the FAA Administrator, led to a far-ranging analysis of the aircraft noise problem, alternative methods of dealing with it, and the economic consequences of imposing a rule applicable to operating aircraft as well as to newly certificated aircraft. On October 21, 1976, President Ford advised us that, after considering the proposal we jointly presented to him, and the views of other interested agencies, including EPA, he had accepted our recommendation that action should be taken to extend current noise standards to domestic U.S. commercial airplanes in not more than eight years. He directed that the FAA promulgate its noise compliance rule not later than January 1, 1977. Our statement today announces that action, and the companion measures we believe are an integral part of a comprehensive aviation noise abatement policy. The scope of the noise problem, the interrelationship and special responsibilities of the many parties concerned with it, and the general confusion and prevalent uncertainty about what it is possible to achieve and who is responsible have led us to conclude that the federal government should address the overall noise problem with a more comprehensive approach than mere promulgation of a new regulation. From recognition of the need for a comprehensive response to the noise problem, this policy statement will analyze the aviation noise problem, and delineate the shared responsibilities of those who must act to alleviate it industry, government and private citizens. Although progress has been made in the development of quieter aircraft, much remains to be accomplished. Aircraft noise, of course, cannot be completely eliminated unless we go back to the glider; its adverse effect on people can only be reduced. The complex division of legal authority and practical responsibility among airport proprietors, federal and local government agencies, air carriers, and manufacturers calls for a clearer understanding, first, of what is technologically and financially attainable and, second, of how each of these parties can and must perform those functions for which it is uniquely suited. Only if each party assumes responsibility and acts on the basis of complete cooperation and coordination will we achieve significant and measured progress in reducing the impact of aircraft noise on airport neighbors. As the federal officials principally concerned with aviation noise, it is our duty to provide leadership in a national effort to reduce aircraft noise. The aviation noise abatement policy that follows represents our views about what action should be taken. Within the constraints of technology, productivity, and financing, it clarifies the responsibility of the federal government to reduce aircraft noise at its source, to promote safe operational procedures that abate the impact of noise on populated areas and to promote positive efforts to attain compatible land use in areas adjacent to airports. It deals realistically with the time that will be required to bring the current fleet of aircraft into compliance with noise level standards that are now technologically feasible and with the financial requirements necessary to make compliance possible. Those who anticipate a complete federal solution to the aircraft noise problem misunderstand the need for federal, local and private interaction. The primary obligation to address the airport noise problem always has been and remains a local responsibility. Consequently, we have also set forth what we believe to be the legal and proper responsibilities of the airport proprietors, air carriers and other aircraft operators, aeronautical manufacturers, state and local governments, and private citizens. The full benefit of a federal plan of action will be realized only if complementary action is taken byall these participants. Local capability to plan and take action will be enhanced by a clearer understanding of what the federal government intends to do. As the federal government reduces cumulative noise exposure by controlling the source of noise, so must local governments and airport proprietors, with federal financial assistance in some instances, acquire land and assure compatible land use in areas surrounding the airport in order to confine severe noise exposure within the boundaries of the airport and to minimize the impact of noise beyond those boundaries. Because of the complexity of the noise problem, we have set forth the following synopsis of our Aviation Noise Abatement Policy which summarizes the key responsibilities of each participant and highlights the federal action program. The analysis of the noise and financing problems that led to the formulation of this policy, the legal foundation upon which the policy rests, and the specific explanation of how certain timing, noise levels and policy conclusions were reached are set forth in Part Two. Accordingly, we invite your attention to Part Two and the underlying rationale that we believe will clarify and support the conclusions set forth in the following section. John L. McLucas The Federal Aviation Administrator William T. Coleman, Jr. The Secretary of Transportation

Document Continued